From the Pat Tyson File
It was no secret that the old K-Mart site in Mill Hall was said to be haunted. Almost as soon as K-Mart moved in there in 1993, the Express ran articles on sightings of ghosts. There were people in colonial-era outfits, and Native Americans spotted, probably the result of a battle that took place on or near the spot.
And, though the place is now Ollie’s and Harbor Freight, the ghosts don’t seem to know that — I still get reports of hauntings from the employees. People have heard unexplainable sounds, some of the merchandise has been known to move around on its own, and shopping carts seem to routinely roll uphill in the parking lot.
I used to talk about this stuff a lot with Pat Tyson. Pat, of Beech Creek, was just as interested in ghosts and history as I am. I always learned a lot from Pat, who passed away in 2012. And, a few years after her death, I found a file in an upstairs storage room, with a lot of her research into the local haunted spots. I still dip into that file around this time of year to find things to write about.
Pat also had some experiences at the K-Mart. In the file this year, I found about six pages of handwritten notes from her describing the incidents. Seriously, it’s almost like she left this file specifically for me to find, knowing I’d be the one to discover it.
“This story is true and takes place in Clinton County at our K-Mart store on Hogan Boulevard,” the notes began. “I don’t have any relatives at K-Mart nor do I own stock in the company… We love to eat breakfast there and we visit with our friends that gather there too.”
One incident happened the day before Halloween in 2000. Pat claimed to have spotted the ghost of a Native American walking through the store as she shopped, which is not a completely uncommon occurrence over there.
“I needed a few items from the store,” she wrote. “I looked up and there was a Native American, in full deerskin dress with a papoose on her back, walking down the aisle at K-Mart. She turned the corner and just disappeared.”
It’s worth noting here that Pat Tyson was what I would consider a reliable witness. She was reputable, intelligent, and well-known in the community. I never had any reason to doubt her statements.
According to Pat, a few more modern ghosts stuck around K-Mart, too.
“This past year a regular passed on,” she wrote. “She was in the hospital for a year before she died. (I didn’t want you to think she died in the store.)”
Apparently, this regular customer always sat in the same seat. She said she preferred that seat because there was no breeze there — She was sensitive to the cold, and liked to sit in an area where she wouldn’t catch the breeze.
After her death, the management of K-Mart put a cake at her spot to be shared with her friends. They placed a photo of her on the table, with some flowers, and they draped her chair in black cloth.
And the cloth blew in the breeze.
“If you sat in that chair today, there is a soft breeze,” Pat wrote, “And we feel her presence and remember her fondly.”
Pat herself passed away nearly 10 years ago. At the time, I wrote a column about my experiences with her, and how she would call me when she saw one of my columns she especially liked. She would call me and tell me that she was proud of me. I wrote that I’d like her to call me one last time.
That day, when I got home, there was an incoming call on my caller ID. It was from Pat’s number. (Her daughter denies having called.)
Maybe it was Pat, reaching out one last time from beyond the grave. And as I said, maybe she left a file of ghost stories behind… Especially for me to use.
Lou Bernard is a Lock Haven resident with a keen interest in the history of this area. He is adult services coordinator at Ross Library and may be reached at email@example.com or 570-660-4463.