Pursuing Grumblethorpe’s ‘ghosts’ on Walpurgis Night

You may have heard of Christmas in July, but what about Walpurgisnacht, the traditional German holiday marking the midpoint to Halloween?

On Saturday evening, braves visitors celebrated Walpurgis Night with a haunted tour of Grumblethorpe near Germantown Avenue and West Queen Lane as part of the third annual Witches’ Night Out Ghost Tour.

Historical ghouls

Tour manager Eileen Reeser said the ghost stories always focus on history, as Grumblethorpe served as the Wister family’s summer home for more than two centuries and is rumored haunted by three distinct ghosts.

“It’s pretty significant when you hear of such a clear haunting,” said Reeser.

Guests carried electromagnetic field meters, divining rods and thermometers; Kelly Silverman and Beatriz Alemar volunteered to monitor temperature changes for the group with a thermometer.

“Of course, you pointed it at places like the chimney where you expected it to be a little bit colder,” said Silverman. “Then I remember when we walked into the room where the bloodstain was, it was like an immediate draft. The temperature in there was like 69.9, and then, when I pointed it at the draft, it was 54.5, so there was a huge change.”

Silverman also said she observed activity in her electromagnetic field meter near the bloodstain.

A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, which maintains the property.

Taisje Claiborne and  Haley Kmetz are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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