It’s that time of year where the wind blows the dead, fallen leaves in a swirl as the chill in the air frosts the bones - what a perfect time for a ghost story! And, DCHS has them.
In Ghost Stories of Delaware County by Charles J. Adams III, 25 hauntingly good tales are laid bare from the “Sneezing Nun, ” a former Mother Superior who allegedly haunts the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology library to “The Witch of Ridley Creek,” better known as Margaret Mattson, a woman in what is now Delaware County tried for witchcraft to “Ghosts of the Greek Houses,” referring to the spirits who haunt Widener University fraternity houses.
There’s even a ghost-hunting glossary that outlines ghost-related vocabulary from “apparition” to “ectoplasm & misting” to “electronic voice phenomenon” to “residual haunting” and “shadow people.”
In it, the author shares ghost revelations are an expanding practice.
“The long and tedious process of searching for ghost stories never really ends,” Adams said. “As trite as this statement may seem, there are new ghosts being created - and discovered - every day.”
Delaware County’s Newlin Mill Park is featured in In Search of Ghosts: Haunted Places in the Delaware Valley by Elizabeth P. Hoffman. It tells of a tormented woman grieving the loss of her son - and what a group of concerned people did about it.
Even in the Proceedings of the Delaware County Historical Society from Sept. 26, 1895 to Dec. 5, 1901, there are tales of eerie apparitions and strange happenings.
There’s the captain of a ship, believed to have been in the area of Tinicum Island, who was beholden to none other than the Devil himself. There’s the tale of the bleeding tree in Lower Chichester - and the story of the Kaka Demon living in the cellar at the old school at Fifth and Welsh streets in Chester that, according to the proceedings, “had more influence to deter evil-doers.”
To find the books containing these spooky stories or others, come visit the home of Delaware County Historical Society, located at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot.
For more information or for ways to get involved, please call 610-359-0832.
Here is a sampling of the books available in the stacks of Delaware County Historical Society.