Sue Bowers, president of the Monongahela Area Historical Society, with one of many strange artifacts in the group's museum in Monongahela, Pa. Photo: Observer-Reporter
By Scott Beveridge
MONONGAHELA, Pa. – Sue Bowers believes in ghosts and she’s convinced at least one is haunting the shelves of the historical society museum she runs in an old Monongahela River town.
She’s not the only member of the Monongahela Area Historical Society who is creeped out by the things in the group’s collection of local treasures.
“Some members are afraid to be here alone,” said Bowers, a retired elementary schoolteacher and president of the society in Monongahela, Pa.
Maybe it’s the human skull sitting on a shelf near the front door to the museum that gives people the chills. No one knows how the society came by that artifact, or to whom it once belonged, Bowers said.
Maybe it's simply the age of this city that gives it so many strange beliefs. Monongahela, which traces its roots to a ferry crossing on the Monongahela River in the late 1700s, is among the oldest settlements in the Mon Valley.
“A lot of these places are old, and they come with baggage,” Bowers said.
She still can’t believe what she unexpectedly found sitting out of place not too long ago in the museum at 230 W. Main St.
A spooky, century-old photograph of a woman in her 30s had been pulled out of storage and placed beside a black funeral card for Sadie Patterson, who died in 1892 at 35. Bowers said she had never before seen the photograph or card, and that none of the society’s members admitted to having ever come into contact with them, either.
Bowers doesn’t even know if the woman in the photograph was Sadie Patterson, but this is a ghost story that she surely will add to the collection of them she has been gathering for more than a decade.
She will tell a whole bunch more of them later this month when she leads visitors on candlelight ghost walks past the many historic houses that line the city’s Main Street.
The tours will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 and 24 in Chess Park, 600 block of Main Street. Reservations are required and can be arranged by calling 724-258-2377.
This unidentified old photo was mysteriously found one day next to a funeral card for Sadie Patterson in a museum of local history in Monongahela, Pa. Photo: Observer-Reporter