Freedom's Corner Haunts & History

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The legends, lore, and ghost tales of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton & Philadelphia counties.

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MAGNOLIA'S VINEYARD (Guthsville, Lehigh County) The restaurant was originally built in the 1850s as the Guthsville Hotel, and today is named in honor of its' resident spook, Magnolia Evans.  She was the daughter of a Yankee Civil War officer (The tale claims he was a general, but there was no General Evans in the Union army.)  One day, a wounded graycoat was brought to the building to be treated and Magnolia nursed him back to health with a heaping dose of TLC.  She fell for the young rebel, who was supposed to return to Pennsylvania after the war to reclaim his Magnolia.  He didn't.  You can never trust a man in uniform when it comes to the ladies.  Magnolia's ghost has been seen roaming along the banks of Jordan Creek by the spot where she was supposed to meet her lover boy.  It may be about time for her to take the hint.  Unsolved Mysteries 

MAJESTIC THEATER (Reading, Berks County) The old Majestic was haunted by the ghost of an elderly lady who liked to frequent the balcony.  There have also been sightings of a former director along with an old actor named Frank in the building.  The Majestic has been closed for quite a while now.  It was a reception hall and then became at last look a child care center. Pennsylvania Researchers

MANOR CARE HEALTH SERVICES (Allentown, Lehigh County) The MCHS is part of a state-wide franchise of nursing homes, and their Allentown facility has a youngster's spook roaming the kitchen.  The child is dressed in modern clothes, and seems to be 8 or 9 years old.  He looks like a normal kid to the help.  Allegedly, after he's spotted by the staff, he looks them in the eye, and then disappears in the kitchen.  They can't ever find anyone after a sighting.  It happens only during the second and third shifts.  The help suspects that there's a young boy's ghostie roaming the kitchen.  We'd suspect a local kid that's figured out how to sneak into the kitchen looking for a nighttime snack may be a very real possibility, too. The Shadowlands 

MANOR HOUSE B&B (Phoenixville, Chester County) We can't find much on the history of this small suburban Tudor B&B, but that doesn't seem to bother the spooks there any. Guests of the Manor have reported hearing the happy sound of children's voices in the house. Investigators found another ghost boy in the basement, apparently hiding out because of a guilty secret he has but true to his word, won't spill.  The one apparition that's been sighted at the B&B is that of a red headed woman.  The Manor has been featured in a couple of books, Ghost Stories of Chester County by Charles Adams III and Ghosts of Valley Forge & Phoenixville Area by DP Roseberry.  It's a very reasonably priced B&B, so if you'd like combine a bit of ghost hunting with some R&R...  South Jersey Ghost Research  

MANSION HOUSE (Phoenixville, Chester County) The historic eatery, now known as the Pickering Creek Inn, was first opened in 1842. It's across the tracks from the banks of the Schuylkill River by French Creek, at the end of Bridge Street's Restaurant Row.  It was a stop on the Underground RR and housed such illustrious guests as the Sundance Kid, Harry Longabaugh, who had a home in nearby Mont Clare. It was also a departure point for Union soldiers during the Civil War, and one them, Jeremy, is still there and stars as its' most famous spook. He was allegedly shot to death there.  The long-haired soldier is best known for his trick of spinning a single rose that sits in a vase, and he's also been known to have conversations with the guests. And he's not alone.  Workmen renovating the building in 2003 found a couple of sealed rooms, closed off before electricity was run into the House, filled with antiques and the smell of smoke from a long-ago fire (There have been several at the Mansion House over its history). A couple of the old things discovered in the dusty rooms may have been ghosts upset at being disturbed for the first time in over a century.  Some workers refused to continue on the job after knick-knacks flew off the shelves at them, the scents of cinnamon and perfume filled a room when the rest of the place reeked of smoke, and ghostly hands stroked their hair.  The owner could hear the front door opening and people entering the restaurant - but no one was there. The staff has stories of spooky going-ons in the sub basement and its dirt tunnel, presumably where the runaway slaves hid before being transferred to freedom.  There's enough going on to earn the Manor a mention in the book Ghosts of Valley Forge and Phoenixville Area by DP Roseberry and it's a regular stop for the Ghost Tours of Phoenixville.  (Phoenixville News "America's Paranormal Hot Spot," February 14, 2007)

MAPLE GROVE INN GHOST (Alburtis, Lehigh County) John Keifer built the Maple Grove Inn as a hotel in 1783, and it later became a stagecoach stop. Now it's a State Street restaurant called The Inn at Maple Grove, serving classic American fare...and a bit more.  It features the stories of two spooks on its' menu. The first is an Indian nicknamed Charlie who was hung in the Commons Room, now the dining room, in front of the fireplace for impregnating a white woman. It's said lighting the fireplace usually is enough to get a rise out of Charlie. His supposed victim, it turned out, was a willing participant to the match, unbeknowst to the vigilantes, and the Indian vowed to haunt the Inn in a protest of the injustice of it all. His footsteps can be heard, he shakes the fireplace tools, makes the chandeliers swing, plays with the lights & door locks, makes rapping sounds, whistles, and generally makes a nuisance of himself. He's sometimes seen as a mist or dove. His body is buried either under the fireplace's hearthstone or in the basement, depending on which version of the story is being told. The other spook has been seen upstairs. He's the spirit of a man that was allegedly murdered in a closet on the second floor, and is most commonly associated with footsteps heard when no one's around. Their tales are told in Ghost Stories of the Lehigh Valley by Charles Adams III and David Seibold and Haunted Places by Dennis William Hauck.  Suite 101 

JAMES MARTIN SCHOOL (Richmond Street, Philadelphia) The school is located in a century old building alleged to have been a mental hospital before its' conversion to a school building.  It's said that you can see bloody hands appear in the school, and reflections of people in the mirrors when no one else is there.  It's also reported that you you can see a face peering out from the closed off attic section of the building.  The legends attribute the sighting to boys who cut school and got trapped in the attic and died or to the mental patients. It's said that the one patient hung himself there, while another group of them formed a circle and committed ritual suicide by slitting one another's wrists. Mainline Para 

MCGILLIN'S OLD ALE HOUSE (Philadelphia) The famous pub, officially called The Bell in Hand, opened its doors in 1860 in the home of Irish immigrant William "Pa" McGillin, the owner and operator of the establishment, and is the oldest in Philadelphia. It was nicknamed McGillin's by those who the customers, and the bar took on the title as its official name. "Pa" operated the bar until his death in 1901. Then his wife, "Ma" McGillin, continued running the business until her own death in 1937, at age 90. Ma's spirit was reputed to follow a manager around and even appear to her, and her image as a "Lady in White" was spotted and photographed, reflecting in the mirror over the fireplace, by a South Jersey Paranormal group. There are also rumors of a great uncle who met his demise in the back alley who still frequents the Ale House. "Ghostly Doings" by SE Burns.

18 MECHANIC STREET (New Hope, Bucks County) This building is home to a pair of storefront businesses, currently the Esca restaurant and the Namesake shop.  The building was a popular Underground Railroad stop back in the day.  One Esca ghost is an Abe Lincoln look-alike, with a stove pipe hat and Civil War era clothing.  He's seen on the staircase and sometimes sitting in a bedroom.  The other is a lady in black, sometimes seen with a cane.   The owner suspects it's the spirit of Henrietta Cunningham, a former owner that once broke her hip.  Namesake is haunted by the spook they call the Occupant.  They believe he dates from the 1700s and is seen dressed in a colonial soldier's uniform.  He's quite the poltergeist, playing with the electronics, ringing doorbells, taking phones off the hook, and cranking up the stereo.  He's based upstairs, where he keeps the tenants on their toes.  The spooks are mentioned in Ghosts in the Valley: Hauntings In The Delaware Valley by Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey. (New Hope Gazette "New Hope's Eerie Haunts," October 27, 2005) 

MIDGETVILLE (Ridley Park, Delaware County) The urban legend legend says that there's an enclave of small houses occupied by small people who will chase you out of their neighborhood if you come visiting.  The mythical Midgetville is located across from Taylor Hospital off Chester Pike on Princeton Avenue. There's actually a kernel of truth to the tale.  According to Delaware County historian Keith Lockhardt, developer Norman Sloane built a cul-de-sac of small Tudor homes called Stoney Brook in 1911.  Although the houses were small, the home owners weren't.  Most sources say the early residents formed an art colony of sorts.  Helping to fuel the tale's mystique, the windows were positioned lower on the house than usual by design, adding to the speculation that wee people lived in them.  People have trouble finding the place now.  That's because virtually all the houses have had additions made to them during the decades, and they all look like normal sized homes now.  Midgetville is mentioned in Matt Lake's Weird Pennsylvania

MIDNIGHT LUCY (Norristown, Montgomery County) And we begin our pair of resurrection stories from Route 202 in Norristown.  A teenaged girl named Lucy, according to urban legend, was thumbing a ride one night.  She thought she was lucky when a car stopped for her.  Wrong.  The auto she hopped into soon swerved into another car and crashed head-on, and Lucy was killed.  But she didn't let a little thing like death stop her.  She's still spotted occasionally on the roadside hitching a ride.  If someone stops, she jumps right into the passenger seat without a word.  And as soon as the driver speaks to her or turns towards her, she disappears.  So think twice before giving that poor girl a ride.  She'll never finish the trip.  This tale is from Matt Lake's Weird Pennsylvania.

MIDNIGHT MARY (Penn Manor Lake, Bucks County) Ah, nothing like a classic resurrection tale ala The White Lady of Wopsy Mountain or Chicago's Resurrection Mary, the momma of them all.   In 1935, Gertrude Spring and her date were on their way to, or maybe from, the prom.  But the car skidded off the Bordentown Pike in Bucks County and splashed down into Penn Manor Lake (known by the locals as Tulleytown Lake or Van Sciver Lake), killing them both.  An alternate tale claims that the pair had a spat, and he dumped her at the lake to wend her way home to Bristol.  She hitched a ride with another boy who was drunk and drove into the lake waters, killing them both.  The car and the body of the boy were recovered, but Spring was never found, according to both versions.  Some say they have seen Spring's spirit floating above the lake in her pink prom dress to this day, accompanied by the strains of ballroom music.  They add that sometimes she seems to dance on the water.   Others have seen her on Bordentown Road, thumbing a ride.  She's wearing a wet pink dress and is obviously distraught, telling the drivers that she has to find her Bobby.  She eventually disappears, leaving behind a puddle in the car and sometimes a corsage.   She's buried in St. Jame's Episcopal Cemetery, and her grave is a popular stop.  The biggest mystery is why they call the ghost Mary instead of Gertrude.  We're sure it's just for the alliteration.  Midnight Trudy just doesn't have the same ring. Now Tulleytown Trudy or Gertie's Ghostie...  Philly Burbs 

MILLER’S GHOST (Montgomery County) This bit of Pennsylvania Dutch lore may be the first ghost story told by European settlers in the New Land.  Frederich Reimer arrived in Philadelphia in 1730 and settled in Montgomery County with his family.  A few years later, his daughter Susanna saw a sad-looking man sitting on a log in their front yard. When Susanna pointed him out to her sister Elizabeth, she couldn’t see him, and when Susanna looked back, he had vanished.  He was later spotted by her in a corn field, but again no one but she noticed him.  Then she saw him  a few days later, this time on the stable’s roof.  Susanna ran to get her sister Elizabeth, who still couldn’t see him, but asked her sister to find out why he was there.  The man said he owed a debt, and couldn’t move on until he paid it. The girls promised to do what they could. The man nodded and said that he had to return home. The man walked towards the graveyard by the creek and disappeared in front of a stone. The sisters told their dad, and at the cemetery found the spook’s tombstone, which had “Miller” written on it.  It was enough of a lead so that they could find Miller's widow. She said her hubby had borrowed money from a woman named Steinmann;  Mrs. Miller believed that she had cursed her husband and caused his death over the debt.  They approached Steinmann, but she pleaded ignorance of the whole matter, and the ghost of Miller was never seen again.  But there is a side bar.  Frederick Reimer died that winter, freezing to death outside his home.  Many of the townspeople thought that Miller's ghost caused his death, because Reimer never officially satisfied the debt he owed.  The story is told in Charles Adam's Montgomery County Ghost Stories and Mark Nesbitt & Patty Wilson’s The Big Book Of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories.

MOM RINKER'S ROCK (Wissahickon Park, Philadelphia) The legend is that this rock was the home base for a 17th century witch named Mom Rinker.  She could fly to the moon and back on her broomstick, drank dew from acorns, put the evil eye on the neighbors, and brewed some mean potions, according to Lillian Ione Rhoad's 1900 book The Story of Philadelphia.  But Wikipedia says around the Battle of Germantown during the Revolution that American spies took advantage of the rugged terrain of the Wissahickon Valley to get information from a Mom Rinker, who sat on the rock knitting, and would drop balls of yarn which contained messages about British troop movements during the occupation of Philadelphia wrapped inside them to the waiting agents in the valley below.   Take your pick of legends; we like them both.

MONTGOMERY CEMETERY (Norristown, Montgomery County) We don't know if the historic boneyard, established in 1847, has any ghosties roaming the grounds (there certainly should be!), but it does have a couple of interesting bits of lore.  Besides being the final resting place for a handful of Civil War generals, it has a witch's mound - the body of an alleged witch, along with all her belongings, including her furniture, were buried in a heap in the graveyard.  And it's the last stop for headless Hunsicker.  He's a vet of the War Between the States who was buried in an underground vault at the cemetery.  In the eighties, vandals broke into the vault and stole Hunsicker's skull - hence, headless Hunsicker.  (Times-Herald, "Graveyard Tour Mixes History and Legend," October 24, 2003)

MOROVIAN BOOK SHOP (Bethlehem, Lehigh County) The Moravian Book Shop on Main Street hosts candlelight walking tours called "Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem" during Halloween season, and its guides don't have to worry about sore dogs. The store, founded in 1745, is said to have its own ghost.  Many staffers have caught sight of a male apparition, dressed in a robe or long jacket.  And he's pretty handy, too.  It's said that when a book falls off the shelf, he's the culprit - and before the day is done, someone will come to shop looking for the very title that dropped to the floor.  The staff also spotted him running towards the kitchen one night.  Being brave souls, they went after him - and discovered they had left the burners lit on the oven.  (The Express-Times "Ghostly Tales From Walking Tours..." 10/16/2009)

MORAVIAN COLLEGE (Bethlehem, Lehigh County)  Moravian College dates back to 1742 when it was an all girls boarding school.  It became a woman's seminary in 1863, the same year a men's seminary popped up on campus.  It become the coed Moravian College in 1954.  It's spooks are coed, too. 

  • Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority House: The house was supposedly once part of an old estate.  It's said that one of the estate's maids, a girl named Alicia, became pregnant by the house's master.  Outraged at the news, he threw her down a flight of steps, killing her and the baby.  Though the steps were taken out, Alicia remains.  The attic is now used for storage, but used to be Alicia's quarters.  You can see lights going on and off when no one is there.  Bedroom lights in the house go on and off.  She's especially tough on male visitors, and given her experience, who can blame her?  Pictures of men are found turned around or covered.  A girl that had her boyfriend stay over was awakened by a shaking bed and a cold presence, perhaps a warning from Alicia to keep the relationship platonic.  Once a group of guys challenged Alicia's legend and went to spend the night in the attic. They fled the attic at 2AM, terrified, and refused to ever step foot in the house again.  Alicia won the dare. The Shadowlands 
  • Comelius Hall: The hall was founded in 1892, and was named for 17th century Bishop John Amos Comelius, who believed that education should be available to all. He's said to be seen as a light going back and forth on the top floor of his namesake hall, watching over his charges.  There's been some unknown activity reported from the basement.  A dog raised its' hackles at an unseen presence, although nothing unusual was observed by the people in the group.  There's also supposed to be the ghost of a WWI soldier that haunts the hall. The Shadowlands 
  • Main Hall: The woman's dorm is gently haunted by the appartions of an older couple seen sitting on a couch, enjoying their endless twilight years. Haunted Pennsylvania 
  • Rau Hal: This dorm is allegedly haunted by the three spirits of girls that hung themselves in the "Pit", as the basement is called by the students.  The Pit is closed off and unaccessible now, except during Rau's Halloween haunted house tour. The Shadowlands 
  • Single Brethren's House: This stone building was built in 1748 and used as housing for single men.  It now serves as classrooms and offices of the Music department.  It was also used during the Revolution as a hospital for Colonial troops.  It features paranormal activity such as opening and shutting doors, cold spots, floating lights, and bodiless footsteps. There have been two reported ghost sightings.  One is of a nurse that's been seen on the grounds.  The other is from the basement, where a man was seen by a custodian wandering about, with bloody gauze wraps around his head and arm.  The Shadowlands 
  • South Campus: Unexplained banging noises coming from the underground tunnels beneath the South Campus are supposed to be so loud that they disrupt classes.  Plumbing problems or poltergeists? Haunted Pennsylvania 
  • Wilhelm Hall: No sightings in this dorm, but there are reports of scratching and banging coming from its' walls.  Could be squirrels, could be spooks.  The Shadowlands  

Moravian College Campus Tour

MOSHULU (Penn's Landing, Philadelphia)  Built in 1904, the good ship Moshulu has hauled freight all over the Seven Seas, traveling around Cape Horn 54 times in all.  But in 1975, she was put to more sedentary use as a restaurant permanently docked in the Delaware River.  There are 52 lanterns in the dining room, adding some ambience for the patrons.  After a fire that gutted the Moshulu in 1989, the staff is quite careful to extinguish the lamps at closing time.  But often by opening time or sometimes even before the staff can finish putting the flames out, the lanterns are relit.  The workers have claimed to see what they dubbed the Lantern Ghost going from table to table lighting the wicks.  Even spooks are afraid of the dark!  On the top deck, one can reportedly hear the whispering ghost, although no one can make out what it's saying.  The sounds of hysterical laughter can be heard coming from the hull.  It's also said that eerie cries can be heard from the rigging on the four masted ship.  28 sailors in all died while on duty aboard the Moshulu.  Their spirits still linger.  Digest ezine 

MT. CARMEL CRASH (Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County) This is a legend of lost gold, not lost spirits.  On June 17, 1948, a DC-6 went down near Mt. Carmel, and all 43 souls aboard were killed.  Among the victims were Broadway impresario Earl Carter and his companion, actress Beryl Wallace.  There were a couple of odd sidebars to this tale.  All but one of the Mt. Carmel fire engines were out of commission that day.  They were in a parade.  And one of the bodies was never claimed.  The Odd Fellows took it in, and buried the bod in their nearby cemetery, where they hold a service for its soul every year.  The gold?  The story is that there was $250,000 on the plane - and one of the passengers pitched it from the DC-6 moments before the crash.  It's never been found.  Mt. Carmel Crash

MT. PLEASANT (Fairmount Park, Philadelphia) The house was built in 1761 by Scottish privateer John MacPherson, and he named his estate Clunie. His chief claim to fame was having his arm shot off, but that didn't stop him from earning a fine living raiding ships.  Mac must have liked the landlubber's life.  Several visitors have reported seeing a shadowy one-armed man in the home, no doubt the buccaneer MacPherson.  If the missing arm wasn't enough of a giveaway, people have identified him by his portrait.  In 1779, American turncoat Benedict Arnold bought it for his wife Peggy Shippen, but circumstances required the pair to beat a hasty retreat to England, so they never got to move in. Other owners took their turn in the home, and eventually it became known as Mount Pleasant.  In 1868 it became part of the Fairmount Park holdings. The oddest sighting?  A guard reported seeing a pair of red slippers march down the steps - with nobody in them! Digest ezine 

MT ZION CEMETERY (N. Coventry Twp., Chester County) Located near Pottstown, Shadowlands claims that the cemetery has had sightings of fogs and mists.  The cemetery office, according to the South Jersey Ghost Research team, is the site of knockings, moanings, orbs, and ghost sightings.

MUHLENBERG COLLEGE (Allentown, Lehigh County) South Hall was opened in 2002 over the razed bones of Oscar Bernheim's house.  Bernheim was once the treasurer of the College, and on his death bequeathed his house to the school with the understanding that his beloved rose garden would be tended to through perpetuity.  The college had a short memory and later bulldozed his house, garden and all, to put up some dorms.  As soon as South opened, odd events began to occur.  TV's turned on and off, objects were moved, and unexplainable noises were heard.  One room in particular was affected, and a spirit was seen there.  One of the students saw an old photo of Bernheim.  She recognized him as the ghost.  The school considered blessing, purifying or even exorcising the dorm.  While the University officials dithered, the girls took matters in their own hands.  They began putting roses up around their haunted suite.  It did the trick.  Bernheim's ghost was happy, and the poltergeist activity went way down.  The school president scoffs at the ghost sighting.  He says it wasn't South, but a different dorm that was built over Bernheim's garden.  But the girl who saw the photograph knows that a picture is worth a thousand words...  (The Muhlenberg Weekly "South Ghost: The Story Behind The Story," October 27, 2005) 

MUHLENBERG HIGH SCHOOL (Laureldale, Berks County) The legend has it that a boy came out of gym class and collapsed.  He suffered from a heart problem and died.  Both students and staff have reported seeing his ghost roaming the halls of MHS.  The Shadowlands

MURDER HOUSE (Collegeville, Montgomery County) The local urban legend says that a man killed his entire family in their now deserted home on Old Baptist Road, a desolate lane that cuts through Evansburg State Park. If you pass the home now, it's supposedly surrounded by orbs and blue lights.  It also is watched over by a spectral pack of Ghost Dogs. The Shadowlands

MUTTER MUSEUM (22nd Street, Philadelphia)  The Mutter Museum is included not because of the spook stories associated with it, but because of it's legendary collection of spooky stuff.  Dr. Thomas Mutter gave his collection of anatomical oddities to the College of Physicians.  It includes the wall of skulls (138 skulls lined up tastefully along a museum wall), a plaster cast of Siamese twins joined at the liver, cancerous growths, things removed from people's throats, and the skeleton of a 7'6" giant and a 3'6" dwarf known as the Odd Couple.  Who needs ghosts? 

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