Lehigh Valley Haunts
Lehigh Valley, PA is home to a number of spooky locations, like historic inns, restaurants, and pubs. Especially in the autumn months, the talk about these historic haunts turns to the proverbial "things that go bump in the night." Read more below about local lore in Lehigh Valley and pair an experience with an overnight stay in one of the highly sought after haunted rooms of The Sayre Mansion or Historic Hotel Bethlehem.
- 4 minute read
October brings out the haunted side of Lehigh Valley. Whether fact or fiction, you’re in for a spooky good time. Make the most of the season with the Halloween & festive fall activities throughout the region.
Bethlehem, PA is no stranger to haunts. The 1758 Moravian Sun Inn where visitors have claimed to see British or Hessian soldiers in the basement, along with sightings of Hughetta Bender, the founder of the Sun Inn Preservation Association and two other different ghost sightings: a ghost who sings and another who watch-over valuables hidden at the Inn. Haunts have also been spotted at the Tannery at the Colonial Industrial Quarter, God’s Acre, Historic Hotel Bethlehem, especially Room 932 although occasionally a former hostess can be seen in the lobby, and that’s just the beginning.
More room haunts can be found at the Sayre Mansion as from 1858 until 1916, this was the home of the Robert Heysham Sayre family. Those who visit the inn and stay in room 23 may encounter the vision of a ghostly female in the bathroom mirror. As this was once the bedchamber of Mrs. Sayre, it has been suggested that the ghost is hers, but that raises another question – which Mrs. Sayre is it? Robert Sayre was married four times, though only had children by the first wife and the last one. Room 32 on the third floor, once the area used by the family staff and the children, also has had its share of reports, as visitors have noted a dark shape that seems to come out of the wall. The youngest Sayre son, Cecil, only lived for a year, so perhaps it is his spirit that remains in the room.
Every fall, the Moravian Bookshop hosts the “Original Ghost Tour of Downtown Bethlehem,” where a costumed guide will escort you on a candlelit tour of historic downtown Bethlehem. And the Sayre Mansion celebrates with a ticketed Paranormal Experience, complete with dinner & cocktails, overnight accommodations, haunted tour, psychic readings, and more.
Allentown, PA has its share of the paranormal too. The Museum of Indian Culture is home to swinging doors, knocking in the library and a young girl can be seen carrying flowers. There’s also the Jerusalem Wester Salisbury Church Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Lehigh County and resting place for soldiers from the Indian and Revolutionary Wars.
This public cemetery has a bone-chilling bonus: Historians traced a 19th-century legend about death by dismemberment to this very graveyard. "The Legend of Tambour Yokel" is an Eastern Pennsylvania folk ballad about a Revolutionary War drummer who was ripped to pieces, some say by the devil himself. Ever afterward, "Even stalwart men, with swiftest pace/Haste when they pass that dreadful place."
Easton, PA, home of one of the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, has its own fair share of history. By far, one of the most famous ghosts in Lehigh Valley is Fred, the ghost at the State Theatre Center for the Arts. The ghost is of J. Fred Osterstock, who managed the company that owned the theatre from 1936-1965. Fred is such an integral part of the State Theatre that the awards ceremony recognizing outstanding achievement in local high school theatre was named “The FREDDY Awards.”
Not far from the theatre is Stemie’s Place where it is said the ghost of “Johnny the Wop” still haunts the restaurant where he was gunned down in 1928.
These are a few of the more corroborated hauntings and paranormal sightings, but as with all things, the truth is out there, and sometimes it is stranger than fiction.
More Lehigh Valley Haunts
The former Spring Valley Inn in Upper Saucon Township, now known as the Ye Olde Spring Valley Tavern The rustic-looking building that houses the restaurant dates from the early 1800s. It achieved perhaps its greatest notoriety during the Prohibition era, when its rural, off-the-beaten-path location made it a popular speakeasy, complete with trap doors used to conceal bootleg liquor. The ghost who may call the tavern home today is said to be that of a former owner, whose family operated the inn from the 1950s to the 1980s. She is by all accounts a friendly spirit who's been known to rub patrons' backs while they're drinking at the bar, so if you feel a friendly "nudge" the next time you're nursing a drink, don't be alarmed. It's likely that she's just trying to make you feel welcome, as she no doubt did for decades.
Another historic building that's known for a few spirits, is the Old Belmont Inne on Old Philadelphia Pike in Lower Saucon Township. Over the years, patrons and employees have reported unusual goings-on in the tavern's cozy setting, with an ornately-carved oak bar.
The former Willow Grove Hotel, which was built during the Civil War era, is a creepy structure situated along the banks of the Lehigh Canal. the Willow Grove has gained a reputation over the years for being inhabited by at least one other-worldly guest--that of a little girl who looks like she's been burned. The girl was known to pull on men's pant legs.
A few other Lehigh Valley establishments that are said to be haunted, which you may want to add to your list to explore, are the former Eagle Hotel on Main Street in Hellertown, which is today Braveheart Highland Pub and Restaurant, and the Leithsville Inn in Lower Saucon Township.
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