Chillin’ with history Moravian Book Shop offers nightly ghost-lore tours
The Moravian Book Shop candlelit evening tours journey into the intriguing paranormal history of Bethlehem.
“Historic Haunts Of Downtown Bethlehem,” now in its seventh year, is hosted by 13 tour guides who, dressed in full period costume, regale attendees with fascinating facts and folklore about 10 local establishments.
The tales date back to the mid-1700’s. Bethlehem was founded in 1741 by the Moravians. The then Bethlehem residents participated in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. The city housed George Washington and John Adams at two locations, which are on the tour. The city’s rich history makes for captivating stories of wounded soldiers, lost loves and unsolved murders.
Tour information is collected from the Moravian Church Archives, as well as from the book, “Bethlehem Ghosts: Historical Hauntings In And Around Pennsylvania’s Christmas City” (Second Chance Publications, 88 pp., 2007).
Tours, continuing through Oct. 31, begin at dusk Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with midnight tours Oct. 30, 31, starting at the Moravian Book Shop, 428 Main St., Bethlehem.
Tour guests, each provided with a candle, trek through the dark downtown streets to learn about historic buildings such as the Moravian Chapel, the Brethren House, the former Boyd’s Theater and the Colony Nightclub. The tour also visits God’s Acre, the pre-Revolutionary War cemetery, in which spirit sightings are said to have occurred.
The Sun Inn, which opened in 1760, was the subject of an episode of the SyFy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.” Paranormal investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson determined that the spirits of two children were present.
The tour concludes at Hotel Bethlehem, which has been reputed to be haunted for many years. The hotel has a cache of interesting stories of ghosts that are so well-known they are said to be seen frequently by staff and guests.
A recent tour included area residents with a keen interest in the paranormal, including Jim Smith, co-founder of Paranormal Spirit Finders, a paranormal research organization based in the Lehigh Valley. Using Electronic Voice Phenomena equipment and a Spirit Box, an audio device that detects hard-to-hear frequencies, Smith says he has communicated with the spirits of loved ones in his own home and has helped others do the same.
Dealing mainly with playful or mischievous entities, Smith says when confronted with a malevolent poltergeist, he refers people to other experts in the field or to “cleansers,” who are said to be able to a home of bad energy.
“I like to do [ghost hunting] to help people,” says Smith. Smith’s son, Austin, accompanied him on a Saturday evening tour and is learning the family business. Smith says he has encountered ghostly entities in God’s Acre cemetery.
Ghostly legends abound in “Historic Haunts Of Downtown Bethlehem,” giving those who seek thrills, chills, and even a bit of the macabre, a delightful experience.
The tour includes about one hour of walking and standing. Children under 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Here is the schedule:
6, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29
6 p.m., and every 15 min., with last tour, 9 p.m. Oct., 23, 24, 30, 31, and 11:45 p.m., midnight, Oct. 30, 31
Ticket information: shop.moravianbookshop.com, 610-866-5481