Haunting of Physick House – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 6 December 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Introduction of Physick House

Physick House, a stately mansion tucked away in the center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is home to more than simply the secrets of a lost period. You’ll be drawn into a spooky historical and supernatural tapestry as soon as you step through the door. In this region, the past defies being reduced to memories, and the echoes of spectral stories are as real as the air you breathe.

Physick Marker
Physick Marker – Credit hmdb

History of Physick House

Physick House, located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was constructed in 1786 by the renowned architect Samuel Physick. Dr. Philip Syng Physick, the “Father of American Surgery” and Samuel Physick’s grandson, called this mansion home. His groundbreaking contributions to the field of medicine made him a prominent figure of his time, leaving an enduring mark on American healthcare.

However, it’s not merely history that resides within these walls. Eerie tales have woven themselves into the fabric of the house’s narrative. Legend has it that the specter of Elizabeth Emlen Physick, Dr. Physick’s estranged wife, still roams the premises. Witnesses have recounted sightings of her in the yard, particularly near the location where a tree was felled shortly before her demise.

This mansion’s historical significance, both in medicine and architecture, cements its status as a cherished historical site. Beyond bricks and mortar, it is a living record of a captivating history that continues to enthrall all who venture through its doors. Physick House invites you to delve into the enthralling narrative of Philadelphia’s past, interweaving the legacies of medicine, architectural brilliance, and the stories of its former inhabitants.

Historic Physick House
Historic Physick House – Credit Wiki

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Door Knocking Phantom – Ghost of Elizabeth

One unusual ghost story that is frequently told takes center stage among the stories surrounding Physick House. Many are surprised to learn that the main character in this mythology is not a previous resident of the home. Rather, it’s the ghostly presence of Elizabeth, Dr. Physick’s ex-wife, who frequently makes an appearance on the property.

The enigmatic specter of Elizabeth, forever tied to the history of the Hill-Physick House, makes her presence known in a unique and poignant manner. Curiously, her ghostly visits rarely occur within the house’s walls. Instead, witnesses have described her as a misty, almost ethereal figure, standing resolutely on the front steps of the mansion. What captures the imagination even more is the purpose of her appearance. Elizabeth is often seen knocking persistently on the front door, as though driven by a profound desire to engage with her former husband, Dr. Physick, once more.

The ghostly reenactment of her knocking has become a symbol of yearning, perhaps an attempt to bridge the chasm of time and circumstance that separated the couple during their lives. It’s as if Elizabeth seeks resolution or a chance to converse with Dr. Physick about matters left unsettled in the past. Her visits, shrouded in an aura of melancholy, cast a haunting and poignant spell on the very threshold where she once stood in life.

The legend of the “Door Knocking Phantoms of Hill-Physick House” is more than a mere ghost story; it’s a reflection of the enduring mysteries that envelop this historic site. While Dr. Physick’s contributions to medicine and the architectural significance of the house are celebrated, it’s the spectral presence of Elizabeth that lingers as a powerful reminder of unresolved emotions and the timeless yearning for closure.

Haunted Garden & Ghostly Cries

Elizabeth’s ghostly appearances are marked by a persistent penchant for door knocking, often observed as she lingers on the sidewalk, gazing through the home’s first-floor windows. However, when approached, her apparition inexplicably vanishes, leaving those who encounter her bewildered by her evasive nature.

Another haunting aspect of Elizabeth’s presence is her affinity for one particular area in the house’s garden. Here, her favorite tree once stood, felled shortly before her death. Witnesses who have seen her at this spot describe her demeanor as profoundly sorrowful, as though she mourns not only the loss of the tree but something more profound.

Though she was never allowed inside the house in her earthly life, reports suggest that Elizabeth’s specter has found a way to permeate its walls. Ghostly weeping, attributed to her, has been heard both inside and outside the house at all hours of the day. The sorrowful cries echo as if Elizabeth continues to grieve the family she left behind.

Most intriguingly, Elizabeth often manifests not as a full-bodied apparition but as a mysterious reflection in mirrors throughout the house. This uncanny phenomenon sparks debate among those who believe it might not be Elizabeth after all. Some speculate that it could be the spirit of Elisa Keith, who called this place home during the early 1900s, using her spectral reflection to watch over the house.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Physick House

A popular subject for television shows and films exploring the mysterious world of the paranormal, Physick House is well-known for its rich historical tapestry and creepy aura. It was particularly prominent in the compelling television series “Unveiling the Unseen: Secrets of the Haunted Past,” in which a team of detectives painstakingly examined the eerie legends and hair-raising experiences connected to this enigmatic mansion.

In the realm of literature, Physick House has earned its place in books like “Haunted Pennsylvania: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Keystone State” by Mark Nesbitt and “Ghosthunting Pennsylvania” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. These literary works unfurl the intricate web of supernatural legends surrounding the mansion, offering enthralling accounts of its spectral heritage.

Physick House is now a must-visit location for history buffs and ghouls who are attracted to its fascinating appearance in popular culture and the media. This antique building has an eerie atmosphere that draws everyone hoping for a full-immersion experience with its hypnotic atmosphere.

How can I visit ?

Embark on a spine-tingling journey through the haunted streets of Philadelphia’s Old City, guided by our experts, with a special focus on the enigmatic Physick House. Delve into the meticulously researched stories and documented accounts of historic hauntings that have left an indelible mark on this colonial-era area.

Experience the “Old City” tour to learn about the turbulent history of America’s struggle for independence. Explore paranormal stories, learn about the ghost of Benjamin Franklin at Independence Hall, and tour haunted graves. However, the pinnacle of the experience is the visit to the mysterious Physick House, where a dedicated tour guide unravels the secrets within, offering a unique and immersive encounter with the paranormal history of this fascinating city.

Secure your booking now to join this unforgettable exploration, with the Physick House tour guide leading the way to a deeper understanding of the ghostly tales that linger within the heart of Philadelphia’s Old City.


When you walk out of the dimly lit hallways of Physick House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you walk out of a world where the terrifying stories of the paranormal blend with the mysterious murmurs of history. The ghosts of the past might go, but the unforgettable stories you’ve heard within these walls won’t. They will always be there to remind you that history isn’t just something you read in textbooks; it exists everywhere, even in the most unsettling places on earth. Physick House is a witness to the enduring connection between the past and the inexplicable, with its rich history and enigmatic stories that beg you to carry its mysteries with you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Physick House located?

A: Physick House is located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Q: Can you tell me about the legend of the lovelorn ghost at Physick House?

A: Certainly. The lovelorn ghost at Physick House is believed to be the spirit of Elizabeth, Dr. Physick’s ex-wife. Her apparition is often seen knocking on the front door, gazing into windows, and even mourning near a tree in the garden.

Q: Are there any other ghostly legends associated with Physick House?

A: Yes, the legends include ghostly cries heard inside and outside the house, as well as mysterious spectral reflections in mirrors, possibly attributed to Elisa Keith, a former resident from the early 1900s.

Q: What can you tell me about Dr. Philip Syng Physick, the “Father of American Surgery”?

A: Dr. Physick was an eminent figure in the field of medicine, recognized as the “Father of American Surgery.” He resided in Physick House and made groundbreaking contributions to healthcare in the United States.

Q: How can I visit Physick House and explore its rich history and legends?

A: You can visit Physick House during its regular visiting hours, guided tours, or special events. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in its captivating history and perhaps encounter the spectral echoes of the past.

Q: Is Physick House open for events or paranormal investigations?

A: Yes, Physick House hosts various events and tours throughout the year, some of which delve into its eerie legends. It’s a great place for history enthusiasts and paranormal enthusiasts alike.

Q: Is there a guided tour for Physick House, and what can I expect to learn during the visit?

A: Yes, indeed! Our guided tour of Physick House offers a captivating exploration into the mysterious history within. You’ll uncover unique stories and insights as our dedicated tour guide unveils the secrets of this enigmatic location, providing a deep understanding of its paranormal history.

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