Another Bah Humbug on Bleecker Street

Scrooge and Bob Cratchit sharing a Smoking Bishop

“A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you, for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!”          

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843

Though our journeys together over the last twelve months have been to some extent curtailed because of our individual circumstances, me and my cohorts at American Public House Review  were at least able to once more gather together at year’s end to celebrate the season with yet another attempt at properly paying homage to Mr. Charles Dickens. The following version of A Christmas Carol was recorded during The Bleecker Street Cafe in the broadcast studios of WDVR-FM in Sergeantsville, New Jersey on December 20, 2013. It is with great pleasure that we share this year’s somewhat faithful adaptation of Mr. Dickens’ finest work.

So stoke the fire, stir the Smoking Bishop, and sit back and enjoy by clicking on the following links:

christmas_carol_logoA Christmas Carol - part one

A Christmas Carol – part two 

Here’s Wishing Everyone  a Very Merry Christmas!

Finding the Perfect Haunted House in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Harry Packer Mansion - Jim Thorpe, PA

Harry Packer Mansion - Jim Thorpe, PA

Who amongst the living is not searching for that  perfect haunted house? Having grown up in a typical post World War II suburban community in New Jersey, the predominant architecture did little to stimulate my Gothic sensitivities. Cape Cods with raised dormers, and split level colonials just didn’t seem to lend themselves to a good ghost story. But in the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania there is a potential haunting at every turn.

As you walk these dimly lit narrow streets under a pale moon, there is a feeling that just behind every door is that portal to the netherworld, and at every window the vaporous smokey shape and disembodied eyes watching ones tenuous passage through this earthly existence.  

Asa Packer Mansion - Jim Thorpe, PA

Asa Packer Mansion - Jim Thorpe, PA

Two of my favorite potential haunted abodes in Jim Thorpe are the Asa Packer and Harry Packer mansions. The latter having been the inspiration for the “Haunted Mansion” at Disney World in Florida. But quite frankly, when I’m really in the mood to exorcise my demons, I prefer to dance with the spirit of the barley at the cozy  shebeen at the Gilded Cupid Bed and Breakfast, or the public bar at the Molly Maguire’s Pub and Steakhouse.Cozy Parlor Bar at the Gilded Cupid B&B 

 

Happy Halloween from all of us at American Public House Review! 

Posted by: Chris Poh

  

Photographic Evidence of Spirits at Frenchtown’s National Hotel

Recently, I was invited to attend a “reveal” of evidence gathered during an investigation of a potential haunting at The National Hotel in Frenchtown , New Jersey. That investigation was conducted by Don Wilson and his team from Open Gate Independent Paranormal Research Group. While their data was inconclusive, there were some rather intriguing indications of something out of the ordinary occurring at this historic old hotel and restaurant.

After a bit of fine tuning of my auditory capabilities, I believe that I was actually able to make out the disembodied voice of someone, captured on tape during an (EVP)  session, expressing their general misgivings about ghost hunters. But what really piqued my curiosity was this particular orb photo captured in the basement lounge of the hotel.

Both myself and Don Wilson, the founder of Open Gate, are extremely skeptical about the evidential credibility of orb photos. Since the advent of digital photography, everyone seems to have  filled their photo albums with those tantalizing  balls of light presumed to be the discarnate presence of their dead relatives. The truth be told, the vast majority of orbs are the result of retroflection; the phenomena by which the light being generated via the camera’s flash bounces off normally sub-visible particles (e.g., dust, pollen, water droplets), and is reflected back into the lens. It seems that digital still and video cameras are much more prone to produce this effect. Interestingly though, our purple visitor, hovering just below the ceiling, was photographed without the use of a flash.

But perhaps the most compelling proof of life beyond our mundane existence comes by way of this image taken by freelance photographer, Kathleen Connally.

Behold another one of the National Hotel’s truly friendly spirits!

You can enjoy more of her outstanding work by visiting  Shots With Kathleen, a newly featured photoblog at American Public House Review

 Posted by: Chris Poh

A Good Old Ghost Story with a Great New Ending

Clinton Mill

Previously Published in 2008   On the June 11th episode of “Ghost Hunters” the team from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) will be visiting the Garden State. One of their stops will be The Red Mill in Clinton, New Jersey. This historic Hunterdon County landmark has been rumored to be haunted for generations. It is hard to imagine a paranormal presence at this perfect pastoral setting. But just down the road a few short miles is a truly frightening location.   

The Now Shuttered National Hotel

Welcome to Frenchtown, New Jersey and the site of the now shuttered National Hotel. Like the Red Mill, this property has also played a significant role in the history of this area. During the 1930s poet, novelist and script writer James Agee lived on the street behind the National. Apparently he found the environs of the hotel well suited to his lifestyle and his talent. Much of his work during that period was accomplished while sitting at the bar .

During the late 1800s, Annie Oakley would visit  Frenchtown with fellow performers from Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. While in town the National was always their preferred watering hole. In recent years the bar was the de facto office of the publisher of American Public House Review. And while I can not prove the existence of the reported spirits that supposedly roam the halls of this hostelry, I can confirm that the  remains of a former long-term guest have not been checked out.

The Main Bar at the National Hotel

But the real horror story here is that a property of this magnitude had been abandoned and allowed to fall into a state of decay. As always, it is not the activity of the dead but the actions of the living that we need to fear.

Exterior The National Hotel

Update: The National Hotel is rising from the ruins and will reopen the week of November 1st, 2009

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher

A Haunting on the Delaware

As to whether or not spirits roam the halls of the Black Bass Hotel is a matter of personal opinion and experience. One thing is for certain though, this three century old tavern and inn located in Lumberville, Pennsylvania is about to come back from the dead, and that will go a long way to raise this publican’s spirit.

Having been featured in the premier issue of American Public House Review, it was terribly disheartening to hear that the Black Bass had closed, having fallen victim to the current economic climate and a series of devastating floods along the Delaware River that had  exacerbated structural damage to the property. But Grant Ross, the general manager and the gentleman that is overseeing the meticulous rebuilding and restoration of the Bass assures me that this historic inn will be ready to properly receive guests in the early part of 09.

During a recent guided tour of the construction, I inquired about any paranormal activities that might have occurred as a result of alterations being made to the building. Mr. Ross said that while he had not experienced anything firsthand, a number of the workers had made claims of strange happenings, and one particular laborer would not enter certain areas of the building without suitable escort.

As for myself I encountered nothing out of the ordinary during my visit; but there is the matter of this photograph of the old bar that I took while I was in the tavern room. Now I tend to be quite skeptical about the phenomena of orbs, and the belief held by some that they are the residual energy of those that have passed on. I lean more toward the opinion that they are nothing more than dust, reflected light and some aspect of digital processing. But I’ll let you decide…

Happy Halloween from the spirits at the Black Bass! 

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher

Searching for Ghosts in Gettysburg

The Travel Channel’s popular “Most Haunted” show did a live program this past Friday from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Most Haunted is certainly a controversial show, even within the realm of other paranormal investigators.  Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters have been openly critical of the show’s investigative style and techniques.  But despite that, Most Haunted did choose wisely when picking Gettysburg as a subject.

The interesting thing about the show was that they used the entire town in the investigation and not just one location.  They included battlefield areas, popular buildings in town, the famous covered bridge, and more.

the courtyard of the historic Farnsworth House in Gettysburg, PA
But not to toot my own horn here or anything, I must admit that few publications or websites have covered Gettysburg as well as the American Public House Review.  We have been to this hallowed area many times and have reported back from three our favorite places, two of which have been exhaustively investigated for paranormal activity. 

The Farnsworth House appeared on the Review in November of 2007.  This incredible building was a stronghold for Confederate sharpshooters during the first day of the bloody three day struggle.  Now it is home to a Bed and Breakfast, a great tavern, and an incredible collection of memorabilia from the film “Gettysburg” left here by cast and crew who made this their hangout.  It is also thought to be the home of many spirits who have not left since that fateful July day.

an invitation to enjoy the Farnsworth House

an invitation to enjoy the Farnsworth House

In January of 2008, Chris Poh made his way just outside of town to a place called the Cashtown Inn.  People who are knowledgeable of the world of the paranormal will immediately recognize this name, if they haven’t been there already themselves.  It is one of the country’s supposedly most haunted buildings, and was the subject of a Ghost Hunters program.  The team found some amazing evidence of the paranormal in this historic inn.

Is the Cashtown Inn truly haunted?

Is the Cashtown Inn truly haunted?

And let us not forget O’Rorkes.  Perhaps it is not the oldest and creepiest of buildings in town, but it may be the best place to just sit, have a drink, and talk with a wonderful collection of locals who can tell you all you need to know about their hometown.

Yes, we love Gettysburg.  It is a treasure trove of great pubs, rich history, and haunted places.  There are even more places for us to cover and we plan on going back there soon.  Keep checking back this fall and perhaps you’ll find yet another great place in Gettysburg to have a drink.

Posted by: David McBride

 

The American Breakdown

Only Driven to the Store and Church on Sunday

During our recent travels through Nevada we were able to experience firsthand some of the most haunted locations in America. And while the taverns featured in the current issue of American Public House Review might convince even the most hardened skeptic as to the possibility of life beyond closing time, this correspondent was most intrigued by the ghostly remains of American industry scattered about the Comstock.

Abandoned Ore Sluice

In many ways these images seem to reflect the current state of affairs in this country. We do appear, more often than not, to be broken down and mined out. But before we give ourselves over to despair, let us not lose sight of the fact that we are a resiliant nation that will recover, revive and rebuild.

And that which can not be salvaged for use by either the pragmatic or the practical will be left to the care of the artist – to become a thing of beauty or the source of a smile. 

Going My Way

The Metal King 

And by the way, if anyone can tell us the story of these two fellows that stand alongside Route 341 just south of Siver City, Nevada contact us at American Public House Review.

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher 

 

 

A ghostly tale from behind the walls

With all of the talk on this blog in recent weeks about ghosts and hauntings, I thought I would relay to you one of my own paranormal experiences.  It took place in a town we have talked about quite a bit, in a building whose sad story has already been told on the American Public House Review.  It was my first trip inside the Carbon County Jail in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Now let me begin by saying that I am not a self proclaimed medium.  I am not at all sensitive to so-called spirit activity.  I have never once walked into a place and felt a “presence” and I am somewhat suspicious of those who do.  And to the credit of the people giving us a tour of this historic site, there wasn’t really much talk of ghosts and haunting.  This was instead mostly an important local history lesson, and a compelling one.  Outside of the famous handprint on the wall, very little was said about the supernatural. 

The jail is a fascinating place.  It does have an amazingly macabre feel right down to the architecture and simple details.  But as we toured through the main part of the jail, nothing seemed at all disturbing to me outside the incredibly disturbing details of what happened within these thick walls.  Then we made our way downstairs into the basement or the “dungeon” as they used to call it.  This was where people were kept in an incredibly harsh solitary confinement.   As we descended the staircase, the air began to feel heavier to me.

I was at the end of the line, lagging behind as usually happens to me on these types of tours.  I always end up reading or looking at something for too long.  So I hurried to catch up.  As I moved down the stairs, I could feel my nerves building, though I was not at all aware of why.  I could hear the tour guide speaking about the dungeon, but didn’t comprehend much of it at all.  As I crossed into the dungeon a feeling of fear hit me.  I looked around the place, as the group listened in very dim lighting to tales of human suffering.  For a brief moment, in a cell behind the tour group to my left, I thought I saw a man, mostly cast in shadow, kneeling on the ground. There was no doubt it was a man, but I couldn’t make out a face.  I knew it was not a fellow tourist.  But who was it? 

Within an instant, I flinched to my right, putting my hand to my face as if to block something or someone from hitting me.  But nothing was there.  For some unforeseen reason, I felt as if I had to guard my face from an assault.  Now I was just downright intimidated.  Tour or no tour, I was getting out of there.

I walked quickly out of the dungeon and back up the stairs.  I could hear the tour guide asking my friends if there was a problem, but I was not going back no matter what.  As soon as I made it back up the stairs, the feelings stopped.  And then I went through all the ways I could think of to rationalize the experience.  Was that just a shadow reflecting on the wall in the cell?  Was I feeling some kind of claustrophobia down there?  Was that just a bug I saw out of the corner of my right eye?  I had no idea.  All I did know was that it was time for a drink…

by Dave McBride

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