Three hundred years of history will net you quite a story, especially up here in the Northeast; and Brinton Lodge is no exception. Being owned by several families, operating as several types of businesses, and now hosting a small handful of lingering spirits throughout its halls.
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Brinton Lodge is a 300-year-old landmark in Douglassville, Berks County. The lodge is located along a country road in Berks County, Pennsylvania, just west of Pottstown. Brinton Lodge dates back to the 1700s, and the original structure, which now envelopes the current building, was a small farmhouse with the Millards. One of the area’s earliest families, who purchased the land originally from William Penn.
The site changed hands in 1796 to become the Kirlin homestead, whose livelihood included making ammunition for the War of 1812. Several years later, the Schuylkill River Canal ran through the property, and rumors circulated that the site was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
In the early 1900s, the Wittman’s, a wealthy family with ties to the Philadelphia iron industry, purchased the property and lavishly expanded the farmhouse to an opulent 28 room mansion. When the site came under the ownership of Reading hotelier Caleb Brinton during Prohibition, it became an exclusive gentlemen’s club. As legend has it, Brinton hand-picked his guests, letting in only the rich and famous from near and far.
Eventually, Brinton would also join his companion Lillian Moore who would soon move in with him at the lodge.
In 1972 the lodge was damaged when Tropical Storm Agnes came through the area. Forcing the two to move out during repairs. During this time Caleb would pass away.
Lillian returned to the lodge alone and lived on the first floor. Neighbors almost immediately began seeing lights on in the upstairs and what looked like someone walking around. When asked if everything was alright, Lillian was not surprised in the slightest. She would casually confirm that the house was haunted.
A few years later in 1980, Lillian would sell the property to the Covatta Family and she herself moved next door. The Covattas, Robert and Sandra, converted the first floor into a restaurant. Keeping the second for guest rooms and living up on the third floor.
However, they too began to experience some strange occurrences shortly after moving in. They witnessed movements from the corners of their eyes. They would hear footsteps when no one else should be in the home, and they began to hear the disembodied cries of an infant.
Sandy would have run-ins with these haunting experiences around fireplaces. She purchased a painting of Andrew Jackson and hung it up above one of the fireplaces. Coming morning, it was found leaning against the ground. This went on for several days until she asked if the cleaning staff was taking it down in order to dust. The staff said that when they arrived, they found it like that, assuming Sandy had taken it down as they didn’t want to move it. Eventually, after even more days of this, Sandy wins and the painting remains up on the wall.
A similar thing happens with a crook that Sandy bought that was displayed on a fireplace in one of the dining rooms. It too moves and places itself on the ground several times.
The staff of the restaurant would report candles in the dining room appearing to light themselves. Lights would behave oddly too, turning off and on by themselves. In addition, in the older parts of the home, people would often report feeling the sensation of being hugged by someone who wasn’t there. Others instead would feel someone pat their arm gently. A few staff members also report having someone pinch their butts, or having someone blow in their ears. Finally, some even report hearing the sound of jewelry jangling nearby.
Doors would also open and close on their own, and both staff and guests alike have reported cold sensations moving right through them while at the restaurant. Full-body apparitions are also in reports by several individuals, primarily being of a man along the staircases and lobby. Caleb Brinton is also spotted on the first floor, wearing a rather dapper hat. Caleb is the one people believe does the hugging and touching sensations.
In 1978, Don Galloway, a psychic medium from Great Britain, was traveling to the US for a WWII commemoration, in Reading, PA. While still on the airplane, he had visions of the Lodge and made contact with several of the spirits that resided there. Upon his arrival, he inquires about the building from his vision and finds the Brinton Lodge. He stayed for two weeks and identified five of the spirits: Caleb Brinton, Caleb’s mother, Katharine Wittman, an unknown male spirit, and the troubled spirit of a little girl.
Although little known in the US, Galloway was popular in England, writing several books on his experiences as a psychic medium. Furthermore utilizing his psychic ability on several cases for Scotland Yard. However, all of this information was provided by the owners of Brinton Lodge around the same time in the 1970s.
First up, being Miss Wittman, who died in the home in 1917 due to the flu, is linked to the main staircase. Miss Wittman was 26 when she died and many believe she is the one responsible for the woman in white phenomenon that occurs in the home.
Second, the spirit of a small girl also resides in the home. With sightings throughout the lodge, however, mediums believe she is rather fond of a small nook under the main stairs. The little girl’s spirit is rather lonely, yet curious and is wears a long dress. The Covattas’ grandson when he was a toddler, saw the little girl’s spirit.
Third, reports of an old woman spirit with the base of the stairs on the third floor. Her spirit uses her time to watch people walk down the narrow staircase.
There is a spirit of a tall thin man, wearing a vest, black garters, and holding a pocket watch. He wanders one of the dining rooms, but more commonly in the Meeting Room. Furthermore, the Covattas have given this spirit the nickname of, “The Dapper Man”.
Finally, the “Dark Shadow” has a long history of haunting the Lodge with first-hand accounts dating back to at least the 1980s and continuing to this day. Here’s a list of the most significant sightings to date. The “Dark Shadow” has been reported by many people throughout the Lodge. While it is unknown who this shadowy figure is, it is believed to be Caleb Brinton’s Spirit wandering around.
– A tenant on the second floor awakened early in the morning and witnessed a dark form sitting at the end of her bed.
– Standing at a hallway desk, a hostess watched as a dark, misty form floated down the main staircase into the old barroom.
– Alone in the Douglass Room about 10:00 pm, a worker witnessed a dark form cross over the hallway to the basement steps.
– A visitor alone in the old barroom saw a dark form enter from the main hallway and disappear.
– A paranormal investigation team filmed a pitch-black form in the second-floor front bedroom. In the video, the entity is fairly solid and not transparent.
Nonetheless, the spirits of Brinton Lodge are rather peaceful, they may spook people here and there, but from all accounts, people do not report malicious behavior or energies. The spirits just seem to still be going about their days in death.
If you like, Brinton Lodge does offer Ghost Tours, along with Ghost Hunting nights. If you’re part of a Paranormal Investigation team, you can even book out a night. However, be cautious of any new policies due to the pandemic.
EP 52 – The Devil’s Road & Cult House. Produced by Shane Cummings; Audio Editing & Research by Shane Cummings.
Intro & Outro music “Creepy Regrets” by AnMo.
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