Saturday, August 30, 2008

Moonshine Church & Cemetery

Photobucket
Raber's tombstone from Charles Kindt

Indiantown Gap, in Lebanon County, is the home to the Moonshine Church and Cemetery. There are so many spooks haunting the boneyard that you need a scorecard to keep up with them all.

The most commonly associated phenomena involving Moonshine is that car engines will die as you drive past and unexplained eerie noises heard throughout the grounds. But there's lots more.

There's the legend of a girl who went into the church and said the Lord's Prayer backwards - and was struck dead by lightning. Another tale, unsupported by any local media reports, was that a mother had a nervous breakdown and killed her four kids there before committing suicide in the 1980s.

The small church itself is fairly new, being built in 1961 after the original structure was destroyed by a fire. Hey, who knows - the blaze may have been caused by the same bolt that got the impious young lady. That would be some sweet spooky irony.

It's said that the area is haunted by a headless horseman who, according to regional lore, has been spotted riding up and down the Lebanon Valley. Then there's the ghost most feared by the locals, an Indian spook known as the Red Devil. Several spirits of Native Americans have been reported roaming the cemetery.

The most famous spook may be that of Joseph Raber, the victim drowned by the "blue eyed six" murder gang for insurance money and buried at Moonshine.

When Kelly Weaver of the Paraseekers contacted his spirit while investigating the cemetery, the former laborer expressed amazement that he was being paid so much attention in death when he had so little of it in life.

BTW, none of the perps are haunting the cemetery or are in fact anywhere near it. Five were hung in the Lebanon County jail, and one, George Zechman, was acquitted, dying at home. The six involved were all buried separately by their families elsewhere in the county.

Israel Brandt and Charles Drews are buried side by side in the veteran's section of Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Lebanon. Josiah Hummel and Zechman are buried at Sattazahn Lutheran Church Cemetery in Union Township. Henry Wise is buried at Evangelical United Brethren Church Cemetery in the village of Green Point. Frank Stichler is buried in the family plot on McLean Road, now within the bounds of Ft. Indiantown Gap, although some say at least one of the killers and maybe others were later reburied at the cemetery.

If there are a pair of blue eyes floating around or peering from the steeple, as often reported, they must belong to another spook or maybe to Raber himself.

Weaver's group also found several spirits roaming the grounds, confirming the tales, at least to the paranormal community.

And if you were wondering, the church grounds weren't named for white lightning but for a local family, the Moonshines, many of whom are buried in the cemetery. The land for the Moonshine Cemetery was donated by Henry Moonshine, who was born in 1760 and died in 1836.

There are "no trespassing" signs posted, so don't plan on any midnight visits unless you're willing to risk your trip concluding in an Indiantown Gap jail cell.

35 comments:

tim said...

can anyone tell me anything else about the red devil?

Ron Ieraci said...

Tim - I've seen it mentioned in Shadowlands and on some paranormal board, though I can't recall which one unfortunately.
It's supposed to be a red beast, and roams the area, not just the cemetery, like the headless horseman of legend.
I don't know if it's associated with Native American lore, the devil, or just exactly what.
If any locals know more about it, please give Tim & I a yell - Ron

hpshekatedarkmoon said...

I have a recent picture from November 26, 2009 of what I believe some call the "red devil" it appears to not be a devil at all but in fact a dragon.

Ron Ieraci said...

Kate - Cool! I'm glad you verified the critter. It's lore is the mistiest tale involved with the cemetery grounds.

April said...

I live near Moonshine and have been there more times than I can count. Lots of tales of course. I too have a pic of Raber's stone. Nice site!!!!!

April said...

Oh and another tidbit of info for you guys, not ALL 6 members of the blue eyed six were hung or died in the lebanon jail system. One member was aquited and never saw trial because he was "out of town" at the time of Raber's murder.

One last tale: Car headlights are coming down the road, since you shouldn't be there and MP's patrol as well as state troopers, you jump in your car to leave. No car ever passes even though the lights were seen driving way beyond the last available place to turn off at.

April said...

Oh and another tidbit of info for you guys, not ALL 6 members of the blue eyed six were hung or died in the lebanon jail system. One member was aquited and never saw trial because he was "out of town" at the time of Raber's murder.

One last tale: Car headlights are coming down the road, since you shouldn't be there and MP's patrol as well as state troopers, you jump in your car to leave. No car ever passes even though the lights were seen driving way beyond the last available place to turn off at.

Inventvamp said...

I'm just getting into this paranormal stuff and it gives me the creeps... in good way! I live in Annville wihich is about ten miles away from Moonshine Church and I've never been there. I think that this will become a family field trip. I live in the second oldest house in town and I'm always hearing wierd stuff and thinking that there's something behind me when there isn't. Plus, we (my family and I) were digging around in the flower bed and discovered an unmarked gravestone!!! What do you guys think? -inventvamp

Ron Ieraci said...

I think that's a very interesting house you live in, Vamp.

And it's not uncommon for family plots to be near a home, depending on its age and the original size of the homestead. Unmarked gravestones are often signs of an active paranormal site; ghosts hate being ignored by posterity!

hpshekatedarkmoon said...

April,

I have seen "the headlights" on many visits or passing thru of Moon shine.
If traveling to Moonshine from 72/443 they appear about 1/2 mile before. They appear at times to be slow coming "out for a sunday drive", another time it is fast approaching, however they never catch up.
November 2009 2 out of town guests desired to "see" moonshine...both saw the "headlights" as we drove...
they were slow in approaching until one of them became panicked in a hysterical way...that is when the Headlights appeared to pick up speed. She then screamed they are going t get usl i willl admit it appeared as if it was a chase...
Even though I never increased speed and of course they never ot us, lol.

To this day I say she "thought manifested" the chase. Making her fears come alive to this reality..much in the way "The Secret" works, Peale- Power of Positive thinking" and generational families teach from one to the next....unfortunately for my guest she worked it to her disadvantage.

hpshekatedarkmoon said...

More on Red Dragon aka Red Devil...

The red dragon is indeed a dragon not a devil. It's name and symbology while in many cultures and belief systems those specific to Pennsylvania are from Native American beliefs taught by the chief, oracle, "medicine man" as well as PA Dutch (specifically pow-wow dutch), Cloister and Rosicrucian.

Over years the name for the moonshine dragon changed to "red devil" due to it's appearance and the fear of it's appearance due to misunderstanding of dragons/appearance and influence of main stream religions.
This fear and change in name to "red devil"is also logically understood due in large to its appearance:
This dragon is a heart dragon causing a glow from his heart to illuminates it's face.Much in the same way anyone standing near a red light bulb would appear to be red. It also has horns and a tail.
(I have a black and white picture Taken November 2009 that illustrate this explanation of the dragon. I am willing to share this with any one.)
I believe based on dragon information the red heart dragon on moonshine protects the land and those who dwell with respect to land on the hill.

History of dragons:
Dragons are believed in by many cultures and religions even pre-dating xtianity back to Egyptian Pantheon beliefs of Thoth= Jesus the nazarene son of god, Father Ra "old testament Gods" as described in book of genesis and earlier Nabatean cultures, Greek and also seen in eastern, Persian, Mesopotamia India, Indonesian and America,including Mesolithic.

Proof exists by drawing in caves and passed in oral traditions before pen and paper.

Dragons have been described as serpent,or reptilian. Such as the giant headed serpent god in the mythology of Osiris, Set, Sekhemet, RA,

The qualities of the Dragon are revered and honored, not feared.
They represent order in chaos, the cirlce of life (OUROBUROS).

They offer protection and victory in all battles on land, air and water.
Every dragon can be classified by a corresponding element such as wind, fire, earth, water and self/power. Well known elemental faith is Native American.

Due to emperor Constantine implementing Christianity and the rapid growth They soon became "demonized" and labeled as evil. Thus knew legends and lore were born such as dragon slayers and as being one to slay or rescue a damsel save kingdom.

For example In water their existence were told in legends of Leviathan, Moby Dick and modern day Monster such as loch ness.

Anonymous said...

Actually one of the "perps" died on his own in his home. If your gonna try and write a factual blog get ur facts right!

Ron Ieraci said...

My bad, anon - Zechman was acquitted and died at home; I'll fix up that paragraph. Thanks for pointing that out.

Anonymous said...

To everybody talking about Moonshine church. I was there personally around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning back in 1993. I did not encounter any ghost nor did I see blue eyes looking down from the church at me or even see a red devil. But I must say, it is very spooky to be back there at night in the dark since there isn't any street lights. The only truth to any stories, is the fact that you will be arrested if caught back there even stopped on the side of the road. You can drive through but you can not stop for any reason. Oh an by the way... my car engine never shut off when I was back there. If any of you decide to take the trip, do it at night and have fun.

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - thanks for the report.

Bill said...

I live near there and went there twice with a Mel-8704 EMF detector, and got small readings there twice. Was never anything very high, only about 2mG, and quickly faded down to 0.0mG again, as if something was passing nearby me, but did not want to manifest itself.

Ron Ieraci said...

Bill, Josh, Brian - thanks for the reports. Let us know if anything else shows up while you're exploring.

Anonymous said...

Cops always ruin a good time! Can I go during the day without problems? I wanted to take a bunch of photos and
see if anything shows. Has anyone had anything happen
during day time hours?

SeidMadr said...

I'd like to comment on the "headlights that turn off well after the last turn off but before the church". There is a National Gaurd training area between the "last turn off" and the church, and off road capable vehicles often turn into the woods in that area.

Anonymous said...

In 1976 my boyfriend and I took a drive to Moonshine church on a clear full moon Fall evening. We pulled over in front of the church and our car stalled. He kept trying to get the car to start and finally it did after a long 10 minutes. I will never forget that night and how scarey and erie it was! I just wanted to get out of there as fast as we could.

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Anonymous said...

I was up there loads of times and I had serveral accounters its all true try going up there on a Friday the 13th I did and a lot of shit happen to me and my friends we just wanted to get out of there we just drove by that was all

Anonymous said...

A mother did stab herself and her four children in the parking lot there in 1987. One of the children lived. The other three and the mother died. I was working for a local ambulance service when the call came in. Before we got half way there, the police radioed to cancel us, as we were the third ambulance dispatched, and only one was needed.

Anonymous said...

This is a very creepy place. Things do happen there quite often. We used to go up there all the time as teenagers & had some unexplained things happen. Example: One night we were driving by & noticed a dog sitting on the steps, so we pulled over. It growled at us & showed it's teeth & we go out of there. We were parked in the big parking lot at night & noticed car lights. We started our car & pulled out. The car pulled into where the preacher parks. We drove by...no car & there is nowhere for a car to go beyond that point except for in the woods. We went up there during the day one time to explore the cemetary. We pulled into the parking lot & got out. We heard old time music playing (seemed to be coming out of nowhere) There was not a single other car in the parking lot & no one else was around. And the last thing we saw & the last time we went snooping around there at night. It was very late, went up there just for a scare. A group of people dressed in long black attire walked out of the church, across the street, through the cemetary & disappeared. We got out to see what the heck was going on...well if you walk to the edge of the cemetary, it is a cliff. They disappeared, but you could hear them talking & laughing. So to those of you that don't believe. I'm telling you this place IS haunted & you cannot go up there once expecting something. These incidents happened to us over a course of a year or so. Sometimes we would go up there & nothing would happen. Everytime to this day when I drive by that place I get a heavy, eerie feeling.

Tina said...

Some friends of mine are thinking about going up this weekend for Friday the 13th with a full moon and taking an ouija board. If no one wimps out this should be fun.

Anonymous said...

I lived in that area for years! One night, I was with my boyfriend at the time, we were on our way home from a date. Driving up Moonshine Church hill, about 3/4 of the way to the top - the headlights in the truck he was driving suddenly turned off and on - off and on - a few times.. we were a bit freaked - just after we passed the church, they came on and stayed on - and all of a sudden, we noticed headlights behind us - we turned onto ridge road and kept driving - with the healights behind us.. We came to a left curve in the road, where after you make the bend, and up the slight hill, you can look back and pretty much see the road - yeah, just before we rounded the corner, the lights were there. Once we got to a point we could look back - they were gone.. there was a huge field to our right, and a large bank to the left - and woods on the right after you make the curve - there was NO where for the car to go.. needless to say - he didnt drive home that night..

Anonymous said...

I went there in 2009 with a bunch of friends from HS. I took pictures of my friends in the cemetary and one friend had a large orb above his head. A few weeks later he was killed in a car accident. No lie.

Tabitha Light said...

My husband said that he is related to one of them but don't know which one though. What is creepy our two sons has blue eyes. No lie. Our daughter don't she got brown like us.
Creepy right

slowone said...

I'm also related to the Moonshine family. The man who donated the land, Henry Moonshine is my 8th Great Grandfather. I just went to the cemetery for the first time a few days ago. I honestly had no idea of it's history until then!

Anonymous said...

Been there quite a few times creepy..a lot of children buried there the last name Raber was changed by a family member back in the day most go by the last name Reber now its an awesome cemetery just to check out..

Anonymous said...

I worked for a local EMS unit in the late 80's. There was a woman who stabbed her four children and then killed herself. However, the children all survived their wounds, and the incident occurred on the Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, but nowhere near the Moonshine Church.

Anonymous said...

I used to go their once in awhile. I assure you, there is plenty of activity. In my opinion, the best time to go is in the daytime. After being there for a few minutes, pay close attention to your periphereal vision. It is often there that you will start seeing things happening. There are plenty of souls hanging out there. The most entertaining one I remember the most is a little girl who is quite charming, "whimsical like", and adorable. I will never forget her. And neither will the friend I was with that day. I seen a lot of older people. Some walking and talking. I am sure they were aware of our presence, but didn't pay much mind to us.
I will tell you another thing....the police do not like you stopped there AT ALL! I had my encounter with one. He told me to get out of there, and he assured me that there are no ghosts or such there. (I knew better, however) I just left as I was told.

Anonymous said...

My great grandparents and my great uncle (plus my great greats and uncles and aunts) are buried here. Today is the first time I've gotten to visit and it just mystified me. My grandmother was the oldest of their children and she used to talk about them often. Would love to have asked her more about the area!

Rick Firestone said...

Grew up about a quarter mile from it on tomstown road....bunch of hogwash....walked through that area,through the woods around it.nothing to fear except a wild dog or a bear with cubs

Unknown said...

Brandt and drews are buried in the poor section of Mt Lebanon cemetery