Vid of the Tower and Mansion, posted by xjmoe83 on YouTube.
Just off of the intersection of I-81 and SR114 near Mechanicsburg in Cumberland County is a 16 story building, towering alone in the countryside. It's known as Hall Tower, or Carillon Tower (its original raison d'etre). Now it's a vandalized wreck, covered in graffiti and burned several times, best known as the home to teen parties - and a spooky presence.
The local urban legend is that the guy that built it, John Hall, embezzled money from his company to build the Tower and surrounding Mansion, complete with a moated building, b-ball court, and worker's house.
He went broke, had to sell the estate, and then set it on fire right after the signing the transfer papers in a fit of frustration over losing it. If he couldn't have his Tower, no one could.
Some accounts say that his family was still inside, while others claim he lived there alone. Most lore claims that he was inside the tower when he started the fire and perished in the flames.
Another tale says that he was sent to jail after his son blew the whistle on his embezzlement scheme, and had the house and property transferred to him. When Hall was released from prison, he went back and burned the property as revenge against his son. Hall died shortly after that, some say by suicide, other by natural means.
(One of our readers wrote in to debunk the family fire tales. She said that Hall had been arrested for fraud and arson, but was never connected officially with the Tower fire. He and his family are still alive. In fact, we understand that his son lived, or may still reside, on the property. Urban legends are a mess to sort through.)
What we do know is that Hall ran through his fortune and put his dream estate up for sale in 1993 as part of his bankruptcy settlement, but didn't draw a decent bid. It suffered major fire damage in 1995, and no one knows how that blaze started.
Anyway, that's the genesis of the Hall stories. And hey, if you want to buy a spooked out property, just contact Fred Essis, the current owner. For $1.25M, it's yours.
There's supposed to be an apparition that stares down at people from the top of the Tower, which is impossible to get to from the ground. Others have reported a voice inside that says "Get out."
A young man named Ernie Barr (a popular guy who's friends still recall him fondly) died there when he fell while climbing the ladder along the elevator shaft, and some posit that it wasn't the partying that got to him, but that an unseen spirit shoved him to his doom. There are also reports of fatal construction mishaps and drownings in the small lake across from the tower.
(Erin, a neighbor, told us that a diver who was hired to drain the moat died when he was caught in the suction of a drain pipe, and confirms the death of the teen, who was brought to her house to await the ambulance. So some of the Hall's ill-fated lore is based on actual events.)
The place has recently been fenced off, and if you want to visit, satisfy yourself with a gander from the road. It's a no-trespassing area, and the local gendarmes have been known to cruise by the old bones of the Tower.
It's a treacherous building to wander around in - some might say a lawsuit waiting to happen - and hey, you never know who, or what, you'll run into in the Tower.