By: Christopher “Lobo” Ostrowski
NPS Demonology Department Chair
In the Township of Hellam sits one of the biggest mysteries in York Pa.,“The Seven Gates of Hell”. It was the subject of one of Mike Argento’s York Daily Record columns http://ydr.inyork.com/
several years ago and can even be found on ‘Wikipedia’ www.wikipedia.com
, an encyclopedia web site.
In the 1800s a colossal mental asylum stood in the woods of York off Toad Road. Buried in the desolate Pennsylvania woods, it was viewed as the perfect place to ship the insane from all across the state. This was a nightmare straight from Hell. It was home of only the most deranged, most unfortunate souls in PA.
The area is an overgrown wooded area off Trout Run Road in the northwestern part of the Township. I will show rumors that are attached to the area. Supposedly an insane asylum located there caught fire. The patients did manage to get out of the Building, but seven gates surrounding the asylum trapped them. The scene was pure horror. Some of the most deranged and dangerous people in all Pennsylvania had disappeared into the woods as the Asylum burned spread throughout the area. When the fire was finally under control, officials set out to corral all of the inmates. Frightened of the asylum’s inmates reputations and unsure of how to handle the patients, the search party was aggressive with extreme prejudice. There where reports of beating into submission some of those they found and killing others. To this day, no one in York acknowledges this publicly. The ones that survived, reportedly lived on to stalk and murder behind the Seven Gates
Another story Is a typical “Mad Doctor” story. An eccentric local doctor Is said to have erected a large gate at the entrance to his property. Then the rumors sprang up that there was a series of gates. They were all beyond that large one along Toad Road (cue scary music) leading deep into the woods. Out of the Seven Gates, it is believed that no-one who passed the fifth gate ever returned.
Apparitions are often seen along these paths. Strange noises and menacing screams are heard frequently.
The official statement on the The Hellam Township Website, listed below is:
“Just as there seems to be no truth to the rumors about the “Seven Gates of Hell” (no asylum ever existed there, and the local doctor had only one gate and that was to keep out trespassers), there is also no truth to the story that Hellam Township was named for ‘hell’! The fact is that our Township’s name is a corruption of the name ‘Hallam’, named for Hallam, England.”