Eerie Pennsylvania Restaurant: The General Wayne Inn is Home to Ghostly Happenings
A Bit of History
In the 1700s, the inn was a tavern offering lodging, a post office and general store. It was a stop for wagons and stage coaches. Luminaries of the Revolutionary Era dined at the inn. Washington and Lafayette slept there. The establishment was a polling place in the 1800s.
In 1795, when General “Mad” Anthony Wayne returned to the inn for a 3-day celebration of his successful campaign against the American Indians, the establishment was named in his honor. At one time, the restaurant was the oldest continually operating restaurant in America. It is in operation no longer.
Ghosts and Legends
Legend: The Hessians did not know about a secret tunnel built for escape during the Revolution. A Hessian soldier went to the cellar to get wine and was killed by revolutionaries hiding there. His body was interred in the tunnel. In 1848, a woman went to the cellar to get a box of new ballots. She told her supervisor that she saw a soldier in a green coat. Hessians wore green uniforms. This was included in the official report to the Board of Election. While the tunnel may be a legend, the sighting of the Hessian ghost is not. More than one Hessian haunts the building.
There is a ghost of a Revolutionary War soldier. One employee saw a disembodied head on a chest. Another ghost shakes the glasses in the bar. Possible this is the same one who threw over 100 napkins on the floor during the night. Strange sounds include bangings and footsteps. People who sit on the stools have felt the boards vibrate from the footsteps. Lights flicker mysteriously. Chairs and tables were toppled in a locked upstairs room. Towels were tossed about in the kitchen. Women have felt something blow on their necks while they were seated at the bar.
In the late 1960s, a man was going to get his coat from the cloakroom when a black specter grabbed his hand and tried to pull him to the floor.
Barton Johnson bought the inn in 1970. In 1978, psychic Jean Quinn contacted him to investigate the ghostly phenomena. She and several psychics held a séance after dining hours. Two of the locked doors opened by themselves. The room became icy. Quinn said she believed there were 17 ghosts haunting the inn.
Another psychic, Michael Benio, investigated the phenomena. He said a Hessian soldier named Ludwig appeared to him in his bedroom. He was killed by a spy in the cellar and his comrades buried him behind a wall. He was Roman Catholic and wanted a decent burial. Benio wanted to see if he could find the Hessian’s body, but Johnson called off the search before he did.
Johnson left a tape recorder run on the barroom mantle. The next day, he discovered the sounds of chairs scraping the floor, water being turned on and the sounds of bottled liquid being poured into glasses. There were also broken dinnerware everywhere. When he arrived that morning, the cash register drawer was open and full of water. It had not rained the previous night. The register had to be taken to a shop to be repaired. The insurance adjuster thought the roof had leaked, but, when he checked there was none. Water filled thirty carafes and about thirty-five glasses.
The diners are gone, but the gaggle of ghosts, apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists remain.