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Lebanon Ghosts Spring

Page history last edited by Brett Stumphy 13 years ago



Lebanon Ghosts



Moonshine Church 


by Rachel Fischer


Lebanon Ghosts, an idea that brought me back to my days of scary stories around a campfire and a haunted little white church and cemetery, tucked back in the middle of the woods, that was close enough for a late night haunted ride.


If the setting of the Moonshine church doesn’t set the mood for an eerie haunted feeling, then the local stories of phenomena’s will.


There’s a story from the 1980’s of a mother who killed her four children in her car while parked in the church parking lot, claiming “ the devil made her do it” shortly after they say she ended up taking her own life while suffering a mental breakdown. Along with a story of a young woman who went into the church, said the Lord’s Prayer backwards and was struck dead by lightning.


It’s said there is a headless horseman of the local LebanonValley that has also been spotted in the wooded area surrounding the Moonshine church grounds. Following with legends of a handful of Native American spirits, which have been reported roaming the Moonshine area, including an Indian ghost known as “The Red Devil” they say the military base keeps the stories of its encounters under wraps.


Most commonly locals tell of personal encounters that involve car engines dieing while passing by Moonshine church, hearing unexplained noises and multiple ghost sittings.


The most famous ghost story is that of Joseph Raber, drowned by the infamous “Blue Eyed Six”. The story goes that Raber was murdered for his $10,000 life insurance policy. But the six men and their murder plot along with insurance fraud came undone due to their overheard murder discussions at a local bar.


Five of the six men were found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death by hanging in the Lebanon County Jail Courtyard. The Sixth man “Josiah Hummel” was awarded a new trial , due to lack of evidence against him personally, Hummel ended up dieing while serving in prison, said to be from natural causes.


The Blue Eyed Six where not buried at Moonshine , but it’s said if you drive past at night you may witness a sighting of there blue eyes gazing from the church steeple and dancing through the cemetery.


Paranormal seekers and/or ghost hunters have contacted spirits while investigating the Moonshine church area, confirming these ghost stories and legends. That is if you believe…..



~Ieraci Ron, Moonshine Church and Cemetery. Web. August 30, 2008



~Lake Matt, Weird Series: PennsylvaniaSterling Publisher, July 2005


~Ludwig Gary, The Blue Eyed Six ,Hodge Podge USA, 1979






 Rausch Gap
Ashley Swope

     In 1923, a man by the name of Dr. Kugler opened a coal mine in Cold Spring Township, Lebanon County. This coal mine eventually sprung the rail trail that now runs through the decrepit ghost town. In 1928 a railroad was constructed between Dauphin County and Lebanon County in order to transport the coal. This is where the ghost story comes into play.
     A woman and her husband, whose names are unknown, lived along the railroad track. It was the husband’s job to throw the switch so that the trains would not collide. He was given this job by the townspeople. One day her husband came down with an illness and eventually passed away.
     The woman was supposed to take over the family job of throwing the switch, but plagued with mourning of her deceased husband, the woman forgot. Two trains supposedly collided; killing hundreds. The town, enraged by her “irresponsibility”, sent out a lynching mob. Lynching was not the cause of her death however, it was depression. Having her husband die, and being responsible for the train collision, the woman decided to throw herself in front of the train as it came rolling through.
     It is said that to this day, at the right time of the night, in the right place, you can see the woman holding a lantern waiting for her fate to round the corner. However, if in fact you are there and she happens to see you first, she will run straight through you. If this happens it is said that you will be cursed to die a fate much like hers; the accident will leave you looking like you were hit by a train.
     Having been to Rausch Gap around the hours of 1 AM to 2 AM, I can say that though it is eerie, I have not seen this woman. I cannot say that this story is false because no one knows where exactly she killed herself (which is supposedly where she stands). I can however say that there are odd sounds heard throughout the area, much like an approaching train; whether or not that was a product of my imagination I cannot say.
Eventually in the 20th century, the railroad track was abandoned due to the building of the Reading Railroad. The town eventually became a training ground for the Fort Indiantown Gap, and then was yet again abandoned only to become part of the Appalachian Trail.


Watts, Brandy M. "Rausch." Stony Valley - Saint Anthony's Wilderness - Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad. 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.



Shadowlands Haunted Places Index - Pennsylvania." The Shadowlands. Web. 27 Apr. 2011. http://theshadowlands.net/places/pennsylvania.htm.


The Blue-eyed Six

 Sarah Swisher


            The blue-eyed six is a legend associated with the Moonshine church in the village of Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. The church was named after Henry Moonshine, who donated the land in memory of his son, who died at age fourteen (Lake 26). However, it is not the young Moonshine’s ghost haunting the notorious ground.

      The year was 1878. In a local tavern, Israel Brandt, Josiah Hummel, Henry F. Wise, and George Zechmen conspired to murder Joseph Raber, an elderly bum living in the mountains. The four men took out a life insurance policy on Raber worth $8,000.00 (Gates). Eager to collect the money, they planned to take his life. They hired Charles Drews, Israel Brandt’s neighbor to do the job for $300.00, and Franklin Stichler agreed to help for an amount adjusted to his likeness. On December 7th, 1878, Drews and Stichler drowned Raber in St. Joseph’s Spring (Ieraci).

            Joseph Peters, Drew’s son-in-law, filed an affidavit against the six men involved in Joseph Raber’s “accident” (Gates), although he waited a few days before reporting the murder. The trial lasted eight days, drawing reporters from all across the country. One of these reporters noticed that the six men on trial all had bright blue eyes, hence the blue-eyed six (Lake 26).

           Charles Drews and Franklin Stichler were first to be convicted and sentenced. While in cus tody, Drews wrote a confession in German to the Lebanon Daily News under the condition that it only be published after his execution. Theirs was the first dual execution of Lebanon County (Gates).

            Brandt, Hummel, and Wise were hanged shortly after Drews and Stechler. George Zechmen was found not guilty after a retrial. However, he died in jail of a respiratory disease soon after. Few believe this a coincidence (Gates).     

Since the death of the six, the church ground is said to be haunted. It’s been told that a girl recited the Lord’s prayer backwards in the Moonshine church and was immediately struck down dead with a bolt of lightning. Another rumor is that in the 1980’s, a woman killed herself and her four children in the church after having a nervous breakdown. Ghosts have been seen and reported wandering in the cemetery, and supposedly, if you’re driving past the church late at night, your car might stall for no apparent reason (Ieraci). Whether or not you believe in the legends, the morbid past of the Moonshine church still reaches to haunt those in the present.









Work Cited


Gates, G. Thomas. A History of Hangings for Homicide in Lebanon County, The Blue-    eyed Six. 1971. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.


Ieraci, Ron. Moonshine Church & Cemetery, Pennsylvania Haunts and History (2008): n. pag. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.


Lake, Matt. Weird Pennsylvania. New york: Sterling, 2007. Print.




The Iron Furnace-Legend of the Hounds By: Karl Showers

            Rolling up in my truck to the Iron Furnace with anticipation unlike any other that I’ve had for any tour. Finally something about ghosts. I see the old stone building and immediately I turn down my roaring music, don’t want to make the ghosts mad. Growing up around this area I have heard the stories of these hounds. How a mean plantation owner exhausted his hunting dogs and threw them in the furnace. They still haunt the Cornwall area and sometimes you can hear their howls at night. I have always enjoyed this story and was excited to learn the legend from experts at Cornwall Iron Furnace. The tour starts us off with a video and what begins as a ghost hunt for me turns into a misconception that most people don’t know about.

            The furnace itself was used from 1742-1883. All that is left of it now the great wheel, blowing tubes, casting shed, and the charging arch. It was built in the time where iron was king and it provided many jobs for people who, at that time, where mostly into farming. The furnace helped make items like horseshoes and other farm tools and sold their products well beyond the d furnace itself. It helped Lebanon grow from a small village to a booming industrial town. There were many different owners in the furnaces years, but Robert Coleman owned it for a long time and became one of PA’s first multi-millionaires’. And that’s the man I came to hear about interested on the killing of his hounds.

            The tour goes through the entire building in which the actual furnace is intact, and in fact the only original furnace still around in America. We come near the end of our tour and I still have yet to hear about the hounds. I start to raise my hand and an older woman next to me beats me to the punch. She asks about the dogs and about the legend. And the answer shocked both of us at the same time.

            Robert Coleman owned a lot of land and a lot of buildings. He then owned a furnace in Colebrook, PA and left that in charge to Samuel Jacobs so Coleman can focus on other things. It is Squire’s Jacobs that the legend begins with, not Coleman. As the story is told Jacobs wanted to go out for a fox hunt. He was a cruel and miserable man who treated all those under him rather poorly. One thing he did take kindly to was his hunting dogs. He took them out one day and they seemed out of the hunt and not willing to chase. Jacobs does not take too kindly of this and he gets angry. So angry, and sorely disappointed with this hounds, when the hunt was done he dragged and threw his dogs into the furnace and watched them burn while they howled for their owner to safe them. And to this day the legend goes that sometimes you can hear the dogs howl in the night, as if their owner Jacobs was still around to help save them.

            Whether you believe this or not isn’t relevant. A good story is only good if you know what you are talking about. And getting the person and place in check is a good start. But this legend is so retold that the origins is still unknown. And could have happened in Ireland where Coleman was born. And the misconception in Cornwall could be because people who used to live there told these stories to others. The legend just got around to the point of where did it happen at. Though worrying about what we will never know should not bother you, it is the howls at night that should. 



Works Cited

"THE HOUNDS OF COLEBROOK." Pennsylvania Jack. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://www.pajack.com/stories/pennsylvania/hounds.html>.



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