Ghost stories go down in history
Charles Adams III wears a costume as he talks about the ghosts he has encountered over the years. ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS
Nikita Stepien of Palmerton was thrilled that Charles Adams was coming to speak, said her father. She bought “Ghost Stories of the Lehigh Valley” to add to her collection of Adams’ books.
People gather around the table to look over Charles Adams’ ghost books.
“Ghost stories without history are no ghost stories,” said Charles Adams III as he began a talk to the Palmerton Area Historical Society at the Little White Church on Third Street in Palmerton.
Adams has written more than 30 books about ghosts, beginning with “Ghost Stories of the Lehigh Valley.”
“It’s not a belief in ghosts. It’s understanding what they are. To me, it’s just energy from a past time. Einstein said energy cannot be destroyed,” he said. “If they tore this church down, my energy would still be here.”
The stories he brought are a combination of legend and folklore, such as the one about Witches’ Hill in Berks County.
The witches congregate in a hollow. It is an ancient tradition. The energy is where the veil is. Hex signs on the barns chase the witches away, or windows may be painted so that one is real and another is solid. If they choose the wrong one, they go bang and just dribble down.
Hospitals had a tradition of opening a window when a person died so the energy, often thought of as the soul, can escape. In a home, a block or stone set in the wall can be removed if the person dies.
“A husband, wife and two children would smell cigar smoke like a punch in the mouth. Sometimes there would be a slight smell of lavender or lilac. I looked into who smoked cigars and died in the house. He found that in 1932 a funeral was held in the house. It took days to get relatives together and the casket was packed with aromatic flowers. They hadn’t taken the soul hole out.”
Then there is the couple who bought an old house and had the time and talent to restore it.
“The woman was home alone and heard something bouncing down the steps. She thought her husband had left something behind. The sound came again with a bang, as though something hit a closet door,” Adams said.
The woman never told her husband.
One day she said the house was haunted and he admitted to hearing the same noise.
They found out from a lady that a little boy, 8, died in the house. He tripped over the sash on his robe, fell on the steps and broke his neck.
Saving his baby
In 1947, a little baby with a young mother almost died but his deceased father kept calling “Mabel” until she went for help. The baby had swallowed his tongue and she got a doctor in time to save it.
“I was that baby,” Adams said.
Mathias Schaumboch lived in a house along a hill road that Teamsters used to carry goods across the mountain.
He built a house on the footprint of one that had burned and put up a sign that said it was a tavern. Several men just disappeared.
Men went up to the tavern to see what was happening to the goods — They were not too concerned about the Teamsters.
Eleven men were known to have died. Schaumboch said the mountain made him do it. When he was buried at New Bethel Church, no one would read from the Bible.
The gravediggers held the casket over the grave. Gray clouds moved in and became black, and hail began pelting the funeral party. As soon as he was dropped in the grave, the weather was OK again.
Lightning had split the casket and his face could be seen.
“That is the epicenter of special energy,” Adams said.
He points out the unmarked grave on tours he leads.
From the grave
A man in Slatedale kissed his wife and went to work. When he came home, his wife had not started dinner. He found her dead on the porch, and the coroner said she had been dead for 14 hours. He had kissed a dead woman goodbye.
“It’s all rooted in history: the soul hole, that mountain, it’s all history,” concluded Adams.
“I was telling ghost stories on a tour and looked over my shoulder. I turned around and a bluish globe was in the graveyard. I watched it for eight seconds. Some saw it and others didn’t,” Adams said
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the most haunted place I’ve been because of the strong imprint. He said paranormal students use equipment but he uses his head.
“I look for a cause,” Adams said.