On this chilling AND heart-warming edition of After Hours AM/America’s Most Haunted Radio — Thursdays 9-11pE with hosts Joel Sturgis and Eric Olsen — we delve into the fascinating history and mad hauntings of Linesville, PA’s KNICKERBOCKER HOTEL, one of America’ Most Haunted, with owner and gracious hostess Peg Knickerbocker. Peg will join us in the 10pE hour. In the 9pE hour, Joel and Eric will penetrate the week’s paranormal news in a manner both informative and entertaining.
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Exactly halfway between New York City and Chicago, in the sleepy northwestern Pennsylvania town of Linesville, sits a beautifully refurbished and decorated three-story brick landmark, the Knickerbocker Hotel, which happens to be bursting at the seams with spirits. Those spirits — while sometimes moody, mischievous, even cranky — often seem as willing to entertain guests as were the original, living innkeepers during the building’s heyday a century and more ago.
The original proprietors, Milo and Clara Arnold, built the establishment, originally called Arnold House, on land Mrs. Arnold inherited from her second husband (Milo was number three). On January 12, 1882 they held a gala ball to open this hotel, restaurant, entertainment lounge, and family residence. The 20-room building has weathered the winds of change and stands proud and strong on its original foundation, with the past and present, the seen and unseen, inextricably intertwined.
Current owners, Peg and Myrle Knickerbocker, felt a calling to restore and decorate this gem as a tribute to the people, history, and style of its Gilded Age origins and have done so since they assumed full control of the property in 2005. Peg Knickerbocker changes the theme and décor of each room on a regular basis to keep visitors and ghosts on their toes. Every room is a moment caught in time.
Among the most prominent ghosts of the Knickerbocker Hotel are founding matriarch Clara Arnold, who died of tuberculosis at the age of 37 just three years after the Arnold House opened; at least one small child variously seen in the basement and heard with stunning clarity on video; a roaming shadow figure caught on infrared video on the third floor hallway and stairs; and a remarkably tangible former feline, seen, heard, and captured on video in the second floor “Cat Room.”
Countless paranormal teams have reported and documented activity while investigating here, and the Knickerbockers have opened their doors to television shows including A&E’s Paranormal State and Bio’s My Ghost Story. Brian Cano, of Destination America’s Haunted Collector fame, filmed a documentary here with his home team SCARED!
The Knickerbocker can be compared to a storybook, with each of its rooms representing a chapter, each chapter with its own unique characters. Each character has a common denominator, a connection to the building itself. When you enter the Knickerbocker you become part of the story and the characters may reveal themselves in fascinating and sometimes frightening ways.
Clara Arnold, for whom the hotel was a short-lived dream, was very likely a Spiritualist, someone who adamantly believed in spirit communication through a living agent, embracing it as religious dogma. Those who knew Clara considered her a staunch supporter of the movement fomenting in nearby Cassadaga, New York, at that time. Her dying words, “I am only going to sleep,” are very much in the Spiritualist tradition. Perhaps her belief, and perhaps participation, in the fascinating world of afterlife communication created a foundation for the events that continue to unfold long after she has left this earthly plane.
Peg and Myrle Knickerbocker have become much more than just property owners, they have taken on the responsibility of being caretakers of the past, preserving and celebrating the lives of the dead. There is an old legend that a haunting will cease when the dead are forgotten. If no living soul says your name you simply fade away into obscurity. If this is true then the spirits at the Knickerbocker will remain, never forgotten and always respected, under the watchful and loving eyes of Peg and Myrle Knickerbocker and those worthy of being guests at one of America’s Most Haunted hotels
Grand Opening Reenactment
In September, 2011, the Knickerbockers held an event reenacting the original 1882 grand opening of the Arnold House. Using a contemporary newspaper account as their guide, participants relived the day the hotel first threw open its doors, beginning its strange journey through time. The guests all dressed in period attire and each had a part to play. Peg was chef and served a lovely dinner to the guests; Myrle entertained the crowd with piano music popular in the 1880s; and their friend Mark Painter portrayed Milo Arnold, original proprietor of the hotel.
It was a grand party, much like the one held over 130 years ago. Everyone stayed in character throughout the night, enjoying food and music authentic to the era. After serving the guests in the lounge, the “staff” sat down for their meal in the dining room.
Eventually “Milo” stood up and addressed his guests, thanking them for coming to the grand opening celebration. As he spoke, the party guests stared in awe at what was conjuring behind him. “Milo” turned as well, just in time to see a wave-like body, like a heat mirage, emerge from the east wall and sweep across the room to the west.
Before anyone could speak, a man dressed exactly like faux-Milo stepped out of the wall into the room, took a quick look around, then stepped back into the wall and disappeared!
Stunned by what they had seen, the party goers bolted from the lounge to the dining room to report what had just happened. Peg was shocked when she heard their tale, especially since her group, the ones portraying hotel staff, had seen the same man peeking in at them through the door just moments before. It seems as though Milo Arnold crashed his own party.
INVESTIGATE THE LOVELY AND HAUNTED KNICK WITH BOB CHRISTOPHER AND DAVE JULIANO OF HAUNTED EXPLORATIONS ON OCTOBER 15!
by Eric Olsen [Berkley]