Those of you that are keeping up with my official blog and newsletter have likely read of my working for the Depreciation Lands Museum this coming summer and autumn. I am excited of this endeavor for many reasons. Of course, I love history and learning of how those of the past lived. Oftentimes, we can take away great lessons and values from those who came before us. And oftentimes, what we may uncover can be quite surprising and even might oppose what we are typically told.
In addition to discovering new and exciting tidbits about the history of the Allison Park, PA area (and just of history in general), I also hope that this will had more depths to my fictional, non-fiction, and songwriting. But it also allows me more opportunity of exploration for this online magazine. You see, along with being a haven for folks wishing to delve deep into the past and walk into a world not their own, that of the 18th century, it is also home to a spectre known to everyone as The Deacon.
The story of The Deacon dates back to 1973 when the old, deserted church was being fixed up after Hampton Township had bought the property. Workers claimed to see sightings of a tall old man dressed in a long black coat and dark trousers appear briefly before vanishing. The man appeared as someone from another era; very much 18th century. He appeared so often that workers decided to officially name him. Thus, he was christened The Deacon.
Now those who might be having second thoughts of visiting the Depreciation Lands Museum due to risks of encountering a malevolent spirit, never fear. Those claim to have encountered The Deacon speak of him being rather helpful, even seeming to be glad to have the church fixed up, even if it is merely for show. While he has never spoken to those he appears to, his actions seem to confirm that he harbors no ill will toward any of the living.
His first known time helping someone working on the church was the time a woman was trying to replace one of the windows. She was struggling with squaring up the frames for a snug fit. A couple times, she saw The Deacon watching her out of the corner of her eye, and whenever she turned to face him, he vanished. Exasperated and frustrated over her disappearing spectator, she stated, "Don't just stand there. The least you can do is help me out!"
Right after that, her knife was able to cut into the wood perfectly, allowing the window to slide right into place.
Other incidents involve a young man standing on a ladder painting the frame around the stairwell. Eyewitnesses say that his ladder slipped about halfway off the wall, only to pop back up and save him from what might other wise have been a fatal fall. Those present believe that The Deacon was the one responsible for saving the young worker.
Despite his helpfulness though, he can be on the gruff side. There is also a report of how an electrician stormed out frustrated when the light switch he turned on kept getting turned off. And yes, no other live human was in the room with him. But overall, The Deacon seems to be an overall friendly spectator willing to step in and help out those working to preserve his building.
The Depreciation Lands Museum is open to the public on Sundays, May 4- October 25. A couple weekends out of each month, I will be among the costumed interpreters working to bring the 18th century alive. During the fall/Halloween season, we also host evening lantern tours, which yours truly will be involved with. Of course, the tours involve the age old tradition of storytelling as retellings of The Deacon are included.
For more information on The Depreciation Lands Museum, what they are and what we are about, check out the official website:
Ghosts Stories of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by Beth E. Trapani and Charles J. Adams III
Pensylvania Haunts & History: http://hauntsandhistory.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-deacon.html
Tiffany Apan is a critically acclaimed independent recording artist, a stage/film actress, author, and award-winning producer/writer. You can find more about her at her Official Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and her production company website. She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers. She also does freelance writing, and editing. Her own stories are available at Smashwords, Barnesand Noble NOOK, Amazon, and other retailers. Her novel series, The Birthrite Series, is also available in both ebook and paperback form. In addition, she is a contributor to Ravenous Monster Webzine.