A doctor, a teacher, a racehorse, at least two veterans of the Civil War and even old Honest Abe — at least sometimes. What do these have in common?


A doctor, a teacher, a racehorse, at least two veterans of the Civil War and even old Honest Abe — at least sometimes. What do these have in common?

According the self-professed “sensitive” involved with WNEP’s “Ghost Finders,” these and numerous other spirits inhabit the Hotel Wayne, going about their various otherworldly activities without realizing that they are the subject of an investigation that will play out on television over the next two weeks.

According to General Manager Jim Petorak, aside from the odd shadow or door closing on its own, he had never had any seriously creepy experiences in the building personally since taking the job three years ago.

Coincidentally — or maybe not — as soon as he was contacted by the show’s producer, strange things began to happen.

Shortly after agreeing to allow the Ghost Finders crew to check out the hotel, Petorak witnessed a very strange occurrence firsthand.

“It was the first time I got a really creepy feeling in this building,” he said, “One day, the men’s bathroom completely filled up with steam for no reason. There isn’t any steam heat or anything. There’s just no way for steam to get in there, but it did. The bathroom was completely filled with it.”

“People came out of the woodwork with stories of strange happenings as soon as they heard someone had an interest in it,” he said. “It really blows my mind how many people are excited about it, how many have gotten a hold of me to say they want to come to Honesdale to check it out just from hearing the WNEP was going to have a show on it.”

According to the anecdotes Petorak has heard from various employees and others, stories abound about people seeing women in Victorian-era dress climbing the stairs, hearing babies cry or seeing doors close, or the eyes in the portrait of Philip Hone following them as they climb the stairs to the second floor.

At least one member of the Ghost Finders crew is no exception.

In her post-reading report to Petorak, self-styled “sensitive” and paranormal researcher Crystal Boehmer says she identified no less than 15 disembodied spirits — possibly more — during the course of the night she spent in the hotel filming for the show.

From the basement to the attic, the Hotel Wayne teems with afterlife, Boehmer says. In her report, she says she believes what some have said was the image of Abraham Lincoln roaming the ghostly halls is actually another tall bearded former man, one who does not sport Lincoln’s trademark stovepipe hat.

Nonetheless, Boehmer says she believes Abe — long known to still reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., does frequent the Hotel Wayne. She thinks this is because of the phantom quarter horse lingering in the former livery.

Called “Sparky,” “Spartacus,” or something similar, Boehmer says she thinks Lincoln may have bet on this horse at some point. Presumably, he drops by from time to time to check the status of his wager.

From the benignly demented but fastidious Paul, who lived his life and continues keeping order in his basement abode to this day, to the Victorian-era “working girls” still plying their trade on the third floor and Margaret the elderly math teacher on the second floor balcony still complaining about her swollen feet; Boehmer says there are no malevolent spirits haunting the hotel, just a lot of former people still going about the business of lives long gone.

That may be, but it seems there is one camera-shy spirit in room 321 that apparently did not want to come out and play with the television crew.

Reportedly, the crew asked the bartender to let them into room 321 at around midnight the night they were filming, but though her key turned the lock, the door wouldn’t budge. The story goes that as they tried to force the door open, Boehmer came running down the hall yelling “Stop! Stop! He doesn’t want you in there.”

Petorak says Boehmer had been in there earlier talking with the presence and when she asked him if it was all right if she sat in the chair, he can be heard in audio recordings telling her to lie on the bed. So it could be his reasons for not wanting a TV crew in the room were other than mere shyness.

Whether or not the Ghost Finders double episode will conclusively prove the presence of these or other entities in the Hotel Wayne, Petorak says he believes the researchers and crew were earnest about their work, seriously trying to scientifically prove or disprove the existence of otherworldly energies.

For himself, Petorak says he remains on the fence about ghosts.

“I’m right in the middle,” he says, “But I’ll tell you this: We can’t explain why people yawn, so don’t tell me we know everything there is to know.”

The Hotel Wayne will host a viewing party the next two Sundays, Dec. 11 and 18, for the airing of the show, which will play at 1 p.m. both days on channel 16.

Whether or not you believe, Petorak says those who attend should try chef David Schwartz’s signature dish — Chicken Napoleon — or the resurrected 2,700 year-old Turkish beer recipe called Midas Touch from Dogfishhead.

Either way, Petorak says patrons’ experiences at the Wayne Hotel will be out of this world.