Things That Go Bump In the Night
It’s Halloween, so we want to know what creeps you out the most. Does a spooky old cemetery send chills up your spine? Do zombies send you running for cover?
For me, it’s horror movies—specifically Halloween and that demented soul Michael Myers. It only takes a few notes from the movie’s soundtrack to make my skin crawl. I can’t seem to shake this demon because my daughter continues to Photoshop him into photos of me in my travels. To date, I’ve had cocktails with Michael in Quebec City and he accompanied me on a Segway tour of Hershey, PA.
Until recently I didn’t think Vanessa could be creeped out by anything. She LOVES roaming through cemeteries and staying in “haunted” hotels. Turns out, it depends on who is doing the haunting.
We had just checked into Kane Manor Bed & Breakfast in Kane, PA, a lovely turn-of-the-century mansion where I had been in my room less than three minutes when Vanessa urgently pounded on my door.
Vanessa: Come see my room…right now!
Terri: What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?
Vanessa: Just come with me, NOW!
I hesitantly followed her two doors down to see what all the fuss was about. Vanessa opened the door to what looked like an absolutely lovely room—one that was considerably prettier than mine! But there was a second door.
Vanessa: Open it.
I obliged and found a second room with two twin beds, strangely angled away from the wall. At its center was a hearth with a cradle sitting in the fireplace. In that cradle was an antique teddy bear.
Terri: Well, this is cute…sort of.
Vanessa: You’re kidding, right? This is weird. Not cute weird. Creepy weird. Take the teddy bear with you.
Terri: Why would I do that?
Vanessa: I can’t sleep in a room with THAT on the other side of the door.
Terri: Are you insane?
Turns out, Vanessa read a comic book when she was younger where a possessed teddy bear killed everyone who stayed in its home by throwing them off of a cliff. She never recovered. After questioning her parent’s wisdom of childhood reading choices, I started to laugh.
Terri: You’re afraid of teddy bears?
Vanessa: Not any teddy bear. THAT teddy bear. In THAT room.
Terri: You are seriously damaged.
I tried to be understanding and sympathetic, (okay, not really), but then I noticed that the dresser was angled in front of a door, with a chain lock, that led to the hallway. I could actually picture someone pushing up the chain with a wrinkled hand…and a chill ran up my spine.
Terri: That’s odd. Why would they position furniture in front of the door?
Vanessa: I DON’T KNOW! And why are the twin beds angled? Maybe something moves them in the middle of the night! And WHAT ABOUT THE BEAR?
Clearly we weren’t getting anywhere with this conversation, so I decided to take another approach. I suggested that she put a piece of furniture in front of the door from her bedroom just in case the teddy bear came to life during the night. After calling me a few unmentionable names, she closed off the room. Then I looked in the bathroom.
Terri: What the hell?
Inside there was a lovely bathtub and a door that opened to the hallway. But, to be sure that no one actually came in that door, it was secured. With a cloth bow.
Vanessa: Well, if that doesn’t make me feel safe...
Terri: It’s not like anyone—or anything—will probably try to get in.
(Boy, if looks could kill.)
Terri: I’m sure everything will be fine.
Vanessa: And I’m sure you’re going to share your room with me tonight.
We decided to go to dinner and stopped on the way out to ask the inn’s owner if it was haunted.
Seemingly Normal Owner: No, I don’t think so. But you know how people love to tell ghost stories.
Terri: It’s part of the charm, right?
Owner: Absolutely! But, if any room is haunted, it’s the yellow room—the one between your two rooms. I’ve heard stories.
Vanessa: Well, isn’t that fantastic.
We set off to the Westline Inn, a restaurant that had been recommended to us by locals, but it was difficult not to think about the demented teddy bear…and Michael Myers, considering that we were driving on a three-mile road that led through the darkest woods imaginable where cell phone service was nonexistent. Two women alone on a dark desolate road, what could go wrong? Right?
Fortunately, the restaurant was warm and welcoming and served delicious food and wine. Fortified and somewhat relaxed, we returned to Kane Manor. And that’s when I saw it.
Terri: Vanessa, do you see that doll in the living room?
Vanessa: Oh my God, why is she standing in the corner—facing the wall?
Terri: I think she’s being punished. And look at that portrait.
Vanessa: More children. In trouble. For breaking a vase.
Terri: And your room is connected to the kid’s room. I bet they’re still upset.
Vanessa: Not as upset as I’m going to be if you say One. More. Word.
Then I saw the clown in the curio cabinet. Oh boy.
Karma paid me a visit that night. At 1 a.m., I heard voices outside my room. At 2:30 a.m., I heard footsteps. At 4 a.m., I heard a door open and close. The noises went on and on. I could only imagine how Vanessa was doing.
I texted her the next morning.
Terri: Did you sleep okay?
Vanessa: Like a baby!
Terri: You didn’t hear the people in the hallway? Or the footsteps? Or the door opening and closing all night?
Vanessa: Nope. Not a thing.
Terri: Well, that’s just great. Turns out that the ghosts of children are just as scared of you as real children. How’s the teddy bear?
Vanessa: We’re done talking.
I swear if I could have found a way to get into Vanessa’s room that night, I totally would have moved that teddy bear. And unless she had a heart attack, I wouldn’t have regretted it at all.
If You Go
Kane, Pennsylvania is located along Route 6 and was one of our favorite spots during our weeklong road trip. Its charming downtown features a restored 1873 railroad depot that is now home to ArtWorks at the Depot, an artist-run cooperative inspired by the community’s cultural heritage. The depot is also home to the McCleery Discovery Center, which focuses on E. H. McCleery’s actions to save the Lobo wolves, some of which he moved to Kane, PA to stop the U.S. government from entirely eradicating them from the Great Plains. The depot has seasonal hours from Memorial Day through December. You can visit on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. www.artworksatthedepot.org
While in town, be sure to partake of a better kind of spirits—those of the liquid variety—with a visit to CJ’s Spirits. Childhood friends Sam Cummings, Jr. and Tom Jones (yes, that’s his real name) serve up their own handcrafted, award-winning spirits, including Grave Yard Sam’s Whiskey. Oh, yeah, and Sam is also the local funeral director. www.cjspirits.com
While I might not have gotten much sleep at Kane Manor, (maybe it’s my overactive imagination?) it is truly a lovely bed-and-breakfast. The 1896 Georgian Colonial Revival-style mansion was originally built for Dr. Elizabeth Kane, the widow of Civil War General Thomas L. Kane, and she raised her four children in the house, which she called Anoatok. Their influence remains throughout the manor…and apparently, so does their teddy bear.
Situated at the edge of town on top of the Allegheny Plateau, the inn has access to 250 acres of property and 4.5 miles of hiking trails. Surrounded by the Allegheny National Forest, there are plenty of activities nearby to keep you entertained in any season including swimming, mountain biking, fly fishing and horseback riding.
230 Clay Street
Kane, PA 16735