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The Yenta

Pineapple Hill Bed & Breakfast

Innkeepers: Kathy & Charles “Cookie” Triolo, 1324 River Road\New Hope
I first saw the Pineapple Hill Bed and Breakfast three years ago while I was living in New Hope to work on a novel. Sitting back from River Road on a small hill, the restored 1790 colonial manor house instantly captures the eye with its beauty . . . but my eyes were drawn more directly to the single window beneath the peaked roof.

There was something about that window that drew my attention every time I passed by.

I never spoke to the innkeepers, however, having learned the hard way that there are some people who really don’t want to know their homes may be “occupied” by more than just themselves. Then, almost two years later, I got an e-mail from a freelance director named Rob Child who wrote that he was about to start work on a documentary about New Hope, PA. He found my name when he ran a web search looking for anyone or anything connected with the town.

And with its ghosts.

My web site has both mention of the town and ghosts, so he thought I might be interested in working with him on the documentary, AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED TOWN (Luminence Films). I told Rob I was and immediately made arrangements to fly back to New Hope. During the month I worked with Rob on the documentary, I witnessed a number of events which I’ll write about in other columns . . . but the most impressive, to me at least, was the night I spent in the attic room at Pineapple Hill.

Both Kathy and “Cookie” Triolo not only know they’re sharing their inn with ghosts, but accept their unseen visitors as part of the charm of the manor house. In fact, the “Kissing Ghost” who wanders the second floor bestowing gentle kisses on women’s cheeks, has been written about in a number of books. But it was the attic room, supposedly the most haunted room at the inn, that Rob wanted me to investigate.

To get to the Tomlinson, a lovely two room suite with a working fireplace in the bedroom and cozy sitting room, one must climb the narrow “servant’s” staircase from the second floor; and I have to admit that its position in the house, directly under the eaves, couldn’t be more perfect for a haunted room. The Tomlinson shares the uppermost floor with another suite, but that night – which (naturally) was dark and storming – I was to have not only the floor to myself but the entire
“original” section of the house.

I have to admit, this did send a bit of a shiver up my spine when I was told this – I am human – but that apprehension disappeared when I opened the door and walked into the bedroom. The room was warm and comfortable and I instantly felt at home. Of course, the first things I did was look out the window – and was a bit disappointed when I didn’t feel anything. Darn.

Rob had already done some research on the room and told me that a number of guest had been awakened in the night by what they described as “the sound of a spinning wheel turning.” As there was a spinning wheel in the room, my job – along with getting whatever “feelings” I could from the room – was to set up a video camera facing the spinning wheel before I went to bed.

Kathy Triolo also suggested that I might like to look at the room’s journal. Each room at Pineapple Hill has a room journal where guests can write down comments or suggestions. At first I was reluctant. I didn’t want my perception to be swayed by anything I read, but eventually, I sat down and began glancing through the pages.

There were a number of entries about guests being woken up by the sounds of a spinning wheel turning – in fact, one man wrote that after being roused for a third time he called out that he had to get up early in the morning and asked whoever it was to please stop making noise . . . and was rewarded with silence for the rest of the night – as well as an equal number of comments about the “stuffiness” or “thick air” of the sitting room.
I was in the sitting room at the time and didn’t notice anything particularly stuffy about the air. True, the room has no window, but the air seemed fresh and clean to me.

It was almost ten when I finished reading the journal and there hadn’t been so much as a creak from the spinning wheel in the corner, so I decided to compensate for a so far uneventful evening (ghost-wise) with a little TV. The following section is transcribed directly from the notes I made that evening:

March 29, 2001 – Thursday, Pineapple Hill Inn – 10:15 PM        
Everyone’s gone now and I’m here in the spinning wheel room. Everything’s calm, everything’s still. The TV is on, USA, showing “The Last Don.” I’m not frightened,
nor am I afraid. There is nothing but peace and the feeling of security here. And yet – There is a heaviness in my chest and a feeling of tightness in my throat. I can breathe, but not easily. My heart is pounding as if I’ve just run a mile uphill . . but there is still nothing but peace and stillness in the room. In fact, I feel at peace despite the hammering of my heart. Very strange.
The air is heavy here, hard to breathe – but I think it’s because someone had trouble breathing. That she had trouble breathing for some reason.

10:30 – The feeling of heaviness is passing. It’s getting easier to breathe. Heart no longer pounding. The sensation of peace remains. Now that I understand, she seems content.

When nothing else happened, I finished watching the movie and then set up the video camera and went to bed. I had my doubts about the camera actually “catching” something. The spinning wheel that was in the room was only for show . . . the one the guests heard, I felt, was as much a ghost as the spinner herself.

Sometime later – I couldn’t see the clock on the mantel – I was awakened by a rhythmic whirring sound. My first thought was that the heater had kicked in and this was what guests had thought was the sound of a ghostly spinning wheel. Again I was disappointed and would have gotten up to turn off the video camera if I had been able to move. I was flat on my back – legs together, right arm bent at the elbow, hand curled on my chest, and my left arm was straight at my side. The only thing I could move was my head, and then only from side to side.

It felt as though my body, from the neck down, had fallen asleep.

Surprisingly, all I felt was the same sense of peace that I’d felt earlier and fell back to sleep.

I was woken three more times that night and each time to the sound of whirring. And each time I woke in the same frozen position. The last time I woke up, and even though I suspected it was just the heater, I said “Okay, I hear you. Good night.”

When I woke up again, it was morning and I was curled onto my right side. Then the heater came on and I heard only a soft hissing as warm air filled the room. I apologized to the spinner’s ghosts as I put the video camera away. As I suspected, the spinning wheel it had been aimed at remained still throughout the night, although I think the audio may have picked up the whirring sounds.

Rob Child came to pick me up later that morning. We’d just descended the attic stairs and were moving toward the staircase that led to the kitchen when I began telling him about what had happened in the sitting room – shortness of breath, heart pounding – when I reached out to grab the newel post . . . and immediately experienced the same thing. I must have gone pale, because Rob asked me if I was all right. I told him I was fine and, when I let go of the post, I was. There was no shortness of breath, no pounding heart, nothing of what I’d just fell. When I touched the post again, the manifestations instantly returned.

And then I understood.

The spinner had lived and died in the attic room of consumption. That’s why the air in the sitting room – her chamber when she was alive – feels so heavy and why I experienced her struggle for breath.
Despite this, the haunting is a gentle one. She only wants to be recognized, if not remembered. Just be sure to tell her ‘Good night’ before you go to sleep.

Pleasant dreams.

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