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Arts & Culture

Famous entities: Meet some of the Lehigh Valley's ghosts haunting restaurants, hotels, libraries

Stephanie Sigafoos
The George Taylor House in Catasauqua will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Ghost Hunters" on the Travel Channel and Discovery+.

  • The Lehigh Valley's historical homes, libraries and hotels leave plenty of room for the paranormal to roam
  • Ghost sightings have been reported on the campuses of Moravian University and Muhlenberg College
  • For a price, spend the night at the Sayre Mansion and Historic Hotel Bethlehem, which are also reportedly haunted

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — It's no shock that paranormal investigators flock to the Lehigh Valley in search of spirits belonging to the dearly departed.

With structures and homes that date back to the 1700s, spooky sightings are abundant.

From playful theater managers to accused murderers, meet some of the region's most infamous supernatural entities.

Creepy in Catasauqua

George Taylor House: Paranormal happenings have become so common at the Revolutionary War home that it has been featured on the Travel Channel's "Ghost Hunters" and is considered the home base of the nonprofit Interstate Paranormal Research team.

Built in 1768, the three ghosts said the haunt the home are George Taylor, who was among those who signed the Declaration of Independence, his wife, Ana, and a young girl named Hanna.

Tours occur from April to October and theGeorge Taylor House Association hosts events year-round including tickets to paranormal experiments.

Info: 35 S Front St., Catasauqua, georgeTaylorHouseAssoc@gmail.com

The eeriness of Easton

Easton Public Library: The site was once known as the German Reformed Cemetery, where about 500 remains had to be removed before construction of the library began.

The unclaimed bodies — about 40 of them — were moved to an underground vault that was later paved into a parking lot and located above the library's northeast exit.

Witnesses have reported novels flying off the shelves and drawers opening and slamming on their own.

Info: 515 Church St., Easton, 610-258-2917, eastonpl.org.

Easton Public Library
The spirit of Fred Osterstock, former manager of the State Theatre, is said to live in the Easton venue.

State Theatre: The spirit of John "Fred" Osterstock is said to roam the halls of the entertainment venue, which was restored in 1925 by Philadelphia architect William H. Lee.

Osterstock managed the theatre from 1936-1965 and set up a home office in 1955 after a flood damaged the first floor of his home.

He died on Oct. 20, 1957, and is buried in Easton Cemetery (401 N 7th St.)

Since his passing, witnesses have reported seeing Osterstock walk off an empty stage.

In 2003, the State Theatre paid tribute to Osterstock by naming the FREDDY Awards, an annual ceremony that recognizes achievement in high school theater, after him.

Said to be a friendly ghost, the ghost of Osterstock lives on his own X account (formerly Twitter).

Info: 453 Northampton St., Easton, statetheatre.org.

Getter's Island in the Delaware River in Easton is for sale on Zillow. The reportedly haunted land was the site of an execution in 1833.

Getter's Island: Unrequited love and murder set the scene for the tormented spirit that haunts a small piece of land off of the Delaware River.

Getter's Island, located on the north side of the Delaware that connects Easton to Phillipsburg, New Jersey, got its name from Charles Getter, who murdered his wife, Margaret "Rebecca" Lawall. Getter married Lawall in order to avoid persecution for impregnating her out of wedlock.

His hanging in 1833 was moved from Centre Square to the island so more people could view it — 20,000 people reportedly showed up.

Getter was the last person to be publicly executed by hanging (in 1834, Pennsylvania Governor George Wolf began banning public execution).

If you don't scare easily, the landowners are selling the 5.8-acre property for $175,000.

Babies crying, balls of fire

221213 King George Inn.jpg
Olivia Marble
The King George Inn is currently vacant. It used to host a restaurant, which closed in 2012.

King George Inn: While visitors can no longer go visit the inside of the establishment (the inn closed in 2012), it is said to house the spirits of a man named Charlie, along with a small child.

Former guests of the historic property, built in 1757 during the French and Indian War, have reported hearing distant sounds of a baby crying near the basement and have seen a woman carrying the child (the child reportedly was hidden in a well by a family who was trying to hide during an attack during the war).

As for Charlie, it is said that he hung himself on the upstairs staircase. Former employees attribute pranks like moving objects due to his eerie presence.

Info: 3141 Hamilton Blvd., South Whitehall Township.

Museum of Indian Culture
The Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown was once owned by the Bieber family. It is said to be haunted by the couple, among other entities.

Museum of Indian Culture: Are you a Belieber in the unknown? The museum, founded in 1980, was once an 18th-century farmhouse owned by Charles and Sarah Bieber (sorry fans, no relation to pop star, Justin Bieber).

Staff have witnessed the presence of the Biebers, along with a young girl carrying flowers. There have also been reports of large knocks coming from the library and books flying off the shelves.

On the museum grounds, patrons say they've seen a woman dressed in white standing by the adjacent Schuylkill River, along with balls of fire appearing during guest lectures. According to museum staff, some of the descendants of the Oneida Nation attribute the sparks to the spirit of their ancestors.

The museum, dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of Native Americans, carries several personal artifacts that once belonged to the Lenape people.

Info: 2825 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown, museumofindianculture.org.

Haunted suites

Sayre Mansion: A handful of guest rooms in the quaint bed and breakfast are reported to be possessed by spirits including former owner Robert Sayre. Guests can stay in his suite (located on the first floor) and in Room 23 (hoteliers have reported seeing a woman's reflection in the mirror).

Built in 1858, the mansion's current owners will host a paranormal nighton Nov. 11 and March 23 that includes a one-night stay, breakfast and dinner for two and a ghost hunting activity with Wyoming Valley Ghost Tours.

Info: 250 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, https://sayremansion.com.

The Historic Hotel Bethlehem
An areal shot of The Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Historic Hotel Bethlehem: Although they aren't responsible for checking guests in, the hotel's four ghosts (three have been identified) still welcome all.

Among the ghouls: May Yohe was the granddaughter of Caleb Yohe, the first owner of the hotel (then called the Golden Eagle) in the 1820s.

As a young girl, Yohe would entertain the guests by dancing and singing at the piano.

Though she did not die on the property, her presence remains. Appearing as a child, she turns the piano off and on and has been spotted in exercise rooms on the third floor.

Another entity, Francis "Daddy" Thomas, was a former cabinetmaker and courier, who also moonlighted as a visitor's guide.

He has been spotted around the boiler room on the lower level.

Brong Landlord, who enjoyed drinking cocktails at the bar, had a penchant for not wearing stockings or shoes.

Kitchen staff and dinner guests have often spotted Landlord in period clothing strolling about — sans footwear and socks near the restaurant.

Among the spookiest sightings stems from Room 932, which is popular among patrons.

According to the hotel's website,a couple staying overnight told staff they were waken by a man standing in front of their bed while others saw a reflection in the mirror and lamps flickering.

The hotel has obtained several photos from guests where orbs appear from the haunted room.

Info: 437 Main St., Bethlehem, https://www.hotelbethlehem.com/ghosts/.

Sun Inn Preservation Association
The 1758 Moravian Sun Inn in Bethlehem is said to be haunted by a little girl and a boisterous bunch of ghouls.

The 1758 Moravian Sun Inn: There are reportedly a handful of departed souls lingering around the property built in 1758.

Perhaps the youngest ghost is Hughetta Bender, who passed away in 1995. In 1971, Bender founded the Sun Inn Preservation Association to restore the historical property.

Other entities said to dwell at the inn are Elizabeth, a nurse who died there in 1897, and a little girl, who plays with her toys in the third-floor attic.

Featured on a 2011 episode of "Ghost Hunters," the entities offer ghost tours on Sunday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Nov. 5.

The tour includes a video history (George Washington, John Hancock, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and John and Samuel Adams have all been guests) and a beer and spirit tasting.

Info: 564 Main St., Bethlehem, 610-866-1758,suninnbethlehem.org.

Touchy ghosts

Ye Olde Spring Valley Tavern
The Ye Olde Spring Valley Tavern was built in the 1800s and became a popular spot during the Prohibition era.

Ye Olde Spring Valley Tavern: Formerly known as the Spring Valley Inn, the restaurant dates back to the early 1800s and was a popular speakeasy (complete with secret doors) during the Prohibition era.

Open a tab: the ghost wandering about is rumored to be the tavern's former owner, who likes to rub people's backs as they drink at the bar.

Info: 1355 Station Ave, Bethlehem, 484-851-3594, facebook.com/yeoldesvt.

Braveheart Highland Pub and Restaurant: At the site of the former Hellertown Hotel, employees of the pub have been spooked by voices and a female apparition walking into a wall and disappearing.

Info: 430 Main St., Hellertown, 610-838-6555, bravehearthighlandpub.com.

School of ghouls

"When I looked, I saw my blanket becoming indented like there was a cat walking across the bed, but there wasn’t a cat. Then, it felt like the cat laid down next to me curled up and the blanket moved as if there was weight on it where the cat would be."
Moravian University alumna Kendra Kramer

Lehigh University
Lehigh University's Linderman Library is reportedly haunted.

Lehigh University: Lehigh’s Linderman Library is believed to be haunted by the ghost of an elderly man, a deceased library patron. Some say the library is also haunted by Lucy Packer, daughter of Lehigh University founder Asa Packer.

Info: 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, 1.lehigh.edu

Moravian University: As one of the oldest colleges in America, both faculty and students have reported numerous ghost sightings.

From inquisitive felines to colonial nurses, they are known to live in dorms, food halls and sororities.

One student was awakened by a cat who wanted to cuddle.

"The entire experience was oddly calming and I wasn’t creeped out or scared at all. I went back to sleep and the “cat” was gone when I woke up. The cat came back to visit our room a couple of times that year, and for some reason, I had a strong feeling that he’s orange, although I never did actually see him," alumna Kendra Kramer told the school paper in 2019.

According to the university's newspaper, the Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority House was once an estate house in which a maid named Alicia became pregnant by the owner, who threw her down the stairs enraged. Her ghost is said to haunt the building by turning the attic lights on and off and fiddling with photos of men in the house.

Moravian's Music Building is also reported to be haunted by a Revolutionary War-era nurse, and Rau Dormitory is haunted by three ghosts of people who hanged themselves here in the 1960s.

Info: 1200 Main St., Bethlehem, moravian.edu.

Muhlenberg College: Full of school spirit, the ghost of Oscar Bernheim is perhaps the most talked about around campus.

Bernheim, a former registrar and treasurer at Muhlenberg, built his home on the southwest corner of the school where he loved to tend to his garden.

He passed away in his home on Valentine's Day in 1946.

The house was torn down in the 2000s to make room for the Trexler Pavilion Theater, but Bernheim is still said to make an appearance outside the structure and in the campus' South Hall.

A former student, Rachael Ross Weitknecht, appeared in a documentary in which she explained the scary pranks Bernheim played on her.

Info: 2400 W. Chew St., Allentown, muhlenberg.edu

Do you know of a haunted spot in the Valley? Let us know by emailing Micaela Hood at micaelah@lehighvalleynews.com.