The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 30, 2012

VIDEOS/PHOTOS The 13 scariest local haunts


Eliza Furnace (Indiana County, near Vintondale)

This 19th century iron furnace sits along the Ghost Town Trail in Vintondale and will be forever tied to its co-owner, David Ritter. It is said Ritter hung himself in the furnace. Why he did is a point of contention – his business collapsed, his wife ran off with another man, his son fell into the blazing oven or an unfortunate combination of all three.

If you pass by Eliza Furnace at just the right time, you might see feet lightly swinging back and forth as they hang from its chimney.

Grandview Cemetery (Southmont, Cambria County)

The Unknown Plot at Grandview Cemetery is the final resting place for 777 unidentified victims recovered from the wreckage of the Great Flood of 1889.

Or is it?

In 2003, local ghost hunter Nancy Coplin took an investigative tour of Johnstown haunts, convinced that the city’s affinity for the supernatural was related to the thousands of sudden and tragic flood deaths the city has endured. Among her findings were a photo depicting a floating orb in motion and an audio recording of a girl’s voice that pleads, “Please save me.”

The Belsano Train Robbery (Belsano, Cambria County)

In October 1924, a Cambria & Indiana Railroad train was carrying a safe with a more than $30,000 payroll for the Ebensburg Coal Co. employees.

When the conductor stopped for a passenger just outside Belsano, the train was boarded by two bandits: Michelo Bassi and Anthony Pezzi. They killed the guards and made off with the safe in a getaway car, only to be picked up in Terre Haute, Ind., carrying weapons and only $6,000.

The two were sentenced to death but the rest of the money was never recovered. It may be wishful thinking, but local treasure hunters might like to believe a $25,000 payday is still in the ground somewhere near Belsano.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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