You know it’s fall when the days grow shorter; the air, more crisp, and leaves crunch beneath your feet when you step outside in flannel and boots.
While there are plenty of things to do in the area, they be family fun or spooky in nature, a local author said Greene County itself is a haunted attraction.
“My co-author (Rosemary Guiley) referred to it as the most haunted county in America,” said Kevin Paul, a Greene native who literally wrote the book on the area’s paranormal activities.
Paul, co-author of “Haunted Hills and Hollows: What Lurks in Greene County,” put together a self-guided tour of the area’s spookiest spots, most of which are public and accessible at no charge. If you dare, print out the tour online at https://visitgreene.org/tours/tour-paranormal/ and check as many sites off the list as your heart can take.
One ghost you may encounter on the self-guided tour is Catharine, the wife of Joseph Caldwell, a farmer who lived in Aleppo. On Dec. 29, 1898, Caldwell and his wife finished lunch and went to the barn to build a calf stall.
“When they got in the barn, he basically beat her brains out, left and went right over the state line into Marshall County, West Virginia,” said Paul.
There, Caldwell lay on the railroad tracks, and was beheaded by an oncoming train.
“There was a ghost seen in the area that was believed to have been Catharine,” Paul said. “I heard this story from a guy who had witnessed (the ghost) when he was a child. I was never really sure about the story.”
But one day, while visiting the Genealogical Society, Paul came across newspaper reports of the murder-suicide.
“That was a pretty interesting story,” he said.
Ghosts have also been sighted at the Hartley Inn in Carmichaels and around Phillips Cemetery in Wayne Township – both stops along the self-guided tour.
For less haunting, but just as eerie, thrills, visit some of the tour stops where Bigfoot reports have surfaced, including Mon View Park in Monongahela. Other strange creatures have been reported from nearly every corner of Greene County.
But the definite must-see on Paul’s self-guided tour?
“I would gravitate toward the western end of the county,” he said. “There’s been some activity reported around Ryerson, and some activity on the Warrior Trail. The Muddy Creek Watershed, there’s a lot of stuff there. Lights in the sky. Balls of light that approach people.”
Self-guided spooky scares not your thing? Nothing feels more fall than a festival, like the annual Fall Craft & Vendor Show Oct. 1 in the Jefferson-Morgan High School gymnasium. Admission is free.
Shop local vendors, try your luck at the basket raffle, and don’t miss the chicken roast.
For more seasonal fun, head down to the Greene County Historical Society Oct. 8 and 9 for the 51st annual Harvest Festival. Along with fall activities, live music, demonstrations and lots of good eats, folks are encouraged to take self-guided tours of the museum, its grounds and the W&W Railroad.
The bravest attendees can step into the dungeon for tarot reading and paranormal equipment demos.
Allen’s Haunted Hayride in Perryopolis has opened its 43rd season, themed Tavern of Terror, every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29, with a few, select Thursdays. For more information, visit www.allenshayrides.com or call 724-677-2589.
A new local attraction comes courtesy of Duda’s Farm in Brownsville, which has added a haunted corn maze to their yearly pumpkin picking. Co-owner Mark Duda believes the 4-acre maze is one of the biggest in southwestern Pennsylvania with different lighting, special effects and actors throughout.
The haunted cornfield will be open every Friday and Saturday through the end of October. For updates and additional information, visit the Duda’s Farm Haunted Corn Maze page on Facebook.
Two popular haunted attractions — Rich’s Fright Farm in Smithfield and Haunted Hills Estate Scream Park in Uniontown — are also running through October. Visit www.frightfarm.com for more information on Rich’s, and www.hauntedhillsestate.com for more information on the scream park.
Other attractions across the region include:
Trax Farms in Finleyville is holding its annual Fall Fest through Oct. 23. Hayride reservations are recommended, with a limited number of day-of tickets sold. Along with the tractor ride, pumpkin patch and corn maze, visitors can enjoy live music and food from local food trucks. Trax is hosting Friday hayrides through Halloween weekend. Reservations are required, and include a scenic, 20-minute hayride, three-acre corn maze, petting zoo and picnic games.
The Spring House in Washington invites you to hop aboard a tractor ride to the farm’s pumpkin patch and corn mazes every Saturday and Sunday. Visitors are also invited to pick a pumpkin, speed down the haybale tower tube slides and enjoy old-fashioned games.
Fall activities run from 11 am to 4:30 pm weekend days and come to a close Sunday, Oct. 30. For more information, visit https://springhousemarket.com/.
Triple B Farms in Monongahela offers pick-your-own apples, pumpkins and flowers between 10 am and 5 pm every Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 31.
Last year, Tim and Chris Jackson transformed their Allentown family property into Howling Hills, featuring an eight-acre corn maze cut by Tim himself. Howling Hills has grown to include family-friendly activities like haunted paint ball, duck races and pumpkin picking. The fun runs weekends through Oct. 31. Flashlight corn mazes run 7:30 to 10:30 pm every weekend in October, weather permitting.
Haunted attractions like Castle Blood in Monessen and Pittsburgh Zombie Assault in McDonald are must-visits for the bravest of readers.
And, one never can tell if the shivers running down one’s spine are caused by a brisk breeze or passing ghost, but at Demon House in Monongahela, it’s definitely the latter.
“The Travel Channel was here for a week (in 2018) shooting Portals to Hell,” said Demon House owner Chris Prit. “We are not a portal to hell, thank God, but they consider it to be a haunted haunted house.”
Guests to Demon House purchase tickets and then mill about the grounds, chatting around bonfires, enjoying concessions or watching a scary movie at the outdoor theater. A loud bell grabs folks attention, and when your group is announced, into Demon House you go.
“It’s a more personalized experience,” Prit said. “You rarely… run into another group.”
Demon House is actor-driven, boasting only three animatronics in the huge space.
“It’s more of a psychological type of show. We really try to mess with your mind more than anything by changing your sense of sight, your sense of sound, your sense of touch,” Prit said.
“Wear closed toe shoes. We get people breaking flip-flops left and right from running,” Prit laughed.