It was a dark and cold evening when 17 brave souls descended upon Phoenixville (15 BMSA members and two guests) hoping to spot signs of the paranormal…..ghosts, poltergeists, apparitions and orbs, no less! First and foremost, sustenance was needed! Our servers at The Iron Hill Brewery were unfazed by our large, boisterous crowd, answering the many inquiries about their microbrews and menu selections. Our server took it all in stride, including our request for pictures. The only complaint we heard was the menu had too many choices! However, there were no complaints about the food.
Some history: Phoenixville is located in Chester County along the Schuylkill River, once a major waterway for both Native Americans and settlers alike. During the Revolutionary War, the British Army arrived on September 21, 1777 and ransacked the village for three days. During the Civil War it produced the Griffen Gun, a lightweight, extremely precise artillery piece on wheels used by the Union Army and highly prized when captured by the Confederates. Phoenixville also served as a train stop for severely wounded soldiers taken from Gettysburg to Philadelphia. The critically injured who might not survive the longer distance were housed at Pickering Creek Inn, which later was also a safe house for the Underground Railroad, complete with a tunnel running directly from the Inn to the banks of the Schuylkill River. During its heyday Phoenixville was an iron and steel town until its economic demise. It has recently seen a revival as an art community known for its restaurants, bars and pubs. It also is the most haunted borough in Pennsylvania…the reason for our visit.
After leaving the Brewery we began our 90-minute ghost tour from the haunted Pickering Creek Inn. Walking through this diverse town with its Victorian buildings (the earliest cornerstone we found was 1830) we stopped at many “haunted buildings,” heard stories about sightings, things that go bump in the night, gruesome tales, etc. We didn’t see any supernatural activity until the very end of the tour, when we arrived at the “most haunted building in the most haunted borough,” the library! As we listened to stories of sightings, a few people went up to look inside the windows in the hopes of photographing orbs. Several minutes had passed, when at an odd hour of the evening, the outside lights suddenly went on for no reason. That was enough to startle some and intrigue others; the majority deciding to leave….I among them! Suddenly, we heard screams from those left behind! FINALLY! A poltergeist, a mischievous spirited imp, had appeared in the form of a man with white locks and flowing white beard, scaring the living daylights out of a few members! But wait…..a poltergeist???? No! Just Conrad who hid in the bushes and jumped out yelling “Boo” for some Halloween fun! On second thought….yes, it was a poltergeist after all!
Needless to say, it was a fun, enjoyable evening, even if we did have some tired people with sore feet among us.