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Pennsylvania's Ghosts

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There are literally scores of ghost stories and haunted sites in Pennsylvania. Some have speculated that this is the case because the state is 300-plus years old. Others have opined that it is because so many battles have been fought on the state's soil. Others say that the state's residents have too much bloody time on their hands and make up these tales to spice up their lives.

The following are some of the reputed ghost sightings in Pennsylvania:

  • York City's centre square is haunted by three ring leaders in a plot to murder General Mad Anthony Wayne. They were executed and their spirits are still hanging around.
  • A headless ghost lurks at the foot of Trimble Hill on Route 286 between Clymer and Indiana. He's been known to step from the roadside and grab the bridles of passing horses. Supposedly a snap of the driver's whip was all that was needed to get him to let go.
  • The old Smethport Jail is haunted by the spirit of Ralph Brassmire, a convicted murderer, who vowed before his hanging to return and haunt the place.
  • A 15-feet-tall giant is reputed to haunt Horsham Hill near Willow Grove.
  • A headless Frenchman haunts the Three Sisters Trail near Cross Fork, Potter County.
  • A wagon carrying the ghosts of Hessians who were taken prisoner during the American Revolutionary War to a stockade in Maryland crosses a bridge midway between Hanover and Littlestown on Route 194 on moonless nights.
  • A lone grave sits atop a mountain just off Route 924 near Brandonville. The ghost of a peddler, who was mugged and killed there for three cents in 1789, appears once a year on his horse. He screams and falls off the horse and then vanishes.
  • The Native American, Harthegig, was murdered in 1797, and his spirit is said to haunt Hell's Hollow on Route 62, two miles west of Mercer. His killers were never found.
  • The spectre of a woman carrying a lighted lantern has often been seen on Route 422 near Strongstown. She vanishes as she approaches Dilltown.
  • A house near Willow Grove is haunted by Mrs. Elizabeth Ferguson, who sneaks out at night to cavort with her lover William Franklin1.
  • The ghost of Priscilla Robinson, a 100-year-old whiskered spinster, rummages through drawers and closets in the old Blue Ball Tavern near Paoli.
  • Aside from running a tavern on Old Route 22 southwest of Armagh, Indiana County, John 'Yank' Brown stole horses. He allegedly hid them in a cave near Old Stone Pike until it was safe to take them to market. After he died, it was rumored that he had hidden stolen money in the cave. Searchers never found any, but people walking along the pike claimed they heard the sound of thudding hooves of those stolen steeds as Yank's ghost drove them toward the cave.
  • A ghost who climbs the roof of a small house in Smicksburg, Indiana County, and plays the violin, is reputed to be the spirit of a musician who was stabbed to death in the building.
  • The ghost of a hunchbacked midget floats around Watt's Hill on Route 422 just west of Indiana, Pa.
  • On dark nights, a phantom buggy rolls along a road in the Lower Windsor area of York County before vanishing into thin air.
  • Hannah Shingle tried to fight off a robber with an axe, but he took it from her and hacked her to death. Her ghost has been seen since that 1859 murder in her old neighbourhood four miles west of Route 100, just south of Pottstown.
  • An unidentified girl murdered on Broad Mountain in 1925 stalks the road between Heckscherville and Gordon.
  • People strolling along the shore of Lake Erie from West Springfield to North East have seen spectres of old ships that sank in the lake over 100 years ago.
  • The woods three miles south of Emporium are haunted by several young members of the Civilian Conservation Corps who died fighting a fire there in October 1938.
  • Caleb Brinton died in 1975, but some say he haunts the lodge which is now a restaurant which bears his name in Douglassville near Reading. Neighbours have seen strange shadows creeping across the windows on the second and third floors. Doors keep locking themselves and many people, including employees have reported feeling a chilly draft where none should be.

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