Dark History of Penn's Woods

Murder, Madness, and Misadventure in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Jennifer L Green

Date Published :
September 2021
Publisher :
Brookline Books
Illustration :
30 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781955041003
Pages : 144
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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"Dark History of Penn's Woods is the perfect book to keep you up all night… It's ghostly, it's ghastly, and we guarantee some of the included photos will stay with you!” — Philly Mag

When ships under the command of white Europeans first sailed into the Delaware Bay in 1609, southeastern Pennsylvania's documented history of the strange and unusual began. This book tackles seven true "dark histories" from Chester and Delaware counties, which include tales of murder, witchcraft, cannibalism, tragic accidents and macabre events that actually happened in the Greater Philadelphia region. All stories are meticulously researched and placed within the greater context of Pennsylvania and world history. For example, the murder of three children by an indentured servant is placed within the context the kidnapping of children into servitude in England for sale to the Americas. The trial and execution of a woman for killing her infants is placed within the context of the rights of women in early America and how the court system failed them. The treatment of witchcraft is placed within the larger relationship of Quakers with the supernatural in Pennsylvania. This is not a book of ghost stories; this is an exploration of the real events that led people to believe in ghosts. It aims to strike a balance between a colloquial work that is accessible by a variety of readers, and an solid academic work.

About The Author

Jennifer Green graduated in 2007 from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Master's Degree in American History, and since then has worked at a number of southeastern Pennsylvania historic sites and museums. The more nefarious and tragic history of southeastern Pennsylvania, particularly Chester and Delaware counties, has been an interest for many years and led to a highly successful lecture series in 2019 and 2020.


"Dark History is a compendium of bizarre and spooky events hereabouts from the days of the earliest Swedish settlers up through a mysterious case of spontaneous human combustion (there’s a catchy acronym, SHC) in Upper Darby in 1964... [T]he perfect book to keep you up all night."

- Philadelphia Magazine

"Throughout the book, [Green] iterates that she is writing about history that has been largely forgotten and ignored due to its dark nature. By bringing these stories to the light again, she has given her readers a great gift... I cannot recommend it highly enough."

- Broad Street Review

“It is a compendium of local bizarre and spooky events, stories, and customs… The book is a tribute to suburban Philadelphia weirdness, evildoing, and death.”

- Montco Today