5 lesser-known haunted places in York County
In York County, places including the mythic Seven Gates of Hell and the site of the infamous Hex Murder are some of the more recognized spots with urban legends attached to them.
Here's a look at five lesser-known places in York that have been rumored, at one point, to be haunted:
1.Cookes House (430 Cookes House Lane)
Cookes House, near Martin Luther King Jr. Park, is one of the oldest buildings in the county.
The home was built in 1761 by Johannes Guckes, later known as John Cookes. Thomas Paine is rumored to have stayed in the house when the Continental Congress met in York.
York City Councilman Michael Helfrich, who bought the home in 2008, said that he's only had one experience there that he cannot explain.
It happened about seven years ago, when he went into the dining room. A chair had been pulled back from the table — and no one else had been home that day.
"It's still a mystery," he said.
Former owner Baron Garman said in 2005 that's he's seen the shadow of an older man pacing in the home, as well as a girl with blond hair who's wearing a rose-colored dress.
2.West Clarke Avenue
A newspaper story from 1880 describes how people looked for "something" that was haunting West Clarke Alley.
In one case, a boy selling newspapers was walking through the alley when he was approached by a "little imp" that "suddenly vanished in a cloud of smoke." The ghost left behind a piece of paper with "foreign and unmeaning characters" on it, according to the article.
Later, a group of people looking for the ghost said they found it. One of them pulled out a revolver and shot at the spirit, which was "shapeless in form."
"This volunteer party are determined to follow up their investigation, and woe to the 'spook' that will come within range of their trusted weapons," according to the article.
Leo Motter, the author of "Haunted Places in York County, Pennsylvania," said "it was one of those weird ghosts that took on different forms." The York County Heritage Trust's archives do not include any other mentions of the spirit.
3.South Court Avenue and East Boundary Avenue
In 1907, Officer Samuel Green went out to help people find "an alleged ghost" that supposedly haunted a stable on what was then South Court Alley.
The owner of the stable said he heard strange sounds there. One night, a horse was so frightened that it kicked and broke someone's rib.
"To this day the cause of the horse's fight has not been ascertained," according to a newspaper article from the time. "In the meantime several South End people are keeping a lookout for spooks, and if they are found there will be trouble."
4. 19-21 N. George St. (Now Otto's Kitchen and Cocktails)
Built in 1778, John Fisher's former home on North George Street near Clarke Avenue is the only building left from Colonial times in Continental Square. Fisher was a physician who ran a drug store there.
Now, Fisher's home, as well as the building next to it, are Otto's Kitchen and Cocktails.
James Gibble, the former bar manager for Bistro 19, the restaurant that used to be in the two buildings, said he and other employees had a few "experiences" there. Sometimes, they'd smell lavender in the dining room, and employees would have the feeling that someone was behind them, he said.
One time in 2014, Gibble said he heard a big crash at 3:30 a.m. Surveillance video showed blue orbs disappearing into the hallway. That happened just before a photo appeared to be "slapped" off the wall.
Otto's Kitchen and Cocktails restaurant manager Phil Smith said neither he nor his staff have experienced anything unusual in the building, though he had not asked them.
5. William Goodridge House (123 E. Philadelphia St.)
William Goodridge was a former slave who rose to become a prominent businessman and one of the wealthiest people in York in the 1800s. His home, on East Philadelphia Street near North Howard Street, was likely used as a stop on the Underground Railroad
People have reported hearing footsteps when no one else is there.
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