LeMoyne House to host ghost-themed tours

October 2, 2016
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Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter
A portrait of William “Willie” Willis, grandson of Francis Julius LeMoyne, hangs in the parlor of the historic LeMoyne House in Washington. Order a Print
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Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter
Some people who work at the LeMoyne House in Washington find it too creepy to touch this Civil War-era medical kit that belonged to Frank LeMoyne, son of Francis Julius LeMoyne. Order a Print
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Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter
People claim to see a woman wearing this 1880s-era dress and roaming around the historic LeMoyne House in Washington. Order a Print
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The tale of the mysterious woman in a blue dress haunts even those who don’t believe in ghosts at a historic Washington house museum.

Employees at the LeMoyne House claimed to have witnessed the so-called Lady in Blue, oftentimes from the corner of an eye, said Clay Kilgore, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society, which owns the stone house built in 1812.

“An administrative assistant here, she would talk about this lady that she would see, kind of a ghostly figure, walking through the halls (who) would have this blue dress on,” said Kilgore, who will open the house later this week for tours named Ghastly Tales of the LeMoyne House, cosponsored by the Bassettown Paranormal Society.

“Ghost stories have been told a lot of times by people who worked here or lived here,” said Kilgore.

Two women who stayed in the house with their aunt, the former caretaker of the house, told Kilgore the dining room was always cold “no matter how warm it was elsewhere in the house,” and the gas lights there were always getting blown out.

“They hated sitting in that room,” he said.

Macaque in the trees
Some people who work at the LeMoyne House in Washington find it too creepy to touch this Civil War-era medical kit that belonged to Frank LeMoyne, son of Francis Julius LeMoyne.
Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter

The room is creepy without any help from apparitions because it was once an operating room when the house was owned by Francis Julius LeMoyne, who built the nation’s first crematory on Gallows Hill overlooking Washington in 1867. Kilgore said there are still bloodstains on the floor from the surgeries LeMoyne performed in that room.

“That room is the weirdest of the rooms,” he said.

There also are written accounts of Washington & Jefferson College students who refused to return to the house after being invited there for dinner by LeMoyne’s daughter, Madeleine, who died in 1943 and left the place to the historical society.

“One of them felt a hand on his shoulder when no one was there,” Kilgore said.

This is the fourth consecutive year the society has hosted ghost tours and the first time the house will be used as a backdrop for the event.

Bassettown Paranormal Society will present its findings from ghost hunts its members have performed, including one in the basement, where a voice was heard saying, “You just walked over me,” Kilgore said.

“I’m skeptical,” he added.

Macaque in the trees
People claim to see a woman wearing this 1880s-era dress and roaming around the historic LeMoyne House in Washington.
Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter

As for the Lady in Blue, Kilgore said he was flipping through the house’s clothing database one day when the administrative assistant stopped him and pointed to the blue dress, the one she would see the mysterious woman wearing in the house.

Made in 1880 and worn by Madeleine LeMoyne, that dress will be on display in the dining room during the tours.

The tours at the house at 49 E. Maiden St. will begin every 20 minutes from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There will be a $10 admission fee.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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