True stories can be hard to grasp when there are several different versions with pertinent facts of the same haunting tale. Sadly this is the case of the Litch family and their reportedly ghost-infested mansion that proudly still sits today in Brookville, Pennsylvania. This is the location where Thomas Litch and his family once resided during the mid 1800's. Today the mansion is home to many different ghosts, apparitions and spirits. This comes as no surprise when you delve into the history of the colorful Litch family, who have managed to leave a mark in Pittsburgh history that stands strong still today.
Thomas Kimball Litch, learned the machinist trade and soon climbed the ladder to the admirable position of senior member of T. K. Litch & Company of Pittsburgh. The firm manufactured steam engines used to power the steamboats that traveled from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. In 1848 Thomas married Rebecca M. Eaton and the couple soon had a family of four children; Thomas, Harry, Edward and Annie. Always a big dreamer Mr. Litch soon began looking for a solid life for his family in a more remote area.
Through his many business contacts Thomas had heard great things about the lumber business and through his travels had learned of Brookville, Pennsylvania. After extensively searching the area, he instantly fell in love with the thick wooded area abundant with pine trees and hints of possible future riches. It is believed that during this time Thomas found something indescribable within the haunted woods that would seal his destiny into becoming wealthy and prominent without little to no effort on his part.
Relocating to the quiet remote town of Brookville from the hectic city life he knew in Pittsburgh was a tedious task during the early 1800's, but Thomas had a desire to move to his new residence as quickly as possible and set up roots. The two hour trip north was a success and Thomas Litch quickly started building his soon to be profitable sawmill along with a private residence for his growing family and smaller summer home on top of the hill above Old Fort Creek.
The youngest of the Litch boys was nothing short of rebellious and he often found himself getting into more trouble then he or his father could handle. Edward enjoyed roaming through the woods in search of anything that would keep him entertained and it is rumored that he eventually found a permanent source of outside activities when he joined the indigenous group known by locals as the Iroquois.
Thomas was relentless in his search for his son and finally after a month long investigation he eventually located the wayward teen. However by all appearances the boy was merely a shell of his former self with a disheveled and agitated state that could only be described as wild-eyed and haggard. He spoke in a jibberish, similar to that of Native American slang, and it was always about the trees and spirits of the rocks. Edward moved into the summer home on the estate and was seldom heard from after the strange incident where he went missing for a month with tribal members.
Rumors began to circulate around the prosperous family, especially where the trees, Indians and his son were concerned. People often spoke of Thomas's sudden and unnatural relationship with the trees that produced the wood for his sawmill. It was believed that he had gathered the very secrets from the eerily creaking logs and that he may have called upon the "Evil Spook, Old Nick", to answer his prayer and to be shown the exact spot where the Devil's foot had once stepped, and where the sun's warmth or spring's green is forever known to touch the ground. Considering that Jefferson County, Pennsylvania is subject to freezing rain and brutal snowfall during the winter months, the notion is nothing short of ludicrous.
Speculation surrounding this occurrence is still alive today as is witnessed by the lack of snow that melts immediately when it hits the ground by the summer house despite the harshest of winters and the seasons demand that it should reasonably remain. It is believed by many that Thomas made a pact with the Devil when he conjured up a visit with Satan one frosty winter evening by performing tricks learned from the Native Americans that were somehow wrongly reenacted by Mr. Litch. An apparition of a man in period clothing is often caught on film at this exact spot and it is believed to be Edward Litch still roaming the grounds.
The stately mansion located not more then a quarter mile from the summer home was soon to follow in the footsteps of the smaller property housed on the estate. Reports of an older ghost man have been noted as walking through the walls at free will. Residents living in the mansion long after the original Litch family members had passed on have claimed to hear chilling and almost sadistic sounding voices calling from the woods. Dark shadowed spirits are constantly witnessed by passerby's as they jut from tree to tree and into the deepest depths of the property where no man dares to tread after dark. Many believe it is the Edward calling out to his father to stop the " magic tricks" that can only be described by some as sinister acts brought up to the surface from the pits of hell.
The Litch mansion has passed through many different owners and at one time was considered slightly run down. It has been brought back to its original glory days of striking beauty, but it is still reported to be haunted. The mansion is now privately owned, but can be viewed by taking a walking tour offered by the local Brookville Tourism Bureau. The mansion is located midway on Litch Street, just off of Highway 322/East Main Street in the Historic District of the city.
Tours: Brookville invites you to take a self-guided tour and revisit the restored Victorian homes and buildings built during the highly prosperous lumbering industry during the late 1800's. If the stunning architecture doesn't lure you in the history and friendly people surely will.
For more information go to: http://www.visitpago.com/travel-tools/counties/jefferson/brookville/
Halloween in Brookville: The Aislinn Astor Farms offers a unique and haunted corn maze. A pumpkin patch, games, food and a campfire are all part of the fall festivities. Location: 158 Greenawalt Road, Brookville, Pennsylvania 15825. For more information go to: http://www.themaize.com/sites
A Victorian Christmas in Brookville, Pennsylvania
This season favorite is held the first weekend in December every year. The Brookville Christmas celebration is something straight out of Christmas past and is described by the Pennsylvania Visitor's Bureau as having a Dickens-like atmosphere complete with ringing sleigh bells and singing carolers. The celebration features a nostalgic Victorian walking House Tour, Christmas Tree Lane, Living Windows on Main Street, a model train show, live Nativity, craft show, pancake breakfast, historic walking tour, buggy rides, and a children's shopping mart.
Andrea Prince would like to invite you to visit the historic old town of Jerome, Arizona and share in her informal and relaxed hospitality at the Surgeon's House Bed & Breakfast.