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Showing posts from March, 2016

A peculiar haunting in Pittsburgh

In 1889 and 1890, several residents of Pittsburgh's Southside were frightened by the ghostly figures of a man and his dog who reguarly haunted an area near the Allegheny Riverfront Park. The following story appeared in the Pittsburgh Dispatch on April 19, 1890.

A number of people on the Southside are violently excited over the re-appearance of a gruesome apparition which startled many people during August and September of last year. As Mrs. G.M. Groetz, a well-known lady living on Chesham street, was proceeding to her residence by way of Carson and Twenty-third streets, at about 8:30 P.M. Wednesday, she was startled by the rushing past her of a male figure, very short and stout, and draped in a long cloak or overcoat. The strange thing about the figure was that it made no noise whatsoever, although walking in great haste. About a yard behind limped a small black dog, apparently of the terrier breed. The two proceeded in an exact diagonal across the waste patch between Twenty-third…

The Hanging of Charles Chase

Near Falls Creek in Jefferson County is a region known as Beechwoods, a locality which includes some of the finest farmland in Washington Township. The area was settled in 1824 by Henry Keys, Alexander Osborn, John McIntosh, John McGhee and Thomas Moore. These early settlers, mostly of Scotch and Irish origin, named the community after the large number of beech trees they found there.

It is one of these founders, Thomas Moore, who played a role in one of the most colorful chapters in the history of Jefferson County. It is a story that seems ripped right out of the pages of a novel, and features murder, suicide, a haunted farm and a buried treasure of silver and gold.

This allegedly haunted tract of land hides all traces of its lurid past; its buildings and foundations erased by the onward march of time. But, up until the late 19th century, locals knew this place as the "Old Billy McDonald Farm". It was on this tract of land where Thomas Moore built himself a tiny cabin, and…

A haunted house in Lebanon

The following comes from the September 10, 1885 edition of the Harrisburg Telegraph:

Woman's head found in garbage dump

When the decaying head of a red-haired woman was found stuffed inside a can of lard at the local garbage dump in Punxsutawney in 1922, it created quite the sensation.

From the News-Herald (Franklin, PA) on December 5, 1922:

Quite naturally, local citizens and law enforcement believed that a shocking murder had been committed. However, this was not the case, as the following explanation of the mystery head, which appeared in the December 6 edition of the New Castle News, proves:

A ghostly warning to trainmen

The Lutz Axe Murder

A small two-story house standing at the corner of Franklin and Montgomery streets in West Pittston presents a humble appearance. Simple in design and white in color, it is remarkable only because it is so unremarkable. A local resident may drive by the house every day for years without ever noticing it, or thinking about it. Certainly, from its understated appearance, nobody would ever guess that this humble house was the home of John Lutz, who, in 1899, committed of the most heinous murders in the history of Luzerne County.

The tiny house at the corner of Franklin and Montgomery is, in fact, a murder house. It is the scene of a gruesome crime that took place more than a century ago. What you are about to read is the story of that house and the killer who lived inside.

On November 29, 1899, John Lutz came home to his 31-year-old wife, Augusta, and their five young children. Lutz, who was nearly ten years older than his wife, was said to have been suffering from feelings of jealousy. Th…