American historian Warren Gray visited a number of Pennsylvania’s haunted places in the search for spirits. He captured a disembodied voice on his Digital Voice Recorder during a visit to the sombre Flight 93 National Memorial.
When our international travel plans for trips to Canada (our fifth) and England (our third) in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, my wife and I adjusted to the changes, and took a series of short, overnight trips into neighboring Pennsylvania (PA), instead. It’s a large state, 90-percent the size of England in landmass, with definitely enough history to find paranormal activity in most of the local B&B establishments.
Jean Bonnet Tavern
Even before COVID, however, we spent the night of 9 October 2019 at the Jean Bonnet (French name) Tavern in Bedford, Pennsylvania. This was where President George Washington, dressed in the full, military unform of an army general led an expedition to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. He stayed at the tavern, by sheer coincidence, on 9 October 1794, exactly 225 years to the day before our own visit.
The tavern was founded in 1762, and was operated from 1779 to 1815 by Jean Bonnet, a Frenchman, and his heirs. There are four B&B rooms upstairs, with Room 2 (above the kitchen) being the largest, probably where President Washington stayed, and we chose that room for our brief visit. Using an Olympus digital voice recorder (DVR), we received two very short, one-word EVP answers to direct questions.
On 9 October 2019 at about 6:30 PM, I asked, “Did you live here?” An EVP voice replied very quickly, “No.” The next morning at 7:30 AM, I tried again, asking, “Have you been here a long time?” After a pause of four seconds, there was a breathy response, “Yes.”
Mansion House, Fairfield
Our next Pennsylvania excursion was to Gettysburg, scene of the great, Civil War battle, but we stayed overnight at the Mansion House in Fairfield, seven miles toward the southwest, on 21 July 2020.
The stone home was constructed in 1757 by Squire William and Margaret “Maggie” Miller, the town founders, whose original bedroom, now called the Carroll Suite, is part of an attached, wooden wing behind the main house. There’s a portrait of an unidentified, young woman, probably Maggie, in the main living room, just inside the front door. We tried three different EVP sessions with the DVR, at 4:02 PM, 4:38 PM, and 8:28 PM, and achieved clear results every time.
Me: “Are you a woman?”
EVP: “Yes.” (Very, very faint.)
Me: “Did you die in this house?”
EVP: “Yes.” (Very, very faint.)
Me: “So, what’s your name?”
EVP: “Maggie.” (Very quick and faint.)
Me: “How old were you when you died?”
EVP: “Quarter to…”
Me: “Please tell us your name again.”
EVP: “Maggie Miller.” (Very, very faint.)
Flight 93 National Memorial
Our next Pennsylvania trip was to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on 11 September 2001, flown by terrorist pilots, with 44 people aboard. We arrived at the somber memorial, our third visit there (previously in 2010 and 2011), actually, on 10 October 2020.
At any such scene of mass death and destruction, the question of possible, paranormal activity often arises. Local security guards, and even a highly-credible, FBI investigative employee, have seen and heard very strange things, including voices and a disappearing woman, near the Flight 93 Memorial.
Testing this unusual theory, I sat on a park bench only 135 yards east of the Flight 93 impact site, now marked by a huge boulder. It was 9:45 AM and eerily quiet, and there were no people within 60 yards, and no one talking. Turning on a brand-new, Olympus VN-7200 DVR, I spoke softly, and asked a series of questions for about two minutes, but I heard nothing in reply. Playing the recording back later in the day, however, I heard my own voice asking, “Were you a passenger? Were you a flight-crew member?” Suddenly, a male voice, not my own, simply said, “Walk the walk.” I still have that recording, and cannot explain it.
On 19 April 2023, Gunpowder Magazine online here in the U.S. published my article entitled, “Was Flight 93 Shot Down?” A neighbour generously called it my “best article ever.” Actually, the wealth of solid, compelling evidence supporting that unthinkable but highly-probable scenario is much scarier than a mere, disembodied voice talking to me on an open field.
Levi Deal Mansion
That same evening, we stayed at the Levi Deal Mansion B&B, dating back to about 1900, in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. The main house was fully occupied for the night, so we slept in the Carriage House adjacent to the mansion, holding two EVP sessions, at 5:05 PM and 5:30 PM, with surprising results:
Me: “Were you sick at some point?”
Me: “Is it alright if we stay here tonight?”
Me: “I guess you’ve seen a lot of people come and go.”
EVP: “Yes.” (Very faint.)
Me: “Did you have carriages, or did you have cars?”
EVP: “Cars.” (Very, very faint.)
Me: “What’s your favorite color?”
EVP: “Brown.” (Very, very faint.)
Me: “We were just at Fort Ligonier (a British fortification from the French and Indian War) today. Have you ever been there?”
EVP: “Yes.” (Faint.)
Me: “I’m going to turn this off in about, oh, 10 seconds or so.”
EVP: “No, don’t go.”
On 20 May 2021, we stayed at the Levi Deal Mansion once again, this time in Room 1, “Caleb’s Room,” inside the main house, occupying the entire second floor across the face of the home. We held just one EVP session, at 6:08 PM:
Me: “We’re planning to stay here tonight, in this room. Is that alright with you?”
Me: “Was that a sitting room, or was that an office?”
EVP: “Sitting room.” (It was, in fact, still a sitting room in 2021.)
The Inn at Ragged Edge
Next, my wife and I stayed at The Inn at Ragged Edge (built in 1901) in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on 23 December, 2020, in the upstairs Hearthside Room, formerly the master bedroom of Colonel Moorhead Kennedy, whose wife, Margaret (“Muffie”), had an adjoining bedroom for herself. We held two EVP sessions, at 5:30 PM and 7:10 AM the next morning, and this is what we heard on the DVR:
Me: “Are you a woman?”
Me: “How many children did you have?”
EVP: “Four.” (The Kennedys had four children.)
Me: “Was it mainly horse-and-carriage?”
EVP: “Yes, yes it was.”
Me: “Tell us about the Great War.”
EVP: “Fought.” (Colonel Kennedy fought in WWI.)
Me: “Is this Margaret, ‘Muffie?’”
Me: “Did you enjoy living here?”
EVP: “Yessss!” (Enthusiastically.)
Jackson House B&B
Finally, we enjoyed a historic train ride and Civil War raid reenactment near Railroad, Pennsylvania, on 28 August 2021, and stayed at the Jackson House B&B, beside an old railroad crossing, in the Stonewall Jackson Room on the second floor, above the main entrance. Our only EVP experience went like this:
Me: “Would like to tell us your name?”
Me: “This is my wife.” (Introducing her.)
EVP: “No.” (Louder.)
Me: “This hotel was established in 1859. Were you here then?”
As we can see, paranormal encounters may happen almost anywhere, and the results may not always be what you expected. Pennsylvania certainly has more than its fair share of ghost activity, with its rich and varied history, and we hope it’s been enlightening to share our personal experiences there.