Three 'Spirits' of Halloween in Bucks County This October

Experience 'Spirits' of Halloween in Bucks County This October, 2019

by guest writer Eileen MacAniff

Mercer's Night Tales at Fonthill

Mercer's Night Tales at Fonthill, Doylestown"Very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am... "

With these words of Edgar Allan Poe echoing in your mind, we begin our tour of 3 of the most haunted sites in Bucks County. Our first stop is Fonthill Castle, the unique Doylestown home of famous tile maker and avid reader of detective stories, Henry Chapman Mercer. Built in the early 1900s and designed by Mercer himself, Fonthill is an eerily beautiful Gothic structure nestled amidst the quiet streets and homes of this quaint town.

On Friday evening, October 30, 2019, you have the opportunity to view some of the 44 rooms in this amazing castle that aren't usually seen during the normal daytime tours. One of these rooms is the basement 'Crypt'. Why a basement in a suburban castle? As Fonthill Site Manager Heather Hicks tells us, Mercer thought every castle should have one!

Mercer's Night Tales at Fonthill will start at 7pm with a tour, lit only by the castle's original 1910 electricity (and your own flashlights!). With Mercer's love of Gothic literature and architecture, who knows what or who you may find around the next corner?

Mercer's Night Tales at Fonthill, DoylestownConclude your tour with TV and radio personality Grover Silcox's dramatic performance of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Mr. Silcox, a self-proclaimed "passionate Poe reader", has been performing various Poe tales for many years. He considers "The Tell-Tale Heart." one of the very first psycho-thrillers, so be prepared for goose bumps!

Some words of advice... wear comfortable shoes, bring a flashlight, and try not to be too "dreadfully nervous"!

*Reservations required
Date: Friday, October 30; 7-8:30pm
Cost: $20/$15 members
Info: 215-348-9461
Location: East Court Street & Route 313, Doylestown, PA 18901

Photos - Mercer's Night Tales at Fonthill provided by Gail Shupack, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator for Mercer Museum & Fonthill.
Note: The "Mercer's Night Tales" photo is of Grover Silcox.

Ghost Tours of New Hope

The final stop in our search for ghosts in Bucks County takes us to the picturesque town of New Hope, home of the famous 'Ghost Tours of New Hope'.

These historic tours continue to attract both real world and otherworldly visitors alike! In the introduction to her book 'Ghosts in the Valley', original tour founder Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey says, "... no area is more abundant with phantoms than the Delaware Valley. And in the Valley the colorful village of New Hope seems to be more than the gathering place of mere mortal artists and actors; it harbors a colony of apparitions as well!"

In October, the Ghost Tours of New Hope takes place every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm. (The tour will also be given on Halloween night, 10/31). Daring souls can take themselves to the corner of Main and Ferry Streets, near the historic Benjamin Parry mansion, for the start of the tour. Two routes are available - one on Mechanic Street and one on Ferry Street.

Your knowledgeable guides will lead you down these haunted byways via the light of a lantern. You can soak in the atmosphere while keeping an eye out for spirits like the Phantom Hitchhiker, New Hope folk artist Joseph Pickett and even Aaron Burr. You'll hear stories of the ghosts that haunt the town’s historic inns, homes and even the towpath. Steeped in history and a touch of mystery, you’ll learn why tour owner Adele Gamble calls New Hope the valley's "most haunted town".

Known as 'The Ghost Lady', Ms. Gamble herself had her hair pulled during an séance by the ghost of Joseph Pickett! The mischievous artist has appeared to visitors on her tours as well.

So if you feel a tap on your shoulder or a tug on your hair while hearing about Mr. Pickett or the ghosts of Washington’s soldiers who died from hypothermia in that freezing winter long ago, you might want to think twice before turning around...

*Reservations not required
Date: Friday & Saturday in October (and Halloween night) @ 8pm
Cost: $10
Info: 215-348-1598
Location: Main & Ferry Streets
New Hope, PA

Note: The Ghost Tours take place outside at night, so warm clothes, sensible shoes and flashlights are recommended.

For those of you who bravely set forth on all three of these ghostly adventures, keep in mind the words of Poe... "it is only the wind in the chimney"...

Happy Halloween!

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