Pennsylvania: The Indian Museum

In the lush green heart of the Pocono Mountains, lies a tourist attraction which proudly displays artifacts from a sadly forgotten, and misunderstood period of American history.

Since the nations bicentennial in 1976, The Pocono Indian Museums doors have been open, encouraging vacationers, as well as residents, to take a unique look into the life and times of the Lenni Lenape Indians. Exhibits containing artifacts found within a 20 mile radius of the museum itself, not only informs you on how the Delaware Indians existed, but takes you back to the time of their existence. You will walk away with a new look at the oldest cultures in America when you see first hand, the food, pottery, tools, weapons, clothing and so much more from this proud race who inhabited these areas thousands of years before early settlers. And whose knowledge made there survival possible. There is even a life size display of the ‘messingw’, a masked spirit similar to the Bigfoot legend that was believed to wander the area.

The museums uniqueness doesn’t end there. the building itself harbors quite a colorful past. The large home was built in 1840, by John Van Campen Coolbaugh. It would later be used as a boarding house and a stop for stage coaches traveling between Pennsylvania and New York. By the American Civil War, the cellar of the house was regularly used as a stop along the underground Railroad to Canada. And it was during the prohibition of the roaring twenties and thirties, that the building became a brothel and speakeasy, which hosted such characters as Dutch Shultz and legs Diamond. Eventually, it would be used as dorm rooms for the nearby Camp Sunny Brook, and would fall into disrepair - until 1976, when it would be refurbished by Marge and Mal Law, and officially open as the one of a kind ‘Pocono Indian Museum’.

With such history abound at the Museum, it is no wonder that tales of ghostly activity are also plentiful. Disembodied footsteps, shadowy figures and the movement of objects, are just a few of the mysterious occurrences experienced at the museum. The extremely friendly employees were quite willing to share a few moments when asked about there own experiences with the ghost. It was explained to me that the spirit dubbed ‘Eli’ has occasionally tugged on there hair and knocked items from the shelves. They have also caught glimpses of a male apparition who walks the floors of the museum. It is agreed this spectral visitor is certainly harmless. perhaps the spirits held in such high regard by the Lenni Lenape keep vigilance over this important gem of American history.

-GhastlyG :August 2008