Philadelphia’s rich colonial past, and being home to many influential American leaders, makes this city the prime location for ghostly guests, haunted houses, and paranormal activity. The colonial spirit continues to inhabits this historical metropolis with the ghosts of Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin still wandering Old City, while lost spirits of notorious prisons and asylums still haunt their former dwellings. Here’s our guide to exploring Haunted Philadelphia – try it if you dare.
Terror Behind the Walls at this famous prison is Philadelphia’s biggest haunted house attraction during the spooky season. There are tons of ghost stories surrounding this institution, but the most known one is the story of Gary the Locksmith. He was working along in the last cell in Cell Block 4, when he was suddenly overcome with physical discomfort and anxiety, like somebody grabbed him around the chest. Later it was discovered that an inmate once murdered a guard close to that cell.
2027 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia
This Revolutionary War site is also home to ghostly colonial soldiers. Apparitions of soldiers marching around and sounds of a blacksmith working metal, and a screaming woman is said to be found here. See it for yourself in one of their guided ghost tours. If you really want explore the haunted fort, stay overnight at their “Sleep with the Ghost” event occurring every Halloween season.
6400 Hog Island Rd., Philadelphia
Some people swear to have seen the spirits of Benedict Arnold and Benjamin Franklin roaming one of the nation’s most historical places. It could be some costumed history buffs, but how do explain the consistent reporting of paranormal mists and ghosts?
Independence National Historical Park, 520 Chestnut St., Philadelphia
Visitors often leave pennies at this founding father’s grave that has his famous quote engraved on his tombstone, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Many report an old man ghost throwing pennies back at them saying “A penny saved is twopence dear.” Not sure if you should laugh, or run in fear.
Christ Church Burial Ground, Arch St. between 4th St. and 5th St., Philadelphia
Spirits making bone-chilling appearances and creepy sounds haunt the oldest zoo in the U.S. At John Penn’s House, an apparition of a lady with a long dress can be seen at the staircase. There are reported cases of unexplained movement in the Treehouse Building and Pennrose Building as well.
Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia
Edgar Allan Poe’s Philadelphia home is where he wrote The Black Cat, where the creepy basement described in the book strongly resembles the house’s cellar. The spirit of the famous dark literary writer is rumored to still walk around the halls around here.
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, 532 N. 7th St., Philadelphia
Under a bright full moon, come visit the over 200-year-old hospital where William Penn is said to emerge from his statue found on the estate lawn. Witness the founder of Pennsylvania walk around the hospital grounds.
Pennsylvania Hospital, 800 Spruce St., Philadelphia
The creator of the American flag was born and raised in Philadelphia where she constantly mourned throughout her life over the death of her husband and several children. When visitors stop by this tourist attraction, many can hear her crying around the home.
Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St., Philadelphia
When you attend a show at the Academy of Music, you’ll join the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ulysses S. Grant, and Richard Nixon, who’ve all visited the concert hall to give or attend music performances. Beware of the upstairs balcony where women have reported incidents of invisible figures sitting next to them, often pinching and pulling their hair. There was one report of a figure disappearing in thin air.
Philadelphia Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
Featured on paranormal television shows Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and Extreme and Paranormal, this former asylum, found 1 hour outside of Philadelphia, resembles a real life American Horror Story. Today, visitors can visit the haunted house attraction or go ghost hunting in a self guided tour of the Mayflower Building. Visitors can only bring a flashlight through the dormitory, left just as it was 26 years ago.
Pennhurst Asylum, Church St. and Bridge Rd., Spring City, PA
Many ghosts inhabit the former mansion of the colonial mayor of Philadelphia. During the 1960’s, it’s said a historian and his wife were haunted by the ghosts of General Lafayette and Peggy Shippen, the wife of Benedict Arnold, when staying at the home.
Powel House, 244 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia
At this replica of a historic colonial building, foodies indulge in traditional 18th century American cuisine such as turkey pot pie and sweet potato biscuits. Look out for a ghostly waiter that is said to continue serving on the premises. A spirit of a young bride also wanders the restaurant.
City Tavern, 139 S. 2nd St.
Many eerie spirits wander around the former home of William White, influential religious and political leader in Philadelphia during the 1800’s. Keep your eyes peeled for an elderly housekeeper on the first floor, a meowing cat, and a tall, thin man on the third floor, suspected to be one of White’s residents that died of Yellow Fever.
Bishop White House, 309 Walnut St.