"Very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am... "
With these words of Edgar Allan Poe echoing in your mind, we begin our tour of 3 of the most haunted sites in Bucks County. Our first stop is Fonthill Castle, the unique Doylestown home of famous tile maker and avid reader of detective stories, Henry Chapman Mercer. Built in the early 1900s and designed by Mercer himself, Fonthill is an eerily beautiful Gothic structure nestled amidst the quiet streets and homes of this quaint town.
On Friday evening, October 20th, you have the opportunity to view some of the 44 rooms in this amazing castle that aren't usually seen during the normal daytime tours. One of these rooms is the basement 'Crypt'. Why a basement in a suburban castle? As Fonthill Site Manager Heather Hicks tells us, Mercer thought every castle should have one!
Mercer's Night Tales at Fonthill will start at 7pm with a tour, lit only by the castle's original 1910 electricity (and your own flashlights!). With Mercer's love of Gothic literature and architecture, who knows what or who you may find around the next corner?
Following the tour, brave guests can participate in a game of "Wheel of Suffering". Grover Silcox, a TV reporter, radio personality & comedian, will host the game. Mr. Silcox won't give away any questions but hints that participants should brush up on their knowledge of Poe. (Wicked rumors indicate that the game prizes may be quite interesting!)
To end the night, Mr. Silcox will give a dramatic reading of Edgar Allan Poe's short story 'The Tell-Tale Heart'. Mr. Silcox, a self-proclaimed "passionate Poe reader", has been performing various Poe tales for many years. He considers 'The Tell-Tale Heart' one of the very first psycho-thrillers, so be prepared for goose bumps!
Some words of advice... wear comfortable shoes, bring a flashlight, and try not to be too "dreadfully nervous"!
Date: Friday, October 20; 7-8:30pm
Cost: $20/$15 members
Location: East Court Street & Route 313, Doylestown, PA 18901
The next stop on our ghost-hunting quest takes us to the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie. Many of us are familiar with Pearl Buck as an award-winning author and humanitarian, but did you know that she also believed in and even spoke with ghosts?! Pearl wrote in her autobiography about the friendly ghosts she encountered in her home and on the beautiful grounds of her 68-acre Green Hills Farm.
On Sunday, October 29th, members of the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association will take you on a tour of the home and introduce you to some of these ghosts. As they guide you through the historic 1800’s era farmhouse, be prepared to meet the "Colonial Shrubbage Woman", who complimented Pearl on her gardens; "Ole Hen" the hungry farmworker; the "Repentant Preacher Man" and more. And ladies beware! According to volunteer Cindy Louden, "Devil Harry" has been known to pinch the bottoms of unsuspecting female visitors!
In addition to these friendly spirits, the volunteers will portray people from Pearl's life, as well as Pearl herself. The rich history of the farm includes Indians, Dutch settlers & soldiers so it’s no wonder so many ghosts have appeared here!
At the end of the tour, visitors can enjoy fresh cider made from an original 18th century cider press.
Guests are welcome to wear Halloween costumes (no masks please - we don't want to scare away the friendly ghosts!).
Date: Sunday, October 29; Tours start at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm & 7pm
Cost: $15/Free for members
Location: 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA 18944
The final stop in our search for ghosts in Bucks County takes us to the picturesque town of New Hope, home of the famous 'Ghost Tours of New Hope'.
Now in its 36th year, these historic tours continue to attract both real world and otherworldly visitors alike! In the introduction to her book 'Ghosts in the Valley', original tour founder Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey says, "...no area is more abundant with phantoms than the Delaware Valley. And in the Valley the colorful village of New Hope seems to be more than the gathering place of mere mortal artists and actors; it harbors a colony of apparitions as well!"
In October, the Ghost Tours of New Hope takes place every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm. (The tour will also be given on Halloween night, Tuesday 10/31). Daring souls can take themselves to the corner of Main and Ferry Streets, near the historic Benjamin Parry mansion, for the start of the tour. Two routes are available - one on Mechanic Street and one on Ferry Street.
Your knowledgeable guides will lead you down these haunted byways via the light of a lantern. You can soak in the atmosphere while keeping an eye out for spirits like the Phantom Hitchhiker, New Hope folk artist Joseph Pickett and even Aaron Burr. You'll hear stories of the ghosts that haunt the town’s historic inns, homes and even the towpath. Steeped in history and a touch of mystery, you’ll learn why tour owner Adele Gamble calls New Hope the valley's "most haunted town".
Known as 'The Ghost Lady', Ms. Gamble herself had her hair pulled during an séance by the ghost of Joseph Pickett! The mischievous artist has appeared to visitors on her tours as well.
So if you feel a tap on your shoulder or a tug on your hair while hearing about Mr. Pickett or the ghosts of Washington’s soldiers who died from hypothermia in that freezing winter long ago, you might want to think twice before turning around...
*Reservations not required
Date: Friday & Saturday in October (and Halloween night) @ 8pm
Saturdays in November through 11/18
Location: Main & Ferry Streets
New Hope, PA
Note: The Ghost Tours take place outside at night, so warm clothes, sensible shoes and flashlights are recommended.
For those of you who bravely set forth on all three of these ghostly adventures, keep in mind the words of Poe... "it is only the wind in the chimney"...