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'Ghost Hunters' probe eerie paranormal activity at the George Taylor House

CATASAUQUA, Pa. — One need not take ghosts literally to feel that something is different when they walk through the doors of the George Taylor House in Catasauqua.

As with other stately homes in the region whose hauntings can be recounted at length, paranormal events have become common at the Revolutionary War-era property — so much so that it’s now considered the home site of the nonprofit Interstate Paranormal Research team.

  • The George Taylor House in Catasauqua will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Ghost Hunters"
  • The episode will air on May 4, with a red carpet-event being planned in the borough
  • The house was built by George Taylor, one of the Founding Fathers

It’s also why the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” spent a week at the two-story Georgian stone mansion built in 1768 by one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.

    The eye-catching home, covered in thick slaked-lime stucco, will make its television debut on the May 4 episode dubbed “Unholy Matrimony,” which will feature The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS, and guest investigator Dustin Pari.

    It's the second historic property in the area to be featured on the show in recent months. An episode on Bethlehem's Sayre Mansion aired last fall.

    “We belong to the group Lehigh Valley Passport to History,” said Jason Kern, president of the George Taylor House Association. “They put out a thing that asked, ‘Does anyone have any paranormal incidents that happened in your house?’ And I said, ‘Yes, we do. We have a lot of stuff that happens.’"

    Soon after, Kern said he got a message from “Ghost Hunters” that it was interested in possibly doing something at the house.

    “And then, once I spoke to them and they found out we were having a [wedding] ceremony here, they were really interested in that,” said Candace Maxwell, Kerns’ wife and the treasurer and special events committee coordinator for the George Taylor House Association.

    'You hear knocks, walking'

    Both Kern and Maxwell have alluring tales to tell of full-body apparitions spotted on the property — including a woman in 18th-century clothing.

    “The story that we keep hearing involves the summer kitchen out back,” Maxwell said. “People see a woman in 18th-century clothing in the window, so now we close the curtains. But there's been reports of that.

    "You hear knocks, walking … people have been touched. We get a lot of people that get touched on just regular tours. And then since we started doing investigations, it's really seemed to have kicked up more.”

    Because Maxwell and Kern were considered the clients for “Ghost Hunters,” they were allowed on the property only to greet the production team and open the house.

    “The entire episode will be a surprise,” Maxwell said. “We don’t even know what’s going to be on there.”

    "The entire episode will be a surprise."
    Candace Maxwell

    But it seems as if any pieces of evidence that turn up — from the inexplicably weird to the truly haunting — won’t be particularly surprising.

    Asked to explain some of the things they’ve experienced, the couple will point to an antique grandfather clock that’s not fully assembled but has given off more of a reverberating gong and less of a tick-tock.

    Chandeliers also have started swinging like pendulums and electric candles have turned on by themselves. Footsteps have been heard in the cold cellar, and Maxwell called the attic a “hotspot of activity.”

    “The attic is a difficult place for me," she said. "There's a lot of energy up there that I've dealt with."

    'It's not far-fetched'

    But the one thing of which they're less sure is the identities of the members of the spectral world hanging out at the 5-acre property overlooking the Lehigh River.

    “As far as written history, we had families that lived here for a long period of time," Maxwell said. "There were children and adults that died while they lived here on the property. But as far as tragedy, there wasn't a lot of tragedy here to be recorded."

    And energy or entity aside, the George Taylor House is a historic venue also used for year-round community events, historical education and ongoing archeological exploration.

    It’s why Maxwell and Kern are excited to see the property featured on national television.

    “As a historical site, it’s maintained by this small group of very dedicated volunteers,” Maxwell said. “And it’s not far-fetched to think that many of the major Founding Fathers have stopped here.

    "We don't have evidence, we don't have documentation, but with the path between here and Bethlehem it’s not" unreasonable to draw that conclusion.

    And while Maxwell and Kern are both openly receptive to the idea that there are things in the universe that we can’t easily understand, they don’t overly dramatize what goes on at the property and are anxious to see what “Ghost Hunters” captured.

    “We don't know what they found,” Kern said. “We were shown just a little bit of it, not a lot. So when we watch the show, it’s going to be all new to us.”

    What: “Ghost Hunters” on the Travel Channel airing at 9 p.m. May 4, also streaming on Discovery+

    Episode description: TAPS and guest investigator Dustin Pari investigate the home of an American Founding Father, and where a betrothed couple intends to have their wedding. A dark, aggressive energy has overtaken the house, leading to fears that the haunting will upend the impending nuptials.

    A red carpet event: “Catasauqua Borough wants to do a little red-carpet premiere event,” Maxwell said, noting details are being worked out. Taylor House Brewing Co. might also host a viewing party.