General LaFayette Inn Investigation

Location: Lafayette Hill, PA

Date: Sunday morning, November 16, 2003

Moon Phase: half moon

Solar Weather: solar flares active, geomagnetic storms

Investigators present: Hillary M., Paul M., Robert H., Bob R., guest investigator Cheryl S., and several employees of the inn.

Equipment: Olympus C-3000 digital camera, RCA digital voice recorder, Sony digital video camera with Nightshot, Extech EMF meter, Olympus 2000 Digital Voice Recorder, Sony NightShot video camera (Hi 8), Keystone Easy Shot 500x with fixed 38mm lens, Kodak Gold 400 speed color film, E.L.F.-Zone EMF meter, Sony mini recorder, Cyclops Compact Nightvision Scope, Radio Shack brand digital thermometer and hygrometer, Olympus D-220L digital camera with no strap, Radio Shack motion Sensors, Radio Shack EM86 digital recorder, Olympus C-4000 Digital Camera, Trifield EMF meter, Olympus D370 digital camera

History: The history of the General Lafayette Inn and St. Peter's Church, which is adjacent to the Inn, has been entwined through the centuries. On May 18, 1778, General Lafayette and 2200 of the best equipped men were sent by General Washington from Valley Forge to Barren Hill (now known as Lafayette Hill) to spy on the British in Philadelphia.
  The British learned of Lafayette's position at Barren Hill and planned to capture him by sending five columns over the great roads from Philadelphia and surround his encampment.
During the night of May 19th, this news reached Lafayette and, as dawn approached, he climbed into the tower of the old church. From the elevation of the tower, he could see the surrounding countryside and was able to plan a brilliant plan of escape.
  He left 500 men, cannons and 50 Indians at the Church to hold the British off until the main body of his command could escape. (Click here to learn more about the role of Oneida Indians during the Battle of Barren Hill). The battle at the Church was short but fierce, and it gained the precious time needed. He and his men did reach safety, crossing at Matson's Ford to the west side of the Schuylkill. The British returned to Philadelphia in humiliation.
On May 22nd, Lafayette returned with his men to the encampment at Barren Hill. They remained here carrying out their intelligence orders until June 19, 1778, when they joined Washington on the march out from Valley Forge onto victory at Monmouth, New Jersey.
  During the period of the encampment at Barren Hill, it is believed that General William Smallwood and General William Hull used the Inn for their Headquarters. There is no doubt that the jovial young French officer Lafayette frequently joined his fellow officers at the Inn for refreshment and discussions.
  After the Revolution, much had to be done to rehabilitate all the buildings at Barren Hill, for the war had taken its toll on the little village. It was during this period when the Dager and Hitner families intermarried and the large addition to the Inn was added, with its unusual corner-fireplace at the long end of the building. This was repeated on the second floor sleeping area.
  The prominent Hitner family owned several marble quarries in the area. One was called "Old Blue" and was just up the road from the Inn. The mantle of the blue marble fireplace in front of which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence was made of marble quarried from "Old Blue." The long dining room across the front of the General Lafayette Inn has a fireplace of this blue marble.
  In 1874, a horse-drawn trolley line was opened out from Philadelphia and later tracks were laid along the same route. Thus, once again, the old Inn became a welcomed place for refreshment for the travelers at the junction across from the General Lafayette Inn, then called "Barren Hill Hotel."
  In 1946, the owner, Ludwig Zackiewicz, changed its name to the "Lafayette Hotel" because he was very aware of the building's historic value. Mr. Zackiewicz, in 1958, saved the old inn from being demolished to make way for a gas station. He also persuaded its next owner, Ted Helmetag, to make extensive alterations and improvements and continue its long tradition of hospitality. For the next 30 years to follow, this tradition would be carried on by generations of the Mustin family.
  In the mid-1990's, the Inn closed its doors after centuries of continued operation, during which time new life was breathed into the old building. In 1996, after extensive restoration by local preservationist Mike McGlynn, the General Lafayette Inn opened its doors once again. While maintaining its Colonial appeal and upscale dining atmosphere, the Inn now housed its own microbrewery, producing local and nationally award-winning beers. A venue was also created for local area artists to perform eclectic music to a lively tavern several nights a week. In 1999, the General Lafayette Inn expanded its property ownership and opened a Bed & Breakfast, Lafayette's Retreat, which continues to offer five tastefully decorated rooms for weary travelers. With McGlynn's ties to local Revolutionary War re-enactors, the Inn started celebrating anniversaries not celebrated elsewhere, such as May's honoring of Lafayette's Escape from the British and October's Soldiers' Return from the Battle of Germantown. One never knows when one may come face-to-face with the Marquis de Lafayette or even George Washington at the General Lafayette Inn! In June 2003, McGlynn succumbed to cancer at the early age of 50. Prior to his passing, he requested that the integrity of his work at the Inn be carried forward by Chris Leonard, who had already been the Inn's brewmaster for four years. In March 2004, that request was finally granted when Leonard--along with members of the Leonard family--proudly took ownership.

This information was taken from the Inn's website at


Hauntings: The Inn's former owner, Michael McGlynn, recalls one night in 1996 when he was working late in his office on the second floor. "It was late and I was working. The door was closed, and all of a sudden I heard the doorknob rattle, as if someone was trying to get in. I looked over, but the knob wasn't moving." McGlynn claims the door to his office is an original door that was installed when the Inn was first built. "It's happened a few times. It's really strange. There I am working, and the knob begins to rattle. I always looked over and saw the doorknob wasn't moving. I got up a few times and went to the door, but no one was there," he said. McGlynn's impression of his midnight callers: "I don't believe in ghosts, but on the other hand, I don't not believe in them."
  Since 1996, the Inn has had employees and guests experience everything from "a chair twirling on one leg" in the pool room, to footsteps coming from the second floor when no one was there (despite multiple attempts to locate the source of the footsteps), to messages from an old woman through a Ouija board in the upstairs Club Room, to several sightings of an older woman crossing through the smaller upstairs dining rooms.

This information was taken from the Inn's website at


Investigation: We arrived at the General Lafayette Inn around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. We introduced ourselves to the owner, Chris, who gave us a tour of the building. At 3:30, we split up into two groups: Hillary, Paul, Cheryl, and an employee were in group #1, Robert, Bob, Chris, and a couple of other employees were in group #2. Group #1 started in the small upstairs dining room while group #2 started in the small basement.
  In group #1, Paul sat in the Cigar Room (or Franklin Room), Cheryl stood in the small dining room (the Club Room) across the hall, and Hillary stood in the hallway between the two rooms. Noise from the bathroom and nearby ice machine were noted. The video camera was placed in the large dining room adjacent to the Cigar Room.
Ten minutes into the recording session, Paul asked the spirits why they are so often seen in this part of the building. I took a picture of him, and got an orb over his head. Just under five minutes later, I got a small moving orb in the corner of the Cigar Room. Then, Cheryl came out into the hallway and raised her camera to take a picture. I quickly took a picture of her before she focused, and got a moving orb right in front of her camera! The orb must have quickly moved out of the way though, because her picture, taken about a second later, did not show any anomalies.   At 4:00 a.m., group #2 radioed to tell us that we were breaking through on their radio. We found this very curious since our radio had been placed on the table in the Cigar Room, and had not been touched since we started the session.
  At 4:15, group #1 moved into the larger upstairs dining room, but nothing unusual was documented there. At 4:40, we moved into the attic. Nothing unusual was documented there either.
  At 5:00 a.m., group #2 moved up to the Cigar Room upstairs, while group #1 moved to the Pool Room downstairs. The infrared video camera was placed in the front reception and bar area. Nothing much happened in the Pool Room except that Cheryl felt the floor shaking beneath her feet for approximately 1.5 minutes. The rest of the group felt nothing.
  At 5:10, group #1 moved to the basement. EVP recording here was hindered by the sound of beer bubbling while brewing. One stationary orb picture was obtained here. We moved onto the bar area next, but did not obtain much more than a few stationary orb pictures.
  At 5:35, the two groups joined, and spread out into the large dining room downstairs. The video camera was set up in this room as well. Within the first five minutes of this recording session, Robert and I tracked what seemed to be the same orb, moving around the room from opposite sides of the room. I also obtained a picture of a stationary orb, which is partially concealed by a ceiling beam. What is extraordinary about this type of picture, is that it shows three dimensional space. Since the orb is behind the ceiling beam, it cannot simply be a speck of dust (or other airborne particle) hovering in front of my camera lens. A few minutes later, Robert stated that the red light on the video camera blinked twice. Upon checking the camera at that time, we found that the batteries were fully charged, and there was plenty of space on the videocassette.
  At 5:55 a.m., we all moved up to the second floor dining rooms. The video camera was placed in the Cigar Room. A few minutes into the session, I smelled a strong musty smell, which was not identified. Since the place seemed to be settling down, we decided to end our investigation at 6:10.

Conclusion: After reviewing our audio recordings, we found that we obtained no EVPs. We also did not catch any orbs on video. However, we did obtain several moving orb photos, and tracked an orb moving around the large dining room from two different angles. It was also revealed later that Bob felt an unseen guest touch him during team #2's recording session in the Cigar Room. Even though the inn did not possess the usual heavy atmosphere of a haunted location, these results cannot be easily explained. These results suggest that this inn is haunted, even if this did not turn out to be a very active night. We believe that the area around the Franklin Room and Club Room is the most active area of the building. Employee experiences seem to confirm this.

Thanks very much to Chris Leonard for allowing us to investigate the General Wayne Inn.

Submitted by Hillary Murdoch