Located just across the Monongahela River from California, Pennsylvania, lies the small borough of Newell, with a population of just slightly above 500 residents if you don't include the ghosts. Newell sits nestled in Fayette County, in a remote area that is saturated by a deep, rich history that includes the Henwil Corporation, formerly known as the Nitrochem plant, and the CSX railroad Transportation system that still operates today. Up until the late 70s to early 80s, the town accommodated railroad workers with a hot meal at the historic Newell Hotel, which ultimately burned to the ground sometime during the late 80s. Today, the Newell Methodist Church stands where the hotel once welcomed tired railroad workers to rest up for the night after a long day of back-breaking work.
It is no secret that Newell has had it's share of ghost stories, including the infamous sharped dressed ghost that ran around town in a black tuxedo and high-top Nike tennis shoes, chasing the kids from one end of the town to the other. More serious ghost tales include the well known ghouly-baggers who would keep the town's children up half the night in fear that the cold, clammy and eerie creatures would carry them away if they didn't do their chores or mind their parents. Folklore, haunted buildings, and paranormal activity doesn't end with these highly-charged and dramatic energies, in fact a popular story involving the old school house that once stood on Cassin Avenue is today nothing more than an overgrown plot filled with weeds and the remaining remnants of a foundation that serves as reminder of days gone by.
The ghost story surrounding the haunted schoolhouse has gone back several generations with many different versions, but the biggest claim on the school's paranormal history is that the school janitor accidentally hung himself when attempting to escape a fire that damaged the institution, forcing it to permanently close down. On certain nights, the graven image of the old janitor can be seen walking on the grounds and along the hollow located behind the school. Screams from what appears to be coming from that of a suffering human are thought to be futile attempts of the janitor to relinquish his soul from his burning body that quickly became engulfed during his attempt to free himself from his ill-timed death.
One of the most fascinating legends in Newell is the Granato house, built in 1900; the haunted and historic home is located at the corner of 4th Street and Marchand Avenue, just across the street from the old railroad tracks and the town's Honor Roll. Once owned by the Novak family, the house changed ownership in the late 60s after the Granato family purchased the home. Not long after moving in, the patriarch of the family, Louis Granato felt that things were not quite right and immediately detected paranormal activity in the two-story home, even though supernatural activity was in it's infancy at that time.
Despite the lack of modern day information involving the paranormal, it quickly became obvious to Mr. and Mrs. Granato that a very dark and ominous secret lay hidden deep within the depths of the cellar, looming in the darkness, threatening to implode with each visit to the gloomy and menacing perimeter that lay underneath the ground floor. Frightening and over-powering shadows overcast the cellar with the hint of threat to anyone who dared to unearth it, making it a forceful entity that would not be easily understood.
When the large and domineering shadow became evident to family members who would periodically witness the unexplained creature, it would appear to be mimicking that of a large rabid feline raging war with the human race in a diabolic way that forced the family to to stay away from the threatening and evil space that posed many questions and few to no answers. Due to a fear of the unknown, the need to relocate the laundry-room from the cellar was obvious. Just above the entrance to the cellar-way, in the heart of the residence was a very open and large room that allowed for the children to have a play area as well as accommodate modern appliances that allowed for the family to interact and have a common space is still known today as the playroom.
The cellar was not an exclusive spot in the house where paranormal activity was concerned. While living in or visiting the home you always had the feeling that you were never alone. Unexplained noises, orbs and heavy footsteps descending the stairs when you least expected it became a normal part of the home's atmosphere and the center for supernatural occurrences.
The feeling of being watched was not a phenomenon that the family was used to prior to moving into the 4th Street Residence, but it was prevalent, even though the reason was never quite made clear. Several rumors surrounding the house surfaced from well-meaning neighbors, but the thought of dead bodies being buried in the cellar was the very thing that sent the imaginations of developing adolescent minds flying. The upper half of the Granato home became an even larger consideration where supernatural influences were concerned.
The cellar's dark and eerie shadow issue made the family second guess what was going on with their new residence and was nothing compared to what was about to rear it's ugly head. Demonic red eyes peering at the children in the still of the night, and a chimney packed full of black birds that erupted during an episode when the oldest daughter walked into the room. The one light at the end of this paranormal tunnel of horrors was a small blond ghost child that appeared during times of illness, sadness and uncertainty. Her presence was a safe haven and most assuring was the unspoken promise to the person witnessing her sweet, childlike spirit was that they were nothing less than safe.
Disembodied voices would call family members names, beckoning them to come see what the ghostly caller wanted, only to discover that nobody was calling them at all, at least no one that could be seen, but the voices, divest of human existence resembled those of family members, leading to ambivalent feelings of a distorted universe that was now the place that they called their home. Nightmares quickly became part of the Granato children's night time regiment, and at times scratches appeared on their extremities and were discovered in the morning hours when preparing for school. No rational explanation as to what was occurring could be found, and the dark shadows, unexplained activity and strange anomalies would continue on throughout the history of the occupants who continue to live there today.
The oldest Granato child had a love of art and would often display his passion on the walls of the upstairs bedroom with demonic illustrations. Futile attempts of removing the malevolent creatures proved to be a tedious chore of continuously painting the obstructed area to little or no avail. The demonic images were much stronger than anticipated and reared their ugly heads despite countless gallons of paint covering their distressing and hostile sub-terrestrial lifeforms.
What can only be explained as severely energetic poltergeist action would come to life at any given moment to in the kitchen and dining area with a flux of activity that included dishes flying through the air, strange odors, whispers, footsteps, and noises that could never be located despite their emanating from within the room. Horrifying images of transparent ghostly faces would show themselves through the large picture window of the home's living-room even though it stood approximately eight-feet from the ground outside, making it virtually impossible for a normal human to cause such an anomaly.
Today, a new generation of Granato family members reside in the home that never sleeps. The stories aren't as dark as they once were, but the paranormal activity continues on. Fresh paint and new memories have renovated the home's atmosphere, but the past is permanently etched into the minds of generations before and can never quite be ignored as those who lived through the testimonies can attest, some things just stay with you no matter how hard you attempt to put them in your rear-view mirror.
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It is no secret that Newell has had it's share of ghost stories, including the infamous sharped dressed ghost that ran around town in a black tuxedo and high-top Nike tennis shoes, chasing the kids from one end of the town to the other. One of the most fascinating legends in Newell is the Granato...
Nestled along the Monongahela River, just across from California, Pennsylvania, lies the small borough of Newell. The sleepy town has a population of