The Rising Sun Inn
As you drive north past the little town of Lansdale on picturesque Allentown road, after passing the sketchy bars and family entertainment parlors of Souderton you make it into some truly radiant Pennsylvania countryside. Wafting on downhill, you approach a slight curve in the road at which point you notice a big red barn on your left and right next to it, a sprawling yellow house. This is the Rising Sun Inn.
The Rising Sun Inn is a local establishment well-known for being a purveyor of some of the area’s finest foods and drinks. It is located in gorgeous Franconia township, nestled in a pretty little valley surrounded by pastureland. The East branch of the Perkiomen creek flows a few hundred feet away to the north. On a balmy summer evening it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to find yourself relaxing on its outdoor deck sipping an adult beverage, listening to the distant hum of traffic on the north-east extension and enjoying a great view of the HOLY FUCK is that a bison?
Yes, you’d be staring at a bison casually sauntering around on the premises of the inn. Not only that, when you enter the main building of the inn you’d be accosted by a giant stuffed bison in the lobby, a bison head mounted on the family dining wall and a bison scalp with horns covering most of the bar area.
The menu features, among other things, bison. You, my friend, are in bison ground zero.
In addition to domesticated and wall-to-wall decorative bisonry the Rising Sun Inn also features a rich history. It was built in 1739 by one Peter Gerhart and was known as Gerhart’s tavern for a hundred years. During this time it served as an overnight stop for travelers on the Philadelphia-Allentown stagecoach route. At the start of the American revolution when the British were approaching Philadelphia, the patriots in the city of brotherly love moved their beloved Liberty bell from Philadelphia to Allentown in order to prevent the British from capturing it and melting it to make pretty little teacups or some such stupid British shit. Legend has it that the Rising Sun Inn played an overnight host to the Liberty bell and its tired transporters.
But wait, there’s more….
The inn was also a stop on the underground railroad with tunnels carved out in the basement that housed southern runaways on their way to Canada where they could then try to tunnel their way to China in order to escape the cold and the gentle tolerant Canadians.
During the Prohibition, the inn housed a large tank of illicit hooch inside a false ceiling in order to fulfil its moral obligation of maintaining the locals in a state of pleasant and necessary inebriation.
More recently, on a snowy morning in March 2014, James Lysoby, 36, of Harleysville was driving northbound in a 2010 Dodge Caliber when he failed to negotiate a right hand turn in the roadway, spun clockwise, slid across the southbound lane and struck the barn of the Rising Sun Inn, destroying its awning.
Like I said, the Rising Sun Inn is steeped in history from head to toe.
It was Friday night. I was draped over the bar of the Rising Sun Inn nursing a house cocktail, the appropriately named Rising Sun (champagne, pomegranate liquor, orange liquor, orange juice). I was wearing a dark jacket, a dark pork pie hat and a dark complexion I had inherited from my father. However I was there not to sample the bison nor stare awkwardly at the pretty bartender. This was a special visit. I was there in an unofficial capacity of paranormal investigator.
I forgot to mention. The Rising Sun Inn is one of the most haunted places in Pennsylvania.
Over the years the Rising Sun inn has witnessed considerable paranormal activity. HauntedPlaces.org rates the inn at a respectable 70% level not including the guy who mistakenly posted a yelp review in their comments. Patrons of the inn claim to have witnessed apparitions, footsteps, noises, voices and unexplained rearrangement of furniture. Most of these sightings have occurred on the second floor of the establishment and been attributed to one particular lady, a former innkeeper killed on the premises who posthumously goes by the name of Scary Mary. A few years ago, the City Lights Paranormal Society, a local investigative outfit, spent a night in the inn and managed to not only record several EVP (electronic voice phenomena) but also a video of a ghostly figure flitting across the room.
I was there to verify and either confirm or refute their findings.
The inn was busy and completely occupied. I quickly realized that the investigations would have to be postponed until the crowd thinned out. So I ordered another drink and waited. I noticed that the guy sitting next to me on my left was pencil-sketching a drawing onto a paper napkin. He was staring intently into a dark corner of the inn that was just outside of my field of vision and sketching with quite a bit of finesse what seemed to be some kind of monstrous figure with horns, scales and fangs.
I was startled but the bartender seemed to be addressing the artistic gentleman.
“What are you sketching?”, said the bartender trying to crane her neck and check out the drawing.
“Just….something, I don’t know”, said the guy and giggled nervously.
“It’s pretty cool”, said the bartender.
The guy nodded at her and returned to his drawing.
The bar finally seemed to be a bit less crowded. But I wasn’t sure if the upstairs dining room was unoccupied. For that is where I wished to conduct my investigations.
I looked to my left. The artistic gentleman had disappeared, leaving his demonic creation still lying on the bar. The bartender came over, picked it up and made off with it.
I got up and walked to the lobby where I knew was the staircase to the upper dining area. I had no plan other than to somehow make my way upstairs and then do what who the fuck knew.
The hostess was chatting with a few guests whom she was showing out. Grabbing the opportunity I sidled up to the stairs and quickly scrambled up to the second floor.
The second floor was completely dark. I was standing in the upstairs dining room that had been the site of all the legendary Scary Mary sightings. The lights were all turned off and the only illumination was from the candles flickering in each window. The room contained nothing but dining tables and chairs. My heart began to thump really hard and fast.
I stood there staring around at the room trying to see if I could spot anything out of the ordinary. Nothing.
I decided to try and make contact.
“Mary”, I whispered.
Silence. Nothing moved or whispered back.
“Scary Mary”, I whispered, in case she preferred people using her full name.
Still nothing. The candles continued to flicker but there was no other activity.
Suddenly I noticed one particular table. It looked almost as if something was emerging from underneath it. The tablecloth was kind of bulging out and flared.
I truly don’t know why or how I managed to display the courage to do this but I walked over to the table, bent down and checked it out.
It was just the tablecloth. I pushed it down so it wouldn’t look like a jerk and scare the shit out of people.
Suddenly I heard footsteps. Someone was coming upstairs. Panicking, I noticed the restroom and ran inside, turning on the lights.
Whoever it was, walked past the restroom and into the room next to it. I quietly walked out and tip-toed back to the staircase, floorboards creaking underneath me. Just as the guy was emerging back out of the room I fled downstairs.
And just as I reached the bottom of the stairs, I realized something.
I was Scary Mary.
I was the one responsible for whispers and noises in an empty upstairs dining room.
I had inexplicably moved a table cloth.
I had creaked the floorboards of a supposedly empty room.
I had even magically left the lights on in a restroom.
I was Scary Mary. I and every other jobless idiot in the world who had nothing else to do on friday night but trespass on haunted property.
Alright Mary I think we’re done here, I said to myself. I paid my check and went home to a well-deserved night of rest.
Actual video footage from the second floor dining room of the Rising Sun Inn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ9RIKPlboM
Website of the Rising Sun Inn: http://www.risingsuninn.net/