The Oldest Book Store in America (and Possibly the World) Is Also Haunted

While print is far from dead, it’s still a tough time to be an independent bookstore. Fortunately, the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania knows a thing or two about staying power. The store has been open since 1745. That 271-year running streak makes it the oldest bookstore in America, and as The Guardian reports, possibly the oldest continuously operating one in the entire world.

Scotland’s John Smith & Son used to claim those titles, but it closed in 2000 (and reportedly opened in 1751). The Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal also may have a claim to the record, but the store, which opened in 1732, is no longer in its original location, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.

The Moravian Book Shop has also seen some location (and name) changes in its time. It went by the name Bethelhemer Bücher Shop for a while and moved to Philadelphia for two years in 1856. The shop returned to Bethlehem in 1858, and first occupied its current location in 1867, adopting the current name in 1905.

In addition to having a lot of things bigger bookstores do not (like a curated gift shop and indie press titles), the Moravian also reportedly has a resident ghost. The shop’s employees have reported seeing the specter, and they hold annual ghost tours, featuring several spooky landmarks in the historic town. Sites like a pre-Revolutionary War cemetery called God’s Acre, the 18th century Sun Inn, the Hotel Bethlehem, and others have all been the site of reported hauntings throughout the years.

Moravian Book Shop employee Jane Clugston relayed the following story to The Guardian on the store’s live-in spirit:

She told me that one night, while closing the store with a fellow employee, she saw a dark figure in a back hallway of the store, going into the kitchen. She and the coworker followed the figure back. Then, she says she realized the back kitchen stove was on, as well as the fan.

“I don’t know why this person, ghost, spirit drew us back there, but I guess to turn off those appliances,” says Clugston. “I’d never thought of it until I told someone else and they said a ghost led you back there. But in that back hallway a lot of people have said that they’ve felt things and they’ve seen things.”

[h/t The Guardian]

18 Disney Characters Just Got the LEGO Treatment

LEGO
LEGO

If you’ve ever wondered what one of Disney's princesses might look like standing next to Batman or Harry Potter, now's your chance to find out. LEGO has created minifigures of 18 characters from beloved Disney movies, and they’re a pretty diverse bunch.

There are Disney princesses and heroes, like Jasmine, Elsa, and Hercules. There are offbeat favorites, like Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. A couple villains were thrown into the mix for good measure, and classic characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse are also represented.

It has been a big week for both LEGO and Disney. The toy company announced the impending release of a 751-piece set that recreates the boat from Steamboat Willie, the 1928 short film that launched Mickey to stardom. The timing is also fitting, considering that Mickey recently celebrated his 90th birthday (not too bad for a mouse).

The S.S. Willie set will be available on April 1, but fans will have to wait a little longer for the Disney minifigures. Those will be available on the LEGO Store website and in stores nationwide starting May 1. Each minifigure costs $3.99.

Until then, check out some of the figures below, or browse LEGO’s selection of Disney-themed sets.

A Disney minifigure
LEGO

A Disney minifigure
LEGO

A Disney minifigure
LEGO

A Disney minifigure
LEGO

Disney’s Steamboat Willie Has Been Immortalized in LEGO

LEGO
LEGO

Mickey Mouse recently turned 90 years old, and soon, you’ll be able to celebrate with LEGO. Steamboat Willie, the classic Disney short film that introduced Mickey Mouse to the world in 1928, has now been recreated in a LEGO set that will be released on April 1.

The 751-piece LEGO version of the S.S. Willie features grayscale bricks that recreate the original black-and-white aesthetic of the original film. The 10-inch-long LEGO boat features moving steam pipes and paddle wheels and comes with new Mickey and Minnie minifigures. It’s also equipped with a ship’s wheel, a life buoy, a buildable bell, and a working crane that can lift the vessel’s potato-bin cargo.

LEGO's Steamboat Willie set
LEGO

The Steamboat Willie set was born out of the company’s fan-generated LEGO Ideas initiative several years ago. Creator Máté Szabó submitted the idea to LEGO in June 2016, then LEGO designers John Ho and Crystal Marie Fontan worked to adapt the set for retail sale, creating decorative elements and the new Mickey and Minnie Mouse minifigures.

LEGO's Steamboat Willie set
LEGO

Buy the kit on the LEGO Store website for $90 starting April 1. If you can't wait to get your LEGO fix, check out the company's other Mickey Mouse-themed products here.

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