Historical ghost tour haunts Philadelphia

It has to be mandatory under an imaginary rule book that horror bloggers must attend at least one ghost tour in their life, right? I chose to take a ghost tour in the beautiful city of Philadelphia.

I’ve been on multiple ghost tours in the past, but I’ve never been to one in Philadelphia. I thought a ghost tour could really contribute to my blog since my blog relies on the past and present of a building’s story.

We met at Signers’ Garden where we were assigned a tour guide, Ginger, dressed to impress with her long black coat and dark make up. Ginger walked us through Old City where she first revealed a story about historical Philadelphia.


The Uninviting History of Washington Square

We made our way to the first stop. Washington Square was eerie at night when no one was around. It is a beautiful park in daylight that also holds the first tree to ever take a trip to the moon. The history of this park is what keeps it alive (or dead?).

The park was once known as the Southeast Square in 1682 when William Penn’s surveyor, Thomas Holme, first designated a lay-out plan to build. The area was originally used as a potter’s field, a burial ground for soldiers, in the 1700s.

Troops from Washington’s army were buried in Washington Square in 1776. The war that won our independence gave the park more death.

After the war, a breakout of yellow fever left the park, yet again, as a cemetery.

An eternal flame burns in a monument dedicated to the soldiers who fought for their country. A statue of George Washington stands behind the tomb of an actual soldier found in the field. The monument’s name, Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, seems fitting for the representation of the people that were buried in Washington Square still to this day.


The park is said to be haunted by a Quaker named Leah. Leah protects the dead in the Square from grave robbers.

Early one cold winter morning, a police officer was walking through the park when he decided to sit by the monument and drink his coffee. He noticed a woman digging in the grass and decided to check on her.

As he got closer, he heard her shrill voice yelling at him to stay away from the graves. Her hand reached out and tugged his leg to make him fall.

The officer still walked through the park after that, but he would never stay long on a morning cold and bitter.


The Powel House

Feel free to check out this museum during the day but only expect to hear the real ghost stories during the strict after hour tours.

This mansion was once home to the 18th century power couple, Elizabeth and Samuel Powel. Samuel was the mayor of Philadelphia for two terms and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate. Wealthy was not a big enough word for these two. Lavish parties were held at the mansion where only the elite would attend.

The Powel’s hosted parties and were friends with only the best of the best. Elizabeth was a confidant of George Washington as well as a really close friend. Samuel was close friends with the founding fathers (Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, etc.).

After a long day of working on the Declaration of Independence, the men would come back to the Powel’s house to work out the details of the new government.

Elizabeth routed a new way for women at the time. She was very powerful and was able to have an effect on important decisions. She would entertain during a gathering and talk about the real issues at the time. Fun fact: She convinced George Washington to serve a second term as president.

Unfortunately, Samuel died of yellow fever along with their child, which broke Elizabeth’s heart.

This historic landmark is still home to the the spirits of soldiers, a young beautiful woman dressed in purple and Marquis de Lafayette. Their spirits have been seen in the doorway to the house. The unknown woman has taken the second floor as her own and shows herself to guests from time to time.

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I recommend this tour for people willing to get a chill down their spine yet still want to learn about really interesting facts about Philadelphia. Even just walking around the city at night is a great time, nevertheless. The tours differ depending on which one you choose, but be prepared to go on an adventure to places you might not have heard of.

Bundle up, go out and get scared!


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