9 Halloween Attractions That Went Too Far


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Pennhurst Asylum Gets a Little Too Intense
This picture shows Pennhurst after it had closed down as a mental hospital but before it had reopened as a Halloween attraction.  Sarah Curcio/Used Under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 2.0 License
This picture shows Pennhurst after it had closed down as a mental hospital but before it had reopened as a Halloween attraction. Sarah Curcio/Used Under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 2.0 License

The Pennhurst Asylum attraction in Philadelphia, opened in 2010, and faced controversy from the get-go. It's housed in a former mental facility, originally named the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, that first opened in the early 1900s. Its patients were people who suffered from mental illness or were physically disabled. But the place was shut down in the 1980s after reports of patient abuse, mistreatment and filthy conditions — all of which led to one of America's first abuse-related class-action lawsuits. Some people said it was inappropriate to house an amusement-focused attraction at the site [source: Campisi].

And then things got more intense. In 2011, Steven Chrzanowski got several leg injuries after two employees somehow caused a hospital bed to smack him in the knee while he was standing in line at the Halloween attraction [source: Campisi].

Chrzanowski, whose injuries necessitated surgery, sued Pennhurst's operators for what he described as the negligent, careless and reckless act of the employees that resulted in his ruined knee. He asked for compensatory damages of more than $75,000 plus other associated costs [source: Campisi].