Moravian Book Shop offers Historic Haunts of Bethlehem tour

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You might not be the only guest staying in room 932 at the Hotel Bethlehem.

It’s well known to many Bethlehem residents that the Hotel Bethlehem is haunted. In particular, guests of room 932 and employees report paranormal activity almost every weeks. A few stories include guests waking up to a man staring at them above their beds. Another story says a businessman staying the night in room 932 saw a man with a sinister expression standing behind him but ignored it. Later that night he awoke to the man standing above his bed.

As Halloween approaches, the city of Bethlehem embraces its rich historical background for an eerie effect. Many say the Bethlehem area is home to several ghosts who come out to haunt residents at different sites just minutes away from Lehigh’s campus.

“It’s just something you have to do here in downtown Bethlehem during this time,” said Katrina Boebking, a sales associate for Moravian Book Shop.

Since 2009, the Moravian Book Shop located in downtown Bethlehem has been showing residents the historical hauntings that exist just a few blocks from the shop with a tour called the Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem. The tours were initially inspired by “Bethlehem Ghosts: Historical Haunting In and Around Pennsylvania’s Christmas City,” a book by Katherine Ramsland and Dana DeVito.

“I think there is a lot of good history in it as well as some spookiness,” said DeVito, who is also the general manager of the bookshop.

After realizing that most of the ghostly tales told in the story take place on Main Street, the shop began to offer ghost tours to the public.

“We realized it would be fun to give them a tour and tell them the stories,” said Houston.

The 13 different guides take participants through the dark streets of downtown Bethlehem with a candle as the only source of light. The tour guide takes them through several historical sights where paranormal activity has been reported.

Houston related some of the ghost stories she tells on the tours.

The hour-long tour begins on Main Street with 10 different stops in the downtown area. Some of the stops include Main Hall in an all-female dorm located on Church Street at Moravian College, where a little girl is said to haunt the halls. It has been reported that students have woken up to the little girl staring at them while in bed. A student also reported having seen the little girl and her bunk bed crashing beneath her soon after.

A few of the popular stops include the Boyd Theatre on Broad Street where the “woman in white” haunts the theater by tricking people into believing she is someone else, and then disappearing. The story goes back to when a girl was seeing a movie with her friend and entered the theater while her friend went to the bathroom. While in the theater, the girl saw a vague figure that appeared to be her friend waving to her from the front of theater, when the girl went to down to look — the figure suddenly disappeared. Her friend soon walked in with a bag of popcorn.

The group also gets a chance to walk through the Moravian cemetery where two women recently said they were sitting on a bench when they saw a woman’s figure in the distance waving at them to come over to her. When the women walked over, she suddenly disappeared. Some guides have also reported seeing obscure animal-like figures in the cemetery visiting graves of children.

Many participants have claimed to see orbs and vague figures in the distance in photos taken during the tour. Some have also said their pictures have come out completely dark. The tour’s Facebook page features several different eerie photos.

The tour is growing in popularity among Lehigh students, organizations and groups on campus reserving group tickets. The tour is also very popular among students at Moravian College. The upcoming tour dates are Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 at 6 and 6:30 p.m., Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. and run every 15 minutes with the last tour departing a 9 p.m. A special midnight tour will be given on those dates as well.

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