One of the more bizarre stories out of Bucks County comes from a site that is no longer available, but was at one point, the scene of a macabre murder in the 1830's.
Here's one article from the New York Times that talks about both the murder and the ghostly behavior that arose from it:
Badly Scared By A Ghost1
The Startling Experiences of Two Philadelphians
A Ghost Without Limbs Knocks One of Them Down and Leaves Through The Ceiling
Phaildelphia, Dec. 3 - There are two men inthis city who are willing to take oath that the building at Andalusia known as "Old Andalusia College" is haunted. One of these men is Horace W. Eshback, a member of the Philadelphia Bar, having an office at No. 508 Walnut Streeet, and the other is Frank Tygh, a cigar manuacturer, at Locust and Sixth streets. A short time ago these two gentleen passed the night with a friend, John Endoicott, in the old college, and since that time they have been startlignthieracquaintances with frightful stories of a ghost seen there. As proof of his statement, Mr. Eshback exhibits a bad-looking upper lip, which, he says, was swollen up by coming incontact with a bona fide ghost.
Old Andalusia College is a three-story wooden building, with a mansard roof, and is nearly 50 years old. It is situated at the juncton of two roads, about 10 minutes' walk from the Pennsylvania Railroad station. The structure presents a ghostly appearnce, and being entirely surrounded by tall cedar trees, is not a place where any citizen would wish to pass a dark night alone. It has been siad for many years that the house was haunted. When the college was in a flourishing condition under Dr. Chapman, 20 years ago, Mrs. Chapman and a young man named Mina became enamored of each other. Feeling that the doctor was an obstruction to the free enjoyment of their love, they accomplished his death by the aid of arsenic. In trying to obliterate traces of the crime some of the arsenic was thrown into the yard, where some ducks ate it and died. The death of the ducks in such a manner led to an investigation, resulting in the arrest of both Mrs. Chapman and young Mina. Mina was hanged but Mrs. Chapman escaped the law.
Since that time the house has had the reputation of being haunted. Persons in that neighborhood say they saw lights in the house for years, and few of them would pass it after dark. After the murder the college proved a failure, and no one could be found willing to occupy the building. The owner of the premises had a portion of the building town down, and the remainder fitted up as a boarding house, but the unsavory reports concerning it prevented him from getting a tenant. Mr. Endicott finally offered to occupy the place and has been living there for some months.
Horace W. Eshback said today: "A friend of mine - John F. Endicott - resides in the old Andalusia College , and the other day he invited me over to pay him a visit. Of course I acepted the invitation, taking with me Frank Togh (sic). The weather was none of the best in the morning and by afternoon a wind and rainstorm arose which lasted until early the next morning. We had intended to return to the city on one of the late afternoon trains, but as the storm raged on without promise of early abatement we decided to remain over.
"It must have been near midnight when we went to bed. We were shown to the spare room . The apartment was very large, with three deep windows, two doors and a fireplace. The old college has about 20 rooms, the larger number of which are unoccupied, and Tygh, who was a short, fleshy man and much given to the subject of spooks, shuddered as we walked down the hall and muttered something about it being an elegant night for ghosts to play football. We entered the room and Tygh thought soemone was yelling, buthe grew more composed when I told him it was only the wind. The wind was really howling as if the very imps of iniquity were frenzied inthe delight of a free night. With the wind whistling through the tall cedar trees, it was almost impossible to sleep; anyhow, I coudl not ompose myself to sleep, and laid listening to the noises outside, and to the snoring of my roommate.
"Suddenly a light spread through the room, a light like that produced by a candle. In the surprise, or rather astonishment of the moment, I turned and sat up in the bed. I tell you that what I saw made me feel sick and wish I were almost anywhere else. Before me was what appeared to be the bust of a man perhaps 45 years old, the shoulders coveered with a mantle. The face had a perfectly natural appearance, only it lacked mobility, and the whole seemed to be resting on a cloud of snow. The terrible apparition was moving about the room, and I thought it might be a robber, but I noticed that there were no lower limbs and it glided around like a balloon.
"Now, I am not a believer in spirits, but I was frightened. 'What do you want?' I asked, hardly aware of what I was saying. The sound of my voice awakened Tygh. He sat bolt upright in bed, gave one glance, and tumbled over on teh floor and begna to pray. Tygh is not a religious man. The answer I received from the ghost was something unlooked for, being in the form of a severe blow in the mouth, cutting my lips badly and stretching me at full length on the bed. Almost simultaneously with theblow the figure noiselessly exploded and seemed to go straight up through the wall.
"The light did not go out for some time, but gradually died away, leaving us in the darkness. I jumped up and lighted a lamp and found Tygh doubled up in a heap on the floor, almost insensible. I looked around the room and found the windows closed, the doors locked, and everything in the condition it was when we retired. I will admit that I was frightened, and the quickness with which I dressed myself and hustled Tygh down stairs was something wonderful. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that we spent the remainder of thenight before a glowing fire in the sitting room.
"When Endicott saw me in the morning, he laughed and wanted to know where I got my thick lips. I did not care to tell him the truth, so I replied that had had struck it on the bedpost in getting into bed. Now, as I said before, I do not believe in ghosts or anything of the sort, but I'm going to investigate that matter and capture whatever it is - that is, provided it is anything human.
Mr. Tygh solemnly swears that he saw the whole business and relates a story exactly similar to that of Mr. Eshback. He says he knows there is a ghost in the old building and money could not hire him to pass another night there.
Some years later, another story emerged:
Andalusia' Ghost Is Now At Rest2
The Grime Crime of Fifty Years Ago Recalled
The Chapman Mansion Mystery
Don Lino Mino Destroys A Peaceful Schoolmaster's Home and Adds Murder, for Which He Suffers the Extreme Penalty - A Romantic Story
Back westward from Andalusia Station, where the Byberry road crosses the river thoroughfare, a little north of th toll gate, lis the ruins of a once stately mansion. Maid a grove of drooping fir trees, whose dark boughs sough and sob in the summer breeze, with a disantled fountain basin at the head of a broad carriage road, now overgreen with weeds, are unshapely piles of brick and mortar, rotting joists and weather-worn boards. It is all that remains of the famous Chapman mansion, and if the sobbing firs, the rotting boards and the crumbling bricks could speak, they would tell a story of love and passion, hate and deadly murder, and of the gruesome aftermath of awful crime, that even to this day is talked away in awesome whispers by the descendants of those who lived contemporaneous with the drama out of which it all grew.
Old Samuel Johnson , who lives a hundred yards below the ruined mansion, tells vividly the story, despite his 85 years, and his wife, only three years his junior, collaborates all that he says. For years the old mansion was a select seminary for boys, but there were dark tales told about the place even then, and Doctor De Vositr, who was a teacher there when the seminary was presided over by Professor Thomas Wells, fifteen years ago, says that some invisible hand pulled the clothes from his bed, and that the boy pupils complained of similar supernatural carryings on. Finally Professor Wells retired from the seminary and Professor Adam H. Fetterolf, now of Girard College, took charge of the institution, running it from 1876 to 1886. During the decade he was president of the seminary, all supernatural manifestations seemed to have ceased, for his life and those of his boy pupils were spent very peacefully and quietly.
After he vacated the seminary, Doctor Charles King purchased the place and rented it for a while to Harvey Stoles, who left about three years ago, since which time the old mansion has been vacant. Dr. King could neither rent it, not sell it, and the country people passed by the grove with bated breath andquickened pulse, particularly at night. Weird tales were whispered about the country firesides of awful apparitions flitting about the place, and strange sounds that were heard there at the witching hour of midnight, of uncanny lights that flashed from deserted windows, and ghostly forms whose shadows were reflected behind them.
In the aftermath of the trial, Mrs. Chapman left the area and is rumored to have died years lataer in Florida, probably under an assumed name, but details of her earlier life still emerged to tantalize readers. Apparently, Lucretia was the daughter of Zenas Winslow of Massachusetts, but depsite the distinguished family name, she and several of her brothers were notorious counterfeiters. In his work, Hereditary Descent, O. S. Fowler tells us:
The Barre Massachusetts Patriot says that a box containing one hundred and twenty five dollars in counterfeit bills was discovered in the cellar wall of Thomas Winslow of that town who was ordered to find bail in the sum of one thousand dollars. He has for many years been suspected of dealing in counterfeit money and has been once or twice arrested for the offense but escaped for want of sufficient evidence. The family with which he is connected is not a little notorious in the annals of crime. His brother Mark Winslow was a noted counterfeiter and probably the most ingenious one known in the state. About twelve years ago he was sentenced to the state prison for life and on the eve of removal committed suicide by cutting his throat. Edward another brother was also a counterfeiter and for that and other offenses has been an inmate of the state prison and of nearly half the jails of the state. Lucretia a sister was connected with the same gang and signed the bills. She was wonderfully expert with the pen and skillful in imitating signatures. She married a man by the name of Chapman who was murdered in Pennsylvania some years since. She then lived as the wife of a noted impostor Mina and they were both arrested and tried for the murder. Mina was hung but she was acquitted although not without very strong evidence of having prompted or connived at the death of Chapman. She subsequently wandered through the South connected with a strolling theatrical company and died a few years since One of her children is now in Barre She was a woman of great talent if it had been honestly applied and of singularly winning manners. Another sister of the Winslows married Robert Green and still another married Jesse II Jones and both Green and Jones were connected with the gang of counterfeiters that used to infest that area. We have been told by good authority that at the time of her arrest for poisoning her husband Mrs Chapman was under the surveillance of the police and would soon have been arrested for her connection with this gang of counterfeiters and forgers.
An altogether charming family! The story of the long-gone Andalusia is fascinating and much more can be learned about it in Linda Wolfe's book3 about the murder case.