Image of the shop's window

Readers Beware: America’s Oldest Bookstore Is Also Haunted

The oldest bookstore in America, and possibly the world, is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Moravian Book Shop has been open and running since 1745, meaning it is actually older than the United States, clocking in over 270 years.

The shop itself has featured a few changes, having moved once to Philadelphia and then back. It also once was named “Bethelhemer Bücher Shop.” Moravian returned to Bethlehem in 1858, then claimed its current name in 1905. The first books sold were frequently (and amusingly) religious. The store also had it’s own printing and publishing system.


The Store Front


Courtesy of Poets & Writers


In an interview with the Guardian, store manager Lisa Girard says “I know this downtown has seen its rises and falls. There used to be some big department stores on this block that are now defunct and gone, but this place has been steady and true. We’ve created something here. What you hear people say is we’re an experience.”


It now has expanded to over 15,000 square feet in the town’s downtown. With such a rich history and years of existence, it has accumulated a little more than just books; many say the store is haunted.


Woman shopping in the store


Courtesy of Lehigh Valley Live


Ghosts are one thing most big box stores can’t provide. Due to the age and history of the story, it isn’t surprising a ghost snuck into the facility at some point, whether through rumors or something more sinister.


Jane Clugston, who has worked at the store for over 30 years, has had a hands-on experience with the ghost. From the same Guardian article, she reported seeing the ghost, following it and then finding the stove and a fan were left on when employees were closing and getting ready to leave. Clugston says “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.”


Feature courtesy of Topix