Whenever a place has lots of history to share, you can be more or less certain that it will also have plenty of ghost stories to tell as well! After all, isn’t it the events of history that leave a mark on these buildings and locations which in turn makes them haunted? One thing that Lancaster County PA is certainly not short on is history, so it stands to reason that there are also plenty of spooks to be found here!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most haunted places in Lancaster PA.
8 - Duke Street Garage
One of the most well known points in Lancaster history involves the 1763 massacre of the last of the Conestoga Indians. We will cover a haunting linked to these deaths later in the list, but locals say that the remains of the Indians who were killed by The Paxton Gang were buried close to the intersection of Chestnut Street and Cherry Street in Lancaster. The remains were moved in 1833 to make way for a railway line, but apparently it is still possible to see the shadowy figures of the Conestogas darting around Duke Street Garage close to their original mass grave!
7 - Franklin & Marshall College
The Old Main building of Lancaster’s Franklin & Marshall College is apparently one of the most haunted places in the entire area. The building is in the Gothic Revival style and was built some time in the 1850s. However, one of the reasons why people believe that it is haunted is that it was built on the site of Lancaster’s ‘Gallows Hill’ which is where convicted criminals in the area were hanged after being found guilty at trial. Over the years, the building has served a variety of purposes at the college including a chapel, classrooms and administrative offices among other things. There are lots of reports of paranormal activity linked to the building, but one of the most common is that the bell will apparently toll in the dead of night all by itself!
6 - Bube’s Brewery
Bube’s Brewery is located within a building complex that dates back to the 1800s. It has since been restored and now houses a variety of restaurants and a microbrewery. It is also home to a couple of restless spirits who have both been spotted regularly by staff and customers alike. The first of these spirits is a young woman who apparently wanders through the art gallery area dressed in a long gown. There is also a male ghost who has been reported in various spots around the building. Bube’s Brewery has become fairly well known as one of the most haunted places in Lancaster PA and as a result it has gained the attention of TV ghost hunters, making appearances on a number of television shows. There are also regular ghost tours offered on certain days of the week!
5 - Chickies Rock County Park
Chickies Rock is the name given to a rock outcrop overlooking Susquehanna River. It is infamous for being the site of a variety of unexplained activity! One of the most prolific tales connected with the area tells of a horrific creature who stands as much as 16 feet tall and has no arms or visible legs. He is describes as having his head swathed in bandages, but with knives protruding from the wrappings. This horror was first sighted in 1946 and sounds like it would be enough to send even the most hardened paranormal enthusiasts running for the hills. As if that is not terrifying enough, Chickies Rock Country Park is also home to an old stone farmhouse that is said to be one of the most haunted places in Lancaster PA!
4 - Fulton Opera House
Fulton Opera House opened in 1852 although back then it was known as the Fulton Hall. Over the years it has hosted performances from some legendary names including the likes of Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Marceau, Mark Twain, Al Jolson, W.C. Fields and many, many more. It is now a historic landmark in Lancaster and is home to a number of regional performing groups. It also just so happens to be one of the most haunted places in Lancaster PA.
They say that once you get inside the building you may be lucky enough to hear the sound of phantom applause and maybe even the piano playing by itself! It is also said to be haunted by a number of spirits including two fairly famous ones in the form of Sarah Bernhardt and silent movie starlet Marie Cahill.
What is interesting about the Fulton Opera House is that the hauntings were reported even before the theatre was built! The first reports date back to the late 1700s. You see, Fulton Opera House was actually built partly on the foundations of the old Lancaster jail. This was where a group of 14 Conetoga Indians who had escaped from the Paxton Boys massacre were held in an attempt to protect them, but the plan backfired. A Mob rushed the jail, snatched the Indians and tortured them before killing them. Some reports say that you can still here the piercing screams of the Conetogas echoing through the building.
3 - Railroad House Inn
The Railroad House Inn is now one of Lancaster’s most popular restaurants and it dates all the way back to the 1820s. It also happens to be one of the most haunted places in Lancaster PA. It is believed that the Railroad House Inn is haunted by a number of different spirits including the men who would have worked nearby. One of the spirits that is reported most often is the ghost of a young blonde girl dressed in Victorian style clothing. According to staff she loves to play games with the living! Kitchen staff have seen objects moving on their own and often come to work only to find utensils have been scattered all over the room!
Meanwhile, guests frequently complain of unexplained cold spots and uncomfortable feelings. They have also seen a number of different apparitions of male and female spirits in various parts of the building. It seems like Room 6 is one of the most active spots, with many guests feeling like they are not alone in there! The Tavern is also a bit of a hotspot for paranormal activity. Customers frequently report apparitions and cold spots there and in particular there is a female apparition called Annie who loves to flirt with customers at the bar!
2 - Rock Ford Plantation
Rock Ford Plantation is best known for being the home of General Edward Hand, close personal friend of George Washington and also an Adjutant General during the American Revolution. According to reports, it is also a bit of a hotbed of paranormal activity! There have been claims that footsteps can be heard in empty rooms, strange knocking on the walls – again in empty rooms and also the sound of muffled conversations when no-one else is around. Some visitors have also claimed to see apparitions around the property as well.
The plantation offers guided tours seasonally for those hoping for their own encounter with the resident spooks! One of the most common apparitions spotted is a girl in period clothing who is often seen standing in the door of the Blue Parlor watching guests. There are also regular reports of the mist like figure of a servant running down the basement hallway. Some say that General Hand and his family are also among the spirits present in the house which would make sense given that Edward, his wife Kathleen and their daughter Margaret all died in the house and then in 1807 their eldest son John Hand committed suicide in the house.
In addition to the noises and misty apparition sightings, people have experienced “phantom smells” i.e. smells that seem to have no connection to what is taking place in a room. These smells include the aroma of distinct food cooking in the kitchen, tobacco smoke and the smell of smoke like candles have just been snuffed out. People have also reported the laughter of a little girl on several occasions and it was in reaction to something that either happened or was said.
Overall, even with its “haunted history,” the Rock Ford mansion is a very welcoming place and the rooms seem very warm, as if the Hand Family had just stepped away for a few moments and will be back soon.
1 - Haldeman Mansion
The Haldeman Mansion dates all the way back to the 1700s and it has come to be regarded as one of the most haunted places in Lancaster PA. There are many different spirits that are said to call this place home and there have been plenty of sightings of them over the years! The most commonly reported spirits haunting Haldeman Mansion include a grouchy man who follows guests huffing and sighing in their ear, a little girl, a teenage boy, an English woman who is usually accompanied by the scent of rosewater, a little boy and the jovial female servant who hangs around in the summer kitchen and is often heard singing or humming. It is also said that this particular spirit is fond of rubbing the heads of male visitors to the mansion! According to locals, when workmen were installing underground plumbing and electrical cabled to the house they uncovered more than 90 unmarked graves on the property which could certainly account for the fact that there are so many ghosts still lingering here!
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