Local Folk Lore 

The Storm Hag

Though Pennsylvania is land-locked, we do have access to Lake Erie, a member of the Great Lakes which are notorious for their violent, unpredictable storms. Presque Isle is an area of the lake notable for the large number of shipwrecks and disappearances that have occurred there– this is where the Storm Hag is said to live on the bottom of the lake, emerging only to feast upon unfortunate sailors. She has venemous nails, strong, wraith-like arms, green pointed teeth, slimy green skin, and cat-like eyes that are the last thing her victims ever see. Like a siren, she sings an enticing song immediately before attack.

Ghost in the Stacks

I saw her out of the corner of my eye while I was studying in a remote corner of the second-level stacks in the library. She was pretty, with reddish hair and pensive, wide eyes in an intelligent face. I straightened up, patted my hair to make sure it was smooth, and took another look. She was gone. I felt my shoulders sag a bit as I turned back to my books. Oh well. There were more important things, like studying hard so that I got into medical school when I graduated next year.

Still, I kept seeing the girl’s pretty face whenever I closed my eyes, and I was still thinking about her as I left the library. A few of my friends shouted to me and I walked over to their gathering place.\

“Where’ve you been, Tony?” my friend Jeff called. “At the library,” I said, patting my backpack for emphasis. “You have been studying?” Jeff asked incredulously. I grinned. “I’ve gotta crack down now so I can get into med school,” I replied to his jibe. “Can’t always be partying with you losers!” That set them off, as I had intended, and kept the jokes flying until dinnertime. Although I didn’t admit it to myself, I chose the same spot in the stacks for my studies the following afternoon, hoping to see the pretty girl again. I was in luck. After about an hour, she appeared among the shelves, browsing intently. I noticed that she was wearing the same red flowered dress with a buttoned-down white sweater. She must like that outfit. It was time for me to do some browsing too, I thought, straightening my shirt and rising casually. I turned to walk into the shelves and stopped abruptly. She was gone! I was astonished. She must be quick, I thought. It had only taken me a few seconds to rise and turn, but in that short time she had managed to move away without me seeing her do so. I walked casually through the stacks, glancing this way and that, trying to spot her again. No luck. With a sigh, I turned back to my seat and my studies, a frustrated man. I didn’t see the girl again for several weeks. Then one day, as I rushed out of the stacks towards my friend Jeff, who was impatiently beckoning to me to hurry up, I saw her rising from a seat in a far corner. I stopped abruptly and turned, hoping to catch her eye as she moved into the stacks, but she did not turn her head. Ignoring Jeff, who was calling my name impatiently, I backtracked in the hope of at least walking passed her and saying hello. I stopped at the entrance of the stacks where the pretty girl with reddish hair had just walked. There was no one there. I shivered a bit. This was getting spooky. Was she avoiding me? Why? We had never spoken, and I certainly could not be accused of staring at her, since I had only seen her for a total of maybe thirty seconds! Shaking my head at the mystery, I went back over to Jeff and exited the library. Later that week, I decided to skip the football game to cram for a big exam. Just about everyone else was at the game, so the library was nearly deserted as I strolled over to my favorite study spot in the stacks on the second level. I’d given up on seeing the pretty girl with the reddish hair. Obviously, some things were just not meant to be. I was deep into my studies when I heard the sound of books and shelves tumbling to the floor. I leapt up and ran toward the sounds. To my horror, the pretty red-haired girl whom I’d been trying to meet lay on the floor with books all around her. She was unconscious, and my heart gave a painful thump when I realized that there was blood staining her red dress. And then, right before my eyes, she vanished. I sat down abruptly on the floor, my legs shaking too hard to hold me. I had just seen a ghost. It was then that I remembered the story of the girl who had been murdered in the library back in the sixties. I knew at once that it was her. I had just seen the reenactment of her final moments of life. I buried my face in my shaking hands, feeling a terrible grief at the tragic loss of such a beautiful girl. From what I had heard, her murderer was never apprehended. It made me furious to think that justice had never been served. Slowly, I uncoiled my body and rose to my feet. The aisle between the stacks was empty now, and so was my heart. I was too unnerved to study anymore in this deserted place, so I grabbed my books and went back to my room. I saw the girl one more time before I graduated. I was reading at my favorite study cartel when I felt a chill in the air. I shivered and looked up. And there was the ghost of the pretty girl, standing a few feet away from me. Our eyes met, and I saw fear and despair in her face. Immediately, my own face twisted in sympathy, and I impulsively held out my hand toward her. At the sight of my distress, she reached her hand back toward me as if to comfort me, and she gave me a tiny smile. Then she was gone. In that moment, I knew wherever the girl had gone after her death, she was just fine. And I felt sure that someday, somewhere, her killer would be brought to justice; if not in this world, then most assuredly in the next.








Scahs Bridge

I don’t know what exactly draws me back to Sachs Bridge each time I visit Gettysburg. I just know that I feel compelled to drive there and take pictures. Of course, it is a beautiful spot – a covered bridge that was used by the Confederate Army to cross the creek when they withdrew from Gettysburg . But after all, how many pictures can you take of the same place? Well, okay, if you’re a photographer, that’s a silly question! Hundreds in all weather, season, lighting… But really, I’m only an amateur, so why I personally felt compelled to record the bridge over and over was a mystery my boyfriend was obsessing about as he drove through the darkening countryside one evening in the late fall.

Of course, the bridge was supposed to be haunted, so that was definitely part of the draw it had for me. According to the legend, three Confederate soldiers convicted of being spies were hanged from beams in the covered bridge, and their bodies were discovered by Union soldiers patrolling the area. Their spirits were said to haunt the bridge, though other folks claimed they sometimes smelled General Lee smoking his pipe when they were standing on the bridge. I’d actually smelled pipe smoke there once myself, and that was one of the reasons I kept coming back to the haunted bridge.

As we came to the bridge, a chill blasted over my skin in spite of the warmth flowing into the car from the heater. The bridge, usually a friendly-spot, seemed sinister and dark. I felt uneasy, as if a foul presence was on the bridge that did not want us to intrude there.

“I changed my mind,” I said quickly as my boyfriend stopped the car. “I don’t want to take pictures here after all.”

“What?!” my boyfriend practically screeched, staring at me in amazement. “After you made such a big fuss about it? After you forced me to look at every single solitary picture you ever took of this bridge before we came to Gettysburg? No way, honey! I could be back at the hotel drinking beer right now, but no! We had to come to the bridge! Out you get and take your photos!”

He was right, I guess. Silly to come all this way and not take the pictures. But I was utterly terrified to step out onto the bridge! My hand shook as I reached for the door handle, and shook again as I secured my camera. Praying with all my might that whatever dark power was out there would leave me alone, I leapt out the door and aimed my camera practically at random down the length of the bridge. It was completely empty of everything but me and the car as I took several snapshots. But I could feel someone – a very nasty someone – standing right behind me, willing me to leave or die. Their presence throbbed at me in an almost physical way, and my skin crawled desperately. I didn’t dare turn around. I couldn’t. I just whirled my camera around, aimed it over my shoulder and snapped a picture – fast! Then I leapt back into the car before whoever – or whatever – decided to grab me, and gasped: “Get me out of here now!”

My boyfriend took one look at my white face filled with eye-popping terror and got me out of there now. I didn’t stop shaking until we were safely back in our hotel room for the night.

When I loaded up the digital pictures on my laptop computer the next morning, I went immediately to the pictures of the Sachs Bridge, unsure of what I would see. In the first photo, a little boy in period costume stood an arm’s length away from the camera. He was glaring at me with a twisted little face and an evil grin. He certainly hadn’t been there when I took the picture, yet he looked solid enough to be real. The second photo was filled with misty figures that looked like phantoms. Creepy! I shuddered as I looked at them and quickly went to the next photo – the one I took over my shoulder without turning around. I gave a shriek of fear which brought my boyfriend crashing into the room. “What is it?” he shouted, and I pointed a shaking finger at the screen of the laptop. Pictured on it was a filmy dark figure – half-human, half-beast – with blazing orange eyes filled with such menace and hatred that it made my stomach roil. He appeared so close to the camera that he must have been directly behind me. He looked like the Devil.

My boyfriend’s eyes popped and he gasped: “Delete it. Delete it now!”

Yet how could I delete it? I had captured pictures of ghosts on my camera. Was it worth the fright I’d had? I wasn’t sure about that. Still, I couldn’t delete them.

My boyfriend refused blankly to look at the photos more than once, and he swore never to take me to Sachs Bridge again. But I may go back there someday.

Gustkey story

All the men working in the Melt Shop of the steel mill soon learned to be very careful around the furnace and the ladles full of molten steel. Every worker feared what would happen if the chains holding the ladles full of hot liquid ever broke while they passed overhead. Burning to death in molten steel might be a quick demise, but it would be agonizing.

One poor fellow who used to work in the Melt Shop had tripped over a rigger hose back in 1922 and had fallen into a ladle of hot steel. His body was immediately liquefied; there was nothing left for his family to bury save for a small nugget of steel that was skimmed from the tainted ladle before its contents was dumped into a vacant lot. From that day onward, the workers said that the workman’s ghost clanked and moaned its way around the Shop at night, searching for his dead body.

Now the newest steel worker, a young man recently moved to Johnstown, laughed mockingly when he heard the story about the ghost. He even volunteered to work the late shift just to prove to the other men that they were wrong about the ghost. The young man liked the extra money this earned him, and soon his reputation for fearlessness and his scorn for the ghost were the talk of the mill.

There came an evening the young man found himself alone on the furnace floor. It was the slow time between shifts, and by rights he should already be on his way home. However, he had stayed behind for a moment to complete a small task, and he hummed contently to himself as he bent over his work. He gradually became aware of a muffled sound coming from somewhere to his left. He ignored it, since the mechanized processes all around him often made strange sounds.

The sound grew louder, and the young man looked up from his labors to see a glowing white mist gathering in the air a few yards away from where he stood. The mist emitted a faint rapping noise, which slowly clarified into steady thud of a workman’s approaching footsteps.

The young man gasped, his arms breaking out into goosebumps in spite of the heat from the furnace. He watched with unblinking eyes and pounding heart as the mist solidified into the glowing figure of a workman making his rounds. Suddenly, the workman tripped and fell downwards in slow motion toward a shimmering ladle full of steaming molten steel. The phantom workman’s body plunged into the hot liquid, and he tried in vain to grab the sides of the ladle and pull himself out, unwilling to believe that he was doomed. Then, his body liquefying beneath him and his face hideously twisted with pain, the ghostly workman screamed desperately for someone to save him as he sank downward into the red-hot ladle. With a final, hair-raising shriek, the apparition disappeared.

The young man’s scream of sheer terror was so loud that it cut through the voice of the phantom, echoing and re-echoing through the furnace room. Dropping his tools as if he himself were burning up, the young man raced for the exit, followed by the gut-wrenching sound of maniacal laughter.

The young man packed his bag as soon as he got back to his lodgings and returned home, never to enter a Melt Shop again. But the ghost of the dead steel worker continued to haunt the Melt Shop until it closed.

They say that to this day, people walking near the spot where the Melt Shop once stood can still hear the steel worker’s dying scream, followed by the sound of maniacal laughter.

By Katie Furman

Haunting at Brandywine Creek

I worked in the Coatesville Service Building in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Usually I would arrive at work about 4:00 a.m. to prep the schedules for the Work Week Managers and was generally alone for a couple of hours. The strange events began one morning as I was sitting at my computer, enclosed in a cubicle with a wall that only went ½ way up way and I could see out into the hall from where I sat.

For several mornings in a row I noticed the lights in the hall would turn off and then on, in a series – one went out, then the next, and so on. I thought nothing of it, other than the fact that it seemed a bit strange that they would go out in a pattern.

Then one morning I saw a lady, with her head down, walk from the hallway into the doorway near my desk. Wet hair was hanging down around her lowered face and she seemed very sad. She had on a blue denim top with white stripes running across, and a gold spot highlighted over her heart.

I thought she was just some person that had come into the building off the street. She looked at me and I looked at her, then she passed to the right of me down the other hallway. When I jumped up to follow her, there was no one there. I checked the halls, the bathrooms, and still, no sight of anyone. The next morning she returned — woeful, the same wet hair and blue denim top, again stopping in front of me. Suddenly, I realized that the woman standing before me was dead and I froze in my seat, not daring to move. I never saw her below the waist, just from the waist up. Then, the saddened woman again disappeared once again down the hall.

I was growing a bit concerned when I saw her a third morning and I told my friend Joie, who occupied the cubicle beside mine. We checked to see if anyone had died in the building but no one had. We then began checking around the neighborhood and found that a young woman had been killed close by a few years earlier. Searching the web for a news article, we found nothing from the press; however, we did find a police report indicating that a young woman had been found along the Brandywine Creek, near our work place.

The woman had been dismembered and placed inside a suitcase. Her legs were missing. They had a picture of her clothes and I was shocked when I saw the lady’s blouse – blue denim with white stripes and copper colored buttons. Her body was unclaimed and unidentified and later I saw the story featured on America’s Most Wanted.

I tried to find out if there were any other sightings of this ghostly apparition, but I could not find any. In the course of looking for other sightings I ran across a lady named Leslie Rule who investigates these things. She said there was some unfinished business that was keeping the girl on earth. I had some Masses said for her, enrolled her for Perpetual Masses and I named her Mary Angel. I have never seen her since!


Katie Furman

June, 2004

Thanks Katie for a terrific story!! We were so intrigued by Katie’s letter that we just had to know more about Mary Angel. Katie helped us with providing additional information about this poor sad, now unearthly, woman. Read about the Pennsylvania Suitcase Jane Doe, as she was dubbed. Perhaps, as they say, “You Can Help Solve the Mystery” and let this poor woman’s soul rest in peace.

Computer Enhanced Photo of unidentified womanOn July 11, 1995, a fisherman found the dismembered body of woman described to have been between the ages of 25 and 30 stuffed in a suitcase in a remote area of Chester County, Pennsylvania, along the bank of the Brandywine Creek. Inside the maroon suitcase, was a garment bag, which contained a trash bag sealed with plastic packing tape. The trash bag contained the woman’s head and torso but did not contain her legs. An immediate alert went out in the area and 20 to 30 troopers were assigned to search for the woman’s killer and her identity. But, no one claimed to have known her.

Forensic experts described her to have been between 4-foot-11 and 5-foot-4 and weighing between 125 and 140 pounds. Believing that she was most likely to have been of European/Caucasian or Hispanic descent, she had fair skin, with short brown hair and brown eyes.

At the time of her death she was wearing a light blue denim shirt with thin blue vertical stripes and copper-colored buttons. Discovered within three to seven days of her death, her fingerprints did not yield a match, so she was obviously never arrested in the United States.

A little more than six months later, in late January of 1996, a hiker found two leg bones and another green plastic trash bag containing items of clothing in a remote area of Bucks County, a site roughly 50 miles away. Although mutilation and decomposition made it impossible to get a conclusive DNA match, other evidence convinced investigators that both sets of remains were those of the same woman – and that her legs had been amputated after death. This new development added new information for the investigators, but they were still unable to find her identity or her killer.

Pennsylvania Suitcase VictimIn 1997, police commissioned Frank Bender, a top forensic artist, to reconstruct a replica of the woman’s head from the facial bones found in the suitcase. The woman’s facial bust was then broadcasted throughout the local and national media, but still no avail.

Since the body was found in 1995, the details of the case have been shown on America’s Most Wanted through two broadcasts: one in June of 2001 and one in March of 2002, dubbing the case the “Pennsylvania Suitcase Jane Doe.” Over the years, there have been hundreds of tips – including the “vision” of a psychic on The Montel Williams Show

All these years later, despite an intensive and continuing investigation and the publicity, her identity and her killer remain undiscovered.

If you have information about this case, please contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 717-783-5524 or their website at http://www.psp.state.pa.us/



(Johnstown, Cambria County) When the school was built (it opened in 1969), allegedly the land it used was the site of an old cemetery and several bodies had to be relocated to other graveyards. That’s always a bad start. Custodians report humming and whistling when no one’s in the building but them. Others report lockers flying open and lights going on and off. After school, students have seen apparitions that disappear or walk through the walls along with ghosts spotted in the parking lot and football field. A word to the wise – let sleeping dogs (and spirits!) lay. The Shadowlands

Haunted locations in or around Johnstown PA ...Or so they say find out for yourself

We are frequently contacted by people asking if we know of any alleged haunted places they can visit around the Johnstown Area.  Below is a list of places that all open to the public, generally safe, and free.  

Warning must be given about visiting cemeteries at night.  It’s against Pennsylvania law to be in one after sunset and police keep a close eye on them.  

The Rolling Mill Mine

Location:  Johnstown, PA Cambria County

(Off Route 56 on the hillside next to the Johnstown Incline Plane)

The Rolling Mill Mine is former mine site were a tragic gas explosion in 1902 killed 112 miners.  People have claimed to see apparitions of phantom miners walking the James Wolfe Sculpture trail that leads up to the mine entrance.  Check out the Other Investigations section of our website for detailed information and pictures of the mine.


                                                                            Johnstown Stone Bridge

Location: Johnstown, PA Cambria County

(Off of Route 56 next to The Point Stadium and Johnstown Festival Park)

The Johnstown Stone Bridge is a seven arch railroad bridge built in 1887.  It survived the deadly 1889 Johnstown Flood in which a massive pile of debris from the flood collected there and caught fire. The fire killed many people that survived the initial flood waters.  Some say the souls the departed victims still haunt the area.

Portage Railroad Museum

Location: Portage, PA Cambria County

(Intersection Lee and Washington Street)


The Portage Railroad Museum building was built in 1926 and was used as a railroad station along the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1954.  An apparition was seen there by an employee and SPLAT has conducted an investigation in to the building. 


Grandview Cemetery

Location:  Westmont, PA Cambria County

We’ve received many accounts of strange encounters with sprits at Grandview.  It’s one of the largest cemeteries in Pennsylvania with many detailed and lavish monuments.  It contains a special plot with 777 unidentified victims of the 1889 Johnstown Flood.

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Memorial

Location: Monument Road in Pavia, PA Bedford County

(Route 869 near Blue Knob State Park)

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument is dedicated to the memory of Joseph (5 years old) and George (7 years old) Cox who were found dead after becoming lost in the woods near their home on April 24th, 1856.  The story of them becoming lost is very tragic and involves unexplained paranormal events that lead up the discovery of their bodies.

George, 7, and Joseph, 5, were the sons of Samuel and Susannah Cox. The Cox family lived in a cabin built by Samuel for his wife and kids. At this time old-growth logging had not yet begun in this area of Pennsylvania and the area was still heavily forested.[2]

During the morning of April 24, 1856, Samuel Cox heard his dog barking in the forest and thought that it must have treed a squirrel. Samuel retrieved his rifle and headed into the woods. It is thought that while Samuel was gone, the boys must have strayed from home to follow their father. Susannah thought that Samuel had taken the boys with him. It was only when Samuel returned without them that they realized their children were gone.[2] They called for the boys but received no replies. Samuel went for help from his nearest neighbors and by that evening more than one hundred men were searching for the children. Fires were lit in the forest in the hope that the boys would see one and approach. Nearly a thousand people showed up to search the next day. A nearby stream, Bob’s Creek, was surging with spring snow melt and it was thought that there was no way the boys could have crossed to the other side without drowning. A search of the creek was performed but the boys were not found.[3]

On April 26, suspicion fell on Samuel and Susannah Cox. It was thought that they might have murdered their children in the hope of gathering donations from a sympathetic population. The Cox cabin and garden were searched but no bodies were located. The searchers went so far as to bring in a dowser and a witch from Somerset County. The dowser found nothing and the witch, despite claiming to know the children’s location, led a search team through the woods for hours without turning up anything.[4]

The legend tells that the night after the disappearance a local farmer, Jacob Dibert, heard about the missing children and remarked to his wife that he wished to be able to dream of the boys’ location. On May 2, 1856, he had a dream in which he walked a path through the woods past a dead deer, a child’s shoe and a fallen birch tree and eventually to a copse of birch trees in a small ravine. Here he found the bodies of the Cox boys. The dream reoccurred on the two following nights. Dibert told no-one but his wife about the dream; however, he felt that the dream was prophetic and on May 7 he told his brother-in-law Harrison Whysong. Whysong recognised elements from Dibert’s dream and the two men decided to make a search, culminating in the discovery of the bodies just as the dream had described – under birch trees in a small ravine reached along a track with a dead deer, a child’s shoe and a fallen birch.[5]

Cultural impact

In 1906, for the 50th anniversary of the event, the community of Pavia took up donations for a Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument to honor the Cox family. In 1910, they erected the monument at the spot where Joseph and George Cox were found over 50 years earlier.

Alison Krauss released a song written by Julie Lee and John Pennell about the story entitled “Jacob’s Dream”

Jon Bonnet Tavern


Location:  Route 30, Bedford County, PA

The Jon Bonnet Tavern is a restaurant and inn that dates back to the 1700’s.  

Destiny has granted The Jean Bonnet a long and interesting life.

The tavern, which dates to sometime around 1762,  was placed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It is a great honor. We know George Washington and his troops passed here, as did countless settlers in wooden wagons heading to our nation’s great western territories. So too did thousands of travelers in new newfangled motor cars driving the Lincoln Highway, one of the first transcontinental roads in the United States.

Our building was originally intended to be a safe haven for early settlers and travelers. We continue our mission of hospitality to this day, as we welcome visitors with food, drink and comfortable lodging. Please come and visit us at the Jean Bonnet. Then you too will be part of the long list of famous and ordinary folk who have enjoyed our rich heritage, fine dining, and overnight accommodations.


Detail from William Penn Pennsylvania Schull Map circa 1770


The Jean Bonnet was built at the junction of the Old Forbes Road (east -west) and Burd Road (north-south). Today this would be Routes 30 (Lincoln Highway) and Route 31.

There is little to prove the actual date of the building, but we know it served as an early French fort and trading post. In historic documents, mostly trapper and trader accounts, the building was referred to as being on the way to the Old Shawnese Cabins, that would be present day Shawnee State Park. We know General Forbes stopped here to await reinforcements before beginning a westward campaign in hopes of taking Fort Duquesne from the French.

The earliest official record of the property is noted in a transfer of title of 690 acres from an agent of the William Penn family to Hans Ireland, a land speculator. It was then transferred in 1762 to Robert Callender, an Indian trader. Callender was also a commissary for troop supplies, and later, a scout for General George Washington. This building, with its native stone walls, massive fireplaces, and chestnut beams, was built during Callender’s ownership.


Our namesake, Jean (John) Bonnet, and his wife purchased the property in 1779. In October 1780, Bonnet was issued a license, allowing that “Petitioner lives at the Fork of roads leading to Fort Pitt and the Glades with everything necessary for keeping Public House…”

Since 1780, ownership of the Jean Bonnet has changed hands many times. Most of those recorded as deedholders to the Jean Bonnet maintained the building as a public tavern and inn. Several utilized the property as a private residence. In 1957 the Jean Bonnet was purchased by the Enyeart family. It was during their ownership that stories of hauntings at the Jean Bonnet began to reach the public.

Early image of a Liberty Pole from Wikipedia

Liberty pole at the border to the Republic of Mainz, from watercolor by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1793 (Image from Wikipedia.)

One of the most colorful moments in our history was when the tavern became a meeting place for the farmers involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. In mid-1794, Pennsylvania farmers were angry about the federal excise tax on whiskey. They gathered here at our stone tavern and raised a liberty pole in protest.

Liberty poles were popular forms of protest in colonial days. According to one on-line encyclopedia, the concept of a liberty pole actually began in Roman days around 44BC. After a group of senators assassinated Roman Dictator Julius Ceasar, they went to meet a crowd at the Roman Forum. There a pilieus (a kind of skullcap that identified a freed slave) was placed atop a tall pole to symbolize that the Roman people had been freed from the tyranny of Caesar.

Over time the concept of a hat atop a tall pole came to symbolize liberty from unjust oppression. Liberty poles were popular in the days leading up to the American Revolution. They would be put up in town squares and on private property, as at the Jean Bonnet. From time to time the poles would be knocked down by the King’s  soldiers. In Boston the liberty pole became a Liberty Tree.


Washington reviewing troops at Carlisle PA during Whiskey Rebellion

A few years after the American Revolution, during the presidency of George Washington, Western Pennsylvania folks began putting up liberty poles to protest the new federal government’s tax on distilled spirits.

The so-called “whiskey tax” was the first tax imposed on a domestic product in the new United States. It was part of Alexander Hamilton’s plan  to to help pay down the huge national debt caused by expenses from the Revolutionary War.

Now taxes are never popular, but this “whisky tax’ was especially hated by farmers in our region. Farmers here would usually distill their surplus grain and corn into whiskey, and whiskey was sometimes traded in place of money. Taxing this was really irritating, especially given that some of these same farmers were veterans who had fought in the Revolutionary War.

But the new government needed the money, and  George Washington himself lead a large group of militiamen to quell the “Whiskey Rebellion. In October 1794, some of the troops he summoned camped here at the Jean Bonnet on their journey to Pittsburgh to quell the insurrection.

Info about this has been drawn from Wikipedia, the free on-line encyclopedia. You can read more and see illustrations at these two links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_pole and  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion


Early Photo of group in front of the Jean Bonnet Tavern, Bedford PA

Above is an old photo of a group standing in front of the Jean Bonnet. The large bank barn in the distance is gone now, and the land has been leveled and contoured to make way for today’s parking lot and herb garden. Note the old building’s long ground level-porch and upper balcony. The bushes and vines are no longer there. Instead a large shade tree now graces the yard. This is the side of our building where today’s visitors enjoy outdoor dining. Photo below, from about the same angle, shows 2006 view just after the patio was constructed.

Historic Jean Bonnet Tavern, Beford PA circa 2006


Early photo of Jean Bonnet Tavern with old car in fore, Bedford PA

Note the old car in this historic photo of the Jean Bonnet. Our tavern sits at the crossroads of today’s Routes 30 and 31. Route 30 is the Lincoln Highway. It was probably about the time of this photo that the Lincoln Highway was coming into being. The Lincoln was the first road across America, stretching from New York to San Francisco. You can read more about the Lincoln Highway at: http://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/

Photo below shows how this side of our building looks today with fence around the patio installed where the roofed porch once stood.


Gravity Hill


Location:  Gravity Hill Road, New Paris, PA Bedford County

Gravity Hill isn’t haunted, but it’s a fun and unusual place to experience where the law of gravity don’t seem to apply.

Have you ever wanted to defy gravity? You could book a seat on the space shuttle, but by the time you buy a ticket, rent your space suit and drive to the launch site, you’ll have well over $10 invested. For a lot less money, (free actually) you can defy gravity in Bedford County, PA.

Located in the suburbs of New Paris, PA (South Central Pennsylvania)… Gravity Hill is a phenomenon. Cars roll uphill and water flows the wrong way. It’s a place where gravity has gone haywire. There is no fee to venture onto Gravity Hill. It is, quite simply, a road in a remote corner of Bedford County.

Call us at (800) 765-3331 to receive a free copy of the Gravity Hill brochure … or, for inspirational testimony, directions and more, click away, gallant soul

We’ll assume that you’ll be able to find Route 30 on any Pennsylvania or Bedford County Map. FYI, we can send you a Visitors Guide (complete with a Bedford County Map) if you call (800)765-3331. From route 30, drive to the town of Schellsburg which is about 8 miles west of Bedford. In Schellsburg, turn north onto Route 96 at the one-and-only traffic light (towards the town of New Paris). Drive about 4 miles on Rt. 96. Before you come to the town of New Paris, you’ll come upon a small metal bridge. The sides of the bridge are metal … the road surface is paved. Turn left just before this bridge onto Bethel Hollow Road or S.R 4016. Drive for 6/10th of a mile and bear left at the “Y” in the road. (Stay on the “main” road). After another 1 1/2 mile, you’ll come to an intersection that has a stop sign (for on-coming traffic only). Bear right onto this road and drive 2 tenths of a mile and look for the letters “GH” spray painted on the road. Go past the first “GH” about .1 mile and stop before you get to the second spray painted “GH”. This is it, Pilgrim. You have arrived.

What to do when you get there.

Stay calm … keep cool. As you strain your ears to hear the laws of physics being shattered, put your car in neutral (after checking behind you for oncoming traffic, of course) and take your foot off the brake. Your car will roll, uphill. Some people like to take water or various other non-flammable, bio-degradable liquids and pour them onto the road. The liquids will flow uphill.

(Your car might lie to you, but pure water will not … you will believe in the power of Gravity Hill!)


The Windber Hotel


Location:  15th Street, Windber, PA, Somerset County

The Windber Hotel is fascinating and historic four story brick building located in downtown Windber, PA.  It was built at the turn of the 20th century (c. 1897); around the time Windber was first founded.  Over twenty deaths are said to have occurred in the hotel over the years, including murders, and many local residents and former occupants feel that the building is haunted.


The White Lady of Wopsy Mountain 

Location:  Buckhorn Road, Altoona, PA Blair County

We’ve come across many legends about apparitions of ladies in flowing white dresses roaming local
roads.  One place involves the Lady of Wopsononock Mountain.  Legend has it a woman died there in a carriage accident long ago on her wedding night at a sharp curve in the road nicknamed Devil’s Elbow.

Drivers along the road have reported seeing her figure and some claim to picked her up only to have her vanish from their car.  A similar story involves a ghostly woman out on Willow Beech Road in Wilmore near the Wilmore Reservoir in Cambria County.

There’s a lookout at the top of Wopsononock that oversees the whole city of Altoona. I highly recommend stopping there if you are in the area.

White Lady of Wopsy


The legend begins in the early to mid 1800s. A couple was scheduled to get married. On the day of the wedding the bride sat and awaited her groom to be. She waited and waited but he never showed. The bride was told that he had ran away with another female from the village. The bride not believing what she was told waited day after day for him to return to wed. She went to her death still awaiting her Groom. Rumor has it that she seeks couples that travel through or decide to park to seek revenge for her groom leaving her at the altar. All accidents since then have been accredited to the White Lady of Wopsy.

This is the beginning of the White Lady and her creation. As for personal first hand knowledge, myself and a friend 30 years ago were up there in the evening in the fall scouting for a place to hunt. We saw her first hand. She was about 30 ft in the woods in front of us. When we hit the flood lights of his jeep there was no doubt what we were looking at, it was her. We immediately backed up at a considerable pace to the road, swung around, through the jeep in forward and she appeared to our left, being we were in a soft top jeep I was stretched across holding the door closed because the didn’t have locks, like that would of made a difference. She kept up with us for about an eighth of a mile and disappeared only to reappear directly in front of us about 150 feet in the middle of the road. My buddy drove right at her and when we were within 5 to 10 feet from hitting her with the jeep she vanished. 2 witnesses that lived in Lakemont & Altoona can vouch for the legend.




Snavely Cemetery (Becky’s Grave)

Location:  Elton, PA Cambria County (off of Mount Airy Drive)

Becky’s Grave, A.K.A. Snavely Cemetery, is situated on the outskirts of Elton, PA on Mount Airy Drive.  It is kind of a famous ghostly hot spot in this part of the county where the spirit of Rebecca (Becky) Kring is supposed to haunt.  Many rumors circulate the area of high school students encountering Becky’s ghost there at night.  I’ve also heard stories of parked cars not starting while trying to visit the place.  Ask anyone though and I doubt they know the truth behind Becky and her grave.

I’m distantly related to Rebecca Kring and I’m sorry to inform everyone that she isn’t even buried in the cemetery that has her name attached to it.  Her grave is located a few miles away in Dunmire Cemetery up near EZ Shopper on Route 160 and I’m not sure why this grave yard is popularly called Becky’s Grave.  You can go up there yourself and find here grave.  Her grave is also listed as being there based off of a survey conducted here: http://www.camgenpa.com/db/cemetery/cemList.php?cem=17&page=1

The true story behind Becky is she was born Rebecca Wertz on March 18th, 1807 and died along with her husband in a tragic house fire on January 22nd 1892.  I’ve heard stories of how she was witch who was hung for practicing black magic but I’m sure the stories were all fabricated

I’ve been to Becky’s Grave many times myself, even at night, and I never had anything happen to me and I’ve never seen any evidence of a haunting there.  I’ve also never heard a first-hand account of anyone ever experiencing anything paranormal there at all.  SPLAT visited the site and did an investigation but nothing was found to indicate it was haunted.

Below is a news article taken from the Johnstown Tribune or The Messenger on January 30th, 1892 that deals with the death of Becky Kring. No name of the publisher was found on the clipped article as noted in my family history book where the article was taken from.



The House of Samuel Kring and Another Building Destroyed, and He and His Wife Suffocated and Their Bodies Partly Consumed in the Flames..The Villagers Wild with Excitement..Heroic  Attempts at Rescue.

About half-past 10 o’clock Wednesday night the village of Elton, containing between one hundred and two hundred people, seven miles south east of this city, in Adams Township, Cambria County, was thrown into a state of great excitement by the breaking out of a fire.   Most villagers had retired for the night, and it was the men about Ickes’ Hotel who, being still astir, first discovered the flames.

The Fire was discovered to be in the rear part of the residence of Samuel Kring.  Flames were shooting through the windows.   In front some of the men broke open the door and windows, but a tremendous volume of flame and black smoke burst through the openings thus made, but prevented entrance to the building.  Several desperate attempts were made by persons to force their way into the house, and water was freely applied from a hole cut through the ice in a dam near by, in the hope of rescuing Mr. and Mrs. Kring, who slept in a room on the first floor, but every such attempt proved futile, the heat and suffocating smoke being more than anyone could endure, and the poor old couple were of necessity, abandoned to their fate.

The flames made rapid headway, and not only quickly consumed the building in which they originated but communicated with one adjoining and destroyed it.  The former was a two story plank, occupied and used as a kind of warehouse.  Both belonged to Mr. Kring.

As soon as the flames had spent their fury, water was thrown in considerable quantities upon the charred timbers at the corner of the house in which the room was located where the aged couple slept, in the hope of finding whatever of the bodies the fire had not consumed.  The search soon resulted in the uncovering of the blackened and roasted remains of both Mr. and Mrs. Kring.

Nothing but the trunks was left.  Mrs. Kring’s was found in one corner of the room where the bed had stood, and Mr. Kring’s in another corner where there had been a lounge, indicating that she had been sleeping in  the bed and he on the lounge.  The remains were not disturbed at the time, some of the people thinking that an inquest should be held, and that the remains should not be interfered with until viewed by a jury.  Word was accordingly sent to Squire Henry Fye, and he arrived yesterday morning.  After an investigation he decided that an inquest was not necessary.   The remains were thereupon taken from the ruins and placed in a house near by.

As to the origin of the fire, nothing has been definitely learned.  There was a stove in an out-kitchen adjoining the rear of the house, and there was also one in the sleeping room.  It is thought that in someway the building caught from on of these, probably from the one in the bed chamber, the resulting smoke quickly stupefying the old couple, and rendering them helpless victims of the flames.

Their extreme age too, was against them, Mr. Kring having attained his seventy-ninth year and Mrs. Kring her eighty-third.  She was quite feeble, but managed to do her own work unaided, and there was nobody at the house but herself and her venerable partner.

As may easily be imagined, the scene in the village during and for some time after the fire was one of the wildest excitement.  The church bells were rung, the people yelled, and everybody was in a measure of terror-stricken, while the pitiful cries and frantic conduct of a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kring..the window of Charles Helsel, living in Elton..added a most distressing nature to the sad affair.  (The daughter was Sarah Kring Helsel).

Crum Cemetery

Location:  outskirts of Windber, PA Somerset County

(Off of Route 56 on Crum Road)

Crum is old and secluded cemetery dating back to the 1800’s.  It was actually located in the village of Crum, which was mysteriously abandoned long ago.  Nothing remains of the village except for some building foundations and the cemetery itself.  Stories of the place being haunted have been circulating for years. 

DIRECTIONS: From Central City, N on Rt 160, turn right onto Hill St, bear left at “Y” onto Easy Camp Rd, go 6.1 mi, bear left at “Y” onto Crum Rd, go approximately 0.5 mi and turn left onto dirt path. Cemetery is at the end of path along hillside, at the top. Approximately 60 graves


Altoona Railroaders Museum 

Location: Altoona, PA


If you ever head out to the Altoona area you may want to stop and check out the
Railroaders Museum.  The first episode of the TV show Ghost Hunters was filmed there and the place is supposed to be haunted.

The Railroaders Memorial Museum is dedicated to revealing, interpreting, commemorating and celebrating the significant contributions of Railroaders and their families to American life and industry.

The Altoona Pennsylvania Railroad’s contribution to the nation’s transportation infrastructure, and to production standardization, marks it as one of the most important contributors to America’s industrial revolution.

By the 1920s, the Altoona railroad works employed 15,000 workers, and by 1945 the Pennsylvania Railroad’s facilities at Altoona had become the world’s largest rail shop complex.


About Altoona, Pennsylvania


For more than a century Altoona was one of the most important rail facilities in the United States. The city was home to the Altoona Pennsylvania Railroad’s repair and maintenance shops, its locomotive construction facility, and its test department.

Altoona’s location at the foot of the Allegheny front and its proximity to the Horseshoe Curve route over the mountains, made the city a key location in the Altoona Pennsylvania Railroad’s operations.

Today, Altoona is one of the hubs of the area’s growing tourist industry. Many significant cultural resources are within the city itself, and most of these resources are linked directly to the city’s long history as a railroad center.

The Baker Mansion is a historic home located at Altoona in Blair County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was built between 1844 and 1848, and is a three-story, dressed stone building in the Greek Revival style. The front facade is five bays wide and features six fluted Ionic order columns. The building houses the Blair County Historical Society.[3]

Baker Mansion was originally home to ironmaster Elias Baker and his family. Baker purchased the nearby Alleghany Furnace in 1836 in partnership with his cousin Roland Diller. Elias brought his wife, Hetty, and their two sons, David Woods and Sylvester, from Lancaster County to what was described as a “tolerable good mansion house” near the furnace. Shortly after they arrived, a daughter, Anna, was born. A fourth child, Margaretta, was born in 1839, but she died of diphtheria at the age of two. In 1844, Elias Baker bought out his cousin’s share in the furnace. That same year, he contracted with Baltimore architect Robert Cary Long, Jr. to design him a new home. Work got underway on the mansion in 1845 but many problems and delays retarded its completion until 1849. The total cost was about $15,000. The cost overruns, coupled with falling prices for iron, pushed Mr. Baker to the brink of financial ruin before the home was finished. Still, Baker, ever the determined businessman, pressed ahead and achieved his dream house. He would enjoy it for fifteen years until his death in 1864. Hetty Baker remained a widow until her death in 1900.

David Woods Baker married Sarah Tuthill in 1851 and they had one daughter, Louise, in 1852. However, Woods was killed in a steamboat boiler explosion just two and a half weeks after the birth of his daughter. Louise later married Ernst Beckman and returned with him to live in his native Sweden. Sylvester and Anna both remained single and lived in the mansion until their deaths. After Anna died in 1914, the mansion was closed until 1922, when the Blair County Historical Society leased the building and opened it as a museum. With the community’s support for a major fundraising campaign, the society was able to purchase the house in 1941. Since then, the mansion has served as the Society’s headquarters and has become a beloved community landmark.

In 2001, the Society completed an exterior rehabilitation, returning the building to its original appearance. Work has begun on interior rehabilitation. The project is financed in part from a state Redevelopment Assistance Capital grant and from local matching funds the Society is working to raise.

In February 2015, Joseph DeFrancesco was named Executive Director of the Blair County Historical Society. In July of that year, the BCHS received an award from the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation for Technology.

In August 2015, the double parlor was restored back to original condition.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975