A Visit to Fort Mifflin

Recently featured on the TV show Ghost Hunters, Fort Mifflin always finds itself at the top of the list of most haunted places in Philadelphia.  Built in 1771, the fort was an important outpost during the Revolutionary War designed to defend Philadelphia from British ships.  During the Civil War, the fort was turned into a makeshift prison for captured Confederate soldiers, wayward Union soldiers, and unruly civilians.  Over the years it has served as a training ground and up until 1954 was the oldest fort in the nation in continuous use.  The venerable Fort Mifflin has weathered the passing of time as it lies between the Philadelphia Shipping Yards and the International Airport along the Delaware River while many claim some of its past residents refuse to leave. 

I recently paid these hallowed grounds a visit one dreary spring afternoon with a friend looking for ghosts.  Maybe it was the gloom of the light rain falling, or the meditative drone of the airplanes flying so low overhead, or the toxic smells wafting over the marshlands, or the perfectly staged lighting or lack thereof in each and every passageway and tunnel, or the fact that I hit my head on one of the lowly arched doorways in the festering bowels of the ancient fort, but there was certainly a feel to the place that could only be described as creepy.  Here are the photos I captured while exploring Fort Mifflin:


Written and photographed by David H. Schleicher


  1. This is creepier than a Nick Cannon zombie movie.

    And scarier than a director’s commentary from Steve Miner! –DHS

  2. What kind of hauntings have happened at this place?

    Dave, http://www.thehistorybluff.com

    Dave, if you click through each picture, the legend of the “screaming woman” is discussed. Just about every night, a woman screaming can be heard from the second floor balcony of the officers’ quarters. Police records confirm this. Some claim to have seen her as well. There are also reports of dead Revolutionary era soldiers walking around, as well as the supposed ghost of a convicted murderer who was held there when it was used as a prison. Also, some Civil War era ghosts apparently still haunt the grounds. –DHS

  3. The pics are excellent—you captured this place very well.

    Here is a great link to the Ghost Hunters findings while at the fort…

    C, awesome link! Anyone wanting more info on the site and its hauntings should definitely check it out. –DHS

  4. I’d passed the Fort Mifflin signs on Enterprise Avenue a couple of times during previous trips to Philadelphia, and had seen the star-shaped fort while coming in for a landing. So today, being a bit of a military history buff, and having an hour to kill before I turned in my rent-a-car, I decided to drive over to the fort and check it out.

    I arrived about 1 p.m. in the afternoon, just as three school bus loads of kids were leaving, paid my $6, and wandered into the fort. There were a couple of other visitors in the grounds in the middle of the fort talking to several reenacters, but other than that, the place was deserted. Being the nosy type, I went everywhere I could and scoped out all the buildings, tunnels and every passageway I could find.

    This included both powder magazines and the tunnel complex and subterranean rooms on the northeast part of the fort. I took pictures in all locations and nosed around the rooms that had rudimentary lighting. For the ones with no lighting, I stood at the doorways and took flash photos. In every instance, I was the only one in the areas at the time I went through them, I didn’t feel nervous or any kind of dread or “presence.” And that could be because, until just about an hour ago, while reading up on the fort after returning home from my trip, I found out the fort is allegedly one of the most haunted places in America.

    But if that’s the case, the spirits either were taking a break, or they sensed that I wasn’t the least bit concerned that they might be around as I barged through the fort like I owned it. The only thing that approached me during my visit was a very friendly tabby cat wandering the grounds. Perhaps, when it comes to nosing around the apparent haunts of the dead, ignorance IS bliss.

    R, thanks for sharing the story of your visit. I, too, felt no sense of any hauntings, though the place had an overall eerie feel to it. It certainly is fun to learn about the history and the ghost stories, though, and elaborate on the pictures taken. The only thing that gave me pause was the darkness in most of the passageways. I didn’t like not being able to see what was around the corners. I had a constant fear there would be a hole or a step that I would miss in the dark and then fall. –DHS

  5. R and DHS,That was cool and every thing ,but when I got there I seen all the ghost’s at every turn I made.I was never scared at all so if you’s want you’s can type me at any time.-PR93

    Gina, are you saying you actually saw ghosts there? Did you capture them on film? –DHS

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