Lehigh Valley Haunts
Lehigh Valley is home to an exceptional number of “haunted” locations and more than a few “true-life” horror stories. Read more below about local lore in Lehigh Valley. Pair an experience for an overnight stay in one of the highly sought after haunted rooms of The Sayre Mansion or Historic Hotel Bethlehem.
Bethlehem 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 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, 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.