Remember that chill of terror that ran down your spine as you hid under the blankets as a kid, peeking out so you wouldn’t miss the scariest part of a horror flick on TV but afraid of what might happen next? Enjoy chilling moments once again when you embark on this haunted road trip in Pennsylvania that may bring you face-to-face with the paranormal.
Plan your trip!
Pennsylvania's arguably one of the most haunted states in America. Alas, fitting every haunted spot into this spooky road trip simply isn't possible. The itinerary, however, will take you to some of the scariest places in Pennsylvania. Add stops to your itinerary. Remove stops. Or, mix up the order of your road trip. However you plan it...have fun!
1. Hill View Manor – New Castle
Start your haunted journey at Hill View Manor in New Castle. Originally a home for court-ordered mental patients and the elderly with nowhere to go when it opened in 1926, Hill View Manor eventually became solely focused on caring for the elderly before it shut in 2004. During its long history, Hill View Manor saw countless natural deaths and suicides. One hundred bodies are said to be buried on the site while their spirits still roam the facility. The most famous ghost, Mary Virginia, had a great love of dolls and is often seen wandering the building.
2. Mishler Theater – Altoona
Enjoy a production at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona but expect to be entertained by far more than the actors and actresses on the stage. Named after its one-time owner, the Mishler Theatre was so loved by Mr. Mishler that his spirit is said to remain there today. Theater-goers often tell of smelling cigar smoke, a favorite of Mr. Mishler, and seeing the smoke spiral upwards but no one's there. Some have even seen Mr. Mishler walk into a wall, where the door to his office once stood, and disappear. Will your ticket to the Mishler Theatre include an impromptu meeting with Mr. Mishler's apparition?
No haunted road trip would be complete without a stop in Centralia, a virtual ghost town with less than a dozen residents still remaining. An underground fire, which started in the mines in 1962, continues to burn in Centralia, drawing curious onlookers from around the state. Except for the homes in which the remaining residents live, the remainder of Centralia has been condemned and experts state that the fire could burn for several hundred more years.
4. Hansell Road – Buckingham
Sure, a leisurely drive along Hansell Road, which leads into the forest, may seem like a peaceful way to spend an hour or so. But, if you believe in the paranormal, you may find that tranquility shattered when you begin to see mysterious objects, such as orbs glowing from the trees. Some describe the orbs as eerie eyes staring at them while others liken their shape to that of a traditional lantern.
5. Van Sant Covered Bridge – New Hope
Local legend tells two different haunted tales of what happened on Van Sant Bridge - now known as Crybaby Bridge. In one tale, a man viciously murdered a woman and her infant on the bridge. His deed was repaid when he was hanged from the rafters of the bridge. Others tell a slightly different version of the story, asserting that the mother murdered her infant. Whatever the true story, visitors tell of seeing an apparition hanging from the covered bridge by a noose and of catching sight of the distraught mother looking for her child. The cries of an infant are also frequently heard.
6. King George Inn II – Bristol
Visit this 17th century inn for a delicious meal with a side of the paranormal. During its storied history, the King George Inn II, which is the longest continuously operating inn in the United States, has welcomed a long list of esteemed guests, including George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison. Today, diners tell of ghostly sightings, including that of a man neatly dressed in a top hat and tails walking through the inn. Others tell of paintings suddenly falling off of the walls and doors opening and closing when no one's there.
7. Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia
More than 70,000 prisoners passed through Eastern State Penitentiary from the time it opened in 1829 until it permanently shut down in 1971. Originally designed to have only solitary cells, prisoners spent 24 hours a day alone, driving most to insanity. By the early 20th century, however, two to three men crowded into a tiny cell but that was only the beginning of their suffering. The warden encouraged such torture as dunking the men into freezing water in the winter then hanging them against the wall and tying them up for days at a time so they couldn't move their limbs. Today, visitors talk of seeing apparitions and hearing wails as they tour the prison, which also features a nighttime haunted house through October.
8. Pennhurst State Hospital and School – Spring City
Originally designed to be a safe haven for the mentally ill when it opened in 1908, Pennhurst State Hospital and School became a virtual prison for those who entered - and never left. The overcrowded facility often checked in the mentally ill as well as those who were both physically and mentally healthy. Horrific tales of abuse - such as patients' starvation and unexplained bruises - still runs rampant, decades after the facility permanently closed in 1987. Many believe that the spirits of those who suffered at Pennhurst remain in the facility. Part of the former mental hospital has been turned into a haunted house, welcoming visitors each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 30.
9. Devil's Den – Gettysburg
Gettysburg is known as Pennsylvania's most haunted town and for good reason. Over 55,000 men were injured or killed during the three-day battle of Gettysburg in 1863. (One civilian - a woman named Jennie Wade - also died during the epic battle.) Many of those who died were left unburied. Some were buried then had their bodies moved. Their spirits are said to remain in Gettysburg and at Devil's Den, an area used for snipers, in particular. Past visitors tell of visiting Devil's Den as day turns to evening. A mist appears in the sky while the sound of marching fills the air. You might also spot a bright light and see the shadows of soldiers marching across the field. Still others talk of having mishaps with their otherwise fine cameras or smartphones when on the battlefield while many have met a friendly man in a floppy hat who's agreed to have his picture taken. Only problem? He disappears on the field and in the photo as soon as the photo is snapped.
10. Coulterville Cemetery – Pittsburgh
Plan your visit to Coulterville Cemetery in McKeesport, outside of Pittsburgh, after dark to increase your chances of experiencing the paranormal. Long ago an orphanage stood in place of the cemetery. A tragic fire ripped through the orphanage in the dark of night, killing many of the young children. Listen carefully as you enter the cemetery, either by vehicle or by foot, for you may just hear the footsteps and giggles of those lost children. When you leave the cemetery, glance out your rear view mirror. Others before you have claimed to see the shadows of the orphanage on fire. Pull over after you've left the cemetery lot to see if a child's hand print appears on your window.
Who’s ready for a haunted road trip in Pennsylvania? October’s the perfect time to visit the state’s scariest places and you may just want to add some
spooky ghosts towns to your itinerary, too.