Pennsylvania is a state full of history, and unfortunately, not all of it is great. As one of the first 13 states, there have been many battles and massacres that have taken place on our land, leading to many areas with negative energy.
Whether you are a believer in the paranormal or not, there is no denying our dark past — and if there are ghosts, it wouldn't be surprising if they chose to haunt many locations throughout the state.
So for Halloween this year, forget going to a staged scare house and instead spend some time getting spooked by what goes bump in the night at these notoriously haunted locations in Pennsylvania ... that is, if you think you're brave enough.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Where: 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia
The Eastern State Penitentiary was operational from 1829 until 1971 and was considered to be the world's first true penitentiary, housing some of the most notorious criminals in American history, including mobster Al Capone. At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States, becoming a model penitentiary for over 300 prisons worldwide. The prison is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which is open to the public as a museum for tours seven days a week, twelve months a year, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Though legal executions were not performed at the penitentiary, there were many murders that took place between inmates — and the mandatory solitary confinement cells made many go crazy. Supposedly, hundreds of the inmate's restless spirits still reside here, making it a hotspot for ghost hunting crews. It has been investigated by some of the biggest ghost hunter groups in the United States and was featured on the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.
Hill View Manor
Where: 2801 Ellwood Rd, New Castle
Originally opened in the 1920s as a poor farm and halfway house, Hill View Manor was turned into a care facility in the 1970s until it finally closed in 2004. As you can imagine, there were many deaths on this property — estimated around 10,000. When the building was sold to the current owner, they decided to reopen it to the public as a ghost hunting spot.
Hill View was also featured on the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures show. There is said to be hauntings by a child ghost named Jeffery, Mary Virginia, a Ceberal Palsy patient who spent her whole life there, and a recovering alcoholic, Eli Saurri, who died in his sleep, to name a small few. The managers now host events here throughout the year, as well as overnight lockdowns for any of those brave enough to stay the night in the eerie abandoned 85,000 sqft building.
Admittedly, I have had my own experience here, capturing unexplained orbs on video and voices on recorders ... and the manager told me she often catches ghostly figures and movement (doors, items, orbs) on the security cameras. So I highly recommend this location to skeptics and believers alike!
This may come as no surprise, but Gettysburg is considered one of the most haunted locations in Pennsylvania. From the battlefield to the local college, and many buildings in between, there are plenty of supposed hauntings in this small Pennsylvanian town.
Of course, the battlefield and graveyards are said to be haunted by the many Confederate and Union soldiers who lost their lives during the battle, but there are also hauntings from civilian casualties in the surrounding farmhouses and townhomes. Again, Gettysburg was featured on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures, and you have to see this really weird anomaly they caught during their investigation on thermal video.
Where: 1325 Old Rte 30, Orrtanna
While we're on the topic of haunted Gettysburg, if you're planning a trip and would like to stay in a haunted hotel, only eight miles away is the historic and haunted Cashtown Inn. This adorable little bed and breakfast was used in the Civil War by the Confederate army as a headquarter and the basement as a hospital. It is said that so many amputations were performed in the building that the limbs thrown outside were piled up so high it blocked any sunlight from coming in the cellar window. This Inn was featured on an episode of Syfy's Ghost Hunters.
Where: Carrie Furnace Blvd, Swissvale
The physical embodiment of Pittsburgh's once-booming steel industry, and far predating safe work standards, Carrie Furnace had seen many deaths while in operation — many that went undocumented. There have been reports of shadow people and poltergeist activity, and some spirits who remain unaware of their passing who still try to work (that's some serious commitment). Tours of the facility can be taken during the day, and overnight investigations can be booked in with Ghosts N' At.
Where: 12241 Lake St, Conneaut Lake
This beautiful vintage hotel overlooking the Conneaut Lake has a hauntedly eerie history. It was built in 1893 as a resort to accommodate higher-end individuals during the height of Western Pennsylvania's growing industry. Unfortunately, a large portion of the hotel was ruined when the building was struck by fire in 1943 and had to be demolished. While the building was eventually rebuilt, the life of the honeymooning bride who died in the fire could not be reclaimed.
While many of the ghost stories of the hotel remain a legend, there has been a lot of claimed paranormal activity here, including sightings of the ghost bride Elizabeth, an old chef who supposedly dismembered a butcher in the kitchen, an unknown couple dancing in the first floor Grand Ballroom, a soldier in a tree on the Hotel lot, a spirit of John, a former hotel employee, and little Angelina, a child who supposedly passed away from a bicycle accident. The Hotel was featured on an episode of Paranormal State on A&E.
While I have been to this property, I went during a large, noisy wedding party with attendees who were up wandering the halls all night — however, a friend of mine (who inspired my trip there) recounted that during their stay the door kept opening, so he deadbolted it then said, "I'd like to see that open now," and as he walked back to his seat he and his other family members watched the deadbolt unlock and the door open again.
Where: Kelly Rd, SR4043
One of the top haunted roads in the world is right here in Pennsylvania. A one-mile section of Kelly Road (also nicknamed Mystery Mile) connects Ohioville to Industry and is said to be home to a plethora of otherworldly creatures and odd happenings.
Legend has it that for this one-mile stretch has an overall bad aura causing docile animals to become vicious and chase away humans, people to start randomly arguing, and strange and unnatural noises that can be heard coming from the forest. If that wasn't creepy enough, shadow figures stalk those who dare to walk the road at night ...
It's not clear why only a small portion of the road is affected, but a popular rumor states that it was cursed by Native Americans who were angry about their land being taken from them. It is now said that cults often carry out rituals in the forest. That's a whole lot of nope from me.
Where: 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia
This may come as a surprise to you, but apparently, the Philadelphia Zoo is considered haunted. The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo, originally established in 1859 and opened to the public in 1874. The Solitude, located near the Small Mammal House was built in 1784 by John Penn, the grandson of William Penn, and is supposedly haunted by a woman named Leticia. There are other unexplained hauntings throughout locations in the zoo, even in the children's attraction, The Tree House! The Zoo has been investigated on Syfy's Ghost Hunters.
The Knickerbocker Hotel
Where: 115 W Erie St, Linesville
Not to be confused with the ritzy downtown New York Knickerbocker Hotel, the Pennsylvanian Knickerbocker Hotel is much more exciting. This hotel takes pride in their ghostly inhabitants and offers nighttime investigations, as well as a place to hold meetings, birthday parties, and ceremonies. As with any legitimate haunted location, there has been a lot of paranormal evidence caught here, and some of it has been shared publicly.
If you're afraid of dolls, especially haunted ones, skip this location because the hotel owner collects haunted dolls and displays them in one of the rooms.
Where: 211 S. Colombus Blvd., Philadelphia
This American warship was used in the Spanish-American War and the first World War. After being put to good use, in1922 she was placed in reserve, docked in Philadelphia where she remains today, ghostly crew members and all. Many soldiers lived and died on this water vessel, making it yet another hotspot for paranormal activity. There are claims of a ghost who likes to touch people in the boiler room, and others who still believe the ship is in battle, and have been recorded saying things like "save the ship!"
Pennhurst State School and Hospital
Where: 1205 Commonwealth Dr, Spring City
Also known as the Pennhurst Asylum, this property consists of several large now-abandoned buildings that were once used to house the mentally handicapped, unfortunately during the time period where those with disabilities were subjected to torturous medical experiments. It was closed for a long time and no one was allowed on the property but has recently reopened, offering the public a chance to investigate the deteriorating properties. This property was also featured on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.
As if touring considerably dangerous buildings wasn't scary enough — there are a lot of medical objects and personal belongings left behind here from when the asylum was still in operation, as well as some evidence of Satanic worship.
Where: E. Mermaid Ln, Philadelphia
This mansion has been deemed Pennsylvania's most haunted home. Purchased by in 1926 by the Easby family, they, visitors, and the housekeepers experienced plenty of strange occurrences. From shadow figures to items being thrown around the rooms, perhaps the most terrifying allegation is the strange deaths attributed to the home. Anyone who visited the house was warned not to sit in the 200-year-old "Death Chair" because George Easby and many others believed that anyone who sat in it would have grave misfortune bestow on them. Easby told the authors of Haunted Houses U.S.A. that his housekeeper, his cousin, and a friend all died within weeks of sitting in the chair.
The mansion is currently still a private residence which means that there are no public tours at this current time, however, you might still be able to get a glimpse of a spirit peering out of a window.
Where: 1433 N Main Ave, Scranton
A little different than the other paranormal locations on this list, The Psychic Theater, located in Scranton's Houdini Museum is the world's longest running paranormal psychic and seance event focused around summoning dead spirits, and proving they are real. It's common for attendees to report being touched and getting chills. Excerpts have been featured on Exploring the Unknown, Myths And Legends, Dead Famous, and The Travel Channel.
Van Sant Crybaby Bridge
Where: 184 Covered Bridge Rd, New Hope
There are a few CryBaby Bridge locations throughout the United States, all following a similar urban legend. The myth is usually a variation of a child (or multiple children) who had met an untimely death at the bridge in question and their spirit now haunts the bridge. The "crybaby" part comes from the ghostly children's manifestation of crying.
Supposedly if you park your car in the middle of Van Sant Bridge, you will not only hear children crying but also the toes of a hanged woman scratching against the roof of the car.