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

Looking To The West

Looking West Toward The SierrasWhile I attempt to artfully express myself through emails, blog posts and  articles for American Public House Review, my wife Fran is normally engaging her audience with what is probably a much more effective means of communication…she actually writes letters. Her pen to paper dispatches are the types of things one might hear read by some Hollywood legend in a Ken Burns documentary.

The other morning I mailed an envelope addressed to our friends Will and Norma Jean Cormany in Virginia City, Nevada. Immediately images of sunsets, saloons and snow on the Sierras filled my head. I could almost taste those midday bracers at the Old Washoe Club, McBride’s Bucket of Blood, the Ponderosa Saloon, the Gold Hill Hotel and the much celebrated Genoa Bar.

Unfortunately purse string issues will probably keep me corralled in the east for some time to come; but thanks to the keen eye of Michelle Shiflet  we have these memories and images to share with our readers. You can enjoy her western landscapes  by clicking here

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Posted by: Chris Poh

The Tavern at the Sergeantsville Inn

On Black Friday, I ignored shopping invitations from Mr. Macy & Mr. Gimble and whiled away the afternoon talking and taking photos in the warm & cozy tavern of the historic Sergeantsville Inn with APHR cohorts Chris Poh and Ed Petersen, as well as friend Don “Juan” Garrido. The Sergeantsville Inn is quietly situated in the heart of rural, yet posh Hunterdon County, New Jersey, ranked as America’s wealthiest suburban county in 2007.

Don "Juan" Garrido Sipping a Guinness © Kathleen Connally

Don Juan Garrido Sipping a Guinness © Kathleen Connally

Sergeantsville was first called Skunktown because it served as a market center for skunk pelts in the late 1700s, but was renamed in 1827 for Charles Sergeant, a local landowner and Revolutionary War soldier. The Sergeantsville Inn was originally built as a private home but was later used as a grain & feed store, a grocery store and an ice cream parlor.

Old Speckled Hen Tap © Kathleen Connally

Old Speckled Hen Tap © Kathleen Connally

While I was sipping on a beautifully poured pint of Old Speckled Hen, Chris mentioned that a section of the handsome stone structure once served as the town’s ice house, and that some of the Inn’s staff have experienced ghostly encounters in that part of the building.

I was thrilled to learn that Ed is researching and writing a full story about the Sergeantsville Inn for an upcoming issue of APHR, where he’ll interview the employees about their adventures with the shadows and spectres that live there.  I’m looking forward to Ed’s story and to returning to the tavern later this month as I search for the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Chris Poh in the Ice House © Kathleen Connally

Chris Poh in the Ice House © Kathleen Connally

– Written & Posted by Kathleen Connally

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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

 

Some Ghostly Tales from the General Lafayette Inn

The history of the General Lafayette Inn goes back centuries to the colonial period in America.  For most of that time, it was an operating inn.  And, as I am sure you know, these places can be ripe for a haunting, or at least a good ghost story or two.

The Inn’s resident brewer Russ Czajka, a man who does brilliant work producing some great beers, told us a couple of stores he had no explanation for.

“I’ve had a couple of experiences, but just hearing things.  I was here one morning, early, by myself.  Actually there was one person in the kitchen.  And I had gone up into the attic to get some stuff for a beer festival.  When you come out of the attic there is a swinging door and a long hallway before you come down the back kitchen steps.  I came out of the door and down the hallway.  And when I made the turn to come down the steps I heard someone walking behind me.  I stopped, went back to look in the hallway and there was nobody there.”

He then confirmed with his one co-worker in the kitchen that they were alone.  Like most of these experiences, especially when someone is busy at the time, the peculiarity of the situation didn’t hit him until later on.

from the interior of the General Lafayette Inn

from the interior of the General Lafayette Inn

But that wasn’t the only unexplained noise the brewer has heard in the creaky old interior of the General Lafayette Inn…

“Another time I was here, around 7:30 in the morning.  I saw some chairs were up here.  I was in the basement changing my shoes getting ready to brew, when I heard a noise that sounded like one of these chairs had fallen off and hit the floor.  I came up stairs…nothing.  Everything was in place, nothing on the floor.”

Russ is quick to point out that he hasn’t actually seen anything yet first hand, only noises he can’t explain.  For that reason, the only conclusions he can draw is that his experiences have given him some nice spooky stories to tell.  That is certainly true.

Posted by: David McBride, Marketing Director/Associate Editor

Exercising The Right of Peaceful Assemblage

 American Public House Review Banner

 General Lafayette Inn and Brewery

 

Every four years our presidential candidates engage in the loftiest and least attainable of all political ambitions – validating the present by associating themselves with the past. I suspect even if time travel were possible, I doubt very much that Doctor Franklin and his brothers in insurrection would attempt to bolster their standing amongst their constituents by making a similar connection with the future generations of  American politicians.

 

In fact any suspension of those inherent properties that seem to keep us operating in our own time and space might have caused them to reconsider the merits of rebellion. But this trivial rite of electioneering does serve its purpose. Any gesture that motivates us to better understand the people and events that gave substance to the American experiment strengthens the overall constitution of the republic.

 

The Eagle and Cannon Sign

 

 During the month of July our correspondents will exercise their rights of peaceful, and on occasion spirited, assemblage by visiting a number of taverns and location that were instrumental to the founding of this nation. And while we may not be able to think like our forefathers, we will make a concerted effort to at least drink like them.

 

The staff and editors of American Public House Review wish our fellow countrymen a celebratory Fourth of July.

 

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher

 

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 

 

 

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