|The old Gowen City Hotel|
In 1907, newspapers across Northumberland County published a story about a haunted oak tree in Gowen City. According to reports, the locals believed that the mysterious lights and unexplained explosions witnessed in the village were related to the suicide of a prominent resident named Monroe Whary, who had killed himself one year earlier by blowing his head off with a stick of dynamite.
Here's one account of the Gowen City hauntings, as published in the February 21, 1907 edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian:
Lights, dancing, now wan and nebulous, now bright and glaring, low moaning sounds and again the sounds of a heavy explosion haunt the oak tree at Gowen City where Monroe Whary killed himself last winter by placing a dualin stick on his head. Gowen City people hurry by the moaning old oak and look askance at it when in the dead of night the mysterious sounds are heard.
So firmly do several people in the little hamlet near Shamokin believe that the miner's spirit has come back to haunt the scene of his horrible end that they will not pass the oak after dark.
Four of the bolder spirits investigated the spot one night and found nothing. They watched vigilantly all night but no disturbing lights appeared. One of the watchers declares that as the moon sank behind the hills, a cold hand was laid across his face and that, unable to move or cry out, he sat in terror until the uncanny arm was withdrawn.
(read the 1907 newspaper article here)
Editor's Note: For anyone interested in researching this story, it should be pointed out that the man's name appears to have been misspelled in the newspaper. There is a grave belonging to Monroe Wary (not Whary) at the St. Paul's Cemetery in Gowen City. According to the inscription, Monroe Wary died on Feb 6, 1906, at the age of 38.