Be a Tourist in Philly

My time spent in Philly was a serious eye opener. I learned so much about Philadelphia’s history and a lot about our founding fathers. Philadelphia had the largest population of freed black slaves and so many bodies were buried underneath historical buildings, such as Washington Square because of the American Revolution and the Quaker Meeting House because of yellow fever. When you passed away from yellow fever, you had to be buried because they would not burn the bodies. Why? They thought if you inhaled the oxygen coming from a person who passed from yellow fever, you’d become sick as well.

Speaking of yellow fever, do you know where the term ‘living room’ came from? With tens of thousands of people dying from yellow fever everyday, they would stack the dead bodies by the front of the house. When doctors came by to pick up the bodies to take them to the burial grounds, the living would retreat to another room in the house where the living can sit and have a nice conversation with each other, hence living room….

Settlers thought there were vampires living amongst them because of the terrible effects of TB. When someone had TB, they became very pale and skinny and others could not see their chests go up and down to show they were still breathing. Because of this, many people were buried alive. When they came to, they scratched there way out while coughing up blood. Because grave robbing was so common, people who saw these type of graves thought they were vampires. Back them, doctors could not use cadavers to experiment on because it wasn’t legal. However, doctors could experiment on dead people, which made grave robbing so popular.

Ben Franklin is one of the reasons why France is our ally today. George Washington appointed John Adams to work with the French parliament before the Revolutionary War, so they could become our allies. However, France hated John Adams! In comes, Ben Franklin who told John “when in France, do what the French do!” Meaning, smoke, drink, saw up at the red light district sometime, and maybe have a mistress or two. John was appalled! He told Ben that he loves his wife and could never cheat on her! However, Mr. Franklin was a pimp and was caught with more than one mistress during his lifetime. Ben helped the US secure France’s support during the American Revolution.

When Mr. Franklin lived in France, the parliament wanted to build a house for him to live in while he was working there. They looked at a piece of property they found acceptable, but when they surveyed the land, they found 6 skeletons buried there; 2 adults and 4 children. They didn’t know if it was Ben who murdered 6 individuals, but they concluded it might have been a Scottish doctor who was experimenting on live people who lived in the area.

Do you remember Ben Franklin’s quote ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’? Well below is his grave, which is in Christ Church burial ground. All the money collected on the grave is donated to the church. Last year, they collected more than $4,000!

Ben Franklin's grave in Christ Church Burial Ground
Ben Franklin’s grave in Christ Church Burial Ground

I learned a lot of this from Grim Philly’s Oktoberfest Halloween Haunted Tavern Tour. While walking around during the day, I show a lot of homeless people. I gave a couple dollars to a homeless man who looked about my age. I’m always weary about giving away money because you don’t know where it is going too. I told him I hope and pray he’ll use it for food. He told me he would and I believe him. He had no signs of drug or alcohol dependency, so I honestly think he did use the money for food. I also saw earlier today that the Philadelphia homeless population is growing and it’s mainly teenagers and young adults who are homeless! That is a scary statistic!

I definitely want to go back to visit more Philadelphia land marks in the near future. I’ll write another post and do another video when that happens. From this past visit of ‘Being a Tourist Philadelphia’ check out the youtube video here: Be a Tourist in Philly!



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