It’s no secret that Lancaster is an old town filled with history. With this long history, in some locations across town, you might get more than you bargained for. From theaters to plantations, here are some rumored places where you may be able to find a ghost or come across some unusual things.
1. Franklin & Marshall College
Franklin & Marshall College also has a few rumored ghosts and haunted buildings across their 200 acre campus. According to the archives of F&M’s library Diagnothian Hall, built in 1856 is rumored to have a few spirits roaming around. Diagnothian Hall once served as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Civil War. The archives also mention that while working late in his office in Diagnothian, a music professor was playing a Souza duet called “Red Cross Nurse,” a song about a nurse tending to soldiers during World War I.
The archives state, “As this song played over his stereo, he began hearing sounds apart from the music — he heard moaning, rattling sounds, and overall, the sounds of a person in intense pain…He later realized the connection between his experience and Diagnothian Hall’s history as a Civil War hospital.” Sitting next to Diagnothian Hall, rumors surround Old Main as being haunted as well. Constructed in 1853, this building was supposedly built on the site of Lancaster’s “gallows hill” due to it being the highest point around Lancaster. This would make it a prime spot for the town to see the hangings and be scared into keeping order. According to the F&M Gazette in October of 1990, the bell in the tower of Old Main has been known to ring during the night without the help of anyone.
2. Fulton Theatre
While the Fulton Theatre is known for its fun plays and shows, it has a bit of a dark history surrounding its origins. According to the theatre’s website, before the theatre was built the land had previously been hosting Lancaster’s pre-revolutionary jail. Here, the last fourteen of the Conestoga Native Americans were massacred on December 28, 1763 while they were being held in the jail for protection. They were killed by a vigilante gang called the “Paxton Boys.” This massacre wasn’t the only death that this site has seen. In 1852, the site became Fulton Hall and after the Battle of Gettysburg, it even served as a hospital for wounded soldiers, similar to Diagnothian Hall on F&M’s campus.
The haunted folklore of The Fulton Theatre continues with ghost sightings at this specific location. The Fulton Theatre’s website states that three ghosts have been reported on the site over the years. The website says, “Several actors and stagehands reported seeing a woman in a white dress hovering around the bottom of an old, wooden spiral staircase or at the top of the stage right. A stagehand from Gettysburg, PA, saw her and asked what her name was. She said ‘Marie.’” Researchers have since discovered that an actress named Marie Cahill had frequently performed at The Fulton Theatre. She is known as “The Woman in White.”
3. Historic Rockford Plantation
Another stop to check out if you’re looking for any speculated haunted attractions would be Rockford Plantation or more specifically, Rockford Mansion. Home to Edward Hand, a Revolutionary War general and friend to George Washington, the mansion was built in 1794. This location tragically saw the death of four Hand family members and according to LNP, Hand’s eldest son, John Hand killed himself inside the mansion as well. His blood is even rumored to be staining the hardwood floor in an upstairs guest bedroom. Although nothing is confirmed, the plantation has seen slavery, death, and features a dark history.
4. Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie
Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie, known for their Nutella drinks and savory crepes may also have a ghost roaming around. Apparently, there has been something (or someone) that would randomly turn faucets on in one of the bathrooms in the cafe. Morgan Miller, a former manager at Rachel’s says, “It would randomly just turn on full blast! I used to think that maybe it was customers leaving it on, but it would happen early in the morning. Then I thought it was Ray [Rachel Adam’s father], but c’mon, he knows how to turn off a faucet.” When she would go into the bathroom Miller avoided looking into the mirror, not wanting to see something other than her reflection looking back. “I don’t know of anyone dying there or any of the history too much, but it’s a very old building,” she says.