285 Main Street
Greenville, PA 16125
About an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh, PA, the small town of Greenville lies hidden in plain sight. The town has always been a blue-collar, hardworking town, driven by a simplistic need to survive and allow their families to thrive. The town has always shown a certain pride in the families that founded it and helped build it to what it is today. Many of these families have built self-sustaining businesses and passed them down within the generations. None seem more predominant in the minds of locals than the McMillen family who ran a successful and necessary funeral service business. The family lived and operated out of one of the oldest homes in the area which saw its fair share of death and tragedy through its four generations of existence. With these imprints, there can be no doubt in visitors’ minds that the house on Main Street is filled with energy left over from the past and has inherited the mansion and its property for eternity.
Even though the McMillen family made this mansion into a successful business when they arrived, this location had an earlier origination and construction by an entirely different family. Thomas C. Gibson, a clothing cutter turned business partner and finally the owner of a clothing store, had a three-story mansion built for him and his family in 1881. This ornate wooden structure home also featured a full basement and set back on its property to allow for his children to play. He and his family were so comfortable here, and the house was kept in immaculate shape, that he passed it down to his sons which ultimately allowed it to be kept in the family.
Come World War I, his two sons named Frank and Howard both served their American duty on the battlefront. Unfortunately, after his discharge, Howard returned home only to perish due to a fatal gunshot by his hand, his pistol in fact, as it discharged as he was cleaning the gun. Ironically, or as fate may have it, John McMillen was the undertaker for Howard’s funeral and fell in love with the house.
John McMillen immigrated from Scotland in the late 1880s and made a name for himself as a craftsman in the town, particularly of woodworking. His business would flourish during the war in this area where death seemed to run rampant even far enough away from the war. McMillen would serve as the entire areas’ coffin maker during this time where he would be contacted upon the passing of a loved one, and John would send out one of his employees to delicately and carefully measure the body at hand. John would create the coffin overnight so the family would have it the very next day. With his due diligence and sincerity, his business grew and flourished. So much so that he needed to expand his workshop and business venture.
John purchased the former Gibson homestead after serving as Howard Gibson’s undertaker and found the home to be a perfect fit for him, his family, and his business. Here, he began the McMillen and Son Funeral Home soon after and the business thrived for four generations as he passed the business down to his family. The funeral home eventually fell on hard times and was purchased by a few different families, most notably the Schwartz family who left suddenly, leaving many of their belongings to the next owners. The building was then abandoned and fell into severe disrepair. Luckily, for the town and the building, a local pair, Marcus Haug and Katie McKenney, purchased the property in 2021 to preserve its beauty and history for the world to see.
Before the new purchase of the home, the Schwartz family who left in a hurry claimed to have been tormented by spirits ultimately forcing them to leave without even packing. After this occurrence, other former owners came forward to back up these claims stating the same scenarios and fear that shook their families to the core.
Following the abandonment of the house, it was locked and sealed up not allowing anyone to trespass. Once the new owners walked the home, they immediately were drawn to it and the basement in particular. Oddly enough, the basement was sealed as if hiding something. Almost immediately after their purchase, they forced the floor door open, unlocking what appeared to be the embalming room and morgue. While exploring here, they also found a loose stone that led to a drainage area that can only be assumed was utilized for blood and fluid disposal during the embalming process. After this, both Marcus and Katie were completely drained, so much so that they practically slept for three straight days,
As they began to renovate the house to preserve it and take it back to a livable state and even bring in furniture that fit the original design and feel of the funeral home, they began to notice oddities throughout the building. The basement, even though this is where the activity seemed to begin, has not seen much activity aside from the odd feeling of someone watching visitors and electronic devices have malfunctioned commonly. On occasion, whispers can be heard here, and very recently the owners have added some unique mortuary science pieces to this area. Perhaps this addition will make the spirits more comfortable and willing to open up here, or maybe it will stir them up to cause even more havoc.
The first floor has been said to also be slightly more benign for the most part. The activity does however include some attention-seeking techniques like whistling and shuffling footsteps. These typically coincide with one another but on the rare occasion, shadows are also seen moving, ever so slightly, around this floor as if trying to hide from unwelcome guests. In the funeral parlor, where a real casket is set up, there have been metallic knocks heard as if someone is pounding on that very casket and some seemingly poltergeist-like actions have occurred like knocking over items throughout the room and even pushing chairs. More often than not, there have been footsteps and creaks heard on the staircase as if someone is leading visitors upstairs to the more active locations of the upper floors. Motion-activated devices like lights and sensors have been placed all along the staircases in hopes of catching some of these oddities, and they do not disappoint. Many times have these devices been seen activating when no one else is around as if someone is ascending the staircase, which typically leads guests to follow them upstairs. This motion activity is typically said to be tied to a young girl.
The second floor is where John McMillen created a suite for himself while running his business below. This suite ended up turning into his final living quarters as his sister took care of him later in his life, cooking up in this area and helping him with day-to-day living which most of us take for granted. With so much of his life dedicated and spent in this building, John has been seemingly tied to it permanently in the afterlife and has been seen as a full-body apparition wandering the halls as if he is still living here. On this floor is Howard Gibson’s room where he was fatally wounded when cleaning his .45 pistol. A bullet hole can still be seen where it may have been lodged into the wall. Howard has been spotted here, staring out of his window longingly as the world passes him by and he has even been said to communicate on occasion. A very interesting piece of EVP evidence is a clear voice saying “Not an accident” which draws even more questions about his final moments here. In one of the second-floor rooms, the owners have transformed it into a makeshift funeral parlor showing off a funeral of a young child. In this room, a scream has been heard numerous times followed by sobbing as if someone is still mourning over the loss of their child. A very intriguing story tells of two separate physicists claiming the same feelings at different times, not aware of one another nor their emotions. Both of them felt that a séance had occurred in this room as if someone were trying to contact their loved one from beyond. If these stories hold, these seances may have opened up other doors to allow for different spirits and activities that these families did not want to enter this house.
The third floor tends to hold the most energy, and a darker, possibly malevolent presence. Even just simply walking up to this area, a hand and head have been seen peering over the railing as if watching for any unwelcome guests. The owners have experienced an older woman here, some matriarch of the house based on voices and cold spots, that likes to keep to herself and does not like guests. Marcus has taken the approach of announcing himself and suggesting to anyone that enters this area to explain to the woman that visitors are approaching and only are there for a quick visit. In one of the adjoining rooms covered by an unhinged door, in an attempt to keep out draft and animals (it has access to the roof), the door has been said to be thrown away from this opening and found later leaning against the furnace or the far wall as if thrown out of the way. Voices and whispers can be heard here without the help of devices quite regularly and EVPs have been caught telling some guests to “Get out.” On other occasions, a male voice has been heard here as if someone else is watching over the house or perhaps protecting the older woman.
This building seems to hold an odd aura and is overshadowed by thick darkness and heavy energy, one which may have been trapped and covered up for years upon years only opened and allowed access to the entire building and property once the new owners helped give them new life. With the addition of real church and mortuary items, the activity has only increased as if allowing the spirits to be more comfortable and welcome to stay and reclaim the old mansion turned funeral home as their own for eternity.