The mysterious story of a dead miner, an old house, an ancient burial ground and a box of human remains. The haunting of Titus Homestead has never been explained and the most logical answer appears to be a paranormal one.
Settlers first arrived in the Wyoming Valley in North-eastern Pennsylvania in 1769, this is when the town of Plymouth was born. Being located on the Susquehanna River and at the junctions of several important Indian trails made Plymouth the perfect location to set up a trading post. In the early 19th century, coal was discovered in the area which quickly turned Plymouth into a booming and wealthy mining town.
In 1885 there was a tragic accident and the Delaware & Hudson mine collapsed, killing three miners in the process.
One of the miners who lived in Plymouth that was killed was called Dennis Titus, tragically leaving behind a daughter, Cora, and a widow, Mary.
Mary Titus lived in the family home on Vine Street until 1900, she later moved out of town when she met another man and remarried.
We don't know who the original owner of the property was and this information appears to have been lost to history, however, four generations of the Titus family lived in the property that is believed to be one of the oldest houses in Plymouth, with construction dating back before the time of the Revolutionary War.
In May 1897, Mary Titus, who had lived at the property with her daughter ever since the sudden death of her husband twelve years before, started to experience peculiar and strange things happening inside her home.
Both mother and daughter would hear strange noises within the home, not just at night but all hours of the day. The noises seemed to come up from the basement and move through the entire property. Strangely, they said that whenever Mary or Cora would make their way down the creaky wooden staircase that led to the cellar the unusual knocking sound would stop, and the cellar was always empty.
Mary was somewhat of a sceptic when it came to acts of the paranormal and quickly put the knocks and bangs down to a natural course, she thought it was likely just the house settling on its foundation. Visitors however, had a different opinion on the Titus Homestead, whilst visiting Mary and Cora, they also would hear the bangs, thuds and knocks and reported a feeling of unexplainable, terror and a sense of being extremely frightened once the sounds began.
They said that it seemed as though the bangs and knocks were coming up from beneath the floorboards, and they swore that they could feel the pounding noises run through the soles of their feet
The friends and neighbours who had been round to the house came up with their own explanation as to what was going on. They learned that the incessant noises started just after the part of the mine where Dennis Titus had died was re-opened.
A group of fellow miners from Plymouth decided to go and pay a visit to the Titus Homestead and see if they could hear the sinister sounds for themselves, they all agreed that the knocks heard within the house were identical to those sounds that were heard down in the mine when the workers got trapped after the tragic collapse incident.
Mary Titus was still having none of this, she knew that her husband's body was successfully removed from the mine and that he had been given a proper burial and would have no reason to be haunting the family home.
It also appeared to become apparent that whatever, or whoever, was haunting the Titus Homestead didn't have much interest in Mary, whatever it was appeared to have much more of a fascination with Cora, Mary's daughter.
Cora even reported that she had seen the figure of a ghost in the property and that it followed her between rooms, wherever she would go, the spirit would not be far behind. After the noises began Cora was prone to bursting into fits of hysterics before being diagnosed with a disease known as St. Vitus' dance, which is a condition that causes the victim to jerk and twitch uncontrollably at random.
Mary Titus actually convinced herself that the noises being heard were actually being caused by Cora, one day when they were sat in the kitchen when Mary heard a tapping sound, she soon realised that the noise was being created by Cora, who's foot was twitching without her knowledge under the table, this for a short period seemed like a logical explanation to the noises.
Now that medical knowledge has progressed we are aware that St Vitus dance is not caused by anything supernatural but in fact is formed from a type of childhood bacterial infection. Out of sufferers of the condition, 80% of the patients are aged between 7 and 11, and it is unheard off for anyone over the age of 16 to develop the condition.
Cora was almost 20-years-old when she began to suffer from the convulsions, Mary's theory also couldn't explain how a large number of witnesses had also heard the pounding and knocking noises whilst Cora wasn't even at home.
The mystery was never solved whilst the Titus's remained in the property. Mary later met another man and remarried and moved into a new house on Courtright Street in the nearby town of Plains, and Cora got married and also moved to Courtright Street, leaving the Titus Homestead abandoned and the stories of the haunting happenings started to get forgotten about. Until 1903 that is...
In March of 1903 a group of young boys entered the abandoned Titus Homestead and started to play and mess around inside. They were digging holes in the dirt floor in the cellar when they quickly noticed a large lump of wood that was sticking out of the ground by the foundations of the building.
The youngsters quickly dug further with the thought that they may have found buried treasure racing through their minds. They soon revealed that what they had found was in fact a wooden box, it measured approximately three feet in length and one foot in width, they proceeded to pry open the lid and discovered a bunch of bones inside.
You would normally expect the discovery of a box full of bones to frighten a group of children, not this lot though, they were simply disappointed that it wasn't filled with a gold coins and a treasure map. One of the boys thought they might be able to get some money from their find, so they gathered up some of the bones and went to the local junk dealer who agreed to take the bones from them and gave them a few pennies to go and buy some candy.
The junk dealer took the bones to Dr C.L Ashley, who recognised one of the bone fragments as that of a human breast bone.
The authorities got notified and went to take a look inside the Titus home, they described the bones as being so brittle that they started to crumble at just the slightest touch. After some investigation work it turned out that the Titus Homestead had actually been constructed on top of an old forgotten burial ground, they also discovered that as the Titus House had settled, part of its foundation had settled upon the lid of the wooden box and caused it to break.
The question now, is that could the knocking and banging sounds that Mary and Cora and all of their visitors heard have been caused by a spirit that was disturbed by the house breaking the top of the box? This may seem a strange explanation, however, it is also the only one that seems to make any form of sense.
Now you have read the story of the Titus Homestead Haunting, make sure you check out our story on the Hitchhiking Ghost of Uniondale.