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Hometown Haunts T-Shirt Contest

I'm from a little dot on the map called Lower Macungie Township. The township comprises a handful of towns, villages and a borough, but all that's really there is basically my mom's house, a diner and a cornfield (Ooh, we just got a Starbucks, too. Welcome to the 21st century, everyone). For some reason, our quiet little township has what seems to me a disproportionately high number of ghost stories and folk legends. I'm talking enough to fill a book.

Or at least a healthy chunk of one. Ghost Stories of the Lehigh Valley was published in 1993 "“ ghost-stories.jpgincidentally, the same year I moved to Macungie (Oooh, spooky coincidence! Boo!). The writing wasn't great and the design was worse, but for a kid with some morbid curiosities, the book was a treasure. Macungie finally had something interesting going for it.

Among the ghosts that call my town home are"¦

Bucky

Bucky is the resident ghost at a building just down the street from a friend's house. The Hensingerville Hotel has been variously been a hotel, a tavern and a private home for almost 200 years, and the whole time owners and guests have had run-ins with Bucky, a one-time owner who killed himself there. Bucky is said to be mostly helpful, and at least two people who've owned the place have said that they've come downstairs in the morning to find the ghost had started breakfast for them by heating up a frying pan for eggs or putting on a pot of coffee. But like many ghosts, Bucky liked to play tricks on the living, too. One owner claims that one night, the lights over the bar started spilling water, even though there was a bedroom directly above them and no pipes in the ceiling. The water didn't cause any damage to the plaster, and the lights continued to function the whole time.

The ghost of Minesite Road

East Texas used to be a remote and rough-and-tumble place (which is how it got its name), but its proximity to iron mines opened it up to heavy traffic along Minesite Road. No one can say exactly when, but sometime in the late 1800s, a man hanged himself in a tree along the road and has haunted the surrounding area ever since. Over the years, horse riders, wagon drivers and even modern motorists have claimed to see strange lights in the woods, apparitions on the side of the road and inexplicable problems with their rides.

Charlie

Back when the Inn at Maple Grove was still the Maple Grove Hotel and a stagecoach stop in the mine country near Alburtis, a guest was murdered on the second floor and the angry locals lynched an Indian in front of the dining room fireplace. Before he died, the Indian vowed to remain in the hotel and prove his innocence. To this day, the Pennsylvania Dutch in the area regard the place as "˜hexed." One of the owners interviewed in the book claimed the fireplace is the location of much of the unexplained activity. Some nights, the iron cooking crane in the hearth started to shake, just a twitch at first, and then continuing until the whole building was shaking. Other times, the owner would be closing up after the guests had left the dining room and would hear someone whistling tune by the fireplace. Stranger still, patrons claim to have seen a white dove materialize out of thin air, fly across the dining room and disappear.

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So there you go, a place with a ghost to person ratio of 1:1. I know you flossers come to us from around the country, and surely your towns have some legends of their own. Here's a chance to win a free t-shirt: Leave a comment recounting a ghost story from your hometown.

On Friday, I'll pick the best story and announce the winner. Weirdness and scariness are key factors for me, and I'll pay extra attention to anyone that's gone ghost hunting and actually saw something with their own eyes.

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travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
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iStock

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

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Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

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