Most of us are familiar with the character Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas past, but how about a Christmas City filled with ghosts from the past? Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was founded by the Moravians in 1741 on Christmas Eve, and almost 200 years later a nationwide letter writing campaign held in 1937 has solidly put Bethlehem on the map as the official Christmas City USA. The ghosts of the Christmas City have become almost as famous as the holiday that they love to revisit each year. Perhaps it is the very charm and degree that the city goes to make the December holiday one of the most special times to be in Bethlehem. Not only is the city historic, it is a breathtaking and beautiful sight to take in during the Christmas season when the festivities are heightened and everything is decorated just so. http://christmascityusa.com/
Christmas tours in Bethlehem are one of the reasons that so many people visit the city each year. From shopping and history to holiday events and ghosts, there is never a shortage of things to do and see, but with the popularity of paranormal tourism growing in recent years due to the Ghost Hunters and other ghost hunting shows people are flocking to the Christmas City for one of the many paranormal destinations and tours offered at this time of year. One of the favorite hot spots for paranormal investigators is the haunted historic Hotel Bethlehem where many ghost hunters elect to stay simply due to the nature of their visit and the high chances of meeting a ghost in person or catching some other form of paranormal activity. http://bethlehem.patch.com/articles/whoshauntinghotelbethlehem
The Sun Inn
The Sun Inn was built in 1758 and is a popular destination for both historians and ghost hunters. The Main Street Inn once housed many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and fell under the paranormal radar for having guests that never bothered to check out. Documentation, Electronic Voice Phenomenon and a ghost captured on film have offered skeptic proof that the Sun Inn is in fact haunted. The Lehigh Valley Research and Investigation team were fortunate enough to catch 15 electronic separate voice phenomena throughout the building, and they snapped the famous picture of the ghost in the window wearing a white apron thought to possibly be Hughetta Bender, the Sun Inn Preservation Association Founder who passed away in 1995. The colorful and luminous radiation surrounding her spirit is similar to lightning in a bottle. The body of light transcends her spirit into something very real to those that are fortunate enough to witness it.
A few other spirits usually feel compelled to speak to anyone willing to listen and they have just one thing to say. They warn visitors that they were being watched and an elderly man with a lively spirit despite the fact that he passed away in 1831 sits comfortably in a cozy green chair warming himself by the fireplace as he gladly tells anyone listening that his name is William Jones. The attic, located above the third floor is the playroom for the ghost known as Sarah. This spirit is highly active and visitors can often hear her playing with her toys from the floor below. It is not uncommon for guests to bring Sarah toys, and in return they are treated with a flux of paranormal activity. Cameras typically jam up in this room, especially when they focus on what many describe as being the creepiest doll they have ever seen. She sits quietly in a miniature chair as if daring you to come in for a closer look as she appears somewhat sinister. If you calm your fears and sneak up on her, you will find that under the chair there is a special message that says” “Sarah … daughter of Inn Keeper … Bethlehem.” http://bethlehem.patch.com/articles/ghosts-of-sun-inn-help-keep-historic-site-alive
It is no secret that there are permanent guests dwelling at the haunted Bethlehem Hotel, and even though they are no longer paying guests, they very much have the freedom to do as they please, when they please. The original building dates back to 1741, but it didn’t become the Bethlehem Hotel until 1921, but no matter the name changes to the site, there has been an extensive cast of characters who have visited, stayed and left their mark at 437 Main Street, the location at which many visitors flock to for hospitality, haunted rooms and holiday cheer. One of the most cheerful ghosts is known as May. She was born at the hotel in 1866 when it was still known as the Eagle Hotel.
The lively singer and dancer entertained crowds with her pleasing voice and talented dance moves. She is the granddaughter of Caleb Yohe, a Moravian loved by the town’s people, who once owned and operated the beautiful Hotel. Mays happiest days were spent at the hotel, and many claim that you can hear her singing along when the player piano turns on mysteriously by itself at all hours of the day and night. She also enjoys walking through the lobby as if greeting the guests and she has been caught roaming the third floor in the exercise room.
Another known active ghost at the hotel was a glutton for danger during his time on Earth as a courier. Bethlehem’s formal town guide Francis “Daddy” Thomas was literally loved by all that came into contact with him. His communication skills lead him to the position of attending to visitors of Bethlehem. His obvious love for people has remained throughout the years; even after his death in 1822 he has been seen in the boiler room at the hotel and swarming around the lobby in an attempt to cater to the guests and visitors at the grand hotel.
A beautifully dressed woman sporting period finery, yet lacking stockings and shoes, something unheard of for the times has been seen wandering on many an occasion, throughout the dining room area of the hotel. Not only is the site strange to see, it is down right spooky when you consider that the woman has been deceased for almost 150 years. She is believed to be the former landlord of the Eagle Hotel Mrs. Brong, who openly enjoyed exposing her feet. The site of her greeting guests on the incoming stagecoaches would have been nothing short of horrifying. For whatever reason the giddy ghost enjoys hanging out in the kitchen area, but she also mingles with the guests once in awhile out in the lobby area.
Paranormal activity and room 932 are pretty much synonymous at the Bethlehem Hotel. This is where ghost hunters find the most spirited action when visiting the historic hotel. In fact reflections of strangers in the mirror and orbs are a fairly normal occurrence, as is flashing lights, strange people walking through the room at night and objects moving by theirselves. This room is the most requested and reservations are made up to two years in advance when it comes to booking this ghostly hotspot dubbed the room with a Boo! http://www.hotelbethlehem.com/hanuted.php
Christmas City Celebrations
Bethlehem’s Christmas City celebration is offering a bit of nostalgia with carriage rides throughout the magical city while you enjoy musical performances from talented musicians and choirs, and Christkindelmarkt Bethlehem along with paranormal tours has given visitors more of a reason to visit historical downtown and shop with the ghosts of Christmas past.
Historic Haunts and Ghost Tours are just part of the fun. Tours begin at the Moravian Book Shop and continue on to ten other popular haunted destinations. For tour dates and times, and to make reservations call 610-866-5481 or go to: http://www.moravianbookshop.com/cpmore_info.aspx?ID=1684
Bethlehem by Night Bus Tours is showcasing the holiday lights and history of the Christmas City from Nov. 26 through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 through 30. http://www.historicbethlehem.org/index.cfm?organization_id=127§ion_id=1937&page_id=8055
The Old Bethlehem Historic Walking Tour is led by guides in 18th century dress and is a must do for both history and ghost lovers. The tours start at 4 p.m. and begin Nov. 26 through Dec. 23 & Dec. 26-30.
Scenic Horse-drawn Carriage Rides through the city’s historic 18th Century downtown are from 4 to 10 p.m. starting at the Central Moravian Church on Main Street Dec. 16 to 19, 23 and 26 to 30. http://www.moravianbookshop.com/cpmore_info.aspx?ID=1684
*Note* The ghosts of Christmas City will make an official television debut with none other then the famous T.A.P.S team on board. The Ghost Hunters brought their paranormal investigation group and ghost hunting gear to the Sun Inn and the Moravian Book Shop recently and they will reveal their ghostly findings on the SyFy Channel listed under Christmas Spirits. For more information, go to: http://www.christmascity.org