The group arrived at Pennhurst at 6:00 pm and was met by one of the buildings’ caretakers. The caretaker instructed the group to drive around to the Mayflower Building where the investigation would take place.
Everyone unloaded gear into the Common Room on the 1st Floor. This room has a large open area that has rooms that are partitioned off toward the back. Once all the gear was unloaded, Jann went outside to take baseline weather readings while the others began placing gear in the locations to be investigated.
After baseline readings were taken, Jann was given a tour of the Mayflower Building by two other caretakers that had arrived at the property. She took baseline EMF and Temperature readings at this time.
The group placed a Sony HDR-XR200V Video Camera in the 1st Floor Common Room that was used as the basecamp area. In the Hallway of the 1st Floor a Zoom H1 Audio Recorder was placed.
The areas of the 2nd floor on which the group decided to focus, were the 2nd Floor Common Room, and the Pennhurst Lounge. There was a Sony HDR-CX160 Full Spectrum Video Camera and a Sony DCR-SR85 Video Camera placed in the 2nd Floor Common Room along with a Mel-8704REM/ATDD/SDD. This meter measures the Electromagnetic Field and also includes a Shadow Detection feature. Also in this room, a PIM Pod was used to detect positive and negative ions in the air. Changes in negative ions have been documented during paranormal activity.
The Rountree Voice Phenomena Recorder was placed in the Hallway outside of the 2nd Floor Common room. This device uses a Tascam DR40 Audio Recorder and two Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Microphones. Condenser Microphones are only able to pick up sound waves, while Dynamic Microphones are able to detect sound waves and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) directly. This allows for the comparison of the two types of audio by looking at the wave patterns on audio software systems such as Audacity or Adobe Audition. Differences would indicate that audio was recorded from an EMF signal.
There was a Sony DCR-DVD610 Video Camera placed in the 2nd Floor Hallway, aimed at the area referred to as the Pennhurst Lounge. This is a large area that is partitioned into several patient rooms. The walls are more like tall cubical dividers as they do not go all the way to the ceiling. There was a Zoom H1 Audio Recorder placed near the camera as this is able to capture better quality audio recordings than the camera. A GQ GMC-300 Datalogging Geiger Counter and an Extech RHT50 Datalogger were placed in the 2nd Floor Hallway near the entrance to the Pennhurst Lounge. The Extech RHT50 Datalogger takes temperature, humidity and barometric pressure readings at set time intervals. The GQ GMC-300 Datalogging Geiger Counter measures radiation at set time intervals. Both of these devices can have the logged data downloaded into a computer for further analysis.
Inside the Pennhurst Lounge Area is a room that has a toy Fischer Price Airplane. According to the caretakers, this toy belongs to a male child that is referred to as Howie. Inside this room, we placed a Spectorcamcorder full spectrum Video Camera and a Zoom H1 Audio Recorder. An EM Vortex EMF pump was used outside the entrance to this room near a Barbie Doll and some candy that were placed as trigger objects within view of the camera pointing into the Pennhurst Lounge from the Hallway. EMF pumps emit electromagnetic energy which theoretically helps spirits manifest.
The 3rd Floor of the Mayflower Building is laid out differently than the others as it was a dormitory for the staff. This floor consists mainly of bedrooms with a larger room at the end of each hall. There is also a Locker Room on this floor.
One of the large rooms at the end of the hallway is referred to as Mary’s Room. This room is thought to be occupied by a young female entity. There was a Sony HDR-XR200V Video Camera placed in Mary’s Room with a Zoom H1 recorder also in this area. An EMF pump was placed in this room along with a variety of toys including a car, a horse, a ball and a slinky as trigger objects. Trigger objects are items that may be of interest to the spirits rumored to inhabit a location. As this room as well as the room in the Pennhurst Lounge is thought to be occupied by the spirits of children, we used toys and candy as trigger objects. A device called a geophone that is used to detect vibration was also placed in this area.
In the hallway of the 3rd Floor, we placed pliers, an EMF Pump V2, and an Extech RHT50 Datalogger. A Sony HDR-XR200V Video Camera was used to capture video of this area. The reason we used pliers as a trigger object is because when Pennhurst was still functioning, if a patient bit someone, they had all of their teeth pulled in order to prevent it from happening again.
In the room known as Mr. King’s Room, because it is reported that a tall shadow figure named Mr. King resides there, we placed a Sony HDR-SR10 camera. A PIM Pump EMF Pump was placed in this room near the following items as trigger objects: playing cards, a cigar, matches, and a small bottle of whiskey. As is our usual practice, these objects were placed so they were in view of the camera.
A Zoom H1 Audio Recorder was placed in the Basement Hallway about halfway between Mr. King’s Room and the Classroom at the end of the Hall. In the Basement Classroom, there was an oversized tennis ball placed as a trigger object on the floor.
All investigators were using Zoom H1 audio recorders as control recorders during the investigation. It is common practice for PIM to have a recorder on each investigator once we enter the building and before we set up gear. If any Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) is captured during an investigation, it is cross checked with everyone’s voice recorders to ensure it was not made by another group member.
Also carried during the Investigation were a Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum camera which Noah had rigged to his shoulder, and a FLIR E40bx Thermal Imaging Camera which he carried. Noah also carried an Inductive Amplifier which is a device used to facilitate communication with spirits.
As noted prior, we were joined by two members of PIM-East Coast who also had a large amount of equipment used on this investigation. Their equipment is listed in the equipment list at the end of this report.
It was decided that the investigation would begin on the 3rd Floor as it was very hot, and it did not appear to be cooling down in the near future. The rationale was that we should start in the hottest area when we are the most alert as it is much more difficult to work in that condition when we are tired.
3rd Floor – 9:40 pm
Everyone headed up to the 3rd Floor. Noah did a sweep with the FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera to check for animals. We closed the doors to any rooms we noticed had holes in the walls or in the ceiling that would provide a potential entrance for animals.
After we finished securing the area, the group spread out in the 3rd Floor Hallway. Everyone sat with their backs to the doorways that remained open so any noises coming from the room could be heard. As is our usual practice, we observed five minutes of control silence to take note of any ambient noise. During this time, Tony thought he heard a laugh. Nobody else heard it, and it was not picked up on any equipment. A train passed by outside at 10:00 pm.
The group began an EVP session at 10:03 pm. When the session commenced there were noises coming from the end of the Hallway near the Stairs where Michael and Josh from East Coast were seated. At 10:13 pm, Michael heard a voice, and Josh heard some knocking after Tony asked if the person making the noises was a boy. It is inconclusive if the knocks or voice were responding to the question, or if they were settling noises from the structure or animals in the attic area.
Noah did a quick check of the stairs near Michael and Josh to ensure there were no animals in the area.
Tony heard a squeak from what he thought was a door handle at 10:17 pm. After a short time Tony heard the noise again and he went to investigate. He found bats, which is most likely the cause of the noises he was hearing.
At 10:29 pm, Josh heard a noise at the end of the Hallway. Noah went down with the FLIR to check it out, but nothing was found.
At 10:30 pm, Missy heard what sounded like a sigh in Mary’s Room. Unfortunately, this was not picked up by any equipment.
At 10:37 pm, Jann and Tony heard what sounded like someone saying, “What?”. This was determined to be from one of the investigators after reviewing audio.
END TIME: 10:39 pm
The group concluded the EVP session and moved to the 2nd Floor.
2nd Floor – 10:45 pm
The group spread out in the 2nd Floor Hallway except for Jann who was seated just inside the doorway to the Pennhurst Lounge area. Five minutes of silence was observed to note ambient noises. An EVP session was begun at 11:15 pm.
Missy and Tony heard what sounded like a door opening on the 1st Floor at 11:19 pm. At 11:22 pm, they heard a noise like someone was walking on the 1st Floor. At 11:22 pm, Tony and Noah went to go check doors to attempt to figure out where the noises were coming from. They were not able to find the cause of the noise and returned by 11:24 pm.
While Noah and Tony were on the 1st Floor, Michael, Josh, John and Missy moved to the 2nd Floor Common Room. At 11:37 pm, Tony and Noah were joined by Jann when they saw an access panel near the stairs. The noise made by the latch to the access panel was very similar to what Tony had heard. Comparison clips were made of the access panel latch and the main entrance door to compare to what Tony heard. When they were compared, none of the clips sounded exactly like the noise that was recorded on Tony’s recorder. However, since there was known animal activity in the building and it was uncertain where the noise originated from, PIM is not considering this as evidence.
Missy and Josh had moved across the 2nd Floor Hallway to investigate an office. At this time, the rest of the group was in the 2nd Floor Hallway. Noah went into the 2nd Floor Common Room at 11:38 pm and discovered that the battery in the Mel-8704REM/ATDD/SDD had died.
At 11:42 pm, Tony saw a light go on downstairs. Tony and Noah went to go check it out and get a new battery for his MEL-8704REM/ATDD/SDD. It was determined that this was an outside motion detector light that was most likely set off by the caretakers. At 11:45 pm, the rest of the group went down to the Basecamp area for an energy drink break.
END TIME: 11:45 pm
The group gathered in the 1st Floor Common Room for a break until 12:11 am.
1st Floor – 12:11 am
Michael went to the room at the end of the Hallway, and John sat near the stairs. Everyone else spread out in the 1st Floor Hallway for five minutes of silence.
An EVP session was begun at 12:19 am. At 12:20 am, a noise was heard from the 1st Floor Common Room shortly afterward, there were two knocks heard from the end of the Hallway. Tony asked if the noise could be repeated and there were two more knocks, but it was not determined whether these knocks were responsive.
At 12:23 am, John heard footsteps above, and Jann and Noah heard noise down the hall. It is undetermined what caused these noises. Missy asked for another knock, and there was one knock. Missy asked for two more knocks and there was no response. Shortly afterward we heard the caretakers’ car pull away which implies that we may have been hearing car doors.
At 12:25 am, Tony and Michael heard what sounded like bedsprings coming from a room. At 12:31 am, Noah heard shuffling and running in the Common Room behind him. Noah thought it may have been plastic grocery bags that the group had carried snacks in, however, none of the bags seemed out of place.
Noah, John, Tony, Michael and Josh were in the 1st Floor Hallway, and Missy and Jann stayed back in the partitioned area to the back of the 1st Floor Common Room to do EVP. During this time, Jann and Missy both felt something electrical; Missy on her cheek, and Jann on her arm. They were unable to determine what caused this. No readings were captured to document this event and is considered a personal experience.
At 12:50 am, Jann and Missy joined the others in the 1st Floor Hallway. At this time, Jann, Michael and Noah moved into the 1st Floor Common Room once again and the rest of the group remained in the hallway. Michael did an impromptu EVP session until 1:03 am. At this time, the group decided to move to the Basement.
END TIME: 1:03 am
Mr. King’s Room – 1:12 am
Missy and Noah ran to get a chair for Michael from the 1st Floor. Michael began an EVP session and Noah and Missy showed up shortly after it began. At 1:16 am, Michael was trying to draw attention to the touch-light. Missy demonstrated how the light works at which time Tony heard a hum. Jann did not hear this at the time, but it was captured on her control recorder. After review, this turned out to be one of the investigators again.
At 1:18 am, a noise was heard from the 1st Floor after Tony asked for one. It is not certain whether this was responsive.
At this time, the batteries in the equipment were checked in Mr. King’s Room and it was decided to move on to another area of the Basement.
END TIME: 1:26 am
The group moved into the Basement Hallway. At 1:27 am, Missy and Jann were outside of Mr. King’s Room and heard a noise that Missy described as a growl and Jann described as a vibration. This noise was not captured on their audio recorders.
Basement – 1:30 am
Since women had reported being harassed in Mr. King’s Room it was decided to leave Missy and Jann in that room while all the men vacated the area. Missy and Jann were seated immediately inside the doorway to Mr. King’s Room, and the rest of the group spread out in the Hallway.
At 1:35 am, Missy and Jann heard what sounded like walking toward the back of Mr. King’s Room. This was not captured on any recordings.
At 1:46 am, Missy felt a pinch on the back of her right thigh that was later determined to be a bug bite.
END TIME: 1:50 am
The group moved down to the Classroom at the end of the Basement Hallway.
Basement Classroom – 1:51 am
John, Jann, Missy, Tony and Noah were in the Classroom, and Michael and Josh were in the room adjacent to the Basement Classroom.
At 1:55 am the group began an EVP session.
At 2:00 am, Noah heard a noise that he thought was Tony moving. When Tony was asked he stated he was not moving and this is when Noah saw the Ball that was used as a trigger object appear to move. The ball moved for several seconds, and Noah filmed the ball during this time using his shoulder mounted camera. However, the ball was covered in a swirl pattern of different colors and it was hard to determine if the ball was actually moving or if it was a trick of the eyes. Tony had placed the ball in the middle of the red circle painted on the floor just before the EVP session was started and it had moved several inches outside of that circle before it was noticed. The group continued to ask if whoever moved the ball could do it again, but this was unsuccessful.
The level of the floor was also checked after the event and was found to be level. This event is considered curious, but lacking actual evidence of the ball moving the group cannot conclude it was paranormal in nature. This is one of the more strange events that occurred in all the investigations that PIM has conducted.
END TIME: 2:14 am
At this time, the group moved to the Basecamp area where Missy and Jann changed into their nurse’s uniforms. This was done as a trigger object scenario since the events that occurred at Pennhurst were associated with nurse’s it was thought that having some team members dress up and other members act as patients that it could possibly draw something out.
3rd Floor – 2:23 am
The group spread out in the Hallway except for Jann and Missy who waited at the end of the Hallway until everyone was settled. Once everyone was settled, Jann and Missy pretended to hand out medication to the rest of the group. On the 3rd Floor they did this amicably and were very nice to the “patients.”
No events occurred during this session and the group moved to the 2nd Floor.
END TIME: 2:25 am
2nd Floor – 2:26 am
The experiment was repeated on the 2nd Floor, only this time Jann and Missy were not as nice. They were not unduly nasty to the rest of the group, however, they tried to portray nurses who were overworked and frustrated.
Again nothing happened and the group moved to the 1st Floor.
END TIME: 2:27 am
1st Floor – 2:29 am
The experiment was repeated on the 1st Floor with the same tone as on the 2nd. No evidence was captured during this time.
END TIME: 2:35 am
At 2:48 am the group could hear the caretakers coming in and ended the investigation.
No evidence was collected during this investigation
This was an amazing opportunity that we are all very grateful to have been able to experience. There were many noises and knocks that seemed to be responsive during the investigation, but as we were not able to get repeated results, we cannot confidently assert these were paranormal.
The incident where the Ball was moving in the Basement Classroom was very unusual. Upon review it was difficult to discern whether the ball moved, or it was an illusion caused by the pattern on the ball and the light. Tony stated that he placed the ball within a red circle that is painted on the floor of this room, and the ball was outside of the circle after this incident. Despite this assertion, PIM is not willing to present this as paranormal evidence as the video does not show obvious movement and it is not clear what caused the movement.
PIM would encourage any teams that investigate the Mayflower building to try and recreate this event but to use a solid colored ball so as to remove the possibility that PIM experienced involving the light play with the pattern on the ball..
Another piece of possible evidence was captured on a camera located on the 3rd Floor of the building. A door that was previously closed over in the beginning of the night to prevent any wildlife from exiting one of the rooms appears to be pushed into the door frame. Unfortunately due to the quality of the video, and the known presence of animals, PIM could not include this as evidence, but would be something to revisit should we have an opportunity to return.
PIM-Milwaukee would like to thank Michael Tovar of our East Coast Branch for arranging this investigation and covering the cost. Pennhurst State School and Hospital has a huge campus and we were only admitted to the Mayflower building. We would love to return to investigate other buildings if they are ever opened for investigations in the future.