Haunted House at Former Asylum Harmful to Disabled

Monday, October 12, 2015
THE INQUIRER (PHILADELPHIA) -- Critics, however, have said that the haunt profits from the atrocities that took place at Pennhurst. Opponents wanted to prevent the project from opening, arguing that the public hadn’t had an opportunity to challenge the plan, but a judge allowed the haunt to go ahead, The Inquirer reported in 2010. A preservation group still works to memorialize the site and its history. The attraction is “not just doing a harm to the history, it’s doing a harm to disabled people right now, who already face so much stigma,” said Emily Smith Beitiks, associate director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, who has studied and written about Pennhurst. The Supreme Court case was a victory for the residents trapped there and “brought all sorts of attention to the many ways we were not doing justice to the people who needed help, needed care,” Beitiks said.