Pennhurst Asylum is exploitation, not entertainment | Opinion

By Rachael Miroddi and Allison Beck: For More Info, Go Here…

It happens every October. Instagram and Facebook posts about Pennhurst Asylum — the self-proclaimed “most terrifying haunted attraction!” in Pennsylvania — suddenly become unavoidable. We — two people who work with individuals who have developmental disabilities — become nauseous. Then, after seeing one too many posts from friends and former classmates having a good old time at Pennhurst, one of us feels compelled to publish a Facebook missive reminding folks that, before they fork over cash to the ghouls who run the former asylum ($78 for “VIP front of the line” tickets), they ought to consider what they’ll be supporting if they do.

We find Pennhurst particularly nauseating because it makes a mockery of the nightmarish experiences of people who are just like the ones we work with every day. And no one seems to care. When we see these posts on social media, we can think only of our consumers — in our profession, the word “patient” is no longer used, as we don’t consider these individuals as having a problem that needs treating; we are merely providing a service or care — and the more than 2,000 people like them who were caged inside Pennhurst’s walls, many of them doomed to a fate worse than death. The asylum only closed in 1987. It’s sickening that it should be able to make a profit off the past sufferings of people with disabilities. It should be shut down, or, at the very least, people should be shamed out of visiting.

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