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Haunted Philadelphia

A Guide to Philly's Scariest Locations


Philadelphia is a historic city, and it can also be a rather creepy one.  It's a city where Edgar Allen Poe saw fit to pen some of his scariest works, and where M. Night Shyamalan filmed movies such as The Sixth Sense.  If you're looking for a ghost, the haunted Philadelphia locations listed below might be where to find one – just make sure you bring a flashlight.

Betsy Ross House

The Betsy Ross House
Photo: Meg Favreau

The Betsy Ross House isn't just a monument to the former flag-maker, it's also where a security guard was shot in 1980 and left to die.  Since then, people have reported hearing voices in the house.  The TV show Ghost Hunters visited for their season five premiere.

239 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

City Tavern

The City Tavern's window
Photo: Meg Favreau

Opened in 1773 and demolished in 1854 because of a fire, the City Tavern's building is a reconstruction, not the original.  But that hasn't stopped ghost sightings from occurring at this historic restaurant.  There are rumors of two ghosts here:

  • A former waiter who died in a bar fight
  • A young bride who was burned in the aforementioned fire

138 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State
Photo: Meg Favreau

When Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829, it was hailed as a new type of prison, utilizing solitary confinement not just as an occasional punishment, but as the primary state for prisoners. But that doesn't mean solitary confinement was the only punishment prisoners received. About's Guide to Crime has a chilling overview of the tortuous punishments prisoners underwent

Unsurprisingly, today Eastern State is supposedly one of the most haunted Philadelphia locations.  People have reported hearing laughter, seeing shadowy figures and even the feeling of being grabbed by an invisible force.  Every October, Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a haunted house known as Terror Behind the Walls. It is, understandably, very scary.

2027 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Fort Mifflin

Fort Mifflin
Flickr user pwbaker / CC 2.0

This Delaware River fort, built in 1771, is the "only Revolutionary War battlefield completely intact," according to the Fort Mifflin website.  But, some say that with that intact battlefield comes intact ghosts. There are two specific ghosts that are said to haunt Fort Mifflin:

  • Elizabeth Pratt, also known as "The Screaming Woman."  Married to an officer stationed at the Fort, Elizabeth hanged herself after her daughter died from typhoid fever.  People have reported hearing screams from the Officer's Quarters building, where she supposedly died.
  • William Howe, sometimes called "The Man Without a Face" or "The Faceless Man."  Howe supposedly appears as a faceless figure in the casements where prisoners were kept.

Several people and groups have explored Fort Mifflin's hauntings, including Rodney Anonymous, formerly of the band The Dead Milkmen.  When he stayed overnight at Fort Mifflin, Anonymous reported several strange occurrences, including batteries dying, objects being moved and his dog refusing to enter certain rooms.

Fort Mifflin & Hog Island Roads
Philadelphia, PA 19153

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter's Church Graveyard
Flickr user cuttlefish / CC 2.0

Opened in 1761, St. Peter's Church has years of history in its walls – and in its graveyard. According to an article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, that graveyard is where a "supposed phantom, who many say can be seen every night at 9 p.m., protects the spirits of the five Indian chiefs buried there."

313 Pine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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