Castle Blood – History

As a thriving haunted attraction, known as Castle Blood, this longtime funeral home held excessive amounts of sad and negative energy in the past. David H. Woodward Home for Funerals and Stephen D. Yoney Jr. Funeral Home both held funerals and embalmed the dead in the basement of this haunted destination. Both fell on hard times much like that of the city of Monessen when the economy took a turn for the worse. This once booming industrial town now sits as a near abandoned reminder of days gone by, just like that of these funeral homes sitting as constant reminders of how fragile life can be.  And sometimes on occasion, show how this past energy can be rejuvenated into something else, not of this world.

The Past

 Historians from the Monessen area have dated the house back to an original construction timeframe of 1905. Its’ first owner, John William Manown, was one of Monessen’s first more renowned residents. Mr. Manown was the town’s very first postmaster as well as the head director of the city school council. He and his family owned multiple acres of farmland surrounding the house and the eventual town of Monessen.

 

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As the city moved on and began to industrialize, John William Manown sold his farmland and house to the founder of the city of Monessen – James Martinus Schoonmaker.  From that purchase in the early 1920’s until Schoonmaker’s death in 1927, this house was mainly used as a halfway home type of establishment for disobedient and insubordinate women.  Around his death, the house was vacated and remained that way until 1940.

David H. Woodward Home for Funerals purchased the building in 1940 and transformed the homestead into a funeral parlor. It remained in operation and under the care of David H. Wayward for approximately 20 years until his death.  The Wayward family wanted to sell the property and get out of the business of death. Low and behold, another funeral home owner stepped in to purchase the property in the 1960’s.

Stephen D. Yoney Jr. Funeral Home remained operable for nearly 40 years at 100 Schoonmaker Avenue. Unfortunately, the city of Monessen had fallen into tough times throughout those 40 years and had lost a significant amount of business as well as population. With lower levels of income and inhabitants, the funeral home also felt these economic repercussions. The Stephen D. Yoney Jr. Funeral Home closed on terms of bankruptcy and the building once again was vacated.

 

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It sat in disrepair and empty for nearly 15 years. In 2014, the haunted attraction, Castle Blood purchased the property for a mere $350 from the borough. Even though the building had been vandalized and ravaged by homeless strays, the new owners managed to keep some of the historical integrity upon repairing and upgrading the building. To this day, the interior walls have remained the same as they were in 1905. To everyone’s disbelief, the original fireplaces and light fixtures have remained intact from the original farmhouse.

The haunted attraction is going strong and growing in popularity to this day.

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Paranormal Experiences

 Even though there are no reported deaths in the house, there have been a few sightings as well as a certain heaviness reported. The initial activity began occurring as the current owners started their renovation process.

One of the most active times for the paranormal is during some kind of construction to an aged home. They never actually changed the house from a footprint perspective, but they did tear down some walls and original electrical, mechanical, and plumbing features simply to make the house code compliant. Anything that was torn out was re-installed to its’ historical accuracy but there was still a decent amount of construction that took place during this transition.

 

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The volunteers who work at Castle Blood have reported a cold feeling that moves throughout the house, which makes the hair on their arms stand straight up. On occasion they have been able to see their breath, it’s been that cold.

An actor in the haunted attraction has claimed to see the spirit of an older looking gentleman. There is an odd clairvoyance feeling of a name of Mr. Lawrence associated with this entity.

The front doors to the porch entrance have been known to open and close on their own.  Every so often, they will lock and unlock on their own as well, especially when the owner attempt to lock up for the evening. Lights have been known to turn on and off even though the lighting is one of the newest features to the house. There has been cigar smoke seen and smelled by volunteers of the haunt.

On a few occasions, paranormal groups have spent the night at this very spot. They too have numerous claims of an entity, which roams the halls and disappears as it approaches the basement (which is where the embalming room was once located). EVP’s and voices have been recorded frequently even though the name of Mr. Lawrence is never actually spoken.

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