Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ghosts of Lancaster County

It seems that ghost stories abound everywhere. In fact, last May, Laura and I went out to dinner for our anniversary to the Railroad House Restaurant in Marietta, PA. To our surprise, the owner of the establishment actually pulled a chair up to our table and chatted with us for quite some time about his own journey in life.

As he told us of the history to the building we were dining in which was built way back in 1820 I asked him if anyone ever thought that the old landmark was haunted. That led to a story about a little girl who often makes appearances at the restaurant and disappears. He pointed to one of the waitresses and said that she had seen the little girl on a couple of occasions. It was an interesting anniversary dialogue.

Recently I picked up a book called True Ghost Stories of Lancaster County. I thought it would be an interesting read as I do my research for our upcoming Ghostbusters series here at Grace Church (see yesterday’s blog). There are many interesting stories in the book but one chapter is all about the enchanted garden at the Railroad House Inn and Restaurant in Marietta.

The chapter is all about a female ghost named Anne Marie who a few select individuals have seen out in the garden behind the building. Supposedly she lived across the street some 150 years ago. A shiver ran down my spine as I read that chapter because after our anniversary dinner last May, my wife and I took a nice leisurely and romantic walk through that very garden. No, we did not see Anne Marie that evening. Thank goodness!

I think it may be true that just about everyone has a ghost story of some sort to tell. I do. I actually had a ghost that I saw multiple times for the first 25 years or so of my life. I was talking to my parents about it when I was down in Florida over the summer and they told me some ghost stories from my childhood that I had never heard before. As part of our October series on “ghosts” I will be making these personal ghost stories of mine available on line for anyone who is interested to read them and find out what happened, what I did about it, and if I still am seeing ghosts today.

As soon as I announced that we were going to be doing a sermon series on what the Bible teaches regarding ghosts, I have had many already share their ghost stories with me. I would love to hear yours if you have one. If you have a ghost story to tell, write it out and e-mail it to me at When you send it, please also let me know if I have permission to use it or not. I will keep all stories completely anonymous.

Because the topic of ghosts are so interesting to so many, this becomes a wonderful opportunity for all of us to invite people to Grace Church in October. All you have to do is ask anyone and everyone this question, “Do you believe in ghosts?” No matter what their answer is, tell them about our Ghostbusters series in October and invite them to come to one of our three morning worship services (8:30; 10:00; 11:30).

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