Commissioned in 1771, Fort Mifflin is one of America’s last remaining relics of the Revolutionary War. Also known as Mud Island Fort, it is located on Mud Island on the Delaware River just south of Philadelphia. In 1777, the British Army stormed and captured the fort as part of their conquest of Philadelphia. Fort Mifflin was rebuilt and, in the 19th century, housed prisoners during the American Civil War. The fort was decommissioned in 1962; part of Fort Mifflin was returned to the City of Philadelphia, while a portion of the grounds remained (and continue to remain) an actively used military site. It is the longest-used military fort in United States history and is—of course—a National Historic Landmark.
As with most relics of the Revolutionary War, Fort Mifflin has seen its share of bloodshed. Its function as a site for war prison, combined with its original capture by the British Army, leads many to believe that ghosts have since taken up residence—some visitors site specters in the dozens. Fort Mifflin is widely regarded as one of America’s most haunted sites. Take, for example, the lamplighter, who is often found on the second-floor barracks balcony. He carries a long pole with a dimly flickering light; many believe that this man died during the 1777 siege.
The Screaming Lady, however, is the loudest and best-known ghost at the complex. Though she’s never been seen, the ghost wails from the old officer’s quarters. Many believe she is the soul of Elizabeth Pratt, an 18th century resident whose daughter died of dysentery during the war. At times, the screaming has grown to be so loud that visitors have called the local police.
The historians working to preserve Fort Mifflin are beginning to capitalize on the location’s paranormal cache. Each October, 35 visitors are allowed to spend the night with paranormal investigators, exploring buildings, hearing stories, and learning everything there is to know about Fort Mifflin’s permanent residents. The site also hosts a calendar of paranormal programs and events for those not lucky enough to snag one of the 35 coveted overnight spots. The Fort is also available for private paranormal investigations throughout the year.