Our top spot goes to Pennhurst Asylum, and once you know the history of this place, you won’t be surprised. Even hearing about it sends chills up the spine of many people. That’s because Pennhurst Asylum is built inside an actual former asylum. The buildings were originally part of the Pennhurst State School mental institution. It opened as the Pennhurst Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic in 1908. By the time they were shut down by court order in 1986, the place was legendary for the abuses that took place there. The place stood abandoned for 24 years until the haunted attractions opened in 2010.
Your journey starts in the Pennhurst Asylum attraction, built into the old Administrative Building from the original asylum, followed by the Dungeon of Lost Souls. Using a lot of the actual equipment left over when the asylum was abandoned, these attractions have room after room that recreates the abuses that originally shut the place down, and then some.
Next is the Tunnel Terror, 900 feet of light-flickering darkness. Originally, orderlies would move patients between buildings with these tunnels. Today, they’re catacombs of intricate sets, well-planned scares, and talented actors.
The first three attractions embrace the history to create incredible scares with great attention to detail. These combine animatronics, great actors, CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), and illusions to terrify visitors. The last attraction doesn’t just embrace the history, it surrounds you in it.
With nothing but a flashlight, you’re let loose in the old Mayflower Building. This dormitory for the insane has been featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures for how haunted it is. Everything is left exactly how it was when the building was abandoned in 1986. No actors, no effects, no artificial scares. Just you, the darkness and a haunted building.
While these attractions have been around for a few years, this year features a lot of upgrades all around. In addition to the antique original equipment, there’s a host of new props, new sets, and brand new special effects. Even longtime fans will find plenty of new scares.
Good to know:
The parking lot is about a quarter mile away, but you don’t have to walk if you don’t want. There’s a shuttle bus and there’s valet parking in the second half of October.
There are combo passes for multiple attractions, as well as individual tickets. If you want to skip the lines, you can buy general admission and VIP passes online. If you want to get the most out of the Ghost Hunt, come early in the season to avoid crowds.