he Pike County Historical Society houses artwork, historical photos and artifacts depicting life in the county in the 19th and 20th centuries. An outstanding vintage clothing collection includes two fedoras once owned and worn by William Jennings Bryan. The PCHS is even the home to the flag on which President Lincoln's head rested the night he was shot in Ford's Theater.
But some visitors and paranormal investigators suggest that the society's Columns Museum is also the home to at least one ghost: Juliette Peirce, the widow of Charles Saunders Peirce, a mathematician and philosopher often called the "father of pragmatism."
In 1887 Pierce bought 2,000 acres in Pike County which included a farmhouse that he and Juliette renovated and renamed Arisbe. Unfortunately, the father of pragmatism was not very practical with his finances. Only through the kindness of friends were the couple's mortgage, taxes and other debts paid. Charles died destitute in 1914 leaving Juliette to fend for herself for another 20 years - certainly a desperately sad and heartbreaking life.
The Columns Museum came into possession of some of Juliette Peirce's clothing, including her mourning attire. Some believe that these clothes and the ghost of Juliette are a package deal.
Several visitors have "sensed" the presence of a woman on the second floor where the artifacts are housed. These guests relayed their stories to museum staff on different days and times and seemingly did not know of one another's experiences.
A self-described professional "ghost investigator" claims to have heard the rustling of taffetta during an investigation.
Other people have reported sensing a small woman in the basement, and two visitors claim a woman was pushed down the third-floor servants' staircase.
Several years back a lecturer speaking on mourning clothes claimed to experience an overwhelming sense of grief while handling an unmarked box of Juliette's clothes.
So... is the Columns Mansion haunted...?
The PCHS representative that Hauntingly PENNSYLVANIA™ contacted reports not one "extraordinary or creepy" experience in eleven years of working in the museum. And paranormal investigators have come up with little more than a recorded voice that may be saying "get out"... or was that just the museum staff who, by 3 a.m., were ready to go home?
Perhaps readers should visit the museum and draw their own conclusions. Hours and location details can be found on the Pike County Historical Society web site. 💀