See the gallery here.
See the gallery here.
Pennhurst Asylum haunted attraction is located in Spring, City, PA and consists of:
Pennhurst Asylum: A hospital themed walk thru attraction featuring many items and artifacts that were part of the original State School. Many changes were made to this attraction this year.
The Dungeon of Lost Souls: A “human experiments gone wrong” themed walk thru attraction.
The Tunnel Terror: A 900 foot long gauntlet underneath the grounds of the old State School which has been upgraded with catacombs and many new sets.
Ghost Hunt: A self guided tour of the Mayflower Building, reportedly the most active of all the locations on the campus. You are are allowed to wander through the dormitory with just a flashlight.
My review of Pennhurst will start at the end and progress to the party time boogity boogity for reasons that I will now break down for you.
For 2014 the Pennhurst Museum is located in the Ghost Hunt building. It might be tempting to jet past the Pennhurst Museum straight to the Ghost Hunt. Don’t skip it. Skipping the museum is not the best idea that anyone ever had.
This museum features artifacts, pictures, and information about the actual Pennhurst State School and should not be missed. It’s staffed by Ruth and Donna who worked at Pennhurst in the 80s before it closed. They are here to answer any of your questions about Pennhurst and to help tell the story of it’s history.
Ruth had built a replica of one of her favorite patient’s rooms with a photo of her to honor her. It was obvious that she felt very close to her. She showed us pictures of when she escorted her home for her birthday:
Both Ruth and Donna clearly have a very deep respect and love for the patients they worked with. They and a volunteer staff of about 20 had gone through the buildings to find many artifacts to put on display for those coming for the haunted attraction.
These are the eating utensils that the patients would have used:
Many of these things were not still in use in the 80s. This particular item they were not sure exactly what it was. It said something like “electo-surgical” on it. Yikes:
Here is just a small sample of what you will find in the museum:
After you have finished with the haunted attraction and before you embark on Ghost Hunt I highly urge you to stop in here. Look at the artifacts and speak to Ruth and Donna about their time working at the Pennhurst of the 1980s. If you are curious about the real Pennhurst – the history and the legend – you won’t regret it. It’s a phenomenal place staffed by friendly people who love their job and do it with the utmost respect.
In Pt. 2 I will talk about the Pennhurst Haunted Attractions themselves.
Howl O Scream! Yeah buddy.
Check out my post over at Busch Gardens Williamsburg: I Took My Husband to Howl-O-Scream and All I Got Was the Best Day Ever
Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares in Saylorsburg, PA are 2 of the best haunted attractions in the country under 1 roof. In my mind they redefined the genre and owned their own brand of horror in a way that no one else can. If you like good haunts with a legitimate devotion to creative haunting techniques and don’t go here you are an idiot. You should do both of the attractions.
The secret is that their actors cultivate complex characters and perform them in each room. You’ll experience high startle scares here but you would really be screwing up if you didn’t linger a bit in each room to let them do their entire spiel for you. No one else does this in this way to my knowledge.
Hotel of Horror and now Pennhurst are the only 2 haunted attractions that I do twice each year. Once for work, once for me. That should tell you something about the quality level. When my job here is done those are the 2 that I put my personal party time at.
You can check out their blog to get a feel for some of the characters you will find in the house.
I attended on opening day this year and had a great time. I have in the past given Altered Nightmares the lead. This year Hotel of Horror was was the stronger of the 2. This may have been due to it being opening night. Both are still phenomenal attractions. I plan to go back to see how it evolves over the season. I’m sure that this will tighten up quickly since the energy of each actor clearly told me that they all were top notch. Some of the people in here were very on point and intense.
I have to suggest that they bring back 2 actors in the Altered Nightmares slow strobe room. When we went through there was only 1 person in there attacking us. I think that this room needs 2 actors making sounds and attacking like it had last year. The actor in there was phenomenal but it was noticeably less powerful to us but you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t gone last year.
The decor for the voodoo theme was very well done but it seemed to stop partially through the haunt. I appreciated the attention to detail in the voodoo rooms and thought it was interesting but I’m not sure the scope was wide enough to encapsulate all of the types of actor genres present in the haunt. That said, this is an example of the type of out of the box creativity that these guys will try that few others have the balls to attempt. You certainly aren’t going to find your run of the mill haunt stereotypes here. Everything is done in a different way than anyone else.
Hotel of Horror has my wholehearted recommendation and is one of the gems in my “Best of” pantheon. The show is brutal, creative, and unlike anywhere else. We saw some opening day jitters but let’s face got dam reality – this should be a yearly tradition in every true haunt fan’s travels.
DO. THIS. ONE.
Haunt season is here and I am already freaking exhausted. Coffee helps!
This season for me is that time when I get no sleep and make sure that I have bottles of water and energy bars in my car in case I have to skip dinner in order to get to a haunt. If I am lucky and I plan right I can get 2 in in one night. My record is 3 Halloween festivals in one night.
Let me tell you, buddy. After you do 3 Halloween festivals in one night your spine feels like a pack of Cheetos that someone pulled out of a yak’s anus.
Sometimes I ask myself why I put myself through this. The answer is that I simply love this industry so much and it’s not like I can wait until November to go to the haunted houses. I want to see people do well. I want more people to go to haunted attractions because that will mean that there are more haunted attractions for me, too.
So far I’ve been put into a coffin and slid into an oven in a secret room, I’ve eaten a meal in a haunted house, I’ve driven 7.5 hours to experienced a Cursed Europe, I got brutalized on a farm…
…and then there was this guy:
Video of Zeke from Hotel of Horror in Saylorsburg, PA made by Daimon Price.
Then Pennhurst happened which I am writing about very soon.
Not a day goes by that I don’t contemplate how lucky that I am to be able to do this. I am incredibly grateful for it and even more grateful for your readership so that I can continue to elevate the storytelling, craftsmanship, and unsung heroes of this industry and beyond. Please keep sharing my blog and reviews. We are doing amazing but everything helps this get bigger and better!
If you have something I should review or have a story that should be told email me via the link on the top bar – or pitch a guest post!