Church St. and Bridge Rd.
Spring City, PA 19475
This was my old alma-mater, good old Pennhurst Asylum, where I used to hang out back in my salad days. We would come here and play music, skate, and scare the hell our of our friends until we would get chased out by security...oh the good old days. I have actually been to this haunt twice, once when it first opened and most recently in 2013. The first year I went I remember how long the line was, I literally spent four hours in line and the girl I went with wanted to kill me. I actually don't blame her, but the way the line was set up you were not able to see how long it actually was because it snaked around out of view. That first year they also used buses to get people into the haunt, because they didn't allow you to park on the Pennhurst grounds. I felt like I was back in middle school in the Blue Bird bus. The first year they only had the administration building open and part of the tunnel in its original creepy echoing fashion. I do remember a lot of creepy mental patient characters touching and creeping around you and various scenes from a mental hospital. The actors do touch you and I remember them touching us that first year. I remember they used wood to section off various parts and they didn't always use actual artifacts from Pennhurst to detail the sets. The morgue is a good example of this. The original morgue had a creepy seventies feel and the morgue they built had little character and generic hardware. Now fast forward three years later and there was much improvement done by Randy from Bates Motel who has been in charge of this haunt since it opened.
Many have said that Bates Motel, even though it is probably the best Hayride in the area, has been pretty stagnant since Randy has taken over Pennhurst, but that debate is for another article. This time I went with a bunch of co-workers early in the season so there were no lines at all. They had several attractions now so we decided to start with the administration building which had a pretty entertaining fire breather on the steps. As you enter you are greeted by a former employee of the Pennhurst State School who offers to answer any questions you may have about Pennhurst. I really feel like they should move this to the end of the haunt, so you can take your time and learn about the school, which is hard to do with people behind you wanting to get into the haunt. I happened to have a Pennhurst Dollar that I was showing the former employee. She said she remembered them but didn't have one, so I gave it to her and she seemed so surprised. Hopefully they will add it to the museum.
So we proceeded into the area where they take your picture and then explain the rules about touching. We then entered a hallway and were guided into various rooms depicting mental hospital scenes. They had old time music playing as you wandered around to look at these horrors. They had added many new animatronics in the haunt which defiantly adds to the experience and they have done extensive detailing work. There were animatronics such as half an old man on a walker creeping back and forth. They had a room that was really cool, with hundreds of crutches and walkers. They also had a room with around 30 televisions all tuned to static and a patient in a bed with tons of remotes. Of course they had the overflowing toilet scenes. They also added an electro shock type scene towards the end where a guy is on a table getting juiced and then the table tips and he comes running at you like a maniac... lots of fun.
The actors are throughout this haunt and they do touch you so prepare for a complete interactive experience. We exited and headed for the Dungeon of Lost Souls, which is basically the basement section of the building. When we entered we could smell the musty smell of an old mental hospital basement. We then proceeded through a winding path of medical experiments gone wrong. Many of these stunts were recently purchased at Trend and added to the haunt. They had a fun scene with the lower half of a monster that comes running after you. These weird experiments and actors didn't really come off as being scary but more as a fun haunted house type feel. I personally don't mind the direction of a haunt, good or bad, it's still a fun experience.
Next on the agenda was the Tunnel of Terror. I have been in these tunnels long before the haunt and have watched people be terrified by the walking echos and having flashlights die in the middle of them... they have always been creepy as hell. It is hard to get that isolated feeling when many people want to experience a haunt so the Halloween director produced a more surreal journey into a jungle of a winding and shrieking cave filled with various actors grabbing and tormenting you. The strange part was the clown with a greasy hand, which is probably every perverts dream.
I enjoyed the experience and just went with the journey the Halloween director was taking me on. It's not the same as when it was abandoned mind you (even though the graffitti is) but it's still a fun and manic journey through those tunnels. Overall we had fun, but they should probably get some better merchandise. I couldn't find anything I liked as a souvenir so I just got our 3D photo. When we were leaving we encountered a female actress dressed like a mental patient who was very entertaining and was a great end to our trip to the Pennhurst Asylum.
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