Unstitched jeans and dead iPhones: How Philly’s historic places can haunt you

Laurel Hill

Fact: Philadelphia is haunted. That’s what happens when your city is more than 300 years old. But how do you go from reading any of the numerous lists about haunted places to finding a place that might actually scare you? With the help of Lou Rosmini, co-founder of Philly Paranormal 911, and Alyssa Charlanza, president of Hoot Paranormal at Temple, here are a few tips on how and where to get scared.

Get in the right state of mind

Charlanza recommends spending a few minutes getting acquainted with a haunted space. “What a lot of people don’t understand is it’s not this big, dramatic, pronounced thing. Be aware of your surroundings. That’s when you tend to pick up on the subtleties like something that shouldn’t be moving or hearing something or seeing something.”

Also, don’t act like a jerk when you’re looking for ghosts. Says Charlanza: “If you were at any friend or family member’s home you wouldn’t want to come in with this loud or obnoxious attitude. ….I also think it’s important to remember you don’t know who you’re talking to. It could be a person or it could be something worse.”

A ghost might make your IPhone die

As Charlanza says, you won’t always see a major apparition in these haunted places. She says she and other members of Hoot Paranormal have experienced spontaneous headaches, phones and cameras that go from near full-life to dying in a haunted spot and other disruptions that randomly occur.

These are the easiest and best places to go

Fort Mifflin: Rosmini calls this location the best combination of user-friendly and scary. It’s a fort from the Revolutionary War days that regularly offers ghost tours. Rosmini says he had his scariest encounter with a ghost here, when his pant leg was inexplicably pulled up and torn. “I was walking along and started to stumble and there was a girl behind me who was horrified and a guy in front of me who goes like, ‘what’s going on?’ She said, ‘I saw your pants get pulled.’ I looked down, and I had jeans on, and it was just opened and all the thread was pulled out.”

Old City: So many places to choose from here, but Charlanza picks Elfreth’s Alley and the Bishop White House. She went to both places with her Hoot Paranormal group. Some of them got headaches at Elfreth’s Alley. At the Bishop White House, she says she saw strange lights, as well as curtains from the bay windows moving mysteriously.

Laurel Hill Cemetery: The clientele buried at this cemetery screams haunted: 39 Civil War-era generals and six Titanic passengers. Charlanza says, “You get the feel of history but an excellent place to investigate as well.” Rosmini says that if you visit any cemetery in Philadelphia wanting to get scared, this is the one. As a bonus, you don’t have to sign up for a formal tour and can even bike or jog through.

Duffy’s Cut: Located near railroad tracks about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia at the intersection of King and Sugartown roads, this spot was home to a mass grave of over 50 Irish laborers. They are said to have all died from a cholera outbreak, but some have claimed many of them were murdered after escaping quarantine. Rosmini says you can walk part of the way through a “pretty creepy” tunnel.

Eden Hall Park in Torresdale: This area used to contain a boarding school for women belonging to the wealthiest families of Philadelphia in the mid-19th century. A chapel and a crypt were also part of the property, thus the possibility of being haunted. “It’s a creepy part to walk through at night,” Rosmini says, “but you shouldn’t walk through it alone.”

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