The Elmwood House – in York County, Pa.’s, Spring Garden Township – is shown in the 1800s, at its original site. It was moved to a new site, its current location, in 1905. Also of interest: ‘Ruh-row, Raggy’: Gettysburg ghost hunters find no trespassing signs and York County’s powwowwing past and Spooky old York incinerator now used as crematorium.
I wrote recently that the Elmwood Mansion has long been atop a short list of York County sites associated with apparitions – ghosts.
Those encounters span decades and various owners and occupants.
How does one explain such stories at Elmwood, all of which seem to involve memorable moments in which no harm was done?
I just fall back on what C.S. Lewis wrote in his foreword to “The Screwtape Letters,” a classic in which a senior devil mentors a failing apprentice:
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
All this goes to the excessive and exploitive popularity of ghost tours of historic sites that are heating up this time of year, particularly in Gettysburg.
So far, that business – and it is made for profit – has yet not gained a firm foothold at York County’s historic sites. Let’s hope that slope bearing such a fascination – that can hijack real, rich history – remains slippery.