It’s known as one of America’s most haunted cities – and with good reason too. Selected as the filming location by M. Night Shyamalan for his blockbuster supernatural films, such as The Sixth Sense, and home to some of the oldest relics and institutions in the country, Philadelphia enjoys a highly eerie premise.
For families and couples heading to the city this October, there is a calendar chock-a-block with spooky fun for everyone to get involved with and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau is therefore encouraging visitors to come and explore the city’s fascinating past, combined with myriad haunting events this autumn. From the ‘Terror Behind The Walls’ experience at the prison-turned-museum Eastern State Penitentiary to haunted historical sites, such as Fort Mifflin Battlefield, even the most steely character is bound to get a case of the jitters while exploring the United States’ first world heritage city this Halloween.
EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY
Each year, the Eastern State Penitentiary’s ‘Terror Behind the Walls’ experience is more petrifying and hair-raising than ever. This sprawling abandoned prison, which is renowned for being the most wicked and overcrowded in the country, is the perfect setting for a Halloween adventure owing to its long stretches of dark and empty cell blocks, gothic structure and melancholy history. Visitors are guided through the prison’s 13 dimly-lit dilapidated rooms, with terrifyingly-dressed performers and a spooky story-teller for company. The effects, make-up and costumes add tension to the frightening notion that, since the 11-acre prison was abandoned in 1971, ghost sightings in the building have only increased. For tickets and further information, visit: https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/visit/schedule-prices.
LAUREL HILL CEMETERY
One of the oldest cemeteries in the country, Halloween celebrations at Laurel Hill embrace the site’s inherently spooky atmosphere with a series of extra scary events throughout the month of October for the whole family to enjoy. The calendar has been designed with young and old in mind and includes: an immersive theatre performance featuring the story of a young psychic’s kidnapping; a 5K run and after-party among the gravestones at sunset; and a guided tour through the barely-lit pathways and headstones to hear the rich history of the cemetery and the most notable characters lying six feet under. Taking place between 6 and 28 October, further information and tickets are available here: https://thelaurelhillcemetery.org/.
FORT MIFFLIN BATTLEFIELD
Visit the oldest Revolutionary War battlefield in America, a chilling site that is widely considered the most haunted in the U.S. Still as intact as it stood when hostilities came to an end in 1865, Fort Mifflin will be hosting an an ‘Open Investigation Evening’ on 14 October. The event will be held for visitors looking to track down some of the spirits of colonial soldiers that allegedly stalk the grounds, along with the woman whose ghostly shrieks have been so loud and petrifying that the police have actually been called to investigate (or so the story goes!). Taking place at twilight, visitors are encouraged to bring their own ghost-hunting equipment or just bring a flashlight and take guidance from the enthusiasts nearby. For further information, visit: http://www.fortmifflin.us/.
The disturbingly informative Mütter Museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, features a creepy collection of medial oddities, wax models, antique medical equipment, anatomical ad pathological specimens, and more. Marvel at the conjoined liver of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunkers, slides of Albert Einstein’s brain and the mystery surrounding the famous ‘Soap Lady.’ This creepy, yet interesting museum is another great spot to add to a Halloween-themed itinerary. For more information, visit http://muttermuseum.org/.
To learn more about Philadelphia, or for more ideas for what’s on in the city throughout October, go to www.discoverPHL.co.uk.