Ghost Stories: The General Wayne Inn



The building that housed the General Wayne Inn has stood for centuries, and the stories of hauntings, sightings, and eerie happenings are plentiful and compelling.

The building was erected in Merion, PA, in the early 18th Century, and opened as the Wayside Inn in 1704. In 1793 or 1795, depending on the source, it was re-named the General Wayne Inn, in favor of a local Revolutionary War hero, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, who was
The General Wayne Inn
rumored to have engaged in a several-days-long celebration at the inn following a rather significant military victory. The building remained in operation as an inn and restaurant into the 1990s, and is still in use, but more on that later. The Inn's clientele included the likes of Gen. George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Edgar Allan Poe, who was said to have composed portions of The Raven while seated in the dining room. There is no mention, however, whether or not he partook of Washington and Lafayette favorites, Squirrel Ragout and Pigeon Stew.

In 1970, Barton Johnson became proprietor of the Inn, and perhaps with a hint of business promotion in mind, a legend was born, as unusual stories of the Inn began circulating, many after the holding of a 1972 seance conducted by some well-known psychics. Psychic Jean Quinn reportedly spoke to as many as 17 different ghostly entities on a Monday night at the Inn, and their discussions revealed that two
young woman who had been employed there had inhabited the Inn for over a hundred years, and were unable to spend eternity at peace as they were fearful of being accused of stealing valuable Persian rugs from a traveling salesman who mysteriously disappeared.

While the two women, Sara and Sadie, failed to describe their own deaths, numerous Hessians revealed their war exploits, and that they had met their deaths in the Revolutionary War. One particularly restless spirit, Wilhelm, described
General Wayne Inn
meeting his demise in battle while, unfortunately, wearing a pristine uniform, which was ripped from his dead corpse by his commanding officer for use by another living soldier. Wilhelm was thus destined to walk the General Wayne halls for eternity, seeking a new uniform and a respectful burial.

Don't for a minute assume that stories of the Inn's curious events derive primarily from the words of psychics; "normal" (?) people have related other-worldly tales as well. Guests and employees of the Inn have described how folded towels and stored appliances have been found the next day strewn about the kitchen floor and how tape recorders left on over night have recorded sounds of moving barstools and
General Wayne Inn
running water. A porter once reported to Mr. Johnson that he left work and returned home after a fellow who resembled someone depicted in an ancient picture on the wall "walked right through" him. A maitre d' finally refused to go downstairs after having one too many encounters with basement-inhabiting ghosts, and a hostess reported several sightings of soldiers sitting about the Inn. Mr. Johnson has described the day he entered the Inn only to find the cash register full of water. No leak was found, but there were nearby carafes of water.
The Inn passed from one owner to another after Johnson, and it fell into disrepair in the
1990s. In 1996, Jim Webb and Guy Sileo purchased the Inn with the idea of restoring it to its former glory. Fittingly, one fine December day Sileo was found murdered in the Inn, and Webb was arrested for the crime. Webb's mistress, the Inn's chef Felicia Moyse, provided an alibi for him, but soon after, she committed suicide, and Webb was ultimately convicted of the killing. There is no report he ever accused any ghost of the murder.

The Inn passed from one owner to another after Johnson, and it fell into disrepair in the 1990s. In 1996, Jim Webb and Guy Sileo purchased the Inn with the idea of restoring it to its former glory. Fittingly, one fine December day Sileo was found murdered in the Inn, and Webb was arrested for the crime. Webb's mistress, the Inn's chef Felicia Moyse, provided an alibi for him, but soon after, she committed suicide, and Webb was ultimately convicted of the killing. There is no report he ever accused any ghost of the murder.

In 2004, the Inn was purchased by a new concern, totally restored with a new facade over the ancient structure, and is now in daily use as the Merion, PA. Chabad Center for Jewish Life.

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