Ghost Stories

I remember reading an article as a kid in a Pennsylvania history magazine, with illustrations, about a ghost story surrounding a local church near Penns Cave, PA. Although it's officially called Bethesda Evangelical Church, we've always known it colloquially as "Swamp Church." It's literally in a swamp - the grass surrounding it is marshy and soft.

The story is about a young Civil War widow who had been a member of the congregation, who lost her husband in the Battle of Chancellorsville. She gave birth to a child, but since her husband's body lay in Chancellorsville and not locally, the locals assumed she had an illegitimate child and shunned her. Another version of the story says her husband's body was returned locally, and her ghost with the baby walks up and down the lane between Swamp Church and Union Cemetery, desperately trying to find him. It's all a little mixed up, but it's still a nice, juicy ghost story. And the valley there IS a little eerie. It's nestled between two mountains and many rolling hills, and the wind loudly whistles. I imagine it must be a sight in early fog. The place is surrounded by swamp grass, teasel, and scraggly brush, which I always thought looked somewhat out of place for the area.

I texted my friend Anna, with whom I've been doing a collaboration, and told her about the place and the story behind it. She was enthusiastic to shoot there, so today we loaded up the car and headed out. The sun and clouds were very dramatic and beautiful and it happened to be perfect for wind. I have to admit, at some points it got a bit creepy, when the only thing you could hear was the squeak of a fence sign as the wind rushed down the lane. I could see why the story came about. 

I shot the following series in the spirit of the ghost story of the place. I didn't want to do something disrespectful; I sincerely love this spot in the Valley and the story as well, but I wanted to illustrate the story through pictures.