Hi. Welcome to Pennsylvania Dutch Haunts and History. We hope you enjoy the tales of the Deutsch from the Accomac Inn to the Hex Murder to York's many haunts.
We've linked the story and its' history to its' primary web source. If it's a newspaper, we just cited it. Many news links get archived, disappear, or switch over to pay per view, so we didn't link them. There are also many nicely done books that cover the haunts and history of the region.
One last word of caution. Many of the stories take place on private property. Please don't go ghost hunting or thrill seeking there without the owner's permission. People value their privacy, and a midnight encounter with the police or a watch dog is lots scarier than any spook you'll run across. There's plenty of public places for you to explore.
Here's some of the more popular Pennsylvania Dutch links:
Pennsylvania Dutch Contents:
Page 1) Accomac Inn - F&M College
Page 2) Fulton Opera House - The Night Walker
Page 3) Old Franklin County Jail - York Little Theatre
ACCOMAC INN (Wrightsville, York County) The Accomac Inn started out as Anderson's Ferry in 1742, and a hotel was added in 1771. It later became Keesey's Ferry, then Coyle's Ferry, and by 1875 was the Accomac Inn. It was destroyed by fire in 1935 and rebuilt. But the ghosts are from its' days as Coyle's Ferry. Johnny Coyle was the son of the ferry owner, and fell hard for a girl working there named Emily Myers. Emily had no time for Johnny. One day as she was milking the cows in the barn, Johnny started to press his advances on her. She spurned him again, and the frustrated Johnny shot her. It was one of the big trials of the day. Johnny pleaded not guilty because of a weak mind. Bad plea - he was sentenced to be hung. He got a retrial in another county in front of a neutral jury with the same results. He was hung this time, and buried on the family estate. His stone marker is just off the current parking lot of the Inn, fifty feet from the front door. Johnny's spirit still roams the Accomac. He's been seen by many folk, and loves to play poltergeist games like breaking dishes, slamming doors, and hiding objects. It's said Emily also haunts the Inn. Her presence is noted late at night when you can hear soft music and a woman's voice in the building. One employee reported seeing a young spectral couple in the upstairs storage room. We're not sure who they are. Maybe Emily finally gave in to the persistent Johnny's charms. The Shadowlands
ALBATWITCHES (Chickie's Rock Park, Lancaster County) The Susquehannock Indians held a belief in an ape like creature that roamed the local woodlands, even depicting it on their battle shields. This critter would be the Albatwitch, and it's been reported sporadically as being seen in Columbia and ranging into York county. The four foot tall humanoid likes to sit in trees and snack on apples, particularly those of unsuspecting picnickers. They even throw the cores at them after chomping the fruit. In fact, that's how it got its' name - albatwitch is a local corruption of apple snitch. The legend says they were driven to near extinction in the later 1900s, although there were a few reported sightings in the early 70s and one as late as 2005. Their base, Chickie Rock, has long been the hub of stories concerning strange sounds and sights, and a cracking whip noise that are all attributed to the albatwitch.
ALFRED'S VICTORIAN (Middletown Twp., Dauphin County) Middletown is Dauphin County's oldest community, located at the midpoint between Lancaster and Carlisle. The town was laid out in 1755, and the Raymond-Young Mansion is one of its grand dames. And not too surprisingly, it comes with a history. Now a fine restaurant, the Victorian home was built as the residence of Charles Raymond. It's supposed to be haunted by Emma, the second wife of 1902 owner Simon Cameron Young. She died in 1948, but likes to keep her hand in the going-ons of her old house. Her rocking chair can be seen rocking back and forth with no one in it. The scent of her lavender perfume can be caught wafting through the air and sometimes her voice is heard. She's been known to toss a thing or two around, and like many spooks, loves to play with electronic gadgets. In fact, one of the owners, taking a group picture of the staff, caught Emma on a frame in one of Pennsylvania's more famous spook shots. What the heck, why should she be left out of the house portrait? She isn't alone. One visitor heard the voice of an entity assumed to be the second owner, Redsecker Young, who bought the house from the Raymonds in 1888 and later sold it to Simon (although it could be him, too - the ghostie didn't ID himself), in an upstairs room. He told him "Emma is here," and then said "Out!" after the guest starting snapping some photographs. Some ghosts love paparazzi, some don't. Go figure. Kelly Weaver and the Spirit Society of Pennsylvania have investigated the place, and feel that Emma is a harmless spirit, attached to her home and trying to show the living that she's still the lady of the manse. They've also heard voices and captured some pretty good EVP's. They figured the spot was spooky enough that late every autumn, Kelly and her husband host "Haunted Dinners" at Alfred's Victorian. Ya can't beat a steak and a spook during the Halloween bewitching season. And if you'd like to read up on Emma and Alfred's Victorian, she's featured in The Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories by Mark Nesbitt and Patty Wilson, the encyclopedia of eerie for Keystone spooks.
ALLENBURY RESORT INN & PLAYHOUSE (Madison Township, Cumberland County) In 1944, when Charles Heinze purchased the private estate known as
Allenberry from Dr. Horace Sadler, the property was a farm that had been turned into a summer retreat. Heinze converted it into a resort complex. It has several paranormal claims: a spinning bed on a stage set,
lights without switches coming on by themselves, and a shadowy column in a
sunny office among the list. It even has a room that features an unexpected guest many visitors have reported, an uninvited spook who just walks right in. (The Patriot News "Paranormal Investigators Might Have Snapped A Ghost At Allenberry" 10/29/2009)
AMITY HALL HOTEL (Amity Hall, Perry County) The legend of this 1800s hotel was set off by murder. It's said that a man returned to his rooms there one evening and found his wife in flagrante delicto. He shot her, her lover, and his two kids to boot. As he left the hotel, he got into a shootout (he was on a roll), killing a security guard before being gunned down by local lawmen. The wife's ghost is reported to inhabit the second floor. You can see her at the top of the steps and also as a light floating along the halls. She's said to hate men to this day, and shows herself as a cold spot or oppressive presence to them. Lights and blood stains can be seen in the attic where the children were killed. The hotel has been closed and boarded up for quite awhile, but the boards keep coming off the second floor windows. There's also supposed to be the vengeful ghost of a woman seen on the porch who was beaten to death by her husband, but we think that's just another version of the same tale. However, one poster said none of this ever happened, so lay down your money and make your bet. And think twice before ghost hunting - it's posted with "no trespassing" signs and the police cruise the place pretty regularly. Release Me - Kevin's Post
ANGEL ROSE B&B (Pottsville, Schuylkill County) Built at the turn of the century, the Angel Rose has been a B&B since 2000. It's gently haunted as houses go. There's some electrical shenanigans, with devices turning own at their own whim. Its spook is a female presence that announces itself by the strong odor of perfume. The owners believe that it's the old owner watching over her old home. This story is in Jeff Belanger's Encyclopedia of Haunted Places and Charles Adams III's Coal Country Ghosts, Legends and Lore.
BARNUM'S CANNIBAL (York, York County) This isn't a ghost story, but it is one of the weirder tales to come out of the fair town of York. First, a bit of history. The York Judicial Center now stands on the site of the old Penn Hotel, which was razed for the Pennsylvania House Hotel. PT Barnum stayed in the Pennsy House in 1872. His act included 4 genuine Fijian cannibals, ransomed from the King of Fiji before they became the special of the day. One of them, a dwarf, took ill. He died uttering "Fiji" as his last word. He was laid out in a hotel room. The man watching him locked the door and left for half an hour. When he returned, the two remaining male cannibals were merrily nibbling away on the corpse while being scolded by the lone female, who apparently was Christian. At least, that's what the York Daily reported. The town's other paper, the True Democrat, called the story bunkum. What was left of the poor cannibal was buried in the local Potter's Field with 700 other unmarked and unknown bodies. 25 years later, the bodies were disinterred, and people were eager to open the Fijian's coffin and see if he was intact or was indeed served up as his showmate's entree. Alas, the coffin was empty! It seems a local doctor hired a professional ghoul to snatch the body, which he proudly exhibited in his office as a skeleton. And he never told anyone if the corpse had any bites out of it. So we'll never know if Barnum pulled another fast one or if the cannibals indeed enjoyed a nostalgic midnight snack. Yorkblog
BLOODY MARY (Harrisburg, Dauphin County) This is an old folktale retold by S.E. Schlosser in Spooky Pennsylvania. This particular version's setting is mid-state, but it's lore that has its' roots everywhere. Bloody Mary was an old crone that lived deep in the woods making her living selling herbal cures to the locals. None dared cross her, as she was supposed to be adept at dealing out curses also. The townspeople thought she was a witch. Then the village's young girls began to disappear, one at a time. The folk searched the woods, the buildings, the streams and everywhere they could think of with no luck. They even screwed up the courage to see if Bloody Mary knew what happened to children. She denied any knowledge of the missing girls, but the villagers were suspicious. Bloody Mary looked younger to them. One night, the miller's daughter got up from bed and left the house. Her mother and father tried to stop her, but she tore out of their grasp and headed into the woods. Their struggle awoke the town, and the people all followed the girl. She made a beeline towards a light in the forest. At the end of the light was Bloody Mary, pointing a bright wand towards the girl to draw her to the spot. The townsfolk set on her, and one farmer had a gun loaded with silver bullets. (Farmers were ready for anything back in the day.) He fired one into the witch and they carried her back to town, where they put up a stake and burned her. As she sizzled, she spat out a curse. If anyone mentioned her name while looking in a mirror, she would come back and claim their soul. Wouldn't you know that some people actually tried that? And true to her word, Bloody Mary sprang from the mirror, tore their bodies apart and laid claim to their souls - forever. They are trapped in the mirror for the rest of eternity with her. American Folklore
BROAD MOUNTAIN GHOST (Broad Mountain, Schuylkill County) In 1925, two hikers tramping up Broad Mountain made a gruesome discovery. Under a circle of crows lay the partially burned body of a young woman. Her skull was fractured and her body cut up. Her identity was never found, nor was her killer ever brought to justice. It's said that you can still see her ghost, shadowy and translucent, floating in circles between the towns of Gordon and Hecksherville searching for her murderer. It's also been reported that she's been spotted walking on the local lake. This Schuylkill tale is part of Charles Adams III book Coal Country Ghost Legends and Lore.
ENOCH BROWN PARK (Antrim Twp., Franklin County) On July 26, 1764 during the Pontiac War, a small band of Lenni Lenape warriors burst into a one room schoolhouse. Despite the pleas of the teacher, Enoch Brown, to take him and leave the children, the Indians killed Brown and tomahawked and scalped the 11 children. One student, Archie McCullough, survived. It was said that he he lived a long life but was demented from that day forward. Four girls had taken off school that day. One of them, Mary Ramsey, missed because she had a premonition of evil. Sometimes it pays to listen to your inner voice. The teacher and his class were buried in a mass grave marked by a memorial. It's said that you can hear childrens' voices there when no one is else is present and that you can sometimes see an apparition by the spring where they found Archie McCullough. (The Chambersburg Public Opinion "Folklore, Scary Stories, And Myths Haunt County," October 30, 2007)
BUBE'S BREWERY (Mt. Joy, Lancaster County) The brewery/restaurant is alleged to be haunted by a myriad of spirits, particularly those that remain from its' speakeasy days and others that roam the underground catacombs beneath the brewery, which are now used as a dining area. There are the normal bar phenomena; empty spinning barstools, glasses that fall for no reason, etc. The staff has claimed to had conversations with some of the spirits, and some kiddie spooks are also around. Bube's makes the most of the legends, hosting paranormal groups and a ghost tour. They even offer a book called Spirits In The Brewery for the curious. (Spirit Society of PA Apparitions "Musings of a Ghost Adventurer," November 2007)
CAMP HILL HIGH SCHOOL (Camp Hill, Cumberland County) Camp Hill High was built originally in 1907 as a four room schoolhouse. It's said that when was moved across the street and rebuilt in 1953 that it was sited over a tiny childrens' graveyard. It's had additions built in 1960 and again in 1977, and the building has been renovated since that time, but there's a door that stands three feet above the ground that leads to a room that's never been touched. Kids that have sneaked into the room say it's the remains of the old cemetery and speculate the room was kept as is so it wouldn't disturb the bodies. The room has a dirt floor and small mounds inside it. But the spirits aren't completely at rest. It's alleged that the ghosts of small girls can be seen running down the school hallways and that you can hear phantom footsteps and the girls talking. The Shadowlands
CAMP SECURITY (Springettsbury Twp., York County) Now partially private property and partially park land, Camp Security was a POW camp during the Revolution. The prisoners were captured troops of Generals Burgoyne and Cornwallis. The camp was loosely guarded, and it's said if you wanted to escape, all you had to do was walk out. But many of the prisoners actually had families living in the compound in stone huts. Several ran cottage industries while imprisoned. But that doesn't mean life was easy. Although most of the prisoners had no desire to escape - they were treated well here and the British Army life wasn't a bed of roses - many died in camp. Especially rough was the winter of 1782-83 when fever swept the prison. Many died, and they were buried in a valley outside Camp Security. This became the site of its first ghost story, a poem entitled Hessian Thal that tells of the spooks of dead British soldiers arising from the graveyard every Christmas Eve. They return to mock their commander for losing the battle that caused them to become prisoners and eventually meet their death at Camp Security. The camp closed after the war, and many of the prisoners stayed in America or moved on to Canada or back home. But it's said that several stayed behind. There's a trail that leads through the woods, and many sightings of spook soldiers have been reported from there at night. The Shadowlands
CAMP SILVER BELLE (Ephrata, Lancaster County) Opened around 1850, the Mountain Springs Hotel became a famous spa for the rich and famous of the era. It later became the Ephrata Hospital, treating mental patients, and in 1949 it was sold to a group of Utopians. They named it Camp Silver Belle after their Indian spirit guide. It was open in the summers, and was the home to seances and spirit materialization. Eventually the golden age of mediums petered out, and the camp closed down. But its deserted buildings still echoed with eerie sounds, cold spots and breezes, and shadow figures roaming the halls. The old Silver Belle hotel was called "The Spooks" by the locals. In 2004, the spirit's hangout was torn down, and it's been replaced by a Hampton Inn and an Applebys. The Shadowlands
CARLISLE BARRACKS (Carlisle, Cumberland County) Carlisle started out as a brief encampment for Colonel John Stanwix's British troops in 1757. It was fought over in the Civil War, lost out to West Point for the honor of becoming the nation's military academy, shared some facilities with the Carlisle Indian School, and now hosts the Army's War College.
References primarily from The Shadowlands along with other sources.
CARSON LONG MILITARY INSTITUTE (New Bloomfield, Perry County) Carson Long is the longest tenured military boarding school in the country. It started in 1836 as the New Bloomfield Academy. In 1914 it became Carson Long Institute after Theodore Long bought the school and named it after his son who had died in a logging accident.
Colonel Carson Holman, CLMI's president, denies that there are any spooks on campus, or even that any student has ever died there. In fact, one teacher said that the faculty embellishes the tales to help keep the students in their rooms after curfew. So flip a coin...
All references from Ghosts - UK
CHAMBERSBURG CHUCK (Chambersburg, Franklin County) There's an apartment house in town that dates back to the Civil War. One of its' newer additions is Chuck, the playful poltergeist. You can hear him whistling tunes for hours, catch him fooling around with the electronic gadgets (it's said that he can work a VCR - he particularly likes comedies) and he enjoys playing with the ladies hair. Every ghost should be as housebroken as Chambersburg Chuck. Spellfrye
CHAMBERSBURG CAPITOL THEATER (Chambersburg, Franklin County) The Capitol Theater was opened in 1927 as a modern marvel of a movie palace. But it still cranked out music via an in-house organist, in this case Wilford Binder, who continued to pump the keyboards until 1952. The original organ is still there, and apparently so is the original organist. Wilford must have liked the gig; it's said he still roams the seats and his icy touch can be felt by the patrons as he goes by. For more, read Franklin County Ghosts by Athena Varounis and Deborah Heinecker.
CHICKIE'S (CHIQUE'S) ROCK (Chickie's Rock Park, Lancaster County) Chickie's Rock (or Chique's Rock) is on the Susquehanna in Lancaster County, located between Columbia and Marietta. It gets its name from the Susquehannock Indians, who called the spot Chiquesalunga, the place of the crayfish (We guess surf and turf in Native kitchens was crayfish and venison...) The first legends were passed on by the Indians, who saw ghosts roaming the area back in their day. They have a couple of tales of star-crossed lovers meeting their doom there. One was a mutual suicide pact, where two lovers took the leap off the 200' precipice when forbidden to marry. Another concerns an Indian girl who fell for a white man. Her Susquehannock lover was outraged and slit the man's throat, then threw the girl off the cliff. More recent spooks include a mummified ghost - he's armless, and has arrows sticking out of him. The shore sports the spook of a man that died in a riverboat accident roaming its banks. Then there's the shadow person that wanders the woods at the top of the rock, decked out in a fedora and cape. The spirits of men have been seen at the foot of the cliff, appearing and then vanishing before your eyes. And let's not forget our favorite gremlins, the apple-loving Albawitches who call Chickie's Rock home. These four foot tall humanoids like to sit in trees and snack on apples, particularly those of unsuspecting picnickers. They even throw the cores at them after chomping the fruit. In fact, that's how it got its' name - albatwitch is a local corruption of apple snitch. Their sightings also date back to the Susquehannocks. Oddly, the best known phenomena is the mist that forms on top of the rock and becomes a spook. Teens admitted making up the story in 1969, but it's still the most widely reported sighting. Nothing like the power of suggestion, hey? So for a scenic and spooky day trip, take a run to Chickie's Rock State Park and check out the sights. Oh, and don't forget to bring a bag of apples if you go... Paranormal Insider
CHIQUE'S ROAD (Elizabethtown, Lancaster County) The burnt out shell of a home on this road was the scene of a grisly murder. A man torched his family alive in the home. If you pass, it, you can still hear screaming and crying coming from the house. The front door, nailed shut, will swing open, and the blinds on the windows open and close themselves. It's the victim's way of trying to escape their fate. Strange USA
CLARK ALLEY SHAPESHIFTER (York, York County) In the 1880's, there were reports of the ghost of a horse thief roaming Clark Alley. Ghost hunters of the era went out in hopes of capturing it, but instead were met by a couple of other apparitions of the beer-loving spirit: A demijohn (a large, long-necked multi-gallon flask used to store beer) with two legs, and a rolling wooden keg tapped on both ends. They never did catch more than sight of the sudsy spook. The tale is preserved in Leo Motter's Haunted Places in York County.
CLEARVIEW CEMETERY (Elizabethville, Dauphin County) The cemetery, located near Upper Dauphin High, is a large, tree-lined plot. The cemetery has four statues, referred to as the "Four Guardians." One statue, located up front, is an angel, one is the Virgin Mary, and the other two are young girls. The interesting thing about the Guardians is that you can hear them talk! Take a tape recorder and hit record. Play it a few minutes later, and you'll hear their conversation. Nicolle - Yahoo Weird PA
CORNWALL FURNACE (Cornwall, Lebanon County) Peter Grubb built a highly successful iron furnace here in the early 1740s. He made a fortune and gained immortality - in ghost lore. Around 1750, Grubb was bragging to his buds about the prowess of his hunting dogs. He showed them off in front of them the next day, and wouldn't you know that the hounds couldn't sniff out a thing. Grubbs, embarrassed in front of his friends, grew drunker and angrier by the moment. He threw each one of the dogs into the fiery furnace. It's said that on calm, quiet nights, you can hear the hounds barking by the furnace. And Grubbs got his, too. He sank into a deep depression after he sobered up and realized what he had done. As he lay on his death bed, he complained that he could hear nothing but dogs barking. Presumably they'll hound him through eternity, too. (Associated Content "A Dozen Of The Most Popular Pennsylvania Ghosts," June 5, 2007)
DYKEMAN POND: (Shippensburg, Cumberland County) The Dykeman house dates back to 1740, and was an HQ for General Ewell during the Civil War. But its claim to paranormal fame is its pond. The local lore says that mary drowned her baby in the pond, and if you say "I've got your baby, Mary," she'll come out the house and beg for the child. And once she finds out you don't have, she'll try to kill you. Brrrr! The urban legend sounds very similar to the Pond Bank tale. The building is now the Dykeman House, a B&B, and no one's ever seen Mary fly out of the house. And if you ask us, the most dangerous thing in the area are the geese, who stop over on their migration, and the ducks that are raised there. Still, we dunno that we'd push it by calling for Mary, even once...just in case, ya know. The story was posted in Eastghost.
ELMWOOD MANSION (Spring Garden Twp., York County) The mansion, now owned by Memorial Hospital and used as apartments and a conference center, was built in 1835. It looks like a southern mansion transported to the north. There are voices and many poltergeist events associated with the house - and a pair of apparitions. One is of a Confederate soldier dressed in an officer's uniform, complete with a beard and sword. The former owners speculate that he may have marched past the home on his way to his eventual death at Gettysburg and was struck by its' resemblance to a southern manse. His spirit returned to the closest place most like home. The other spirit is a lady in a hoop dress generally seen on the second floor that they nicknamed Virginia. They believe she's waiting on a lost love. Also reported has been the face of a young woman seen in the stained glass window on the stairway landing between the first and second floors. Oddly, the house was moved two blocks up the street in 1905 to make room for what's now Interstate 83, and the ghosts didn't pop up until 1920 or so. Maybe the move slowly jolted them into action. (York Daily Record "Elmwood's Extra Residents," June 4, 2007)
FARMER'S WIFE ANTIQUES (Greencastle, Franklin County) The century old building on S. Carlisle Street has spooked customers and staff alike with the sounds of ringing doorbells, whispering voices, and an apparition spotted at the front counter. The Gourmet Ghost Hunters have investigated the shop and come away with orb pictures and heard the voice of a male spirit communicating with them. Gourmet Ghost Hunters
FISHER'S OF YORK RESTAURANT (York, York County) This upscale restaurant is in the old John Fisher Jr. house. It was built in 1798 and is the oldest standing building in Colonial Square. But the spooks seem to be of more recent vintage. When the FOY group took over the business, construction workers remodeling the building had several encounters with ghosts. Once it was up and running, the staff heard voices calling their names in the Ramona Restaurant portion of the building, the business FOY had taken over from. They also heard voices humming along during the restaurant's sing alongs - and they weren't from the customers. Fisher's is shut down now. The spooks will have to wait for a new owner to chime in with their spectral karaoke chorus. (York Daily Record "City Of York's Own Ghost Whisperer," October 1, 2006)
FRANKEBERGER TAVERN (Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County) The log cabin home of George Frankeberger was built in 1801 and is thought to be the oldest house in Mechanicsburg. He would share his abode with travelers on the road to or from Harrisburg with a hot meal and a bed, and became a popular stop. Legend has it that one day a salesman dropped in overnight and boasted to his newfound buds in the tavern about the big sale he had just made. Bad idea. He was found in the morning decapitated, with his sack of money gone. Ever since, it's said that you can see him some nights, a headless apparition, sitting on the roof scanning the landscape, trying to spot his assailant. The spook is in the same place today, but the Tavern isn't. It was moved a few hundred feet down the road to make room for a business building. The ghost? He stayed put, and has added some poltergeist play to his repertoire. The old site of the Tavern is a book store now, and he spends evenings when he's not looking for his murderer downstairs scattering books, according to the Mechanicsburg Sentinel. Wikipedia
FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE (Lancaster, Lancaster County) Franklin College was founded by, among others, Ben Franklin in 1787. Forty years later, Marshall College, founded by Supreme Court Justice John Jay Marshall, was established in Mercersburg. They merged in 1853 and kept the Lancaster site. It broke ties with the Reformed Church at the end of WW2 and F&M became a secular liberal arts school. In 1969, it took the final plunge and became coeducational. Fittingly, it's first classroom was a former brewery. Ben was so proud.
Franklin & Marshall Campus Tour
Unless otherwise noted, all references are from Franklin & Marshall archives
"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."
Peter in The Dawn of the Living Dead