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Nemacolin Castle is located off the National Road, US 40, in Brownsville, Pennsylvania.
Nemacolin Castle is named after Nemacolin, a Native American who helped the white settlers move west along what is today the National Road.
Nemacolin Castle was built by the Bowman family. It started out as a small building that was used as a trading post along the Monongahela River in 1789. Nelson Bowman, who was a member of the 2nd generation of the Bowman family to live in the house, built onto the original building to create the structure as it is today. The house is rumored to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad. There are many secret hiding spaces in the house, however, there is no documentation to prove that it actually was a part of the Underground Railroad.
Nemacolin Castle is supposedly very haunted. There are at least ten ghosts that have been seen during tours. All of the ghosts are friendly. Sometimes they show themselves, other times people just feel cold spots, hear unexplainable sounds, see movement out of the corner of their eyes, or catch orbs on film. Two of the ghosts that are often seen are Elizabeth, a "prim and proper" lady, and Mary, a seven year old girl with dark, curly hair.
In March 2004 I received an e-mail from Francine, who works at Nemacolin Castle. She shared some of her ghost stories with me, and was kind enough to let me post them on the site:
I just started working at the castle this past October...I never had anything weird happen to me on tour the first few weeks, but once I was there for a while I guess you could say that they got used to me. They would do little things to say "hey, I'm here". I would sometimes hear foot steps behind me and smell their presence. I don't know if you've ever smelled a ghost, but when they are around, you know...the air gets cold and you can just smell it! It's clean, cold smell. I would smell that all the time.
Then I saw Elizabeth while I was giving a tour, which really freaked me out. She was dressed all in white, and she was screaming when I saw her run past the doorway and into another room. At first I wasn't sure what it was, if it was a person on tour or what, but I kept my eye on the door and never saw her come out. Then I went and looked in the other room and no one was there...that's when I was totally sure it was Elizabeth!
Another time me and a few friends of mine heard a little girl's laughing coming from the nursery. Baby dolls' eyes will open and close by themselves when they shouldn't. Plus there are like two other girls who also work there and they are able to see the ghosts all the time.
One night when all the tours were over, I went upstairs with a few other people to turn off the lights, and we could hear the sound of a dog barking coming from one of the rooms. We went in there and the barking stopped! We looked out the window thinking there was a dog outside, but as far as we could see there wasn't one. Other people on tour have heard the dogs and have smelled it. Like a wet dog smell.
One day during the Christmas tours we saw another ghost, it was about 1 o'clock PM. We were walking past the nursery door, and we heard a lady whispering and shhhhhh'ing at us
as we walked by.
When I was looking through my photos I noticed something that looked like a little girl's face in one of the windows in this photo - Francine thinks it may be Mary, a ghost they see regularly:
I blew up the picture and played around with it a little in my photo editor:
There wasn't anything in the window when I took the picture, and it doesn't look like a reflection from the sunlight (it was a cloudy day anyway)...maybe I FINALLY got a ghost picture!
Linley Marcum, a website visitor, noticed two more possible ghosts in my photos. I have separated the photos below and added her observations underneath:
Bottom window, bottom left-hand pane of glass. There appears to be a shadowed face. Mary again?
Again, lower left-hand side of the nearest window (a bay-style window). There appears to be another face. This one is clearly not a sun glare, as the sun is glaring on the top half of the window and the two look nothing alike.
In October 2011 I received an e-mail from Ray about his experiences at Nemacolin Castle:
I am a member of the Redstone Living Historians, and also the Brownsville Historical Society. I've been participating in French and Indian and Civil War reenactments at the castle for over 15 years now, along with helping with all of the activites. Inside the castle, the the two rooms with the most activity I believe is the tower bedroom and the nursery. We were having a show one night, and I fell asleep in a chair in the tower bedroom. I woke up hearing a child's laughter. I was looking for someone that was messing with me, but I realized I was the only person in the upper floor. Another night I went to check the grounds. I saw a light on upstairs, and I figured someone was working or cleaning. However, oddly enough the door was locked. I knocked on the door pretty hard so they would hear me, and then backed up to look up at the window. Just then the light went off and the curtains closed. I called a friend and he said nobody was at the castle that night. Some nights I go up and sit in the courtyard for a few, and some nights it looks like a militia soldier is on guard duty walking around the top of the tower.
Have you had any strange experiences at Nemacolin Castle? If so, please send me an e-mail and I'll post your story on the site!
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