Conemaugh Haunts & History

The legends, lore, and ghost tales of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Indiana, Jefferson, & Somerset counties.

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GHOST HOLLOW (Union Twp., Jefferson County) One day in 1831, an unnamed man and his family were driving home in their carriage when a hellacious storm hit the Campbell Run area.  Other folk got off the road and took shelter in Joe Clement's house.  They offered shelter to the driver, but he cracked the whip and said he make it home or to hell.  Well, he didn't make it home.  A tree branch fell, pinning the driver. His terrified kin bolted from the coach and ran as best as they could in the ankle deep mud to Joe Clemens Inn. Breathlessly they told Clemens what happened. Clemens grabbed his coat and went to aid the driver. When he arrived, he saw the driver was dying. As Clemens leaned over, the driver suddenly lunged at him, grabbing the lapel of his duster and fixed him with a glaze. "I told you what would happen, Joe Clemens. I will haunt you from the depths of hell," and with that he died.  In the fall of 1831, Clemens noticed something odd in the woods behind his home. It was a flicker of light that had not been there before. Cautiously he investigated the glow. He moved ever closer until he could see a flame coming from a rock pile where he had seen no flame before. To Clemens it could only be one thing, that the stage coach driver was sending him a message from the depths of hell. Terrified, Clemens ran from the scene never to return. Word spread through the area and the braver souls sought out this flame of eternal damnation for themselves. To the well-reasoned it was obvious.  It was just a natural gas leak that had somehow ignited. But other things were happening. A few months later another stage driver swore someone had thrown a hatchet at him. He said the hatchet looked like the one the dead driver had carried to cut away limbs or harnesses. He immediately quit his job.  And as always, off in the distance was the faint glow of the burning rocks. His ghost haunted the area for decades after the event, frightening horses and other travelers, but eventually faded away.  We suppose Satan finally came to collect his dues.  Brookville History   Union Township History

GHOST TRAIN (Stanley, Clearfield County) The village of Stanley was once a prominent railroad station, located midway between DuBois and Punxsutawney.  At least two people have reported seeing a piece of it's history - a white train that roars down the tracks towards the crossing.  One witness saw it clearly enough to note that the boxcar doors were open.  But when they stopped their cars to let the train pass, it disappeared.  Ghost train keeps on a rollin'...  The Shadowlands

GRAND MIDWAY HOTEL (Windber, Somerset County) This isn't a public hotel, but now an airbnb after a stint as an artists retreat owned by film maker Blair Murphy.  He made the move from LA to Windber when he won the hotel in an E-Bay auction in 2001. The turn-of-the-century, 33-room building is plenty roomy, and apparently filled with ghostly guests. Blair's had a posse of psychic investigators stop by, and so far they've found rhyming Sarah, a young girl with long curly hair in a white pinafore with a doll, a girl in the wall, another that won't show herself, and heard various voices. Sarah told Voxx “609, come and see me anytime – I play in riddle and in rhyme – my father killed me, what a crime.” Voxx believes that 609 is spook speak for the year she died, 1906. The next ghost, responding to Patty Wilson's questioning, told her she had been hiding in the wall since 1929. Rosemary Eileen Guiley and Adam Blai got another woman's spirit to blurt “I can't help you if you can't see me,” after repeated requests to show herself. The Ghost Research Foundation investigated the Hotel, and left with the following impressions: A spirit called the Professor lurks in the second floor office. He has a liking for Anne Rice books on the shelf.  When they entered the “Canopy Room”, they felt intense cold and heard a spook say “We are not leaving!” They sensed a strong female presence there, which was not too surprising as the place was once a bordello. They also felt that the basement had a body or two buried in it at one time. That's how it is with those E-Bay purchases. You have to take the house as is. Ghosts - Kerouac Fest

GRANDVIEW CEMETERY (Yoder Hill, Cambria County) Built in 1885, this cemetery's claim to fame is that it's the final resting place of many of the Johnstown Flood's victims. Located at the former site of the Cambria Iron Company, Grandview Cemetery is also home of the “Unknown Plot”, where 777 unidentified bodies recovered from the disaster are interred. There's a memorial there in their honor, but that doesn't seem to give them peace. Their spirits allegedly haunt the grounds, and their voices can be heard crying for help.

GRAVITY HILL (New Paris, Bedford County) The good folks of Bedford were kind enough to spray paint a “GH” on the spot where your car will roll uphill, just off Bethel Hollow Road. It's an optical illusion, of course, but still a popular spot to prove Sir Isaac Newton wrong.  Bedford's Gravity Hill

GREATER JOHNSTOWN HIGH SCHOOL (Johnstown, Cambria County) The legend says that a janitor died in the school auditorium when he tumbled off the balcony. Doors shut, seats creak, and footsteps can be heard from under the stage. Some students have reported seeing him walking around the area. The Shadowlands 

HANGING TREE (Bedford, Bedford County) There's a spot in Bedford where back in the day justice would be meted out at the end of a noose.  That old hanging tree still exists, and it's said that you can still hear the cries of the restless spirits that were executed there.  To find out more, head to Bedford during the Halloween season and take its famous Ghost Tour.

HAUNTED BUILDING (Johnstown, Cambria County) Spooks have chased a pair of businesses, a law firm and a restaurant, out of this turn of the century building. The address is undisclosed. We suppose the owners would like to try to lure a tenant again. It's reported that radios shut off, doors slam, and alarms go off by themselves. A young lady dressed in blue has been seen haunting the building.  EDIT - don't bother searching; the building burned down. Another haunt up in flames.  The Shadowlands

HEADLESS GHOSTS OF INDIANA COUNTY (Indiana County) The are two different tales. The first involves a spirit that haunts Indiana's roads. He carries his severed head tucked under one arm and swings a rolling pin with the other. We guess his kitchen got a bad review.  The second one haunted Route 286 between Indiana and Clymer. He would stand alongside the road and grab horse's bridles as they rode by. He was an easy spook to deal with, though. A crack of the driver's whip in his direction, and away he would go. We haven't heard any recent stories; guess he's too slow to catch any of the cars speeding past him, or maybe a blast from a passing car horn sent the cowardly ghost back to the other side. It's in the book That's What Happened by Frances Strong Helman, a great source of local lore. (The Penn “Tales Of Paranormal Haunt Indiana,” October 31, 2003)

HEATHER'S POOL HALL (Beaverdale, Cambria County) This urban legend says that a girl (Heather, we assume)  was raped and murdered on the steps of the pool parlor because of drugs. It's claimed that if you walk those steps, you'll feel a chill and get high. We can't locate a pool hall in Beaverdale, although we're sure there's one someplace in town. It sounds more like a tale of caution than of spooks, although a residual energy might remain or more likely, an institutional memory was retained by the druggies & Heather's friends. The Shadowlands

HOMER CITY LOGGING ROAD (Indiana County) In a house on an unnamed logging road, the story goes that a man went berserk and killed his family - son, daughter, mother and grandfather. Then he killed himself. They were buried in a small cemetery on a hilltop by the house, which eventually burned to the ground. If you ever find this spot and start up the slope towards the unnamed cemetery, the killer will rise from his grave in the form of a green light and chase you back down the hill. The Shadowlands

IDEAL MARKET (Jackson Twp., Cambria County) The “Ghost of the Ideal Market” takes things from where they were and puts them somewhere else. Sounds like they need to watch the stockboys a little closer to us. Ideal took over from Vinco Bi-Lo in 2005. There's no word on whether the ghost was part of the deal. The Shadowlands

INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA (Indiana, Indiana County) IUP started out as tiny Indiana Normal School in 1875, hosting class in Sutton Hall.  It became a university in 1965, and grew from an original class of 225 students to its' current enrollment of 14,000.  But it still holds to the old traditions -  its ghosts predate the school.

  • Breezedale HallBreezedale Hall was built in the 1860's by James Sutton and sold to John Elkin. The Victorian mansion is now IUP's Alumni Hall. According to school legend, a man in a beige suit and fedora can be seen at the back stairwell before he disappears. Another figure has been spotted in the building's cupola, a sort of shadowy figure. There have also been reports of strange sounds and lights going on and off. James Sutton's brother-in-law, William Bell Marshall, lived in the mansion and committed suicide there. (The Penn “Cleaning Up Campus Myths,” November 5, 2005)
  • Keith Hall: Keith Hall today is the place where students study the social sciences, but it had a humbler start.  Jimmy Stewart attended the Keith School back when it was a campus grade school, built in 1939, and Indiana was still a Normal School.  The Hall is one of the favorite spook spots of the Ghost Researchers in Pennsylvania, who use it as a training grounds for would-be investigators.  People there hear voices, the sound of a train that used to run through the property, and been touched.  There's Bill, the "lounge lizard" in Room 233, who will only make contact with the group when they sing.  GRIP has orb pictures of him.  They have EVP's of a British spirit, too.  All in all, it's considered the hot spot of eerieness at IUP.  (The Penn "Ghost Researchers Provide More Than Stories," October 30, 2007) 
  • Leonard Hall: The home of the English and geography departments, the building was completely rebuilt in 1953 after being gutted by a fire.  Leonard Hall is noted for blinds and doors opening and shutting without human help, and the sound of voices and footsteps going down the hall when no one's around. (Indiana Gazette "Ghosts Walk the Halls of Campus Buildings," October 25, 2009)
  • Stabley Library: They have picked up EVPs of three voices on the third floor of the 1961 building, a part of Stapleton Library. (Indiana Gazette "Ghosts Walk the Halls of Campus Buildings," October 25, 2009)
  • Sutton Hall: This is IUP's original school building, built by John Sutton, James older brother, in 1875. If you come out at midnight and look at the top of the Sutton Hall bell tower, you're supposed to see a figure appear at the window. Faculty members have reported seeing a man in a top hat wandering the halls, and the fourth floor is supposed to be a hive of activity, ranging from feelings of uneasiness to disembodied voices. (The Penn “From Ghosts To Laxatives, IUP's Got Mysterious Myths,” September 14, 2007)
  • Waller Hall: Originally designed in 1926 to be a gymnasium, Waller Hall is now used for the theater department.  And like any good stage, it has its spooks.  Sarah, a little girl who drowned in the gym pool (its tiles can still be seen on the floor of the experimental theatre), has been spotted quietly playing in the corner, and sometimes she even makes an appearance sitting on the lights.  There's an older guy ghost who's a little more disruptive.  He's always slamming doors and moving things around, and his usual haunts are the studio theatre and its lighting platform.  The Shadowlands 

Take the virtual tour of IUP's campus.

JANESVILLE PIKE (Tyrone, Blair County) The spirit of Sylvia supposedly haunts the road.  She she was killed in a car crash there and now roams the area in search of her husband. If you really want to meet her there's a little ritual involved. Drive up the Pike (Route 453) to a roadside shoulder marked by a small yellow sign, pull over, and light a match. Call her name as the match blows out. Repeat twice more, and she's supposed to appear, wearing a white wedding dress. The Shadowlands

JEAN BONNET TAVERN (Bedford, Bedford County) Built in 1762 and opened as a public house by Jean Bonnet in 1780, this building is now part of the National Register of Historic Sites. One of the earliest spooks to haunt the house was a Frenchman that was hung in the 1700's, suspected of being a spy. His body was buried under the floor. He's been seen many times, sitting at the bar and sometimes in the area where he was hung. In fact, a skeleton was discovered under the floorboards in 1957 during renovations. It's thought to be his.  A customer at the bar once noticed a group of ghosts dressed in frontier clothes looking through the door, intently watching the piano player. There have been encounters with a wailing baby, reportedly deserted at the Tavern's steps. A "monster" was spotted at the top of the stairs by a child.  The mistress of Robert Callender, the original owner, is still haunting the tavern. The swoosh of her crinoline skirts and her footsteps can be heard as she rushes to the window to watch for his return. There's also the usual collection of unlocked doors, objects being moved, unexplained sounds, footsteps descending from the stairs, and eerie touchings, presences & sightings. A lone figure has been seen sitting alone at a table in the dining room, disappearing when you approach him.  Another spirit, dressed in colonial garb, quietly sits at a bar table and sips an ale there. A young boy toting a coal bucket has been seen in the basement.  One last legend. A horse thief, pursued by Shawnees, pulled into the tavern for protection from the Indians. Wanting to keep the peace, and their scalps, the customers held a kangaroo court, found him guilty, and strung him up from the second floor staircase. Then they dangled his body outside so that the Shawnee's could see frontier justice had been served.  It worked.  It's claimed you can hear his footsteps and feel a cold breeze on the second floor stairway. The Ghost Research Foundation has a terrific accounting of the Tavern's fascinating history and its' many permanent guests. Jean Bonnet Folklore     Jean Bonnet Tavern - Mountains of Attractions

RON KIRKPATRICK'S CUSTOMS (East Brady, Clarion County) Ron Kirkpatrick's shop was originally built in 1927 as a Quaker State station.  The previous owner sold the shop to Kirkpatrick after he had a ghost sighting and refused to ever set foot in the building again.  Despite the tale, Ron plunked down the cash and set up business.  Kirkpatrick poked into the history of the structure a bit, and found out that a pair of people had died there, including the original owner, because of work-related accidents.  That in itself isn't all that unusual, considering the shop dates back to the Roaring Twenties.  But the old owner's tale picked up some credence when Kirkpatrick's security system taped pictures of orbs on a daily basis and suffered from unexplained electrical glitches, one of the trademarks of visitors from the other side.  Adding another log to the fire were the reports from his staff, who claimed to witness two misty old men in the garage and "seeing other stuff flying around."  Intrigued, he had a local ghost-hunting crew investigate the place.  They captured an EVP of a voice that said their names before their equipment malfunctioned.  Do the spirits of two men who left home for work and never returned now consider the shop to be their new home?  (Ron Kirkpatrick correspondance)

LAKEMONT PARK (Lakemont, Blair County) Built in 1894 as a trolley park, Lakemont is one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation. It's said that a maintenance worker there was killed during a test run of a roller coaster, and that you can still see him working on the track. The coaster is unnamed, with the wooden Leap-the-Dips, built in 1902, and the steel Toboggan, built in 1971, being the suspects. The Shadowlands 

LADY IN THE RED SHAWL (Old Bedford Village, Bedford County) People have seen the hunched over figure of an old lady dressed in a red shawl or cloak in Old Bedford.  She carries a bag and a pitchfork with her.  People have spoken to her, but she never replies - she's the ghost of a long ago murder victim.  Mountains of Attractions

LAUREL WOOD CARE CENTER (Johnstown, Cambria County) Spooky pounding on the windows has been reported from this Woodmont Road nursing home. Ghosts have allegedly been seen roaming the halls and the therapy room. The Shadowlands

LEMON HOUSE  (Cresson, Cambria County) The Lemon House is the showcase of the Allegheny Portage National Park.  It had its heyday as an Inn and Tavern from the mid 1830s-50s when Sam & Jean Lemon had a monopoly on the lucrative business of caring for all the travelers that passed through the Allegheny Portage Railroad.  National Park employees have reported bangings, with doors and windows opening and shutting of their own accord, particularly on foggy evenings.  It's alleged that people died in the Lemon House itself, and quite a few more reached their final destination nearby between railroad accidents and traveler mishaps, so there are spooks aplenty to roam Sam's Inn. The Shadowlands

LINCOLN HIGHWAY ANTIQUE SHOP (Schellsburg, Bedford County) This shop is housed in a Revolutionary War era building, and was reportedly haunted by a female spirit. The owner believed the ghost to be a woman who had been taken away to a home against her will. The Allegheny Mountain Ghosthunters came to investigate. After some phenomena was exhibited, the group believes that the ghost is that a Quaker girl, wearing a full-length dress with an apron and a bonnet. She seems associated with a bedboard in a room located on the second floor of the home that had a lot of energy attached to it. As an experiment, they moved the headboard to an opposite wall, and one member had the impression of a voice telling him “Put it back.” They returned it to the original place, and the voice said “Thank you.” One team member collapsed as he tried to make contact with the spirit. She apologized, like a good Quaker.  Upbringing shows, even in the afterlife. Allegheny Mountain Ghost Hunters

LINCOLN HOUSE (Mann's Choice, Bedford County) The Tull family first built a home at the spot in 1777, and in fact the area is still known as Tull's Hill. Now it's an antique shop. But in between, the building was the Hotel Lincoln, called “the best little whorehouse in Pennsylvania.” The hotel had a bar on the first floor and ladies of the evening working the second and third floors. Legend has it that one of the ladies was having an affair on the second floor. Her angry husband burst into the room – not so much enraged at the cheating as at the fact that she was giving away the night's profits – and shot his wife's lover. She scampered into another room and hid in the closet. Bad choice. He found her, stabbed her to death, and hung her body on the closet door. To this day, customers are uneasy on the second floor of the shop, and the girl's reflection is supposed to be seen on an antique mirror, peeking out of the closet. Another story has a man in his 40s suddenly appearing and telling tales of the old hotel to the antique shop owner. He said he was a cook there in the 1930s, and then disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared. The owner realized that the man should have been quite elderly if he had really worked there then, not middle aged. She suspects he was an old spirit wanting to share some tales of the good old days with her. There may be some other spooks in the building, too. Perhaps some of the Tulls are still floating around. They lost 11 family members, the parents and 9 daughters, in a massacre at their home back when the area was frontier territory.  There's also an old cupboard that emits weird noises. In the backyard of the shop sits Old Engine #49, also known as the ghost train. The steam whistles blows & the bell rings many nights at 8 PM, despite the fact there's no engineer, or for that matter, any steam. After the engine was restored in the late 1940s, the railroaders refused to work on it. They claimed they could smell burning flesh whenever they fired up the coal steamer. It had been repaired after an accident that had scalded the engineer to death. The haunts are so famous that the BBC and Italian television have run specials on it. Haunted Brothel - Mountains of Attractions

LITCH MANSION (Brookville, Jefferson County) In the late 1840s, Thomas Litch, a prominent lumberman, built a mansion on a hill overlooking North Fork Creek, with a smaller summer home about ¼ mile away. It's been reported that unexplained sounds and cold temperatures are associated with this building, and there's a patch of ground in the back yard where snow won't lay, no matter how cold it is outside. The Shadowlands

LOST CHILDREN OF THE ALLEGHENIES (Spruce Hollow, Bedford County) On April 24, 1856, Joseph and George Cox wandered away from their cabin. They were only 5 & 6, and 150 people fanned out through the dense Blue Knob looking for the children. Within days, 1,000 people were involved in the search. But after 10 days, it began to look fruitless. Had they drowned? Were they kidnapped? Did a wild animal get them? Some even suspected the parents. They had to tear up their floor to prove that they hadn't buried their sons. In early May, farmer Jacob Dibert had a nightmare – he saw the brothers lying together, dead, and the area was etched clearly in his mind. He had the dream again, and told the Cox's brother-in-law Harrison Whysong the story. Whysong was skeptical, but recognized the area that Dibert had described. They went there, and the young bodies were found, just where Dibert had predicted. They had died only days earlier. To commemorate the deed, the people of Pavia Township built a monument at the spot the brothers were found. They were buried in Mt. Union Cemetery It's said that their lost spirits still roam the woods, trying to find their way home. Lost Children of the Alleghenies

LOST INDIAN SILVER MINE (Clearfield County) In 1825, J.T. Groves stopped to see his friend Thomas Burns, who had a cabin and trading post on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.  Four Indians came in to trade their canoes for picks, shovels and food.  After the deal, they proceeded upstream on foot.  The Indians returned a few days later, looking for a place to stay for the night and to buy back their canoes.  They offered the surprised Burns a small bag of silver to seal the transaction.  After all, just a few days ago, these same Indians had to trade in their dearest possession, their canoes, for food.  While the tired Indians slept, Groves checked their sacks.  As he suspected, they were filled with silver.  The Indians headed downstream the next morning, and Groves, a master frontier tracker, retraced their steps upriver.  He got as far as Birch Island Run before they disappeared.  But try as he may, he could never pick up the trail again.  Groves checked both banks for miles, and Boughner Run, Little Boughner Run, Spruce Run and Moore's Run, but the Indians had covered their tracks too well for him to find.  He even returned with his son to look for the Indian mine, but the extra pair of eyes was of no help.  There's a silver mine still sitting in the area, waiting to be claimed again. Legends of Clearfield County by Melvin Lingle tells all of the county's folktales and legends. Matt Hoover Blog                                                       

LOWER YODER WOODS (Lower Yoder Twp., Cambria County) It's reported that in the woodlands across from D Street & Norton Road that people hear voices, whistling and other unexplainable noises. Orbs are sometimes seen. The legend is that old miners still walk the woods. Though mostly farmland, Lower Yoder was once the home to the Morrellville Mines, which began operation in 1917. The Shadowlands

LUTHERSBURG FIELD (Clearfield County) A high school girl was reportedly raped and killed in the woods by the field. If you drive onto the field and shut off your car, but keep the lights on, you may see her run across the field. The Shadowlands

METROPOLITAN HOTEL (Mann's Choice, Bedford County) This Main Street building dates back to the Civil War, and it housed soldiers during that conflict. There are supposed to be several spirits here. One is a man in a flannel shirt that's been seen walking along the hallway. Another is a young lady, dressed in a long, dark, full-skirted dress, wearing button shoes with her hair in a bun. She goes down the steps, falls flat on her face, and disappears. Other sightings are of Civil War era spirits, including one of a woman.  Allegheny Mountain Ghost Hunters

MISHLER THEATER (Altoona, Blair County) Built in 1906, the Mishler Theater was a popular stop during the vaudeville era, and is still home to live performances today. The legend is that it's original owner, Isaac Mishler, who died in 1944, still roams the aisles. His spook befriended a young girl there, whom he regaled with tales from the old days and entertained by sporting different theatrical hats. Staff members have seen Isaac going to his old office, sitting in the seats, and walking the catwalks above the stage. They swear they can even smell his trademark cigar smoke. Another popular spirit spot is the ladies washroom, where ghostly women dressed in outfits and costumes from the early 1900s to the 1930s have been seen powdering their noses. Another wraith has been spotted on stage. The building is a historic site and operated by the Blair County Arts Foundation    Mountains of Attractions 

MORLEYS DOG (Johnstown, Cambria County) Cast in iron in 1886, the statue of Morley's Dog has stood guard over his master James Morley's mansion, got washed away by the 1889 flood, returned to guard duty, been beaten by vandals and stuffed with concrete. Morley's Dog even got a cameo in Paul Newman's movie, Slapshot. There's a local brew, Morley's Red, named after him, too. He's a swell legend and a Johnstown icon, but Lassie he's not. The legend is that his statue is of the dog that saved three people during the Great Flood.  But that dog was Romney, not Morley's mutt. Romney was a Great Dane that was the family pooch of the Kress family, and this humble house hound is the one that rescued the people from the floodwaters. So get your doggies right – Morley's Dog is the legendary statue, but Romney's the hero, even if he didn't rate a memorial. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette “Here: In Johnstown,” November 16, 2003)

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