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Post Info TOPIC: Ghost House on Ridge Avenue

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Ghost House on Ridge Avenue

For many years, stories circulated about what was called the "most haunted house in America". To look at the place, where it was located on the north side of Pittsburgh, one might never suspect what dark secrets lingered inside. There were tales of bizarre murder, human experimentation and gruesome death told about the house and visits to the residence inspired horror stories and even a great inventors fascination with death and the afterworld. If any building deserved the reputation for being Americas most haunted house, it was this one!

In truth, the House on Ridge Avenue was not one of America's greatest haunts but one of it's greatest hoaxes instead!

The story of the infamous "House on Ridge Avenue" has always been one of my favorite tales of ghosts, horror and the supernatural. I ran across this story for the first time back in 1979 and never forgot it. It chilled me to the bone and perhaps because I was at such an impressionable age then, I never doubted that the story was true. In the years that followed, my interest in the story never faded and as time passed, I should have realized that something was not quite right about it, but I never did. Or perhaps I never wanted to realize it or to doubt that the tale was not an authentic one. I refused to see that the story of the "Original Most Haunted House in America" seemed almost too good to be true.

It seemed too good to be true - simply because it was.

I can't help but be embarrassed now as I look back and wonder how I didn't miss the signs in the first place. The story of the House on Ridge Avenue has appeared in at least one of my books on ghosts and I have even done magazine articles about it as well. By late 2003, my faith in the story had wavered and I became determined to try and track down the details of the story. It can sometimes be difficult to trace a story that occurred quite some distance away from you (which is my only excuse for being hoodwinked by the story for as long as I was) but I decided not to let the miles between Illinois and Pittsburgh stand in the way. If someone knew the facts behind this story, I wanted to find them.

As I began contacting people who should have been aware of the salient facts behind the story of the Ridge Avenue house, I realized that those who claimed knowledge were simply repeating back to me the same account that I had already heard. They cited the same sources and as far as I can tell, this "local legend" first appeared in the book Haunted Houses by Richard Winer and Nancy Osborn. As this had long been one of my favorite books, I was dismayed when I discovered that Mr. Winer was as fooled by the story as the rest of us were. I have been unable to discover where the authors may have first heard the story themselves.

As I continued my search, I found the same story regurgitated back to me over and over again. People who claimed to recall the details behind the events suddenly forgot them and witnesses who stated that they had information that went beyond the standard accounts became bewildered when the story did not match the historical details of the case.

All that I can say is that I hope you enjoy the recounting - and the debunking - of the legend that follows. This was not a story that I wanted to tell but as stated before, we cannot be afraid of the truth. If stories that are show to be fraudulent are reported as real, then how can we expect the real stories to be taken seriously?


According to the stories, the House on Ridge Avenue was located in a quiet residential neighborhood in
Manchester, on the north edge of Pittsburgh. A man named Charles Wright Congelier built it in the 1860's. He had made a fortune for himself in Texas following the Civil War and such men were commonly referred to in the south as "Carpetbaggers". They made a lot of money preying on the broken economy in the former Confederacy. Congelier left Texas by river steamer, taking with him his Mexican wife, Lyda, and a servant girl named Essie. When the steamer docked in Pittsburgh for coal, Congelier decided that the Pennsylvania town looked like a good place to settle. The three of them left the ship and Congelier purchased a lot and began construction of the house.

A few months later, the new brick and mortar mansion was completed. It was located at 1129 Ridge Avenue and was considered one of the finest houses in the area. From the expansive lawn, Congelier could look out and see where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers met to form the Ohio, offering a breathtaking view. The former Carpetbagger soon became a respected member of the local business community and his new home became a frequent site for parties and social gatherings. Then, during the winter of 1871, an event took place that would bloody the location for decades to come.

That winter, as cold and snow settled over the region, Congelier became embroiled in an affair with his servant girl, Essie. Whether she was a willing participant or not, Essie soon became a constant bed partner for her employer. For several months, Lyda Congelier was unaware of the affair, but when three people reside in the same house, it's only a matter of time before secrets are revealed.

Read complete story at




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It certainly appears to be an interesting read. I have read various sources on this topic and the more i read, the more i m thinkin of visiting the pace.. any company ?



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Posts: 1

This story was exactly like this fiction book that I have read about 5 years ago. I picked up the book at a second hand store but did not keep it. Have been trying to find the title of it but to no avail, looks like it was one of the chippies. The book read exactly like the story above, down to the mad doctor. I think its easier for people to take fiction stories they have read before and try and make them into a real deal.

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