Philadelphia is a pretty old city, so it is only to be expected that it is harbouring a few ghosts. In fact it not only boasts one of the oldest bars in America, it also has a spooky abandoned prison! There are plenty of creepy places that restless spirits can and do lurk!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most haunted places in Philadelphia, PA that are sure to give you the chills:
12 – Independence Hall
One of the most haunted places in Philadelphia is said to be Independence Hall where people have claimed to encounter the ghost of Benjamin Franklin who is apparently still hanging around just to make sure that everything is still running smoothly. It seems to make sense that his spirit would linger here given that it is where he signed not only the Declaration of Independence, but also the United States Constitution. Some visitors also report having seen the ghost of Benedict Arnold in the building as well.
11 - Physick House
Physick House is a family residence that has been transformed into a museum. Its reputation as one of the most haunted places in Philadelphia has been growing lately thanks to some recent appearances on various paranormal themed television programs. The majority of people are under the impression that the building is haunted by the spirits of former patients of Dr Philip Syng Physick, but the word from those in the know is that it is actually the former Mrs Physick who is haunting the property. Her husband forbid her from coming to the house when they got divorced, but it seems that she has now returned and can often be found weeping in various corners of the property.
10 - The Cliveden
The Cliveden was at the center of the Battle of Germantown in 1777 and was the site of dozens of soldiers deaths during the battle. Some of these soldiers seem to have stuck around as have some of the many private owners that have lied there over the past two centuries. If you take a tour of the property, the guides will be quick to point out the cannonball damage and the blood stains on the exterior walls, but they are cagey about the property’s haunted reputation! One of the common sightings here is of a headless old lady and there are also reports of spectral soldiers roaming the grounds.
9 – Grumblethorpe
The Grumblethorpe Estate was built in 1744 and it played host to the Battle of Germantown and there are now permanent blood stains in the front parlor from a British General who was killed there. These blood stains alone are enough to make this museum incredibly creepy, but there are other tales associated with the property. The building was also used as a hideaway during the yellow fever epidemic and the grounds are now haunted by the spirit of a little orphan girl named Justina who lived with the family during that time.
8 - USS Olympia
The USS Olympia is docked along the Delaware Riverfront and is part of the Independence Seaport Museum. It is actually the last floating steel warship in the world and during the time that it was in service it participated in several conflicts. The ship’s final mission was to bring home the body of an unknown soldier from World War 1 so that he could be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Over the years, there have been a number of reports of of strange activity including unexplained sounds and a number of different apparitions in various parts of the ship.
7 - Mount Moriah Cemetery
Mount Moriah is one of the largest cemeteries in the state of Pennsylvania and it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Philadelphia. For many years, the cemetery was abandoned with no official owner or caretaker, but in recent years a charitable group has been established to begin the daunting task of clearing away the overgrown areas in order to restore the burial ground to its former glory. During this work many of the people taking part have reported seeing and hearing strange things. Have the spirits of those buried here come out to thank them for clearing their resting place?
6 - Washington Square
Washington Square and its ghostly apparitions is said to have been the inspiration for many poets over the years who have experienced paranormal activity there. Tourists have been reporting hearing disembodied voices in the square for many years now and most people agree that this can be linked to the fact that back in the 1700s, Washington Square was actually a burial yard. In addition to these unexplained voices, there have been reports of an apparition of a woman in Quaker dress. She is believed to be named Leah and she is said to be protecting those buried here. Even a local police officer has witnessed this apparition which certainly lends the tale some additional credibility.
5 - Baleroy Mansion
Baleroy Mansion is more than 100 years old and it is said to be one of the most haunted places in Philadelphia. One of the many spirits that are meant to be haunting this location is none other than Thomas Jefferson himself! There are also said to be at least seven other spirits that reside here and have been spotted by a number of guests and even the now deceased former owner George Meade Easby. However, some believe that there are many more ghosts than that, in fact some would say that there is one in every single one of the mansion’s 30 rooms. One room in particular has a spooky reputation – the blue room. In this room you will see the exact sterling silver that was used during a celebration dinner following the signing of the declaration of independence. However, that is not the most interesting item in the room, not by a long shot! The thing you will want to look out for is a 200 year old wingbacked chair that is known as ‘the Death Chair’! Several people who have sat in the chair end up dying a short time later – far too many of them to be considered coincidence! Apparently, one of the spirits here is a malevolent entity named Amanda who lures people to the chair!
4 - Fort Mifflin
Fort Mifflin is actually the oldest Revolutionary War battlefield that still remains intact. It is also considered to not only be one of the most haunted places in Philadelphia, but also in the whole of the United States. Reports from witnesses say that they have encountered the spirits of several colonial soldiers. There are also reports of a screaming woman who screams so loudly that on at least one occasion passing police have stopped to investigate!
3 - City Tavern
The City Tavern is one of the oldest bars in Philadelphia so it is no surprise that it has its own resident ghost. If you go there to eat, be sure to ask if you can be seated in the ‘haunted section’. If you do, then you may well see the apparition of a young bride who was apparently killed during a fire in the tavern in 1854. She has also appeared in a number of photographs that have been taken at the restaurant.
2 - Betsy Ross House
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia is the Betsy Ross House and it also happens to be one of the city’s most haunted places as well. The house is apparently haunted by the famous seamstress who has been seen in the basement and also sitting crying at the foot of one of the beds. There are also reports of strange noises coming from various parts of the house with no explanation. Some of the paranormal investigators have also recorded what sounds like a woman moaning in the house.
1 - Eastern State Penitentiary
One of the most haunted places in Philadelphia is also one of the most notorious – Eastern State Penitentiary. This 11 acre prison has had a steady string of reports of paranormal activity since the 1940s and these only seem to have escalated since it was abandoned in the 1970s. The prison was in operation from 1829 until 1971 and was home to thousands of criminals in that time including some famous ones such as Al Capone and Slick Willy Sutton. The prison was renowned for being the first to implement solitary confinement and it also used a number of other twisted and inhumane punishments and tortures. There were many deaths here from mistreatment, sickness, murder and suicide so it is only to be expected that the souls of long dead prisoners are still roaming the cellblocks. Aside form spotting apparitions here, witnesses have also reported poltergeist activity, disembodied voices, screams and phantom footsteps. Several visitors have also been physically attacked by unseen forces.