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October 30, 2012

VIDEOS/PHOTOS The 13 scariest local haunts


The old Cambria County Jail (Ebensburg, Cambria County)

At this 19th century prison in the heart of Ebensburg, the cells and nooses have been empty since 1997. The city has tried to find a buyer for years despite its otherwordly reputation.

When the prison was still in use, a previous warden, hearing footsteps above him, looked up and saw a prisoner walking on the top-floor catwalk. A jail break alert went out as the guards tried to corner the escapee from multiple directions.

When they got to the third floor, the prisoner had seemingly vanished, although the only escape route was a deadly jump from the high catwalk.

Mishler Theatre (Altoona, Blair County)

In the early 1900s, The Mishler Theatre was a hot vaudeville destination. It was built by Isaac Mishler and consumed his life – and afterlife.

Even though Isaac passed on in 1944, actors have claimed to have seen him sitting in the audience during rehearsals and performances and smelled cigar smoke – one of Isaac’s pastimes.

“Some people had experiences, some didn’t,” said Scott Crownover, a former thespian at Mishler Theatre and a member of the Ghost Research Foundation. “It just depended on how much time you spent there.”

Rolling Mill Mine, Johns­town Inclined Plane Hiking Trail (Westmont, Cambria County)

The Rolling Mill Mine, situated off the Johnstown Inclined Plane Hiking Trail in Westmont, claimed 112 lives on July 10, 1902, when an accidental methane explosion shattered three-foot-thick concrete walls and released toxic fumes.

There have been several sightings by locals of ethereal figures wearing mining gear wandering the wooded trail behind The Inclined Plane during the day and night.

Elmhurst Mansion (Loretto, Cambria County)

The tale of Evelyn Nesbitt, a famous chorus girl and model, was immortalized in the 1955 film “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.” The love triangle between Nesbitt, famous New York architect Stanford White and coal empire heir Harry Thaw resulted in White’s murder atop Madison Square Garden in 1906 and the “Trial of the Century.”

When former Tribune-Democrat writer Nancy Coleman stayed in Elmhurst – Thaw’s family home – in the late ’70s, it was about 10 years after Nesbitt’s death.

“We scared ourselves silly,” said Coleman with a laugh.

Although she and three friends had decided to perform a seance in the middle of the night, eerie noises changed their minds.

“Like someone was tip-toeing down the hall,” she described.

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Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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