A true boo of a ghost story

Into the No. 9 Mine

Into the No. 9 Mine

After Mom and Aunt Ang passed away, my brother and I arranged a memorial in their small hometown of Lansford, nestled in the mountains in eastern Pennsylvania, the heart of anthracite coal-mining country.

I was making the trip from Albuquerque, NM, so I decided to stay a couple of weeks and further research Mom and Ang’s hometown and their old haunts (and those of many ancestors), the history surrounding coal mining, and to travel and visit other coal mining towns in the area.

In Lansford, you will find the No. 9 Mine and Museum. You could spend hours in this museum and not see everything. I spent a dozen hours there over the course of several days and took hundreds of pictures both in the museum and in the mine.

Years ago, you would have found both my great-grandfather, James Day, and my grandfather, Richard Holmes, in Old No. 9. James had an impressive 40+ years in the mine. Grandfather Richard worked there until severely injured and deafened in an explosion.

Brother Phil, sister-in-law Kerry, and I met our tour guide and proceeded into the mine. We chugga-chugged and squealed into the mine, the small lokie protesting every inch of our progress.

Strings of small lights along the ceiling led the way. The further we went, the more the temperature dropped. Deep into the mine, we disembarked, listening to our tour guide tell us stories and lore, imparting interesting facts about No. 9 and mining in general.

Side Shaft in the No. 9

Side Shaft in the No. 9

I pulled out my digital camera to snap a picture of the elevator shaft. Pointing the camera toward the shaft, click! The camera’s small display looked odd, like there was a cloud or smoke in the picture. I thought perhaps it was a trick of the low lighting or some sort of mist, wafted in from outside. We continued the tour. I thought no more about that odd, cloudy picture.

Until I saw a large view of that image on my laptop.

Back at my small-town motel, I downloaded all the photos from the day. I was scrolling through the pictures of the mine, and there it was – a face in that misty photo.

I freaked – slammed the lid of the laptop and shoved it away from me like it was a diseased spider.

I paced around the room, hyperventilating. I chain smoked, looking over each cigarette, furtive glances toward that laptop. I drank…looking over each bottle at the laptop…

Then an intriguing thought broke through my Welsh-Irish brain – what if it was James or Richard come to say hello?

I approached the laptop, opened it, studied the photo. Yes, it could be a face, it just might be James or Richard. A family resemblance? I could see it!

The picture no longer scares me, it comforts me.

The face of the ghost - tilt your head to the left.

The face of the ghost – tilt your head to the left.



Filed under Personal Articles, Special Events

11 responses to “A true boo of a ghost story

  1. That is absolutely fascinating. I don’t want to be scared, but it IS scary. I don’t doubt for a minute that there is lots of ‘spirit’ or spirits still down there in the mine – what a difficult, challenging, backbreaking, life-shortening job to have. Who knows how many left behind a piece of themselves, down down there in the mine?

  2. This is wild, Karen! But I am totally open to this kind of thing happening, even though I’ve never experienced it. If, as some think, spirits are often associated with hardship or emotional trauma or something of the sort, it’s certainly not surprising that a place like this mine would be haunted. The fact that it is was YOUR photo supports your theory that it might be James or Richard, giving you a nod of appreciation for caring enough about your family history to explore the mine.

    • And I was ripe for the experience…being in the hometown, researching the family, the area, visiting the old house (from outside), the graveyards, etc. And I’m mildly claustrophobic – but I felt I HAD to do it.

  3. Karoline Stock

    Your story’s enough to reinforce the belief in spirits for me. Thanks for sharing your history.

  4. I’m seeing a face in bottom right which is the face you mean Karen? I’m also seeing one emerging top right just to the left of the beam which seems to split the main face.We’re really in trouble of your face is neither of those.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • karenrsanderson

      Top right is what I see when I tilt my head to the left. But if you see something else, then fine with me. My grandfather Richard was severely burned/messed up (as told to me) after he was blown up in the mine. So if it’s a distorted face, then maybe it’s Richard.
      Thank you for commenting, M’Lord. 🙂

  5. What a perfect spooky story for Halloween. I do believe these things happen. I can image what a fright it gave you initially.

  6. I just couldn’t depart your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the standard information an individual provide in your
    guests? Is gonna be back regularly in order to inspect new posts

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