Do you believe in paranormal activity? Pennsylvania is an old state with various historic sites and numerous places believed to be haunted. There are tales of the supernatural and unexplained from the Clifton Theater in Huntingdon to the Wedgwood Inn in New Hope to the Old Jail Museum in Smethport.
Let’s take a look at the ghoulish history of a few of Pennsylvania’s “haunted” places.
Bube’s Brewery provided a complimentary meal in the Catacombs. Visit Bucks County provided a hosted stay at the Wedgwood Inn. All opinions are my own.
1. The Clifton 5 Theater, Huntingdon
Once an opera house that burned to the ground and rebuilt, the Clifton Theater has had many strange sightings and activities. So many people have had ghostly experiences when visiting the Clifton they are bringing in a ghost hunter and a psychic to investigate in November.
When I talked with owner Dave Peoples, he told me he heard footsteps walking down the hall when no one else was in the building. He heard voices talking and thought the janitor was still in the building, only to learn he was home in bed.
Guests have reported seeing a lady in a red dress walking around the theater.
Who are the spirits, and why are they hanging out in the Clifton? One of the ghosts is thought to be the man who fired the coal furnace for many years. Another is supposedly a previous owner. The lady in the red dress is thought to be a daughter or niece of an earlier owner. The good news is they are friendly spirits since nothing bad has ever happened to those who have heard or seen them.
They are selling tickets to attend the investigation when Mustafa Gatollari of the A&E TV Show Ghost Hunters and world-renowned psychic April Busset “The Psychic Housewife of New Jersey” comes to town.
You can visit the Clifton to take in a movie and perhaps you will see or hear something out of the ordinary.
2. Old Jail Museum, Smethport
The Old Jail Museum used to be the original jailhouse in Smethport and is considered to be one of the 10 most haunted buildings in the Keystone State. A spirit is said to haunt the dungeon, and this ghostly resident is thought to be a former inmate.
He was supposedly one of several prisoners executed in the cellar of the building. He claimed to be innocent, and right before his execution, he threatened to haunt the building.
Many have claimed to see his ghost, but inmates, guards, workers, and visitors have claimed to also feel his presence. There appear to be many unexplained things that have happened inside the Old Jail Museum that are attributed to the ghostly spirit.
The Old Jail Museum is open for visitors to explore displays, shop in its general store, and visit the dungeon.
3. Katy’s Church, Millvale
The legend of the ghost of Katy Vandine is quite the spooky tale of Katy’s Church. The spirit of Katy is sometimes seen crying near the church. Is she crying for the married man who betrayed her, or is she grieving for her soldier husband killed during the war? Was her death a suicide, or was she hanged for being a witch? Several tales have circulated throughout the years … nevertheless, she was hung from a tree near the church, and her ghost allegedly haunts the graveyard.
According to legend, if you stand on Katy’s grave and knock on the tree when there is a harvest moon, her ghost will appear dressed in white and walk toward you. Locals have reported seeing her spirit walking in the church, the cemetery, and nearby hill.
4. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was operational from 1829 until 1970. It sat empty and abandoned for 18 years and then opened for limited tours. Looking like a huge castle with a bit of spookiness, it is a building of crumbling, empty cells considered one of the most haunted prisons in America.
A prison designed to inspire regret in its prisoners, I’m sure there would be dozens of stories it would tell if walls could talk. It held many of America’s notorious criminals, including Al Capone.
Walking through this prison is a blood-chilling, spooky experience. Learning about the deaths that occurred and the strange happenings over the years is haunting. Lingering spirits of the prisoners are thought to frequent the empty cell blocks of this National Historic Landmark. Take a day or nighttime tour and see how many roaming spirits you can find.
The prison has daylight and evening tours for an opportunity to see some roaming spirits. Its hours often change due to COVID, so check the website before visiting.
Most of the tour route is ADA compliant, but a few areas are not accessible.
Tickets are available online for purchase.
5. Bube’s Brewery, Mount Joy
Ghosts are said to roam in the corridors and catacombs of Bube’s Brewery. The brewery complex from the 1800s is a unique eatery with abundant ghost stories. Considered one of the most haunted eateries in Pennsylvania, Bube’s not only has a brewery but a Victorian hotel and catacombs.
My husband and I ate in the Catacombs restaurant, an upscale and unique hideaway 43-feet beneath street level, and the place that has experienced the most paranormal activity. Unexplained laughter has been heard echoing from the underground chamber, phantom people sitting at a table and then vanishing, and ghostly figures gliding across the floor have been reported.
Many guests have stated seeing the ghost of Pauline Bube Engle, granddaughter of the original owner, floating the halls of the 19th-century brewery and hotel in a white dress with her hair pulled up.
We did not see or feel anything unusual when we visited, but I can honestly understand why that area could be haunted.
In 2012, the Syfy channel’s Ghost Hunters investigated the brewery for an episode. The team concluded that there was paranormal activity at Bube’s.
Ghost tours are offered on the first and third Fridays of each month. Plus, Bube’s offers Mystery Dinners throughout the year.
6. The Dobbin House, Gettysburg
Soldiers from the Civil War and slaves are thought to haunt this historic restaurant. The house served as a station on the underground railroad and hid runaway slaves.
During the battle of Gettysburg, The Dobbin House was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and some did not survive. Could their ghosts still be haunting the house?
Enjoy a meal there and report if you see or feel anything unusual.
7. Farnsworth House Inn, Gettysburg
Footsteps walking around the inn and unusual shadows were reported. Could the Farnsworth House Inn from the early 1800s be haunted?
The inn is named after Brig. Gen. Elon Farnsworth and housed Confederate soldiers. Farnsworth was responsible for the deaths of 65 men. Could they be haunting the Inn?
Farnsworth embraces the hauntings and hosts ghost hunts and tours.
8. Hegarty Mansion/Ravenwood Manor, Beccaria
Hegarty Mansion is an actual mansion that is haunted. It is a private residence throughout the year, but during October, it allows visitors to tour the home to check out the sights and sounds of a haunted mansion.
Rooms with 12-foot ceilings and screeching doors combined with the creepy sounds you hear throughout this mansion make you feel uncomfortable as soon as you enter the building.
Note: It does have actors to help create a haunted house atmosphere during the tours.
9. Haunted Hill View Manor, New Castle
Once a facility for the financially destitute and mentally ill, it is now known as the Haunted Hill View Manor. Visitors tell of hearing voices and footsteps as well as seeing apparitions dressed as patients peering out of rooms. Its motto is “Home to those who lived there … and still reside!”
You can tour the facility or participate in public and private paranormal investigations. During the Halloween season, it creates a Scare Manor.
10. Wedgwood Inn, New Hope
When I stayed at the Wedgwood Inn, owner Carl Glassman talked about the inn being haunted. He said the most frequent spirit roaming the inn was thought to be that of a young girl named Sarah. Sarah is believed to be about 12 years old, and the only visitors to actually see Sarah have been other young females who have stayed at the inn.
11. Aaron Burr House, New Hope
Ghost hunters have visited the Aaron Burr House and have reported seeing an apparition and feeling like someone was tugging at their clothes. Could it be the ghost of Aaron Burr, the third vice-president, who killed his enemy Alexander Hamilton in a bloody duel?
He supposedly sought refuge in the house in New Hope for almost a week.
12. American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin, the founder of the American Philosophical Society in 1743, haunts the Library by sitting on the steps or hanging out in the library.
A statue of Ben sits in front of the building and supposedly comes to life and walks around the city.
13. Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia
Ghosts supposedly hang out at the Philadelphia Zoo in the Penrose Building, the Treehouse, the Shelly Building, and the Solitude House that includes a network of tunnels. The spirits are believed to be Native Americans, and the zoo is thought to be built atop an ancient Native American burial ground.
Ghost hunters have visited and feel sure there is paranormal activity at the Zoo.
Other haunted places you can investigate: