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General Wayne Inn - HauntedHouses.com
Haunted Dwelling — General Wayne Inn
The General Wayne Inn building can be found near Philadelphia, in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. Merion Station is located a mere 18 minutes from downtown Philadelphia, which is around 8 miles, if you don't get lost and take the scenic tour like Tom and I did. Yikes!
Once again, our advice is to get a good map and directions, and you will be successful!
The General Wayne Inn building was built on land purchased by William Penn. Originally called The Wayside Inn, this building has been continuously used since 1704, when a Quaker, Robert Jones, went into the Inn/restaurant business, with the idea to serve travelers going to and from Philadelphia and Radner, on the old Lancaster road way. The Wayside Inn became The General Wayne Inn in 1793, when it was renamed after a local Revolutionary hero. Because of its location, near Merion Station, many Revolutionary War battles were fought around the area of the Inn. Thus, this Inn has the distinction of playing host to American Patriots, such as General George Washington and Marquis de la Fayette, and to the British Redcoats and their hired, Hessian soldiers as well.
During the 1800s, many vacationing Philadelphians came to the area, and enjoyed fine dining at The General Wayne Inn, such dishes as Squirrel Ragout and Pigeon Stew. One of the famous guests was Edgar Allen Poe. Until the 1930s , there used to be a glass window that Edgar had scratched his initials on; E.A.P.
Besides being an inn and restaurant, this historical building in the past also has been used as a post office, a general store, and a social center for newly-arrived Welsh Immigrants.
After Mr. Johnson, various owners have run the General Wayne Inn. In 1996, the co-owners, Mr. James E. Webb and Guy Sileo, who were also best friends, were struggling financially. On the day after Christmas, 1996, Guy Sileo supposedly shot to death Webb in one of the third floor offices. (I'm sure the spirits residing there will give their moral support and have welcomed Mr. Webb if he had decided to stay.)
Sileo was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison. Sileo claimed that it was his own hurt mistress, 20 year old Felicia, a chef at the General Wayne Inn, who shot Webb in revenge because Sileo refused to leave his wife for her. Webb had strongly disapproved of the affair between Felicia and Sileo. Felicia later killed herself.
The General Wayne Inn was purchased by Frank Cacciuti in October of 2001. Cacciuti had found great success in running the prosperous Seven Stars Inn, located in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. As of July 21, 2002, Cacciuti closed the General Wayne Inn because he wasn't making enough money. Business hadn't recovered from the effects of the murder, and the local economy wasn't supporting it.
In 2004, someone else bought the place and made a go of it, as the restaurant was being advertised on the ExperiencePA web site. For some reason this effort didn't work out. When Tom and I visited this building the summer of 2006 during our cross country road trip, the local Jewish synagogue had bought the building, renovated it into a modern building now called Chabad Center for Jewish Life. However, the words, The General Wayne Inn are still displayed proudly on the side of the building, and it is still a historical building as the sign marking it as such still remains.
The General Wayne Inn currently is being used as a Chabad facility. Underneath the stucco and paint the stone and timber structure is still there, even if hidden by its new modern face lift. The stucco is a light tan, and the outside is nicely painted and is in great shape, ready to last another 50 years!
The outside originally was described as a "handsome, three-story building," that was designed in the style of a 1700s English coaching inn. Inside, one found a large dining room and a long, wooden bar, with wood beam ceilings and fine wood paneling. Wooden dining tables were covered with fine linen, and lighted with chandeliers overhead. Town meetings and different ghost hunting organizations, such as the South Jersey Ghost Research, used to meet in this dining room for their events.
The building was closed and shut up for the day when we finally found it around 7:20 pm, just in time to get some daylight outside shots of the building. We didn't get to see the inside of the building which was a big disappointment, but they probably kept the nice features of the wood and brought in their own furniture. The painting of the scary Hessian soldier which used to hang on the wall in the dining room is probably not on display, because it wouldn't go along with the new purpose of the building. Large, open fireplaces were at each end of the first floor, and are probably still there.
Originally the rooms on the second floor were used as small, sleeping rooms, beside an overhanging porch, where exhausted guests could take it easy on the provided rocking chairs. In the 20th century, the second floor was home to private dining rooms and other small rooms. Currently, Classes and meetings are probably held in these second floor rooms now. The third floor rooms are probably still used for offices and storage space.
In 1970, when Mr. Johnson bought The General Wayne Inn, he was well aware of the ghostly tales he had heard since childhood about the place, growing up in Merion, (now Merion Station.) However the reality of having 17 plus, entities as unseen guests took him by surprise, and took awhile to adjust to this ghostly company. Thanks to the work of well-known New Jersey psychics, Jean and Bill Quinn, Johnson was properly introduced to most of them, learned why they couldn't rest, and their critique of the service offered at the Inn, during a 1972 seance held in the dining room, led by the Quinns. The entities communicated directly through the mediums present, in an orderly manner, each taking a turn.
Sightings and Behaviors of the Inn's Ghostly Guests
The Hessian Soldiers often made their presences known to the living.
Johnson and his ghostly clientele, had accepted each other. The ghosts had never owned the Inn, and had always shared it with the living. Johnson felt that the ghosts had as much right to be at the Inn as he did, and had taken their habits & personalities in stride, as he generally would with any living patron. For he was in the customer service business, for both the living and his unseen guests.
Probably yes. Throughout the years, the entities who reside in this building have let the living know they are there, according to the eye witness accounts. Too many people to count have experienced seeing or feeling their various presences. Customers, reporters, psychics, employees and others have attested to the reality of these ghostly guests of this building.
The Chabad Center for Jewish Life had just moved into this newly renovated building, as they had a banner hanging outside with their name on it. Today, the entities may be quieter at first, but unless the building has been blessed or the rite of exorcism performed, the many entities, plus perhaps a few more who call this place home are stuck here or choose to stay. They will share the building with the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, but will find ways to get their chuckles as well, sooner or later, as young male entities often do. Hopefully the new owners have a sense of humor and will accept their unseen guests as just being part of the building.
Historic Haunted America, by Michael Norman & Beth Scott