Saturday, October 6, 2018

Have a Hauntingly Great Time in Lewes DE!

Lewes, DE is rich with historic happenings, legends, and tall-tales, many of them involving a touch of the paranormal. From the founding of Lewes in 1631 and the massacre of its settlement the following year, to the unknown sailors’ cemetery at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, some residents never seem to depart. Lewes is more than a beach resort town, and more than "just" a pleasant, quaint town (although it is that!) to visit in the off-season. It's a town with a rich history of shipwrecks, souls and forgotten cemeteries.

In the day's fading light, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry reminds
us of the ferry on the River Styx, taking its passengers to the Other World.

Lewes (pronounced Lew-is) was the site of the first European settlement in Delaware, a whaling and trading post that Dutch settlers founded on June 3, 1631 and named Zwaanendael (Swan Valley). Sounds like a delightful place, yes? It is, but it has a darker side. The colony existed only briefly, as a local tribe of Lenape Native Americans wiped out the settlers in 1632. That was the beginning of the many, individual ends that have occurred in Lewes...

Find out about the murder and mayhem, the ships and shipwrecks, shoals and souls of Lewes by exploring Haunted Lewes!

Legends of Lewes Tour

This hour-plus walking tour introduces you to the many strange happenings in the town of Lewes. During it you'll visit the Ryves Holt House to learn how one Lewes citizen gained his inheritance of a bustling tavern, and enter one of the most haunted places in the region: the Cannonball House.

The Ryves Holt House is the oldest extant house in Delaware. There isn't a plum wall or 90-degree angle anywhere in the house and it is appropriately haunted. Learn about the mystery of the murder hole and why one set of stairs may have solved a 200-year-old murder mystery.

Cannonball House -- so named because in the War of 1812, the British fired upon Lewes (then an important shipping town and a strategic location at the mouth of the Delaware Bay), lodging a cannonball in the side of the house -- is where, according to Lewes Historical Society’s Director of Education Marcos Salaverria, a woman named Susan got her dress caught in the fireplace March 24, 1917, and burned to death. Or did she? Her spirit seems to indicate otherwise...

The walk will take you to other key locations in Lewes, where you'll learn about the legends that still haunt Lewes.

Where: The Ryves Holt House is located at 2nd and Mulberry Streets
When: Wednesdays through October 24, 6:30 p.m.

Visit Saint Peters Churchyard

You can visit many of these legends mentioned in the Legends of Lewes Tour right in Saint Peters Episcopal Church burial ground.

The iconography of the graveyard reflects the importance of the sea and sailing to the town, as well as the primary industry of serving as pilots for ships trying to traverse these dangerous waters. Several graves have ships or other nautical images etched onto them. But Henry McCracken took the nautical theme a step further. He was a pilot of the Delaware Bay and River. He requested that his anchor be buried with him in 1868; the fluke may still be seen protruding from the ground.

One unusual stone in the churchyard is the "February 30th Stone."
The inscription reads "In memory of Elizabeth H. Cullen,
born February 30th, 1760 and departed this life September 30th, A.D. 1830.
Aged 78 years & 7 months. She stretched out her hands to the poor,
Yea, she reached forth her hands to the needy. Prov. 31st Chap. & Vers."

Where: 660 Pilottown Rd (Corner of Pilottown Road and Second Street)

Spooky Lighthouse Tour

Join Cape Water Tours and the Lewes Historical Society for a tour through history at the haunted and very spooky East End Lighthouse. Spirits visited throughout the evening, telling their stories and bringing the often tragic passings of former lighthouse residents and visitors through the eras to life.

When: Check the Cape Water Tours website for upcoming tours.
Where: Meet at the finger dock behind the Lewes Ferry Terminal or as indicated in confirmation emails.

Paranormal Investigation of East End Lighthouse

East End Lighthouse, standing forlornly on the breakwater just outside of Lewes, has guarded the entrance to Lewes since 1885. Witness to multiple shipwrecks, the lighthouse seems to light the way for spirits to find their way back to Lewes. Learn about the ghosts of the lightkeepers, William Landry of the doomed Mary Rogers, and other haunts during a three-hour ghost hunt. You will also learn how to use paranormal investigation equipment and explore the haunted secrets of this most haunted lighthouse.

When: Check the Cape Water Tours website for upcoming tours.
Where: Meet at the finger dock behind the Lewes Ferry Terminal or as indicated in confirmation emails.

Paranormal Investigation of Cape May - Lewes Ferry Terminal

It's no wonder this is the most haunted ferry terminal in the United States. It's near the grounds of the old quarantine station, where sickly immigrants from foreign ships were culled from ships coming into Philadelphia. It's been said that once you entered the quarantine station, you never left. The terminal is also partly built over a sailors cemetery, believed to hold the remains of more than 800 nameless, forgotten sailors. During a two-hour ghost hunt, you learn how to use paranormal investigation equipment and explore the haunted secrets of this most haunted ferry terminal.

When: Check the Lewes Historic Society website for upcoming tours.
Where: Lewes Ferry Terminal at 43 Cape Henlopen Drive

Cape Henlopen State Park

Even this fantastic park, the site of former Fort Miles, just a few minutes from downtown Lewes, has its own ghosts. There is a rather creepy tale associated with one of the WWII observation towers, which you'll see scattered throughout the park. A phantom soldier remains on duty behind Tower 12.

They say that those who venture too close to his post, which is located in a bunker underneath what appears to be a dune near the campground bicycle trail next to Spotting Tower 12, will hear growling or be yelled at by a disembodied voice. Are you brave enough to approach the haunted bunker?

So stay your respectful distance, but take photos, since the soldier's face has frequently appeared in photographs!

Where: 15099 Cape Henlopen Dr

For additional information about Lewes and other southern Delaware daytrip destinations,

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