With a past that dates back to the early 1600s, Pennsylvania teems with historic sites known for paranormal activity and unexplained happenings. Check out these spooky locales, where you’ll discover fascinating history – and possibly a ghostly encounter.
Used as shelter for Confederate sharpshooters and a makeshift hospital after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Farnsworth House Inn is touted as one of the most haunted places in America. Stay in the historic bed-and-breakfast and choose from a variety of spooky experiences, including ghost hunts and guided walks through cemeteries, hospitals, and battle sites.
In 1877, seven members of the Molly Maguires, a secret union of Irish coal miners, were imprisoned and executed at Jim Thorpe’s Old Jail Museum. Wander to cell 17 in the preserved building, where a Molly Maguire left a dirty handprint before his hanging as a declaration of innocence (mysteriously visible after the wall was washed, painted, and plastered).
Tour Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park to gain insight into the area’s American Indian and pioneer folklore, including the story of a Seneca Indian maiden named Nita-nee who fell in love with a French trapper named Malachi Boyer. Forbidden to marry, the couple ran away and were captured, and Malachi was thrown into Penn’s Cave to perish.
The eerie Early American Room in the Cathedral of Learning, the educational tower that looms over the University of Pittsburgh, is known for mysterious activity, including shifting furniture and objects, cold spots, and randomly flaring candles.
The uncovered testimony of a teenage girl claims the ghost of Issac Mishler haunts historic Altoona’s Mishler Theatre. Madeline Letsche befriended the founder of the theater when her mother, Laura, would help with theatre productions. Over the years, many stage crew members, actors, office workers and visitors have heard, seen, and even felt Issac Mishler’s presence. So, if you head to the theatre for a showing, you may just get more of a performance than you bargained for.
An American Indian named Harthegig, who mysteriously disappeared from the area in the late 1790s, is rumored to haunt Hell’s Hollow Wildlife Adventure Trail. Listen for moans, screams, and laughter at Spirit Falls, named by visitors who’ve experienced the otherworldly sounds.
Visitors to New Castle’s Haunted Hill View Manor report hearing voices and footsteps, and seeing numerous apparitions, including patients peeking out of rooms, a young boy, and a man who offers to take guests’ photos for $1. The facility, which operated from 1926 to 2004 as a home for the mentally ill, elderly, and financially destitute, is now open for tours.
Jean Bonnet Tavern, which has welcomed travelers to Bedford since 1762, is an excellent place to satisfy your appetite for delicious eats and paranormal activity. Guests and staff members report feeling touched when no one is around, seeing a strange man’s apparition at the bar after hours, and hearing doors open and close on their own.
Lingering spirits of past prisoners seemingly haunt the cellblocks of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The nearly 200-year-old National Historic Landmark offers daytime tours, or brave souls can sign up for Terror Behind the Walls, the penitentiary’s nighttime haunted house during the fall.
The 1741 Hotel Bethlehem is the hangout of many friendly ghosts, including a 1800s stage star who sings and dances for guests in the lobby, a welcoming Bethlehem tour guide who greets guests in the boiler room, and a former landlady who appears without shoes or stockings.
Take the Ghost Tour of Lancaster for shiver-worthy stories of “otherworldly vigils, fatal curses, and star-crossed lovers.”
Follow the lantern light and keep your eyes peeled for a phantom hitchhiker and the ghost of 1700s-era politician Aaron Burr during Ghost Tours of New Hope.
Explore haunted locales like Allegheny County Jail and William Penn Hotel on the Haunted Pittsburgh Ghost Tour, where the Steel City’s salty past comes to life.
Haunted Houses in PA
- Bates Motel, Glen Mills
- Field of Screams, Mountville
- Reaper’s Revenge, Scranton
- Haunted Hollow, Rockwood
- The Haunted Acres, Sidman
- The Temple of Terror, Pottstown
- Lulu’s House of Horrors, Plymouth Meeting
- 13 Levels of Fear, Conneaut Lake Park
- The Hegarty Mansion, Beccaria
- Ghosts and Goblins Tours at Lincoln Caverns, Huntingdon
- Hell’s Hollow Haunt, Mercer
- Jason’s Woods, Lancaster
- Pennhurst Asylum, Spring City
- ScareHouse, Pittsburgh
Not-So-Spooky Family Events & Attractions
- HallowBoo at Idlewild Park and SoakZone, Ligonier
- The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place®, Langhorne
- ZooBoo at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
- Not-Too-Scary Night-Time Hayrides at Paul’s Pumpkin Patch, Fairmount City
- Knoebels Spooky Amusement Resort, Elysburg
- Boo! at the Zoo at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, Halifax
- The Pumpkin House at Creekside Gardens, Tunkhannock
- Hersheypark in the Dark, Hershey
- Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster
- Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown
To learn more about haunted attractions in PA, check out visitPA.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state.