A Ghost Hunt At The Manor

Michael Roknick, The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Mon, Oct 31, 2022

JAMESTOWN — Within minutes of walking into the mansion, the batteries in Joe Moczan’s video camera were dead.

“The batteries were fully charged before I got here,” Moczan said. “This never happens.”

Ghost hunters often say the fast loss of battery power can be a sign that a place is haunted.

Chalk up another eerie adventure at Mark Twain Manor.

Elwood City residents Moczan, his wife Debbie along with their friend John Denome led a ghost investigation team at the Jamestown building last week. The trio have conducted ghost probes throughout the region through their Digital Paranormal Investigations organization.

Their previous investigations of the former home found it to be haunted.

Also known as the Gibson mansion, the elegant Italianate-style Jamestown home built in 1856 by Dr. William Gibson is listed on National Register of Historic Places. Gibson claimed a friendship with Twain from an 1867 group tour of Europe and the Holy Land that inspired the humorist’s book, “The Innocents Abroad.”

The Jamestown Historic Preservation Foundation, which owns the mansion, has been steadily restoring it. The non-profit foundation gave Moczan and his team permission to conduct the investigation.

Jamestown Mayor Esther McClimans, who has been a passionate supporter of the home, said there have been creepy stories from people who were in the home. She and other volunteers have been restoring and maintaining the home.

Only in recent years have people begun to talk about their experiences, she said. One came from her own son.

“He said years ago when he was a teenager and was in the manor where the back stairs are located,” McClimans said. “He said he could feel that something or someone was behind him even though nothing could be seen. It scared the devil out of him and he left. He wouldn’t go back.”

A woman visiting the manor told her of a recent scary story.

“She was in the same general area my son was and all of a sudden a dish flew past her head,” McClimans said. “There was nobody there that could have thrown it.”

Last winter a male volunteer was painting in the same area.

“He said the hair on his arms stood up,” McClimans said. “He left the area and has stayed away from it since. There has to be some kind of presence there.”

During last week’s investigation, a couple of situations surfaced.

One investigator said she felt a presence that was seated in an empty chair and that later one was close to her face. A digital recorder recovered sounds that couldn’t be explained. Video and other recordings are still being analyzed by the team.

“Overall, it was a pretty quiet night,” Moczan said.

There were multiple possible spirit events that were debunked.

A photo showed a shining light on a vase. But it was quickly discovered the light was from a camera flash.

Another occurred while investigators were on the second floor. One vocalized for a spirit to give a knock if they were around.

Within seconds a loud crash was heard. It turned out the noise came from another investigator on the first floor who dropped equipment.

One story of the mansion’s haunting is that a woman known as Victoria was staying at the manor before cars came into use. She was waiting for her fiancé to arrive but on his way, he was killed in a horse and buggy accident.

“People say she’s still in the house waiting for him,” McClimans said.

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