The Rising Sun Inn will always be the pride of Telford, PA. It is an ancient landmark ready to bust with history. Originally built in 1739, it began serving the public in 1752. At that time, it was known as Gerhart’s Tavern, and was run by Peter and Elizabeth Gerhart. During its day, the building served many purposes. Primarily, it was an overnight rest stop for the stagecoach. Aside from that, it played a huge role in the Underground Railroad: dug out tunnels were used to hold escapees overnight. A hidden room was recently uncovered that was reported to hold slaves. All this, and still there’s more. In order to avoid capture from the British in 1771, the Liberty Bell was hidden in Gerhart’s Tavern overnight. It was carried from Philadelphia to Allentown, and the building now known as The Rising Sun Inn played a role as a protector. One would only be left to wonder, what else could have happened in its 271 years of existence?
A mysterious sensation engulfs many visitors and workers of the Rising Sun Inn. City Lights Paranormal Society was anxious to receive this case. We met with the current owner, Fred, and he told us all about what can be experienced in the building. Most commonly, people have heard footsteps, felt presences, and heard voices. “Scary Mary” is the legend ghost of the Rising Sun Inn. Many workers claimed to have been startled by her sudden appearance in the lobby. At times, people have heard Scary Mary calling to them from the second floor, inviting them to “come upstairs.” Ron, a good friend of Fred’s, also shared his impressions. Ron’s reports were very similar to all the others; however, Ron had his own face-to-face sighting that left him convinced that something resided within the building. After the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, Ron returned to the Rising Sun Inn. Upon looking up at the second floor window, he saw a figure looking out at him. Could this have been Scary Mary? Another claim was that the cleaning crew would pull all the chairs in the dining room away from the tables to vacuum, only to have the chairs push themselves back in. These two people, very familiar with the Rising Sun Inn, also claimed to feel a very intimidating presence on the second floor near the fireplace. CLPS was even more shocked to hear that they felt a male was also accompanying Scary Mary.
CLPS arrived with 4 investigators on the night of March 6, 2010. We were accompanied by Ron, who expressed his strong passion and interest in the alleged haunting of the Rising Sun Inn. Many EVP recorders were placed throughout the building to capture evidence of all the reported sounds. An infrared camera was placed covering the entire dining room where chairs were said to move. A second infrared camera was placed on the second floor covering the broad area including the window where a figure was seen from outside, the fireplace that gave off intimidating feelings, and a doorway Scary Mary was heard to be calling downstairs from. A nightshot camera was stationed in the lobby looking out for Scary Mary and her usual walk upstairs. Two EVP recorders were also placed throughout the building as well. One recorder was placed in the recently uncovered slave room in the basement. The last EVP recorder was placed in the spot Scary Mary was heard yelling downstairs. We split up into two groups to cover the building thoroughly. Group one was Joe and Ed, while group two was Olivia, Kathy, and Ron. We covered the entire place from top to bottom, paying close attention to all the reports of activity. Readings were taken with EMF detectors to determine if high EMF fields could explain uneasy feelings. While high EMF would have been an alternate theory, the test proved negative. The building was very calm. It remained unusually quiet all night. For being 271 years old, we were impressed that the floors didn’t even creak. The most excitement we had all night was an experience Olivia had on the second floor. She was lying on the floor conducting an EVP session when she clearly saw a shadow walk past the doorway where Scary Mary had been heard. We wrapped up the investigation at 5:00 A.M., and hoped that our equipment would prove more effective than the whole night of silence. We were most hopeful that our infrared camera caught the shadow Olivia saw.
Recorder 4, basement: Shuffling
Recorder 3, 2nd floor: Tapping
Recorder 3, 2nd floor: Singing, “In the City” song
Recorder 3, 2nd floor: Response, "Say hello, Kathy."
Recorder 1, EVP session: "Is this the bar?"
Recorder 1, EVP session: "What is this?"
Recorder 1, EVP session: "Watch out!"
During the investigation, we came up with one theory that may explain the voice of Scary Mary calling to people downstairs. We noticed that the basement steps were directly under the second floor steps. On numerous occasions throughout the night, the group of investigators upstairs could hear the other group downstairs. We imagined that if someone was standing in the lobby, a worker speaking loudly in the basement could be mistaken for someone speaking upstairs because voices traveled easily through the think stairway. Aside from that, CLPS was shocked with the evidence we uncovered. Numerous EVPs were caught throughout the night: A male’s voice was captured in the bar and on the second floor staircase. A female voice was caught on several occasions on the second floor. The EVP recorder on the second floor also picked up a strange, residual, mechanic sound. EVPs aside, the best was yet to come. A figure of some sort had been spotted on the second floor by our infrared camera in the exact same time and location where Olivia claimed to see a shadow. It isn’t common for us to go into a location and walk away with documented proof of every report of paranormal activity. It was clear to us that this very bright building had a very dark twist. CLPS was honored to have the opportunity to investigate this historical hero. Fred and Ron were very hospitable, and, in the future, we look forward to returning to investigate the haunted Rising Sun Inn even further!