Haunted Fort Mifflin - Philadelphia, Pa
Fort Mifflin, "the fort that saved America" during the Revolutionary war, has a very long history of being haunted. It saw some action during nearly every American war until it was decommissioned in 1962. During the revolutionary war, 400 garrisoned Colonial soldiers held the mighty British Navy at bay. Giving General Washington and his troops time to arrive safely at Valley Forge where they shaped a strong and confident army who many say changed the history of America.
During the Civil War Fort Mifflin was used as a Prisoner of War camp for confederate soldiers, most of whom were captured during the Battle of Gettysburg. Union soldiers guilty of violations to military conduct were also punished here. Punishment included whippings, being branded with a hot iron, and being hung by their thumbs.
During WWII the fort served as the US Navy's ammunition depot and, and in World war II housed anti-aircraft guns, while resuming it's role for the Navy.
There are approximately 12 buildings still left on the grounds. Some featuring far more haunted activity than others. What makes this place unique are the large amount of sightings in the same places. The Following is a breakdown.....
The second-floor balcony of the barracks is often visited by the spirit of the lamplighter. This is the man who lit the oil lamps during the evening, and though he’s a pale and barely discernible figure, people can notice the long pole with a dimly flickering light on the end that he seems to be carrying.
The casements, which were probably the most heavily bombarded area during the siege of 1777, are the site of too many sightings to number. The visions are pale outlines that could be written off as the figments of overactive imagination, if it weren’t for their frequency. But even the most visible of the apparitions is still missing some detail—he’s called the Faceless Man, and he’s supposedly the ghost of a war criminal held in the cells during the Civil War. William Howe was his name, and for killing his superior and desertion of duty in wartime, he was held in Fort Mifflin before being hanged. When he appears these days, he’s fairly easy to see, they say, except that his face is in shadows. The reason? Before hanging, deserters supposedly had their heads tied up in black bags as a mark of their shame.
The Screaming Lady is the loudest of the ghosts at Fort Mifflin. She’s never seen, but wails from the old officer’s quarters, where she appears to be living out an eternity of regret for disowning her daughter. She is supposedly the soul of Elizabeth Pratt, an 18th century neighbor of the Fort whose daughter took up with an officer. Elizabeth renounced the relationship and threw out her daughter, who died shortly after from dysentery. Consumed with guilt at consigning her daughter to this fate, the story goes that she took her own life. The Police have been called out because of people hearing the screams coming from inside the fort. She’s not the only spectral sound to be heard at the Fort—near the blacksmith shop, the rhythmic clash of hammer against anvil often sounds out, only to be silenced when people come by to peer into the empty but slightly echoing room.
Jacob the blacksmith was always getting in trouble with the commander because he always wanted to back door open to the blacksmith shop. He has been seen in the shop and the employees at the fort still have problems with that door opening and closing.
Casemate 5 was used as prison cells for the confederate POWs, Union deserters and other law breakers during the Civil War. Many people report seeing a faceless man that is sewing in the casemate. There is just a black void where his face should be. He is thought to be Billy Howe who was imprisoned in the casemate. He was later convicted of murder and hanged in the courtyard. Billy was the only person hung here during civil war. Many other soldiers and voices have been seen and heard in this area.
Around the Power Magazine is where you may find a very informative tour guide dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform. He gives a great tour of the area and many visitors have complimented the guide when they stop by the office as they leave the fort. When they are told that there was no tour guide or re-enactor on site they are very surprised.
So when touring Fort Mifflin, your tour could be a real historical expert.
Fort Mifflin offers candle-lit ghost tours as well as overnight camping and occasional ghost hunts.