Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Most Haunted

Posted by junketseo in Philadelphia Ghost Tours
Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Most Haunted - Photo

Pennsylvania is known for its rich history and diverse landscapes as well as being a hotbed for paranormal activity. Established in 1681, Pennsylvania played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, with many battles fought on its soil. Additionally, the state witnessed significant tragedies, including accidents, epidemics, and the brutal treatment of Native Americans.

From the French and Indian War, through to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, this state has absorbed a staggering amount of blood. Let’s delve into the reasons why Pennsylvania is so haunted and present the top ten most haunted sites in the state, along with eerie details of the reported hauntings at each location.


Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia

Eastern State Penitentiary, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was established with a revolutionary concept: solitary confinement as a means of rehabilitation. Inmates were kept in windowless cells for 23 hours a day, their only human interaction being with guards and the occasional visit from clergy or reformers. This approach, though well-intentioned, led to extreme isolation and psychological deterioration for many inmates.


The Hauntings of Eastern State Penitentiary


Cellblock 4 is notorious for its eerie ambiance and reported paranormal activity. Visitors and staff have claimed to witness shadowy figures darting in and out of the cell doorways. Inmates were subjected to years of solitude and sensory deprivation within the walls of Cellblock 12. It’s said that faint whispers can still be heard echoing through its corridors. Some visitors report hearing unintelligible murmurs, while others believe they can make out faint words or pleas for help.

One of the most notorious inmates of Eastern State Penitentiary was the infamous gangster Al Capone. While incarcerated there, Capone reportedly lived a relatively comfortable life, enjoying privileges that other inmates did not. Some claim to have encountered Capone’s ghost in his former cell, with sightings ranging from a figure pacing the cell to strange noises echoing through the area.


Fort Mifflin – Philadelphia


Constructed in 1771, Fort Mifflin played a pivotal role during the Revolutionary War, defending the fledgling nation from British attacks. It served as a military base during subsequent conflicts, evolving over the years into a key defensive point. With such a storied past of battles, hardships, and sacrifices, it’s no wonder that the echoes of history continue to reverberate within its corridors.


The Ghosts of Fort Mifflin


One of the most well-known ghosts at Fort Mifflin is the Lady in White. Witnesses have claimed to see her walking along the ramparts or gazing out over the river, her presence marked by an ethereal elegance. Another commonly reported apparition is that of a soldier who is often seen and heard crying out in pain and agony. Some visitors have reported hearing faint moans and cries during the night, echoing the pain of the past.

A more unsettling presence is the Faceless Man, a ghostly figure said to lack distinct facial features. He is often spotted wandering through the dark corners of the fort, causing a shiver to run down the spines of those who encounter him. The casemates, the underground chambers of the fort, are known for echoing with disembodied voices and mysterious sounds. Visitors have reported hearing whispers, conversations, and even faint music emanating from the depths of these subterranean passages.


Pennhurst Asylum – Spring City


Once a state school for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Pennhurst Asylum’s dark history is marked by allegations of abuse and neglect. Closed in the 1980s, the site is now a notoriously haunted attraction, with reports of apparitions, chilling cries, and ghostly touches experienced by visitors.

One of the most infamous buildings on the Pennhurst campus is Mayflower Hall, which was once used to house patients. Visitors and paranormal investigators have reported hearing disembodied voices, footsteps, and cries echoing through its halls. Apparitions of former patients are said to appear in windows and doorways, leaving a chilling impression of their suffering. One of the most chilling accounts involves a faceless apparition said to roam the hallways. Witnesses describe encountering a figure shrouded in a white gown, lacking any distinguishable facial features.

What sets Pennhurst apart from other haunted locations is the alleged interaction between spirits and visitors. People have claimed to feel ghostly touches, experience sudden temperature drops, and even engage in eerie conversations with unseen entities. Some paranormal investigators have captured EVPs that suggest attempts at communication from the other side.


Betsy Ross House – Philadelphia


Elizabeth Griscom Ross, commonly known as Betsy Ross, was a skilled seamstress believed to have crafted the first American flag at her humble abode in the late 18th century. The house, built in 1740, offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience the living conditions of Revolutionary-era Philadelphia. The Betsy Ross House has been meticulously preserved and restored, with period-appropriate furnishings and exhibits that transport visitors to a bygone era.

Despite its historical charm, the Betsy Ross House harbors a reputation for being haunted. Over the years, numerous visitors and staff members have reported eerie occurrences and unexplained phenomena. Some of the most commonly reported experiences include disembodied footsteps echoing through empty rooms, inexplicable cold spots, and sightings of shadowy figures.

One of the most famous ghostly residents believed to inhabit the house is none other than Betsy Ross herself. Visitors and employees have claimed to catch glimpses of a woman dressed in colonial attire, often spotted sewing or moving about in the parlor or bedroom. Some accounts suggest that the ghost of Betsy Ross seems to take a particular interest in the American flag and its preservation.


USS Olympia – Philadelphia


The USS Olympia, a protected cruiser of the United States Navy, is famously known for being Admiral George Dewey’s flagship during the Battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War of 1898. While there are various reports of paranormal experiences aboard the ship, it’s important to note that not all of these claims are substantiated.

The ship is currently preserved as a museum at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Some visitors and staff have reported eerie occurrences, but whether these are actual hauntings or simply stories is a matter of belief. Here are a couple of the reported ghostly encounters associated with the USS Olympia.


Spirits of the USS Olympia


One of the most well-known stories involves a ghostly apparition of a woman in black clothing. This entity is said to roam the decks of the USS Olympia, often spotted near Admiral Dewey’s quarters. Visitors and staff have reported seeing a figure in black clothing out of the corner of their eye, only for it to disappear when they turn to look directly at it.

Many individuals who have spent time on the USS Olympia have reported hearing unexplained sounds and noises throughout the ship. These sounds include footsteps, doors creaking, and voices whispering. Cold spots, areas with significantly lower temperatures compared to their surroundings, are often associated with paranormal activity.

Some people have reported encountering sudden drops in temperature while walking through certain sections of the ship. Additionally, there have been claims of seeing shadowy figures or apparitions moving about, especially in dimly lit areas.


The General Wayne Inn – Merion Station


Built in 1704, the General Wayne Inn has a rich history that spans over three centuries. Initially known as the William Penn Inn, it was later renamed after General Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero. Over the years, the inn served as a gathering place for travelers, a stagecoach stop, and even a site for secret meetings during the American Revolution.

Its historical significance alone makes the General Wayne Inn a captivating destination, but it’s the stories of supernatural occurrences that truly set it apart.


Eerie Encounters


Numerous accounts of ghostly encounters have been reported at the General Wayne Inn, adding to its reputation as a paranormal hotspot. Guests and staff have shared chilling tales of strange noises, flickering lights, and unexplained phenomena. One common sighting involves the apparition of a woman in colonial attire, said to be a former innkeeper who met a tragic end.

The inn’s Room 6 has gained infamy for its unsettling ambiance, with reports of objects moving on their own, sudden drops in temperature, and an eerie feeling of being watched. Some even claim to have seen shadowy figures lurking in the corners, their forms vanishing as soon as they’re noticed.


The Wheatland – Lancaster


Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a city rich in history and known for its charming blend of old-world charm and modern sensibilities, holds within its heart a mansion that whispers secrets from the past. Constructed in 1828, Wheatland stands as a prime example of Federal-style architecture. It served as President James Buchanan’s home from 1848 until his death in 1868. Wheatland stands as a testament to its era. Beyond its architectural grandeur and historical significance, Wheatland is also rumored to harbor ghostly inhabitants, adding a layer of mystique that captivates visitors and locals alike.


Ghosts of The Wheatland


One of the most frequently reported apparitions is that of a “Lady in White.” Witnesses have described seeing a figure dressed in a flowing white gown, often appearing in or near the bedroom that was once occupied by Buchanan. Another ghostly presence said to roam the halls of Wheatland is that of a mournful soldier. Given the mansion’s proximity to the Civil War era, this apparition is believed to reflect the turmoil and tragedy that gripped the nation at that time. Reports describe the soldier as appearing weary and disheartened, evoking a sense of profound loss and sorrow.


The Hotel Bethlehem – Bethlehem


The Hotel Bethlehem, dating back to 1922, is a luxurious establishment with a haunting history. The spirit of a chambermaid named Mrs. Haggerty is said to roam the halls, tidying up guests’ rooms long after her passing. Elevators are reported to move on their own, and lights flicker inexplicably. Many guests, staff, and visitors have reported unexplained occurrences that hint at the presence of spectral residents. One of the most famous apparitions associated with the hotel is that of a young woman who is believed to have committed suicide decades ago. Her spirit is said to roam the halls, with some claiming to have witnessed a figure dressed in vintage attire disappearing into thin air.

Beyond specific ghostly apparitions, The Hotel Bethlehem has become renowned for an array of unexplained phenomena. Cold spots, sudden drops in temperature, and mysterious sounds are among the eerie experiences reported by both guests and staff. Some have described hearing faint whispers in empty rooms, while others have encountered unexplainable drafts and doors that seem to open and close on their own.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania – Strasburg


The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania holds a special place in the hearts of train enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Its expansive collection showcases over a century of railroading history, highlighting the evolution of locomotives, passenger cars, and freight equipment. The museum pays tribute to the pioneering spirit of the railroad industry, which played a pivotal role in shaping the American landscape and fostering economic growth.


Ghosts of the Museum


One of the most frequently reported apparitions is that of a “Lady in White.” Visitors have claimed to see a spectral figure, often described as a woman dressed in Victorian-era clothing, wandering among the exhibits. Museum staff and visitors have reported hearing disembodied whispers and faint conversations, particularly near the vintage trains and stations.

Shadowy figures and unexplained movements have been witnessed by multiple individuals, particularly during the late hours when the museum is quiet and nearly empty. These fleeting apparitions have left some with an eerie sense of being watched. Some paranormal investigators have claimed to communicate with entities using electronic devices. While controversial, these interactions have added to the mystique surrounding the museum’s haunted reputation.


Gettysburg Battlefield – Gettysburg


The blood-soaked fields of Gettysburg were witness to one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, leaving an indelible mark on the land. The energy and emotions imprinted during those fateful days are believed by some to linger on, leading to numerous reports of paranormal activity. Visitors and locals alike claim to have seen spectral soldiers wandering the battlefields in tattered uniforms, reenacting their final moments in an eternal loop. Whispered conversations, phantom gunshots, and the distant sounds of marching feet have all been reported, creating an eerie ambiance that defies rational explanation.


Hauntings in Historic Buildings


Beyond the battlefields, Gettysburg’s historic buildings have their own share of ghostly tales to tell. The Farnsworth House, a well-preserved structure dating back to the mid-1800s, is rumored to be inhabited by several spirits. Visitors have reported encounters with apparitions in Civil War attire and experienced objects moving on their own accord. The Jennie Wade House, where a young woman tragically became the only civilian casualty of the battle, is said to be haunted by her restless spirit. Some have claimed to hear her kneading dough or smelling the aroma of fresh bread in the air.


Phantom Regiments and Eerie Apparitions


One of the most captivating and spine-chilling aspects of Gettysburg’s ghostly reputation is the phenomenon of phantom regiments. Witnesses have reported seeing entire columns of soldiers marching in formation across the fields or disappearing into thin air. These spectral formations are often described as lifelike and detailed, complete with the sound of marching feet and clinking equipment.

Eerie apparitions have also been spotted in unexpected places. Inns, taverns, and even private homes have become the stage for ghostly encounters. Visitors have reported seeing figures in old-fashioned clothing, experiencing sudden drops in temperature, and hearing unexplained footsteps or whispers. These encounters continue to fuel the town’s reputation as a paranormal hotspot.


Haunted Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania’s haunted history and enigmatic past make it a magnet for those seeking to experience the paranormal. From the eerie remnants of the past battles at Gettysburg to the tragic stories of asylums and penitentiaries, the state is teeming with ghostly encounters and unexplained phenomena.

To learn more about the haunted hotspots of Pennsylvania, take a tour with Philly Ghosts!