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Specter tells 'veiled' tale

October 29, 2000

Specter tells 'veiled' tale



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

WILLIAMSPORT - When Virgil Bowers was growing up in the 1940s he loved to hear spooky tales of a veiled woman who some said was a ghost searching the town for her adulterous husband.

As Bowers grew older, he became a prankster and continued the legend of the "veiled lady" by dressing up as the woman.

"I'd hide and when somebody came by I would reach out and grab them. Then I would disappear," he said.

Williamsport's "veiled lady,"(in this case, Johnna Maravelis), not-so-mysteriously appeared at the town museum Sunday for an afternoon of ghost stories.

Dressed in a black gown, hat and lacy veil, Maravelis posed in the spot normally home to a "veiled lady" mannequin and scared many who thought she wasn't real.

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About 35 people gathered later around Maravelis to hear her stories of spooks and specters and to share some of their own.

The audience sat quietly as they listened to a tale of a father and brother who were home watching television one evening.

At one point the boy looked outside and saw a mysterious woman standing in the yard. She was dressed in a long gown with her hair in a bun. When the father looked out into the yard she was gone.

A few minutes later their dog went to the same spot and began growling, barking and circling the area but no one was there.

Jerry Knode told stories of some unexplained happenings at his home on North Conococheague Street in Williamsport, which he says was the former address of a late doctor.

He said the physician, whom he knows only as Dr. Weaver, used to drink whiskey and would throw his empty bottles in a hole in the wall. The doctor was said to occasionally try to retrieved the bottles to salvage remaining drops.

When family members heard jingling behind the walls, "we would say it's Dr. Weaver hunting for another drink,"said Knode, who volunteers at the town museum.

He remembers another instance of quilts being laid on him as he slept, a deed members of his family deny doing.

Sometimes so-called mysterious things such as pictures falling down can easily be explained because the old cording used to hold them up can rot away, said Knode.

"For some things there are answers but others have none," he said.

Knode said his house's windows have been found raised or lowered without anyone admitting doing it.

Another man at the museum told a story of his father waking him in his childhood home by pulling his blankets up, tickling his toes and singing to him.

He visited the home years after his father's death and the new owners told him their son was occasionally visited by the ghost of a white-haired man who would pull down his covers and tickle his toes.

"I never believed in ghosts but I never knew how to explain that," he said.

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