Some places in our region are notoriously haunted, like the old Clinton County Jail in Lock Haven or the Cell Block in Williamsport. But local historian Lou Bernard said paranormal activity has been reported in a few places where you might least expect it:
1. The mountain across from McDonald's in McElhattan
According to the historian Henry Shoemaker, a Native American prince named Pipsisseway fell in love with a girl from another tribe. The girl left the Susquehanna Valley for a warrior out west. Wallowing in the pain of unrequited love, Prince Pipsisseway asked a local stone carver to create a statue to look like the face of the woman who broke his heart. A curse was unleashed when he had the statue enshrined on a mountain.
"Crops died, there were floods, fires and disease," Lou said. "Because of the curse, Prince Pipsisseway's father, King Ironwood, ordered the statue to be taken down and buried under the waters of McElhattan run."
Running water was thought to stop negative energy, according to Lou.
Time passed and Prince Pipsisseway married and had a son.
"One day, when his wife and son were away, Prince Pipsisseway had the statue dug up and put back on the mountain. The curse kicked in again and this time it killed him. The grieving tribe buried Pipsisseway and put the statue back under the waters of McElhattan Run," Lou said.
How do we know that the historian Henry Shoemaker didn't just make this story up?
"There is a newspaper article from 1870 - ten years before Shoemaker was born - that said workers near McElhattan Run dug up a large statue with an angry-looking face left over from the Native Americans," Lou said. "They reburied it. Back then, they didn't care about archeology. Many Native American artifacts were reburied or destroyed."
2. The former K-mart site in Mill Hall
In 1782, a brutal battle took place on the ground where Ollie's and Harbor Freight now operate, the former K-mart location. A group of Native Americans slaughtered about twenty of Commander Moses Van Campen's men. After the battle, Van Campen had a hole dug and the dead were buried right there at that spot.
"Hundreds of years later, Kmart came along in 1993 and built on that spot. Almost instantly, there were reports of toys turning on by themselves, objects moving and sitings of figures in historic clothing or Native American outfits," Lou said. "The burial mound would have been near where the former K-mart layaway counter was."
Even though K-mart has gone and new businesses operate now, some said the bizarre events continue, mostly at night: knocking on doors, boxes thrown into the air, and sounds of rattling.
3. The Hell Gate at Eagles Mere Lake
Legend has it that Eagles Mere Lake was once a dry canyon or crevice, which Native Americans believed to be a gateway to hell. How did it become filled with water? A Native American chief named Stormy Torrents, known as a thoughtless show-off, decided to take his new bride down into the crevasse.
"As soon as he got down there, the skies broke open and it poured water, filling up the crevice and making a lake. According to the story, to this day, if it rains, you might see the ghost of the young bride trying to break through the surface of the water," Lou said.
4. Downtown Jersey Shore
In 1917, a fire devastated the downtown portion of Jersey Shore, near the green bridge over the Susquehanna River. Several blocks were burned down and it was a couple of years before they could rebuild. In that burned-out section of town, people reported seeing two ghosts: one non-threatening ghost in flowing white garb, and a second, terrifying creature with red eyes wearing a black shroud.
"Believe it or not, enough people saw these ghosts that they went to the local judge, wanting him to swear out a warrant to apprehend the ghost. The judge said it was out of all of their jurisdictions," Lou said.
5. The Siren of Susquehanna State Park
There is a legend that the Susquehanna River near where Route 15 meets Route 220 in Williamsport is haunted. This would be near present day Susquehanna State Park.
"A young Native American girl used to sit by the river and sing while she waited for her lover," Lou said. "She was murdered by a lumber man and is now said to stay by the side of the river, singing and haunting the place."