Berks county is known for its rich history, crystal caves and numerous roadside destinations. Life here is not as gathered as it is in the big cities in America , facilitating visitors to come here in search of calm and peace. This is an ideal condition for ghouls for the fact they do not like disturbances and hence, you would find plenty of em residing at the covered bridge, cemetery, sanctuary, opera house and several other haunted places in this County. We have kept this list short and sweet. Wade through these most haunted places in Berks County, Pa.
Wertz covered Bridge
Reading, Berks County
The ghost of a woman in a veil appears to buggy drivers crossing this wooden bridge. Some of those who saw her claim she spoke to them about life after death. The wooden bridge was torn down and a newer, more modern bridge was built nearby. The veiled woman still appears at the old approach to the wooden bridge, beckoning drivers to approach her. Those that do will surely join her on the other side, because the approach is all that is left of the old bridge!
Highway 183, Bernville, Berks County
The residents have seen the apparition of a woman near the tombstone of George D. Fahrenbach. He was a Civil War soldier and he died Dec. 6, 1919. The identity of the woman is unknown. According to sources, It could possibly be his wife, Mary. Mary passed away in 1930 lies next to his grave. Due to her ocular presence, we have it in our list of the most haunted places in Berks County, Pa.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Kempton, Berks County
You can find many different ghostly creatures at this mountain. Firstly, drivers have encountered a luminous ten-foot- tall man, probably in association with the ceremonial ring, along the road to the mountaintop. In addition, there are ghosts of the Gerhard family that roam the area at night. They are not alone.
Ghostly faces have been seen in the windows of the old headquarters in the nature sanctuary. This was the old Gerhardt home and later the home of Matthias Schambacher and his wife. In the mid-1800’s, Matthias and his wife rented rooms in their house as sort of a wayside rooming house/inn.
Rumours began circulating that many guests had entered the Schambacher’s home and were never seen again. Matthias and his wife did not associate with the local people. Their guests were known to come to the village swearing they would never again spend the night at the Schambacher home.
The nights were anything but restful for these travelers. They also reported strange noises coming from the barn and footsteps in the middle of the night that stopped outside their door as if someone were listening. Overriding all of this was a feeling of imminent doom.
Locals who had ventured close enough to spy on the Schambachers reportedly saw Matthias scrubbing blood from the barn walls. Other claimed their horses would bolt as soon as they neared the property. In winter, bright flashing lights lit up the side of the mountain accompanied by wailing sounds.
On his deathbed, a delirious Schambacher did confess to robbing and killing at least 11 travelers, including peddler and soldiers. His motive was robbery and he disposed of the bodies by burying them in the woods around his homestead.
Matthias claimed that the deeds were not his own. However, they claimed a great evil living on the mountain responsible for all this. That evil whispered to him constantly, urging him to murder, even while he slept.
After he died, another Matthias came to Hawk Mountain. This Matthias was kind and generous, a devout Catholic who patterned his life after Jesus. He was generous beyond belief and the locals began to regard him as some kind of backwoods saint.
He even began holding services at his cabin on Sundays. Thus, the church authorities built a large cross there, and the locals even took their children to him for the baptism process. They began to believe that this good man had exorcised the evil spirit of Hawl Mountain. Unfortunately for this Matthias, the evil was merely dormant.
In the summer of 1890, a hiker decided to visit Matthias. He found the door of the holy man’s cabin ripped off, all of his furniture and belongings thrown around inside and outside the cabin. Matthias vanished. A few days later a search party located the decomposed remains of Matthias. There was no trace of the murderer.
In 1938, Mrs. Raymond Ingersoll bought this property and donated it to the bird sanctuary. Almost immediately, employees of the sanctuary reported supernatural phenomena. They often heard wails in the night, as if someone is going through a torture.
Popular Beliefs and Ghosts
Some people believe these cries to be those of a nocturnal animal(See this List of Mythical Creatures). Others also believe it is an echo of the cries that have echoed on the mountain in the past. The strange flashing lights are still seen today. Sometimes they appear to be circular balls of light. The appearance of these lights always causes a feeling of unease in the viewer.
Over the years, the buried remains of humans have been discovered, recalling the deathbed confession of Matthias Schambacher.
Another ghost is that of a young girl who loves walking about 18 inches above the floor. Visitors describe her ghoul but do not substantiate her through any corresponding historical event. She supposedly died in the house from a bad fall down the stairs.
Since her time, the house had been remodeled. During the process, the living room floor was lowered about 18 inches. This is the apparent reason for her appearance above the floor.
College Hill, Kutztown, PA
Built in 1866, Old Main is the oldest and most historic building on campus. It still serves as the administration building and housing for female students. In June of 1895, Mary Snyder, a student, died of heart failure in her room just days before she was to graduate.
Today, Old Main retains its historic beauty and its resident, friendly ghost Mary Snyder. According to many students, Mary cohabitants peacefully with the young women who also live in the residence hall section of Old Main and Mary can sometimes be seen quietly roaming Old Main’s corridors.
Rhoads Opera House
Boyertown, Berks County
On January 13, 1908, the Boyertown Opera House in the Rhoads Building on Philadelphia Avenue was the scene of one of the worst fires in history. A kerosene lantern was accidentally knocked over starting a fire on the stage and igniting gas from the stereopticon.
In the panic, 170 men, women and children perished when they were unable to escape from the second floor auditorium. In many cases entire families were completely wiped out. About half of those who died were crowded into a second-floor room to see a church play that was followed by a series of slides of the Holy Land.
It was later determined that the crowd was unable to find fire escapes, and that the doors people were trying to exit through could not be opened and the crush of bodies locked everyone inside the burning building.
At the coroner’s hearing, Deputy Factory Inspector Harry Bechtel testified that the building’s owner, Thomas Rhoads, installed fire escapes only reluctantly and after much prodding. The fire escapes were located outside windows, but at floor height, so that people would have to climb over a three-foot-high sill to leave the building.
Creepy Incidents in Boyertown
This fire made national headlines as the smell of burnt flesh lingered in the air in Boyertown. About 150 gravediggers removed the remains of those who perished in the fire. Thus, one hundred and five new graves were dug in just one of the town’s burial grounds, the Fairview Cemetery.
In the weeks following the fire, many residents reported hearing screams from the site of the blaze. One woman also claimed her home was overrun with spirits from the fire. An elderly man had to be forcibly removed from the ruins. He claimed that his wife’s ghost told him to come to a certain spot to talk to her. The building was rebuilt in the same place.
Schuylkill Canal near Hamburg, PA
The spirit of a young woman haunts the Five Locks section of the canal. She either fell or jumped off the edge of the locks and was drowned. She is also seen hovering over the water or walking along the towpath. Some people who have seen her said that she appears to be looking for something or someone!
While the list of the most haunted places in Berks County, Pennsylvania is really long, we want to take a break for a moment. In case, you are a horror buff, visit the aforementioned places and tell us your favorite spot. Happy Haunting.