Hotel Bethlehem is full of ghostly activity
One of the biggest paranormal hot spots in Pennsylvania is in the Bethlehem area in the Lehigh Valley, and Hotel Bethlehem ranks as the number one ghost destination. Large, stately, and elegant, the hotel anchors the town’s historic district, steeped in the culture of the founding Moravians. It is full of ghostly activity.
The hotel teems with ghosts. Numerous guests report the same or similar experiences in certain rooms and areas. The hotel also is popular with paranormal investigators. Every hotel has its “most haunted” room or rooms; at the Hotel Bethlehem, the winner is Room 932. An apparition of a man appears at the bedside in the middle of the night. One couple described him as wearing an undershirt and boxer shorts. He vanished when they turned on the light. The couple was so unnerved that they checked out that night.
A woman staying in Room 932 went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and saw an entirely different room, one with pink wallpaper. Perhaps she saw a glimpse of the room as it had been in the past. Room 932 may be the hotel’s most famous haunted guest room, but many of the other rooms also have ghostly activity. Plumbing turns off and on without explanation, other apparitions are seen, phantom voices are heard, and objects are moved about.
Among the ghostly residents are several that stand out for their frequent appearances and details:
– Francis “Daddy” Thomas welcomed and attended to visitors who came to Bethlehem. He was known for his kindness and humor. His ghost has been sighted in the boiler room area.
– Mrs. Brong was an innkeeper of the old Eagle Hotel with her husband until they were fired by the Moravian Church in 1833. The Church officials were mortified by their unacceptable and outrageous behavior. Mr. Brong liked to get so drunk that he had to be laid out on a bench. Mrs. Brong shocked guests by going barefoot while she worked. Mr. Brong has not lingered, but Mrs. Brong is seen by staff and guests in the restaurant and kitchen, dressed in attire of the 1800s. Still defiant of the propriety of her era, she wears no shoes or stockings.
– Mary “May” Yohe was born at the old Eagle Hotel in 1866 and was still a child when she danced and sang for the hotel guests in the lobby. The Moravians sent her to Paris to learn opera. By 1888, she was famous on stage for her singing and dancing––and off stage for her torrid romances. During the 1890s, she went to England and fell in love with Lord Francis Clinton Hope, whom she married. Hope owned the infamous Hope Diamond, a large and rare blue diamond that was named for the family and reputed to be cursed. Mary often wore the gem. Did it doom her marriage? Something did, for May left Hope for an American soldier, who later turned the tables and left her. May’s ghost sings, and the player piano in the lounge frequently plays on its own. May is thought to be the ghost of a little girl seen in the exercise room on the third floor and also in the lobby.
For more about the history of Hotel Bethlehem and other haunted places in Pennsylvania, check out Ghosthunting Pennsylvania by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.