Three Rivers Haunts & History 

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 The legends, lore, and ghost tales of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington & Westmoreland counties. 

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STICKTOWN (Elizabeth Twp., Allegheny County) This is an alleged ghost town with its' cemetery and an old slag mill all that's left standing. There's reportedly lots of paranormal activity at this site. The weirdest thing is reports of people who go here & disappear, only to reappear weeks later with no memory of the missing time. It's gated off, but can be approached from the trails below it. Be careful. There's supposed to packs of wild animals roaming the area. We can't find its' location, although it's said to be by a large antenna on a hill. Maybe that's the WTAE-TV transmission tower in Elizabeth. The Shadowlands 

STONE CHURCH ROAD (Finleyville, Washington County) James Chapel Methodist Church (Old Stone Church) and Cemetery sit high atop a hill on Stone Church Road.  People driving that stretch of road say that a black stallion, sometimes alone and sometimes ridden by a Civil War trooper, race along side of their cars in the pasture across from the Old Stone Church and then disappears around the bend.  Not too surprisingly, that curve has been the site of several wrecks.  Whether the ghost rider is from the cemetery or an old local keeping to his familiar haunts is unknown.  Ghosts of America

STONE HOUSE INN (Chalk Hill, Fayette County) The Stone House Inn was built in 1822 as the Fayette Springs Hotel, and was a popular and classy stop on the National Road, with top flight entertainment for travelers and those who stopped by to rejuvenate themselves at the Fayette Springs, a 19th century spa of sorts. Now it's a restaurant and B&B.  Besides the usual poltergeist phemonena like moving silverware and unexplained noises, there are a couple of reported spooks that call the Inn home.  One is the spirit of a man seen going up and down the front stairs, reputed to be original owner Andrew Stewart, a local politico and land baron.  The other waif is a little girl seen standing by a third floor window.  It's though she may be the spirit of a young girl that drowned in a backyard well. Haunted Diary

STRITMATER BUILDING (New Castle, Lawrence County) The ornate Stritmater Building, now hosting Lanigan's Irish Pub, was built in 1881. It originally housed the Stritmater Brothers dry goods store. The paranormal phenomena include physical contact with unseen entities in the basement (a sensitive believes the spirit is that of a person who suffered burns, perhaps from the furnace), the sound of a child running in the hallway, objects moving, loud noises in the kitchen, tv's unexplainably turning on in the middle of the night, apparitions and disembodied voices per The 24:00 Projekt. 

SUBWAY SHOP (Canonsburg, Washington County) This sandwich shop was supposedly built over the site of an old nursing home. It's reportedly haunted by a ghost that the help nicknamed Fred. His image shows on the security camera although he can't be seen by human eyes. He also likes to whisper the worker's name in their ear and swing the doors. We can't find any info other than the shop is located on East Pike Street. Original Tales

SULLI-NESTA SPIRITS  (South Park, Allegheny County) Locals seeking a scare flock every Halloween season to one of Pittsburgh's premier commercial haunted houses, Hundred Acres.  But very few are aware that it's reported to be actually haunted by the ghosts of Sully's Pool, the site it's built over.  In 1930 Allegheny County bought the Sulli-Nesta grove in what was then Snowden Township.  It was 47 acres of farmland with a house and a barn.  In 1938, the county built the pool there and used the grove for picnics and the barn for dances.  It operated until 1977 as the segregated black swimming area, known by whites and blacks alike as the Inkwell.  At least two people drowned there and the barn dances were known for their violent after-dance fights. The pool was finally filled in when the main pool on Corrigan Drive became integrated.  The rest of the site is still rented out, with the Hundred Acres haunted house being its' prime draw.  Staffers and visitors there are treated to several spirits.  One employee saw a figure running across the room and gave chase.  When he caught up to him, he realized that it was sunk up to its' ankles in the floor, as if it was running in shallow water. Then the figure disappeared.  The most renown spook is an elderly gent that worked in the old pool's pumphouse.  He's been spotted by guests as they came out of the haunted maze.  In the old days that spot was the edge of the pool where he used to sit during his lunch break.  Woman are particularly uneasy around him. They feel him watching their every move and sometimes the sensations are so intense they won't work the area alone. The sightings are mostly in the summer, maybe because that's when the pool was open, or maybe because the commercial haunts mask the activity of the real ghosts. There are also sounds of doors opening and closing, unexplainable animal-like noises, and voices heard in conversation.  So when you go out to Hundred Acres to to get your spook freak on, watch the actors scaring you closely.  They may not be acting. (South Hills Record "Ghosthunters Check Out Spooky South Hills Spots," October 25, 2007)

SULLIVAN RUN SCREAMS (Butler, Butler County) Trekking behind the fence around the baseball field in Pullman Standard Park, Jim Clements, Butler story-teller, pointed out to Susan Seibel of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette a pedestrian bridge that has been the subject of a ghostly tale. The steel-girder suspension bridge stretches over Sullivan Run, a creek that flows between the baseball field's center field fence and the terminus of West Diamond Street in Butler. The bridge may have been built by Pullman Standard Company to provide easy passage over Sullivan Run for workers who walked to the factory that closed in 1982. The tale is that on nights when the moon is full, screams and moans can be heard at the stroke of midnight emanating from the east bank of Sullivan Run. The unearthly and tragic sounds began soon after the wreckage of a bus was towed to an empty lot on the east bank. The bus had crashed elsewhere and many of the riders had perished. Eventually, the wreckage of the bus was dismantled and hauled away, but the screams remained. ("Retired Teacher Collects Ghostly Tales" 10/31/2002)

SUMMIT CUT BRIDGE (Big Beaver, Beaver County) Listed in several spook sites as Summer Cut Bridge, LC dug out the real tale.  The bridge was the site of an accident in 1894, when a woman fell off the bridge to her death on the RR tracks below.  It's said that at midnight on a rainy night, you can see her as a spirit in white walking down the tracks toward you.  The bridge is on Shenango Road, just before it meets Ashwood Road.  Its story is included in The Big Book of Pennsylvania Hauntings by Patty Wilson and Mark Nesbitt.

SUMMIT TWP. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WOODS/RR TRACKS (Butler County) Located on Brinton Road, the woods behind Summit school once had railroad tracks running through them, probably belonging to the Western Railroad which once serviced the area. At night, a train conductor carrying his lantern can be seen walking where the tracks had been, although he disappears whenever he's approached, and a train whistle can be heard at dawn. Children's voices and laughter can be heard coming from the woods. The Shadowlands

SUTERSVILLE/SHANER CHURCH/CEMETERY (Sewickley Twp., Westmoreland County) This is another place with high paranormal activity. It's located off Mars Hill Road. The church is burned out with nothing left but an altar, steps, and the foundation. It was allegedly used for occult rituals. The church is on a hilltop and the cemetery is located on the hillside. We can't determine the church or cemetery, but it's likely the Old Quaker cemetery, although Guffey cemetery is closer.  Sewickley once had three Shaner mines in operation, and Sutersville still exists. The Shadowlands

SWALLOW HILL ROAD HOUSE (Scott, Allegheny County) Frank lived in a big house on Swallow Hill Road in the late 1970's that had a small cemetery 50 yards from the back door. He experienced many phenomena, though most were centered around the kitchen and his bedroom. The kitchen chairs would be noisily rearranged and dishes would move. When you went to the kitchen to see what was happening, the activity would stop. After you left, it would begin over again. He would feel a poke at his shoulder, as if from a finger, and it would continue until he turned to see who was doing it – and no one was there. He would hear thumping noises and voices when he laid his head on his pillow. In fact, he had to throw the pillow on the floor to get any rest. His blanket would be torn off him and the bed would shake whenever his brother was present. His friends wouldn't come to visit him at home because of the strange phenomena and his family members were afraid to stay in the house alone. His family lasted three years in the home before they moved. This was found on a Ghost Village forum. Ghost Village Forum

SWETNAM/KIRK HOUSE (Glenshaw, Allegheny County) George Swetnam, who authored several books concerning regional history & the occult, was convinced his house was haunted by the ghost of its' builder, the late 1800's Baltimore & Ohio Railroad auditor James B. Kirk. His son also reported seeing the figure of a man standing at the foot of his bed some evenings. Passer-bys have seen Kirk's spook looking out the window at the railroad tracks outside.  This is in Ghost Stories of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by Beth Trapani & Charles Adams III.

SZECHUAN GOURMET RESTAURANT (Shadyside, Pittsburgh) A woman named Kathi visited the restaurant and noticed an older man in the waiting room. But whenever she looked, he would remain solid for only a few seconds and then disappear. Is he a spirit after one last order of sweet and sour or just a customer's image reflected oddly by the eatery's mirrors? This is taken from a Haunted Places – Pennsylvania forum post. Haunted Places Forum

TAKING IT WITH YOU (Irwin, Westmoreland County) This is another presumably true legend. George Swanson bought 12 plots at Brush Creek Cemetery in Irwin, not because he wanted his family buried around him, but because when he died he wanted to head up the highway to heaven behind the wheel of his white Corvette. When the 71-year old beer distributor paid his final toll in 1994, his ashes were put in his beloved 'Vette's driver's seat, two driving caps were placed in the back seat, Englebert Humperdinck's “Release Me” was cued in the tape player, and red roses were put on the hood. Then a crane lowered the whole shebang under the ground. He took a couple of other things with him, too – a lap quilt stitched by the ladies at his church and a love note from his wife. His widow Caroline said “You have a lot of people saying they want to take it with them. He took it with him.” This was reported by the Associated Press, which is why we assume it's so, with some reservation. We don't imagine George's spirit will have any reason to return anytime soon. Corvette Post-bottom of page

TAYLOR CEMETERY (Forward Twp., Allegheny County) This cemetery got brief mentions in a couple of spook sites.  Its claim to fame is that flames are supposed to shoot out the ground on the site.  Whether the fire is from Satan's depths or leaking natural gas is up for debate.

THIRD STREET ORPHANAGE (Alpsville, Allegheny County) At the border of South Versailles, there was an orphanage known as the Home For Friendless Children. It's said that one night it caught fire. The flames quickly tore through the old building, and there were no survivors to the tragedy. If you visit the site of the blaze on it's anniversary, you can hear the screams of the trapped children as they relive that terrible evening. But the facts get in the way of the tale.  Records say that the orphanage never burned. The church beside it, St. Patrick on 3rd Street across the Boston Bridge, did catch on fire in 1924. No one was hurt, and the orphanage itself was a private residence then. It was torn down in 1950. The current owners of the property aren't very fond of carloads of visitors, so be forewarned. This is part and parcel of the Thirteen Bends legend below. (The Daily News “Local Urban Legends: A Fine Line Between Truth And Fiction,” October 6, 2000)

THIRTEEN BENDS (South Versailles, Allegheny County) Campbell's Run Road gives way to an old dirt mining lane in Guffey Hollow. After twelve turns, at the thirteenth bend, there's a clearing with a path leading through the woods named Old Indian Trail Road that takes you to a couple of old overgrown foundations and the equally unkempt St. Patrick's cemetery.  Once you get there, you can hear allegedly childrens' voices crying and ringing bells. If you look at your car, there will be small handprints on the dust it's collected. It's from the spirits of youngsters reaching out for help, the ones that lost their lives when their orphanage burned down in the late 1800's; there's still supposed to be an eerie glow around the site at night. It's also reported that as you approach the former site of the orphanage that you can see small white lights flying in the area, giving off a pattern of three or four blinks, a pause, and then back to blinking. There are other tales, too, like ghostly vehicles chasing you down the road, a hanging tree (which may have been chopped down) and the 13th bend being the site of a suicide. The only problem is that no orphanage, as far as anyone recalls, ever caught fire there. A church fire occurred in the 1920's and a nearby barn, used as a dance hall, burned down in the 40's, but no one died in either fire.  But the locals still retell the legend...  (Pittsburgh Tribune Review “Stories of the Paranormal Haunt Region,” October 31, 2003)   GHOSTS

THREE RIVERS STADIUM (North Shore, Pittsburgh) Reportedly, a fan was set afire and hung in the stadium and his spook haunts visiting teams that come to Three Rivers Stadium. We've had never heard of that particular tale, although one fan died when he fell from a ramp and another drove up the pedestrian walkway inside the stadium, though no one was hurt in that odd event. At any rate, TRS was demolished in 2005 to make room for Heinz Field and PNC Park. It's now a parking lot. We suppose the spirit will have to be satisfied with keying cars, stealing license plates, and flattening tires now – oh, wait, that's a job for the tailgaters!  The Shadowlands

TIM'S SECRET TREASURES (Charleroi, Washington County) The antique shop combined two buildings that date back to the 19th century and once housed a funeral parlor and a Prohibition speakeasy among other businesses. And antiques aren't the only oldies in the store. When the owners first bought the building and were prepping it for opening, they noticed whispers, growls, footsteps creaking up and down the steps, and the sounds of furniture being dragged around. One customer spotted a small girl's spirit racing around the second floor, the building's hot spot, and Rhonda, one of the owners, has formed a bond with Clara. She believes it's the spirit of Clara Friedman, the niece of the original owner, who lived in the building before passing away decades ago. Her body wasn’t discovered until weeks afterward, and Rhonda thinks she just wants some company - Clara has given her hugs and met her upstairs for a spot of tea. Tim's Secret Treasures was featured on a Biography Channel “My Ghost Story: Caught on Camera” episode and been investigated by Steel Town Paranormal. (Valley Independent "Charleroi Antique Store's Ghost Story," October 19, 2012)

TORRANCE STATE HOSPITAL (Torrance, Westmoreland County) Nestled in the foothills of Chestnut Ridge, 50 miles east of Pittsburgh and near Derry, sits Torrance State Hospital. It's 335 acre campus once treated 3,000 mental patients at a time, but since the mid 1960s the roll has dropped to under 250. They're now housed in a new building and many of the old hospital buildings are now used by the Pennsylvania Welfare Department and a private social organization. But if you drive past these rehabbed offices up Torrance Road, you'll come across a building or two left unused – the old Long Term Care Unit and the Mental Retardation Unit. As with any nursing or mental health unit, stories of old atrocities linger – patients hung on hooks or tied to their beds, confined to rooms without beds or sanitary facilities, even tales of catatonic patients being buried alive. The buildings are rickety, the elevators don't work (nothing spooky there, just no power), it's dark, and the stairs are missing steps, so it's quite challenging to explore the spaces. The buildings are eerily cold (no heat will do that), and people have reported seeing spirits of the former patients roaming the buildings and grounds. A couple of the better tales are that of a young girl who came to visit her mother, who had just died due to either mistreatment or outright murder at the hands of the staff. Her ghost is said to run the halls of the mortuary, giggling and laughing, playing hide and seek while looking for her mother. An upstairs room is haunted by the apparition of an elderly lady. If you enter the room, you can still hear her creaking back and forth in her rocking chair. Among unexplained happenings are footsteps heard on a stairwell, sudden booms, slamming doors, the elevator doors opening on their own, and the windshield wipers on your car being turned upside down in the lot. Before you go rushing out to investigate, remember two things – first, be very careful as the buildings are in deplorable shape, and secondly, the Pittsburgh Ghost Hunters found no evidence of hauntings there. They believe the occurrences are the result of the inmate's residual energy being tapped by the visitors. The Shadowlands

TROTTER'S CURSE (Fort Fayette, Pittsburgh) In 1792, General Mad Anthony Wayne built Fort Fayette. It was slightly downstream from the site of old Fort Pitt, and served as a HQ and supply post for the the troops during the Indian Wars. When he wasn't fighting, he was drinking, and he was a nasty, thoughtless drunk. Sergeant John Trotter, a camp aide, caught him in one of his stupors, and figuring he would be out of commission for awhile, took a trip home to what is now Murrysville. While he was gone, Wayne called for him. Discovering that he was away, the hung over general commanded three officers to find him and shoot him on the spot for desertion. They ran across him returning to the fort, and prepared to do Wayne's bidding. Trotter asked for a Bible first, and called down the Lord's vengeance via Psalm 109 (The Prayer Of A Falsely Accused Person). He finished with "My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak." Then the officers carried out their orders. When Wayne sobered up and realized what he had done, he sank into a deep depression. Trotter's curse would be enough to depress anyone and it worked on everyone involved. Not only was it said that his spirit haunted Wayne and the guys who executed him, but the futures of the perps were...well, cursed. One officer became an alcoholic and for the rest of his life believed that Satan, in the form of a mad dog, followed him. The second officer was afflicted with a form of diabetes that made him continuously thirsty. The third officer went insane, convinced he was possessed by the Devil. As for Wayne, he died four years later, never winning elective office as he so fervently desired. His body was disinterred from its' Fort Presque Isle grave, and his bones had the flesh boiled off them and then were buried in different spots around the state. Trotter is buried in Penn Hill's Beulah Presbyterian Cemetery, where he's said to lay quietly at rest. This is a story from Haunted Pennsylvania by Patty Wilson & Mark Nesbitt as retold by the BBC.  

TROY HILL FIREHOUSE (Troy Hill, Pittsburgh) Engine House #39 was built in 1901 and dates back to the days of old Allegheny City. The firefighters stationed there served the residents of Troy Hill and their homes, nestled among the slopes and twisting roads of North Side. It was the last station to use horse-drawn fire carriages and the only one left with an old time fire bell, named Die Glocke Sarah. It even sported a pole for firemen to shimmy down to reach their engines. It was named a historic structure by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in 2001. But no one told fire captain Don Dorsey that the building was haunted when he took command. He found out the hard way. Blankets were pulled off sleeping firefighters. Window shades went up and down for no reason. The dorm trap door closed on its' own. Footsteps were heard upstairs and on the stairway. Closed doors creaked open. Whenever the firemen went to check on the phenomena, they found nothing. Spectral firefighters have been briefly spotted sitting around a table playing cards in the basement, whiling away the hours as they did in life. The only identifiable spirit is that of Queenie, an old firehouse dog that still enjoys jumping up and down on a second floor bed. A psychic that visited the engine house told the firemen not to worry. The spirits – 8 firefighters, 3 chaplains, and Queenie by his count, were there to protect the flesh and blood crew of firefighters and even went out on calls with them. The station was closed in the latest round of city budget cuts in 2005. But after all these years, it's a pretty safe bet that the phantom firefighters of Engine House #39 are still on call in Troy Hill. This is another four alarm tale told in Ghost Stories of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by Beth Trapani & Charles Adams III. (Pittsburgh Tribune Review clipping, October 31, 1998; Pittsburgh Tribune Review “Spirits Linger At Historic Troy Hill Firehouse,” October 29, 1995)

US COURTHOUSE (Downtown, Pittsburgh) The ten story U.S. Courthouse, a Grant Street landmark, was built during the depression. During early 1990 night renovations, an electrical worker was freaked out by seeing a black-robed figure dart between columns. It even spoke to him, asking “How's it going?” before walking away. Later, an orange figure flew over his head. He ran screaming from the job site. Discussing the happenings with a co-worker, he found that she had seen the robed figure too. The ghost he had seen matched perfectly with a portrait of colorful Judge Gerald Weber, who had died in 1989. According to courthouse legend, he roams the fourth floor, where his courtroom was located, in full judicial regalia. He may not be the only spook there.  One cleaning lady claimed to see a federal director haunting the 4th floor, too.  The maintenance people have been aware of eerie going-ons in the building for years. They've witnessed voices calling their names, the feeling of spirits rushing past them, people talking, the sound of footsteps in the hallway, and doors slamming. Floors one, four, and nine seem particularly active. The old saw must be right. The law never sleeps. (Pittsburgh Tribune Review “Evidence of the Supernatural,” October 31, 2002; Pittsburgh Post Gazette “Ghosts on Grant Street,” April 9, 2000)

UPMC – MCKEESPORT (Allegheny County) There are reports of disembodied voices and spirit sightings by the maintenance staff in the Kelly Building, Painter Building, and on the Mansfield Building roof. The Shadowlands 

UNCLE VICTOR (North Side, Allegheny County) Victor was the neighborhood drunk in the row house streets of Pittsburgh's North Side. But he was a good hearted soul, and after his death he returned to visit the old tenements he called home, sometimes playing with the neighborhood kids (hence Uncle Victor), sometimes praying, and sometimes asking where his wife was. The poor guy was still in a haze even in the afterlife, but returned to the otherworld forever when he was told his wife was fine and had remarried.  PA Researchers

UPTOWN LEPRECHAUN (Uptown, Pittsburgh) During the late 1920's, there was an Irish family that lived on Watson Street in Pittsburgh's Uptown section. They had five girls and a boy jammed into a small house, and three of the sisters shared a bed in one of the rooms. While cleaning the bedroom one day, one of the girls moved the bed from its' usual place. Whenever she tried to push it back, a little man dressed in green would push it away. This went on for awhile, and the lass at last gave in and left the bed where the little man had put it. The girl's father came up to check on the job and asked the girl why her bed was moved.  She told him that the little man put it there and that's where she was going to leave it. The dad shrugged and let it be. That night, while the three girls were sleeping, the heavy plaster ceiling collapsed in a heap – right were the bed used to be. Did a protective spirit from Eire watch over the girls, or was it just the luck of the Irish? This tale was told to me by one of the Irish girl's nieces, Anabell, who added the tale made it in an old Pittsburgh Roto spread, too dated for us to find.

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