Hotel Bethlehem’s fascinating story started with its predecessor, the Golden Eagle Hotel. The Golden Eagle Hotel was once used as a convalescence home for soldiers returning from war. Prior to the Golden Eagle Hotel, the “First House of Bethlehem” used to stand in the property. It was built in 1741 by Moravians. Count Nicholas Von Zinzendorf, the Moravian’s patron, sang a song about Bethlehem during the construction period and that is how the town got its name.
Staff, as well as guests has reported seeing shadows, apparitions and reflections which cannot be explained. Quite a few of the hotel employees have reported hearing their name being called even when no one is there. They also reported being tapped on the shoulder and seeing things drop from the desk. Various electrical appliances in the hotel have also turned on by themselves, although they were not plugged in.
One little girl is reputed to haunt the hotel and she is often seen in one of the windows. She is named May Yohe and she was once a well-known singer and actress in the 1890s. She married a wealthy man who was reported to own the Hope Diamond and she was said to occasionally wear it. Although her adult life was not picture perfect, she is said to have spent the best years of her life as a child in the hotel and that is the reason why she keeps coming back to it.
The ghost of an unknown woman is also often seen in the kitchen in a period dress. Guests have left the dining room early after seeing her ghost and several guests have avoided the subbasement because of paranormal activities.
Rooms With a "Boo"
The Historic Hotel Bethlehem embrace their “Permanent Guests.”
When you consider the site’s history, known for its hospitality since the early 18th century, it’s not surprising. Bethlehem’s famous “first house,” built in 1741, was located here until 1823, when the Eagle Hotel replaced it. Then in 1921, the Hotel Bethlehem took the Eagle’s place, at the direction of controversial multi-millionaire industrialist, Charles M. Schwab, the president of Bethlehem Steel in its heyday.
To date, there are many accounts of the paranormal at the hotel, one might see a fleeting shadow or transparent figure, or hear the elevator working when no one is aboard – just enough to wonder if some residual memory of a former guest is walking the halls. Perhaps you will suddenly feel a cold or hear your name called; some have reported being tapped on the shoulder, to turn around and find no one there.
The Friendly Ghosts of The Historic Hotel Bethlehem
May Yohe – Lady Francis Hope - May Yohe, Victorian Actress - Singer
Born at the Eagle Hotel in April 1866, Mary Augusta Yohe was a lively and vivacious little girl. Her Grandfather, Caleb Yohe a Moravian loved by all, owned and operated the beautiful Eagle Hotel.
There are accounts of “May”, as she was called, singing and dancing in the hotel lobby for all of the guests. She was so very talented that the Moravians pooled their money and sent her to Paris for formal operatic training.
In 1888 she made headlines across the country as one of the biggest stage stars! She was also making “other” not so positive headlines. For whatever reason, May was constantly making news with her latest flings.
In the 1890’s she went to England to perform in London, for Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Edward, who loved her singing. She met Lord Francis Clinton Hope a wealthy British Lord and married him. He owned a very famous jewel called the Hope Diamond, which she wore a number of times. However, her marriage to Lord Hope didn’t last and by the turn of the century she was making headlines again for leaving her husband for a handsome American soldier (who ironically stole her jewelry, she divorced him years later)
She seems to have been unlucky in love and her happiest times are said to have been singing and dancing right here in Bethlehem in the hotel lobby. Some say they can still hear her and when our player piano turns on by itself (as it often does!) we think we know who it is!
Miss Yohe has been seen in the 3rd floor exercise room and lobby areas.
Francis “Daddy” Thomas - Bethlehem’s Town Guide
Born in Wurtemburg, Germany on September 8th 1732, came to “The Colonies” when he was 6 years old. The Moravian Bishop Spangenberg made a particular impression on him when he was very young.
As a younger man he was known to have a fearlessness and total disregard for danger, as he was frequently involved with because of his job as a courier (quite a dangerous job to have in colonial times!)
Several times he came very close to death, once he was thrown from a horse and broke his neck, he was carried home for dead! On another occasion the horse he was riding broke through thin ice into the frozen deep water!
He learned the trade of cabinetmaker and was married to Anna Graeff on January 12, 1762. They were happily married for 53 years and, although they had no children of their own, the couple happily raised three children of missionary’s sent to Bethlehem to be educated at the famous girls Seminary.
His industry, honesty and faithfulness won him the respect and confidence of everyone he came in contact with, it was in this capacity that he found his true calling in life, attending visitors to Bethlehem. He conducted himself with such candor, obliging disposition and readiness to do any act of kindness that everyone who knew him loved and regarded him with fond remembrance.
He died on April 4th 1822……and some say he still attends to Bethlehem’s visitors and guest, with a wonderful sense of fun and humor.
Daddy Thomas has been seen in the Boiler Room area of the hotel.
Mrs. Brong Landlord
In 1833, a committee of the Moravian Church, the owners of the Eagle Hotel, terminated the hotel “landlords”, a Mr. and Mrs. Brong after a short six months duration.
Apparently Mr. Brong had issue with joining any (and every!) guest who requested he join them for a drink and was often removed to a nearby bench by the bartender, when he was too inebriated to sit any longer.
Mrs. Brong, who otherwise would have been a perfect hostess, had a habit of not wearing her shoes or stockings!
Guest off the just arriving stagecoach would be greeted most politely and to their shock and mortification, would find her “pedal extremities completely exposed!” For the day, this must have caused quite a commotion.
Strangely enough when some of our kitchen staff and dinner guests spoke of seeing a vision of a woman in period clothing with no shoes or socks, there was no doubt to her identity.
Mrs. Brong is primarily in the Kitchen/Restaurant area of the hotel.
“Room with a Boo”
Room 932 - Ninth Floor
Room 932 has a most peculiar record of paranormal activity. A couple staying in the room reported being woken by a man standing in front of their bed asking “why are you in my room?” Only to find when they switched on the light, that no one was there.
There have been numerous accounts of seeing reflections in the mirrors that are not there a moment later. Guest of room 932, with no past knowledge of the hotel or the room in particular, have, frequently, reported unexplained happenings; papers standing upright, or flying off the desk, lamps flashing, the bathroom wallpaper turning pink? We have many pictures of 932 where “orbs” appear.
In April of 2007 the hotel invited a paranormal investigator to stay overnight in the room, he recorded many voices; “it’s Mary”, “What a beautiful bathroom”, “I’ve locked myself in the closet”, “look out the window “ While we agree that room 932 does have a spectacular view, it also occasionally provides unexpected visitors and activities. Not surprisingly this is one of our most requested rooms!
So plan ahead if you would like to reserve room 932, the Room with a Boo. Perhaps you can help us discover the identity of our fourth ghost.