A room remains chilled even when the working heater is on full blast. Children laugh – in the dead of night – when everyone’s asleep. Shadowy figures move across an empty room. Do you believe in ghosts? The paranormal? Whether you believe or not, you might just come away thinking a little bit differently after learning more about the 10 most haunted places in Pittsburgh:
1. Broughton School
Psst. Please don't leave me. Could you – would you – leave if you heard such a phrase uttered by children heard but not seen? Children's voices and footsteps are frequently heard at the long-empty Broughton School in South Park and Room 216, in particular. Built on land where citizens perished during the Whiskey Rebellion and rebuilt after the original school was destroyed by gunfire, the Broughton School has won attention from paranormal investigators for its eerie happenings, including doors spontaneously opening and shutting, children crying, and figured shadows racing from room to room.
2. Carnegie Library of Homestead
Books spontaneously fly off the shelves. Loud female giggles drift from the basement to the upstairs library. Gregarious voices rise above the silence – but no one is there. Images of steelworkers, still dressed in their work clothes, pace back and forth. Visit the Carnegie Library of Homestead, originally built as a gift to local steelworkers, and you may just experience paranormal activity firsthand. Why the library is said to be haunted remains murky. Some say the haunting dates back to the late 1800s when a steel worker mysteriously drowned in the library's outdoor pool.
3. Pittsburgh Playhouse
Enjoy just as much drama off stage as you do on stage at Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse. Rich with history that rivals that of a modern day soap opera, the playhouse was once a brothel and another time a church. Listen closely, especially in the evenings, and you just might hear the low wailing of a woman, now known as Weeping Eleanor, who died along with her daughter in a fire that destroyed their home, where the Playhouse now sits. Theatergoers have also spoken of seeing the silhouette of a Lady in White traipsing back and forth on the balcony, the site where on her wedding day she shot and killed her new husband and his mistress before jumping off the balcony to her own death.
4. Chatham University
She purportedly lived her life tortured by mental illness and sought treatment at an institution where the university now stands. After her death, the Blue Lady of Woodlawn Hall regularly roams the halls, wearing a blue dress that glows, staring at students, often as they wake in the morning. Perhaps the most haunted place in all of Pittsburgh, Chatham University boasts so much paranormal activity that it spawned a popular ghost tour of the university grounds. Along with the Blue Lady's antics, such paranormal activity as lights staying on after they've been off, doors slamming, and windows opening and closing spontaneously have been reported on Chatham's vast campus grounds.
5. Old Allegheny County Jail
For some the only way out of the Old Allegheny County Jail was death. One such death occurred, as a suicide, at the old jail in the early 1900s. The inmate reportedly haunted the cells in the block where he committed suicide, unhappy that even in death he was still trapped in his cell. Prisoners began hearing the former inmate wailing in despair, causing them so much stress that they begged their warden to move them to cells in another area of the jail. The warden complied. The Old Allegheny Jail is now part of the Allegheny County Courthouse.
6. University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning
No visitors are permitted to enter The Early American Room at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. Yet, that doesn't stop “someone” from visiting. That someone is said to be Martha Jane Poe, who shares a family tree with Edgar Allen and whose spirit doesn't like to be bothered. Witnesses claim that Poe's wedding quilt on her bed in The Early American Room has been meticulously laundered by an employee, only to be ruffled when no one is looking. Other visitors have smelled fresh bread baking in the unused hearth and have seen the empty cradle swaying gently back and forth.
7. Blue Mist Road
Runners find the serenity of Blue Mist Road in North Park an ideal setting for running. The five mile road, currently a closed access road to vehicles, purportedly becomes anything but serene once the sun goes down and a blue mist appears. Sparsely populated and dotted with abandoned homes, Blue Mist Road's hauntings are little more than speculation. Some say the road is haunted by a wife and her children, murdered by their husband and father and discarded in a septic tank. Others claim to have been chased from the road by ghosts. Whatever really happens or happened on Blue Mist Road, one thing is for certain: Going there at night will likely result in chills zipping down your spine.
8. National Aviary
Confederate soldiers solemnly march down the halls of the National Aviary, generally at night, teasing evening visitors with the promise of paranormal activity. Formerly the Western Penitentiary where the Union imprisoned Confederate soldiers in unthinkably crowded conditions, employees of and visitors to the National Aviary speak of seeing those Confederate soldiers, many of whom died in the prison, traipsing the halls in the evening.
9. Dormont Library
Call this the formerly haunted Dormont Library for with it comes a happy ending. Everyone knew Mary, the librarian at the Dormont Library, who suffered a heart attack at work one day. She returned to the library where she worked until her death a year later in 1987. Immediately after her passing, library patrons claimed Mary's spirit began reeking havoc: gleefully tossing books off of the shelves and spinning the library's Rolodex. Her spirit was so strong, according to local lure, that her husband spent his days in the library to be near his beloved. Upon her husband's death less than a year after hers, Mary's antics at the library suddenly ceased. (Okay, so maybe you won't get chills with this one, but it's nice to read about a happy haunting, isn't it?)
10. Coulterville Cemetery
Tragedy struck McKeesport in the late 1800s. An orphanage and church, now the site of the Coulterville Cemetery, burned to the ground, killing many of the orphans. Visitors to the cemetery claim that those children still roam the area. Some have heard footsteps and children playing.
Venture out of your car, if you dare, after driving through the cemetery. Peek on the side of the car where you'll likely see the handprints of small children. As you drive away from the cemetery, take a look back. Do you see the glow, like others have before you, of the fire that burned out decades ago?
Would you dare visit any of these haunted places in Pittsburgh? Do you have any eerie stores of your own? Please share in the comments.