Thursday, January 19, 2012

Transforming an abusive school for the disabled into a "haunted asylum" amusement park

Pennhurst was a school in Spring City, Pennsylvania, for people with developmental and physical disabilities.  Established in 1908, it eventually became notorious for its neglectful and abusive practices.  Residents were raped, beaten and cruelly punished, often caged or left naked in their beds.  Pennhurst was finally shut down in 1987.

But in 2010, as Emily Smith Beitiks writes in the latest issue of The Hastings Center Report, Pennhurst was resurrected -- this time as a "haunted asylum" amusement park, complete with mad doctors and crazed, ax-wielding inmates.  Read her remarkable article, "The Ghosts of Institutionalization at Pennhurst's Haunted Asylum."

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