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Hawk Mountain

You can find The Sanctuary by taking Route 143 north from Interstate 78, turn West on "Hawk Mountain Road" at Kempton, then go about 6.6 miles. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is located on the Kittatinny Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The sanctuary is a nationally known center for watching the migration of hawks, falcons, and eagles.
The hill has a long history of violence and was first used by the Lenni Lenape Indians. There are the remains of a ceremonial ring on the mountain, so it is probable that this site was used for spiritual rituals of the Native American religion. The Native Americans did not choose their sacred site arbitrarily. It is believed that the medicine men of the tribes understood the ley lines of the Earth and chose their sacred sites at the convergences of these lines. (like Stonehenge in England was chosen by those people)
When the European settlers arrived in the area, their coexistence with the Lenni Lenape was not an easy one. There were bad feelings on both sides, no doubt encouraged by the French, and the tensions mounted until they erupted in violence in the winter of 1756. A group of Indians attacked a family in their cabin. There was one survivor, the 11 year old son, Jacob Gerhardt. He courageously returned to the mountain and rebuilt a house on the site of his family home.

There are many different ghostly beings associated with this mountain. A luminous ten-foot- tall man, probably associated with the ceremonial ring, has been seen by drivers along the road to the mountaintop. The ghosts of the Gerhardt family are believed to roam the area at night. They are not alone. Ghostly faces have been seen in the windows of the old headquarters in the nature sanctuary. This was the old Gerhardt home and later the home of Matthias Schambacher and his wife. In the mid-1800's, Matthias and his wife rented rooms in their house as sort of a wayside rooming house/inn. Rumours began circulating that many guests had entered the Schambacher's home and were never seen again. Matthias and his wife did not associate with the local people. Their guests were known to come to the village swearing they wpuld never again spend the night at the Schambacher home. The nights were anything but restful for these travelers. They reported starnge noises coming from the barn and footsteps in the middle of the night that stopped outside their door as if someone were listening. Overriding all of this was a feeling of imminent doom.
Locals who had ventured close enough to spy on the Schambachers reportedly saw Matthias scrubbing blood from the barn walls. Other claimed their horses would bolt as soon as they neared the property. In winter, bright flashing lights lit up the side of the mountain accompanied by wailing sounds.
On his deathbed, a delirious Schambacher did confess to robbing and killing at least 11 travelers, including peddlers and soldiers. His motive was robbery and he disposed of the bodies by burying them in the woods around his homestead. Matthias claimed that the deeds were not his own, but that they were caused by a great evil that lives on the mountain that whispered to him constantly, urging him to murder, even while he slept.
After he died, another Matthias came to Hawk Mountain. This Matthias was kind and generous, a devout Catholic who patterned his life after Jesus. He was generous beyond belief and the locals began to regard him as some kind of backwoods saint. he even began holding services at his cabin on Sundays. A large cross was built there, and the locals even took their children to him to be baptized. They began to believe that this good man had exorcised the evil spirit of Hawl Mountain. Unfortunately for this Matthias, the evil was merely dormant.
In the summer of 1890, a hiker decided to visit Matthias. He found the door of the holy man's cabin ripped off, all of his furniture and belongings thrown around inside and outside the cabin. Matthias was nowhere to be found. A few days later a search party located the decomposed remains of Matthias. The murderer was never found.
In 1938, the property was bought by Mrs. Raymond Ingersoll, who donated it to the bird sanctuary. Almost immediately, employees of the sanctuary reported supernatural phenomena. They often heard wails in the night, as if someone were being tortured. Some people believe these cries to be those of a nocturnal animal. Others believe it is an echo of the cries that have echoed on the mountain in the past. The strange flashing lights are still seen today. Sometimes they appear to be circular balls of light. The appearance of these lights always causes a feeling of unease in the viewer.
Over the years, the buried remains of humans have been discovered, recalling the deathbed confession of Matthias Schambacher.
Another ghost that has been described but not substantiated through any corresponding historical event, is that of a young girl who is seen walking about 18 inches above the floor. She supposedly died in the house from a bad fall down the stairs. Since her time, the house had been remodeled. During the process, the living room floor was lowered about 18 inches. This is the apparent reason for her appearance above the floor.


The following was submitted to us by
This is just a strange event that happened last year at this time to my brother and I. We were walking our dog along the state game land trail near or on where the Appalachian Trail goes through leading to the Pinnacle. It was right above the big clearing where I believe they have a stargazing group meet, maybe also a boy scout meeting area. This is below Hawk Mountain in the valley.
Anyway, it was pretty deserted with only us on the trail. We heard a "whoomp" off in the trees above us on the mountain.. It was like something heavy hitting the ground, or maybe a car door being slammed but there was no bang, only a "whoomp." It spooked us so we decided to head back. We thought we heard it again as we were walking and we kept going. After a minute or two we stopped to listen, and we heard it again, this time AHEAD of us but still above us in the trees along the trail. Another "whoomp." We agreed that it seemed like it was paralleling our course and following us, but we didn't hear any sounds of it moving through the trees. We both used to hunt and you can hear deer or people, even squirrels, moving through brush. The dog seemed to want to go back down the mountain, which also unnerved us.
We picked up the pace and headed down to the parking lot and we were the only car there. We'll be going again once the fall leaves change more and we're also curious to see if we can hear it again. Has anybody ever had similar experiences like this? I've heard of some truly creepy and ghostly sightings nearby.

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