It just takes a few experiences to make you a believer.
For me, the conversion came when I was in my apartment, watching TV, when I heard it. It sounded like rushing water. When I went to investigate, I found my bathtub gushing full-force. Two days later, my heat turned itself on. I grabbed my keys and booked it outta there, praying the oven wouldn't be next.
Eventually I went home and began to attribute these strange occurrences to a ''friendly ghost'' which was either extremely cold or needed to bathe, and it didn't bother me as much when strange things happened. And I wasn't so prepared to dismiss ghosts as fantasies.
What would it take for you to believe? Check out these local haunts with real tales behind them and you may think twice about things that go bump in the night.
Bordentown Road in Bristol
A young high school-aged girl (now known by locals as Midnight Mary) is said to haunt the main road through the town of Bristol, not far from New Hope. On the way home from her prom, Mary's date (who'd drank too many beers) crashed the car, killing the two of them. Nowadays, many people have claimed to see a young girl hitchhiking on Bordentown Road. In fact, a trucker even called the police to claim he'd picked up a young girl only to have her disappear from the seat leaving a big puddle of water. Others have claimed they saw a distant pink figure dancing on the lake.
You probably won't have much luck if you try to spot MM. All of her appearances have been random, and usually when innocent passerbys or drivers aren't seeking her out.
Restaurant of Spirits
King George Inn in Allentown
There have been multiple reports of ghost sightings at the King George Inn, the historic restaurant near Dorney Park, which has been around since 1756. Employees have reportedly been bothered by a ghost they called ''Charlie'' who would drop utensils or move kitchen items around. Others have claimed to see the ghosts of a woman and child in the basement of the restaurant. And there have also been stories of seeing a man dressed in Revolutionary War garb hanging around the Inn.
If you decide to seek out one of these spirits, try booking a table at the Inn on Halloween. But go with this warning: you may end up being more horrified with the bill than any ghost sightings. The KGI can be pretty pricey. (www.kinggeorgeinn.com)
Prisoners Of The Dead
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia
Yes, it's the home of Terror Behind the Walls, Philly's haunted attraction that lures plenty of guests wanting to get a good scare. But it's believed that ESP is truly haunted by the spirits of past prisoners. Built in 1829, ESP used isolation as a means of punishment. Prisoners were held in tiny windowless rooms, never coming into contact with anyone but the occasional guard or a minister. Rightfully, many prisoners lost their minds, and howls were a regular noise throughout the institution. Other forms of confinement, including straight jackets, strapped chairs and iron gags, only contributed to the madness.
When the last of the prisoners were removed in the 1970s, and ESP closed down, guards continued to see movements of shadows and hear footsteps and horrible howling. Numerous claims have been made by both visitors and workers throughout the years. Even the watch tower is said to be haunted by the ghost of a guard who hasn't left his post. His dark human-like shadow can often be seen standing in the tower window. During the day, tours of ESP are given to visitors you may see something scarier than the Terror Behind the Walls' ghosts. (www.easternstate.org/visit).
This town is so haunted it's hard to pick just one story. You may have noticed that Gettysburg frequently pops up on channels such as Discovery or Travel when they're seeking out haunted hotels or chasing ghosts. As an old Civil War town, Gettysburg is known as one of the most haunted places in all of America. The Gettysburg battlefield is said to be one of the mot common places to spot the lingering soldier spirits. But many local restaurants, bars, and B&Bs have their own stories to share.
If you decide to plan a road trip to G'burg to seek out your own haunts this Halloween, you might want to join an organized tour lead by people who can give you the history. Make a reservation with Ghosts of Gettysburg Tours (www.ghostsofgettysburg.com) for a historical account of the haunted places in the area.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun