The end of October marks our Ghost Dinner series at Accomac Inn. Read more about the dinner here. The Harrisburg Ghost Hunters will be discussing their ghostly findings from their nights at the Inn and hopefully catching some paranormal activity on video through the live camera feeds that will be set up during dinner!
Accomac Inn has many ghost stories, but none more chilling than the many sightings associated with the murder of Emily Myers by John Coyle Jr., the son of the 1881 owner, John Coyle Sr.
Here is the story:
On July 5, 1864, the Accomac property was purchased by John Coyle Sr. It was during his ownership that a tragic event took place at the Inn. Early in the morning on May 30, 1882, Emily Myers, a hired girl, was in the barn milking cows when 29 year old John Coyle Jr. entered the barn to once again ask Emily for her hand in marriage. Emily had rejected Johnny’s advances many times before and asked Johnny to please let her be. Johnny was not a bright boy; but although he had a quick temper, he was considered a considerate and gentile fellow. His attentions were spurned by Emily; and in a fit of frustration, he drew a pistol and shot Emily dead some fifty feet north of the Inn.
Johnny’s trial caused quite a stir at the time. There was little sympathy for Johnny in spite of his stated affliction of a “weak mind.” After a ten day search for Johnny, who had run to the hills, he was found and brought for arraignment on October 19th, where on advice of his attorney pleaded “not guilty” to this onerous crime. Johnny’s trial was front page news, with reports of witnesses called, rebuttals and statements of attorneys. It was to no one’s surprise that the verdict was “guilty of murder in the first degree.” Feelings ran high in the community against Johnny Coyle for his seemingly cold-blooded murder of Emily. So when Johnny appealed this verdict to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1882, the case was ordered retried. His attorneys asked for a change of venue to Gettysburg, Adams County.
The court room was crowded on March 5, 1883, when the jury, after three hours of deliberation, returned its verdict of “guilty of murder in the first degree.” In spite of repeated attempts to appeal the decision, Johnny was hanged in Gettysburg; and his mother claimed the body and transported it by wagon from the Gettysburg jail to York to the Inn, where he lies buried about 50 feet south of the Inn in a grave marked with a stone marker. This murder and its two trials were sensational events at the time, spanning a period of three years from 1881 to 1883.
Learn more at our dinners on October 27th, 28th and 29th!
Also, check out this article on PennLive.com entitled,“Visit these haunted inns and restaurants for a Halloween thrill.”