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Haunted Philly: The Must-See Scary Spots for Halloween

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By Paige Cooperstein

Philadelphia has so many weird and spooky places, if they were all included in our roundup here, the city wouldn't be visible beneath the map points. So we're just offering a few that are the required reading of Philadelphia's haunted haunts, plus a couple surprises. We didn't include the more gruesome spots where murders or horrible things more recently occurred because it might be too soon to find ghosts there. Or is it? Add your favorites in the comments.

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1. Fort Mifflin

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Fort Mifflin Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19153

Roll out your sleeping bags to camp out with the ghosts of the American Revolution. Paranormal investigators will teach you the techniques before taking you on a tour of the hotspots, including casement 11, a solitary confinement cell. The SciFi show Ghost Hunters featured Fort Mifflin’s haunting in a Season 4 episode.

2. Powel House

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244 South 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-0364
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It’s said that Benedict Arnold's second wife Peggy Shippen Arnold haunts the drawing room of Powel House. Samuel Powel, the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and the first mayor of the independent city, bought the house in 1769. Powel and his wife frequently entertained members of the Continental Army whose ghosts have been seen descending the house’s mahogany staircase in party clothes.

3. Grumblethorpe

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5267 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144

British General James Agnew used Grumblethorpe as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. He died in the house's parlor and some report they can still see his bloodstains on the floor. Justinia, an orphan from the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, is also said to haunt the house, accompanied by the smell of baking bread.

4. Eastern State Penitentiary

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2027 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-3300
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Eastern State Pen kicks off any self-respecting list of Philly's haunted haunts. A regular visit offers eerie peeks into Al Capone's cell and the prison's notorious death row. Or go to Terror Behind the Walls, a haunted-house tour with actors portraying ravaged prisoners.

5. Physick House

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321 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA

Divorce can be haunting—especially for Philip Sying Physick, the “father of American surgery,” and his wife Elizabeth, who had a strong attachment to a tree in their backyard. Physick had the tree cut down and Elizabeth died soon after. Some say she can still be seen weeping for the tree in the backyard.

6. Laurel Hill Cemetery

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3822 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19132

One of the oldest rural cemeteries in the United States, Laurel Hill is full of paranormal hotspots. Notable burials include congressmen, military officers and artists. Starting on the 26th, the cemetery will run flashlight tours to take visitors through the gravestones.

7. Philadelphia Zoo

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3400 W Girard Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 243-1100
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For some wild and crazy paranormal activity, head to the Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest in America. Poltergeist activity has been reported in The Pennrose Building and the Treehouse Building. Other visitors say the ghost of a woman in a long dress stands at the top of the staircase in the The John Penn house.

8. Hermit Lane

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5280 Hermit Ln
Philadelphia, PA 19128

A brotherhood of German mystics made the Wissahickon woods their home in 1694. Their leader lived in solitude in a stone-fronted cave. On his death bed in 1708, the leader asked his assistant to destroy a box of magical artifacts. When the assistant threw the box into the Schuylkill, the contents exploded. Legend has it the box contained the Philosopher’s Stone. Some say they see hooded monks walk the banks of the rivers even today.

9. City Tavern

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138 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 413-1443
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In 1854, a bride was getting ready for her wedding when an oil lamp fell and her dress caught fire. The groom died trying to save his betrothed, but they both perished. Today City Tavern continues to be a popular spot for wedding parties, and many have reported seeing a woman in a wedding dress wandering the upstairs rooms.

10. Moyamensing Prison

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1400 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Moyamensing Prison was at Passyunk and Reed streets until the late 1960s, when it was torn down. What's now a parking lot for was once the gathering place for crowds to watch executions—and one, particular. H.H. Holmes, often called America's first serial killer, may have been responsible for 200 murders. Let's hope his ghost doesn't cruise the Acme.

11. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

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8601 Lindburgh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19153
(215) 365-3118

It's rumored that aside from all the normal animal life you might see at the wildlife refuge near the airport, you might also spot the immortal Ape Boy of the Chester Swamps, who started as a regular red-headed kid but was bullied so horribly, he fled into the forest and took on apelike aspects. He moved to Tinicum when his native Chester was overdeveloped, and may sometimes be spotted.

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1. Fort Mifflin

Fort Mifflin Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19153

Roll out your sleeping bags to camp out with the ghosts of the American Revolution. Paranormal investigators will teach you the techniques before taking you on a tour of the hotspots, including casement 11, a solitary confinement cell. The SciFi show Ghost Hunters featured Fort Mifflin’s haunting in a Season 4 episode.

Fort Mifflin Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19153

2. Powel House

244 South 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

It’s said that Benedict Arnold's second wife Peggy Shippen Arnold haunts the drawing room of Powel House. Samuel Powel, the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and the first mayor of the independent city, bought the house in 1769. Powel and his wife frequently entertained members of the Continental Army whose ghosts have been seen descending the house’s mahogany staircase in party clothes.

244 South 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

3. Grumblethorpe

5267 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144

British General James Agnew used Grumblethorpe as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. He died in the house's parlor and some report they can still see his bloodstains on the floor. Justinia, an orphan from the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, is also said to haunt the house, accompanied by the smell of baking bread.

5267 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144

4. Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Eastern State Pen kicks off any self-respecting list of Philly's haunted haunts. A regular visit offers eerie peeks into Al Capone's cell and the prison's notorious death row. Or go to Terror Behind the Walls, a haunted-house tour with actors portraying ravaged prisoners.

2027 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19130

5. Physick House

321 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA

Divorce can be haunting—especially for Philip Sying Physick, the “father of American surgery,” and his wife Elizabeth, who had a strong attachment to a tree in their backyard. Physick had the tree cut down and Elizabeth died soon after. Some say she can still be seen weeping for the tree in the backyard.

321 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA

6. Laurel Hill Cemetery

3822 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132

One of the oldest rural cemeteries in the United States, Laurel Hill is full of paranormal hotspots. Notable burials include congressmen, military officers and artists. Starting on the 26th, the cemetery will run flashlight tours to take visitors through the gravestones.

3822 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19132

7. Philadelphia Zoo

3400 W Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104

For some wild and crazy paranormal activity, head to the Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest in America. Poltergeist activity has been reported in The Pennrose Building and the Treehouse Building. Other visitors say the ghost of a woman in a long dress stands at the top of the staircase in the The John Penn house.

3400 W Girard Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

8. Hermit Lane

5280 Hermit Ln, Philadelphia, PA 19128

A brotherhood of German mystics made the Wissahickon woods their home in 1694. Their leader lived in solitude in a stone-fronted cave. On his death bed in 1708, the leader asked his assistant to destroy a box of magical artifacts. When the assistant threw the box into the Schuylkill, the contents exploded. Legend has it the box contained the Philosopher’s Stone. Some say they see hooded monks walk the banks of the rivers even today.

5280 Hermit Ln
Philadelphia, PA 19128

9. City Tavern

138 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

In 1854, a bride was getting ready for her wedding when an oil lamp fell and her dress caught fire. The groom died trying to save his betrothed, but they both perished. Today City Tavern continues to be a popular spot for wedding parties, and many have reported seeing a woman in a wedding dress wandering the upstairs rooms.

138 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

10. Moyamensing Prison

1400 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Moyamensing Prison was at Passyunk and Reed streets until the late 1960s, when it was torn down. What's now a parking lot for was once the gathering place for crowds to watch executions—and one, particular. H.H. Holmes, often called America's first serial killer, may have been responsible for 200 murders. Let's hope his ghost doesn't cruise the Acme.

1400 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

11. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

8601 Lindburgh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19153

It's rumored that aside from all the normal animal life you might see at the wildlife refuge near the airport, you might also spot the immortal Ape Boy of the Chester Swamps, who started as a regular red-headed kid but was bullied so horribly, he fled into the forest and took on apelike aspects. He moved to Tinicum when his native Chester was overdeveloped, and may sometimes be spotted.

8601 Lindburgh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19153