So as I said in my last post, this past weekend I grabbed an opportunity to visit and investigate Pennhurst State School in Springs City, PA. If you aren’t familiar with it, it was a pretty horrible place back in the day. It was a school for problem children, children who had mental or physical handicaps, as well as housed psychologically impaired adults. It was shut down in the early 70s when local reporters exposed the horrible abuse of patients, especially the kids, going on. It sat for years, abandoned, and reclaimed by the woods. Recently it has been reopened mainly as a halloween attraction, but now they are slowly securing and opening more buildings and letting paranormal investigators in. You can actually watch the original expose of Pennhurst on YouTube right here.
The ghost hunt took place from 7pm until 3am in the Mayflower building, one of the most active buildings for hauntings. There actually are a large number of buildings on site, and the people who have taken the place over said they are slowly working to open and make others safe. I know I definitely want to go back, and soon. It was quiet the experience! This building housed children and adults, nurses and staff lived on the top floor, and there was a “treatment room” in the basement along with medical/dental rooms.
As I said in may previous post, I went on my own to this. Normally I go with friends who do this thing regularly, but this was a unique opportunity that I grabbed. So I arrived just myself, and found out it was a self directed investigation, as opposed to following a team and participating. Oh boy, I was not too happy about going into Pennhurst on my own! Fortunately two women who had never done anything like this, but had an interest, were there and we bonded. I found them lost along the way, because we were all given the wrong address as to where to meet, but having been to the place before for Halloween I knew where to go. So we all teamed up, and it didn’t help I had a bit of equipment
The place is downright creepy, and honestly still fairly dangerous. We all had to sign wavers saying we wouldn’t sue if we died. The worst part was the darkness and seeing all the things that were just left behind. Strewn about were kids toys and clothing, the old hospital beds, one room had dental chairs where they supposedly pulled teeth from biters. There were also storage closets with shelves labeled “pajamas,” “towels,” “sheets” and so forth. We even found boxes labeled “Christmas” and an old plastic tree… or what was left of it. When the place shut down the patients were kicked out, the staff left, and so many things were just left in place. It was creepy.
The doctor will see you now!
Yes, we have a few open beds.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We are out of jammies
Anybody got to go potty?
Laser grid, mel meter, full spectrum camera. Tools of the trade!
The building had a very bad vibe to it. We walked through several cold spots, the hair stood on the back of your neck, and on one floor we heard footsteps when we were the only ones there. I have hours of audio to go through, which I only just started to listen to last night. If I find anything I’ll be sure to share, along with more of the photos I took.
One thing we did was a few ghost box sessions. If you’ve ever watched “Ghost Adventures,” then you know what it is. It’s basically a modified radio that sweeps channels quickly. For those old enough to remember static and snow channels on the TV, it’s like just flicking between them. The theory is that ghosts can communicate through these white noise signals, much like the old film “Poltergeist.” We got a lot of answers that were hard to hear. These I have to listen back to and hope something is there. Two answers however were very clear. I made a little youtube of these two, with text to explain what was heard and the context. Sadly the most clear answer didn’t record well. I was recording on my phone, which in this case I placed too far away from me. I was sitting on the floor and I put it up high on a table. Lesson learned! The room we were in was also fairly large and had an echo. This answer was so clear to us, which you can tell because in this video we all immediately know exactly what was said. I also edited the audio to lessen the spirit box noise/static and repeat the answers, which were only said once to us.
So the construction continues. Currently they are digging trenches around our house in order to seal our basement walls and foundations to keep water from leaking into the basement. They are also putting a drain in to help too. Unfortunately we ended up with torrential downpours this weekend, filling one of the trenches. They at least sealed this wall first!
I took the opportunity to re-enact some scenes from “Poltergeist.” I initially only did “You only moved the headstones!” until a friend requested I jump in there in a nightshirt and panties to re-enact the swimming pool scene. Hell no I wasn’t doing that! I did respond with a photo of “Oh my God Stephen, the swimming pool!”
So I came down to Virginia for a quick visit as my Aunt and Uncle from Florida were up. My aunt has two Westies as well, Kira and Hammish. It was her and her Westies that got me interested in the breed actually. Her’s are a bit bigger than Princess though. Poor Nikko was the odd man out among all five. It was fun watching them all play with one another in my mom’s yard (video below, Aunt’s Westies have the blue and yellow scarves, Princess has her summer cut).
Poor Ebbie tries to keep up with the big kids, but can’t move as fast. Princess and Nikko have this game where they race out my mom’s back door, down the steps, take a flying leap off the porch and run to the back of the yard to find and chase squirrels up a tree. Ebbie can get up the back steps, but down is another thing. So we have to carry her down, and she gets so upset she’s not with the others that she starts squirming to jump down. I need to get a video of it because it’s so cute!
My Aunt and Uncle have left now, and I’m returning to Jersey soon. I was hoping to meet up with an old friend from High School I haven’t seen in twenty years. We reconnected on Facebook. However she has a sick dog of her own right now, so it’s hard for her to get out of the house. I’ll probably see her in September though at our 20th year reunion . . . I can’t believe it’s been 20 years! Ack! I have yet to officially pay to attend though. I’m waiting to see if a few other friends from that aren’t local to the area decide to go. If they do, I’ll go. If they don’t, well I can meet up with the few who remained in the area another time now that we all reconnected on Facebook. My high school didn’t get it’s act together quick enough, so our reunion is a family friendly day at a local park in Manasssas. Yeah, sounds thrilling!
I have not been in the Christmas spirit much this year. I have a lot going on with work stuff, and once again John’s plans for the holiday are up in the air. It was so nice to have him in Virginia last year and finally spend Christmas with him (after 10 years apart!), however it seems his family (i.e. his mother) wasn’t happy about it. So this year, I don’t know what will happen. She has a daughter and grandkids here, but it seems last year was just the worst Christmas ever because John wasn’t there. I think they are trying to convince her to stay the night with the sister and the kids, which she should have done last year, but who knows! She was not alone mind you, she just went over to their house Christmas Day, and of course John wasn’t there.
We did put out tree up, and I put some of the lights up outside. I was hoping this would get me into the spirit some. However we still haven’t finished the lights outside, which I need John’s help to do that last part of. I also have got nothing else up in the house. I still have the villages to put up and nativities to put up. I have no idea when I will get to it!
I tried to get myself into the holiday season by buying some vintage Christmas stuff I found online. One piece I got was this scary Santa. My grandma used to have one exactly like it and put it on her coffee table every year. It was one of the things I looked forward to playing with when we went to her house. However after she died, my dad packed her stuff up and I don’t know what happened to it. I have some of her Christmas stuff, but forgot to ask about this. So I don’t know where it is. Therefore I was happy to get one online for fairly cheap, and in good working condition, given it’s from the 1950s.
I also scored another surprise last night, but it’s for home in Virginia
So we survived the storm that was Sandy, and were very lucky. We live far enough away from the shore, which got the worst of it. We also are about 20 miles from the Delaware River, so we didn’t have to worry about it either.
I spent the bulk of the weekend before preparing as everyone in the area was. I bought my water, I got my canned goods, I tried to pack my freezers as best as I could. I also had to clean up my yard. I pulled in almost all of Halloween on Saturday, but stored it in my spare bedroom on the first floor. I just didn’t have the time to get the boxes out and properly pack it away. Then of course Sunday comes along, the winds start picking up a bit, and I realized I ignored the back yard entirely . . . where all my gardening and grilling supplies were scattered. So I quickly rushed out to clean it as best as I could. Of course I also ended up making about 5 runs to the store all weekend cause I constantly was forgetting something!
Then it was preparing the house. Getting out candles, both real ones and the fake battery powered ones. Scattering flashlights and making sure they had batteries. Of course making sure the basement was prepared too. Moving things away from the walls in case of flooding and the like. That basement STILL needs to be properly cleaned, and half of what is down there hauled to the dump. Fortunately we got new gutters this year, and that has almost completely resolved any basement flooding we normally had at the slightest above average rainstorm. We only really have to worry when hurricanes or blizzards occur. We were lucky because of how the wind was blowing that we got minimal flooding down there.
Monday and the storm hit, and of course what little of Halloween I left on my porch thinking it would be okay . . . wasn’t. So I got a bit wet bringing stuff in or tying it down. Let me also say getting the dogs out and walked that day was NOT fun.
Last Christmas John bought me a small portable battery/generator after our power went out during Irene. It has a USB port, an AC port, a flashlight in it, and a hand crank to charge it. There is also some other inputs for charging like an AC adapter (not included) and solar input. However I never bothered to read the actual manual, or if I did I forgot what it said . . . . Like “to charge it once a month to keep the battery life optimal” and “before major use charge for 14 hours via an AC adapter.” Oops! I did find an adapter among the many we had and charged it. Fortunately it’s never really been used, so I don’t think the battery life was affected.
Monday we did lose power. A tree down the street took out some power lines earlier in the day. However that didn’t seem to affect us. Later thought something exploded, probably a transformer, and that did us in. Fortunately my little generator worked to charge our phones. I didn’t try it on my laptops. I have one 6 year old laptop that has a battery that only lasts 45 minutes if I’m lucky, so there was no point using it. My netbook can last a good 4 hours, but runs some applications slooooowwwwww. It might be time to get a real laptop again. Fortunately I printed off a lot of stuff to work on in anticipation of having no power.
Also having no power on Tuesday, made the house very uncomfortable. It was not only FREEZING, but with no air circulation the smells of the basement were wafting upstairs. Normally there are exhaust fans sucking that smell out of the house! We do have 5 cats for example . . . . Halloween that was in the first floor bedroom was also smelling a little musty. Since the winds and rain had calmed down, I just put it all back up. It didn’t take long, and it took less time than trying to pack it away in the dark stinky basement. Plus I had no power! I was quickly running out of things to do, and didn’t want to yet use the laptops because I didn’t know how long things would be out. Oh yeah, that generator I forgot the instructions for . . . it takes 6 hours of hand cranking to fully recharge it from 0. Oy!
We now have power, Halloween is back up, and all is good here again. We were very lucky with the storm. We had a lot of limbs come down, some fairly large, but they all missed the house. Actually something thumped on our roof Monday night, but it didn’t do damage. After 2 hurricanes we really need to look into having some of the trees around our house taken down. Two are dead or dying, one needs to be pruned, and another is just way to big to be so close to our small house in these cases. Other places all around us, even down the street from us, are still without power. One of John’s employees family had to leave their home in the middle of the night when a tree fell onto it. They are still not able to get into their house because of it and the power lines the tree also took down.
Last night was Halloween, but we had no creatures come to our door. Halloween was officially put off till Friday, but now our Governor has delayed it until Monday. Noooooo! I don’t get home till 9pm on Mondays, and John probably won’t be here till 7:30 or 8pm. If anyone comes to our house, nobody will be here I was really hoping that I’d get some lawbreakers last night. I even bought a bunch of candy to give out too after we got a record 9 or 10 kids last year I figured we might get more this year, especially since I’ve had so many people driving by to see the house or bringing their kids to see it. Anyway, here is my yearly video showing what I did this year.