Northeast Times

Boo! A haunting they did go in Frankford

The second floor of Friends Meet­ing House is used for stor­age and is said o be haunted by a little boy and some­times a wo­man. There have been sev­er­al re­ports of ghos sight­ings there. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

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About 25 people vis­ited four Frank­ford his­tor­ic sites on Oct. 27, the Sat­urday be­fore Hal­loween, to hear about haunt­ings and his­tory. The vis­it­ors got a good look at the Grand Army of the Re­pub­lic headquar­ters on Griscom Street, St. Mark’s Epis­copal Church on Frank­ford Av­en­ue, and the Frank­ford Monthly Meet­ing and the Frank­ford His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety, which are across Or­tho­dox Street from each oth­er.

The stops along the second an­nu­al Frank­ford Haunted His­tory Tour, all by them­selves, were more than a little in­ter­est­ing. Be­sides, the ghosts were no-shows. Per­haps they had heard about the ap­proach of Hur­ricane Sandy and were spend­ing their pre-storm Sat­urday night hunt­ing for drier places to haunt.

At the His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety of Frank­ford headquar­ters, mem­ber Pa­tri­cia Coyne talked about all the art and ar­ti­facts on dis­play in the 1930 Geor­gi­an Re­viv­al build­ing, but ad­ded the premises had a ghost that had been fright­en­ing people for years. He prob­ably had an ap­point­ment else­where on Oct. 27.

Across the street, Friends’ re­cord­ing clerk Mari­on Par­kin­son and clerk Peg Szczurek said the Frank­ford Monthly Meet­ing’s 1833 build­ing on the 1500 block of Or­tho­dox has some “friendly” ghosts who like to look out the up­per floor’s win­dows and re­arrange the shades.

Friendly might not be the ap­pro­pri­ate de­scrip­tion for one ap­par­i­tion. He’s known as George and he makes people un­com­fort­able, ac­cord­ing to Par­kin­son and Szczurek. Ghost re­search­ers have seen “activ­ity” in the win­dows, they said.

Michelle Feld­man, the Frank­ford Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion’s cor­ridor man­ager, later went up­stairs at the meet­ing house to stand in for the meet­ing house’s spec­tral pres­ences. 

Friend­li­er were the man and wo­man some kids spot­ted in the meet­ing house. The chil­dren re­por­ted the two were wear­ing old-fash­ioned clothes and were hold­ing hands.

Spir­its sup­posedly fre­quent the Grand Army of the Re­pub­lic Mu­seum and Lib­rary on the 4200 block of Griscom St.

“We’re known for be­ing haunted,” said lib­rar­i­an and board mem­ber Kath­leen Smith.

The Grand Army of the Re­pub­lic was sort of an Amer­ic­an Le­gion or VFW for Civil War vet­er­ans. The Frank­ford GAR build­ing houses a lot of the sol­diers’ re­cords, and Smith sus­pects the ghosts she said haunt the build­ing do so be­cause of the tan­gible ties to the past.

“They’re here be­cause their re­cords are here,” she said.

An­oth­er pres­ence is that of “Jim,” a Civil War re-en­act­or, who is the GAR’s most fam­ous ghost, Smith said.

“He comes back here be­cause he likes it here,” she said.

Any­one in­ter­ested in Jim and the oth­ers who are said to hang around the GAR can vis­it 4278 Griscom St. between 9 p.m. Fri­day, Nov. 16, and 1 a.m. Sat­urday, Nov. 17, for a ghost hunt.

The Rev. Jonath­an Clod­fel­ter gave tour par­ti­cipants a look at the in­teri­or of St. Mark’s, an im­mense church richly ap­poin­ted with stone carvings and elab­or­ate stained glass win­dows. The early-20th cen­tury struc­ture was de­signed by Frank Rush­more Wat­son, who also de­signed the his­tor­ic­al so­ci­ety’s build­ing.

Any­one who has passed by the church on the 4400 block of Frank­ford Ave. or on the El can­not ima­gine the build­ing’s beauty. Even in the gloom of a late Oc­to­ber even­ing, the place is breath­tak­ing. However, it was down­right spooky in the dark crypt be­low ground level, where there were a few graves.

Ghosts? Not in the scary sense. There is, of course, the Holy Spir­it, Clod­fel­ter said. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or at jloftus@bsmphilly.com

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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