Penelope Snow was born to a woman called Helen Snow, Deceased. Or at least that's how it was always written on paper. There was no father listed, but Penny didn't mind terribly. A mysterious father could be anyone, like a king or a pirate or even a movie star! Penny grew up in a multitude of foster homes. Most were short lived experiences, the longest being just over one year. Penny tried to be good, she really did. But her foster families always found her to be rather unsettling at best. At age 8 she was scheduled for an intensive psychiatric evaluation upon rather insistent recommendations from previous foster homes. After the evaluation revealed that Penny had a habit of carrying on conversations with people no one else could see, an uncanny ability to answer questions before they were actually asked, and vividly frightening hallucinations, Penny was admitted to St. Mary's Asylum for the Mentally Insane.
It really wasn't so bad, as asylums go. The pills were bad at first. She had to fight to stay awake and the smell of food made her immediately sick. Once she figured out that she could use her powers to make the nurses think they'd seen her take the pills, it got a lot better. So every day she flushed a rainbow of pills down the toilet and imagined sewer rats eating them like candy. The psychiatrists asked a lot of strange questions, but they were nice enough. The other patients thought such interesting things, although they did not seem to feel comfortable around Penny. She tried really hard to make friends with them, but they usually began to shriek or swing at her if she got too close. So instead she made friends with the ghosts that haunted the asylum, and the white walls really did make it easier to imagine that she was somewhere else, like a forest or a mountain top or an opera! Penny sometimes imagined breaking out, dramatically, like an escaped convict, but she had no home to run away to like the prisoners in movies. St. Mary's was her home. At least on paper.