Real Haunted Houses

Real Haunted House

General Wayne Inn

Merrion, Pennsylvania
By Shannon Reinbold-Gee

Now a synagogue and Center for Jewish Life, the General Wayne Inn was once the longest continually operating restaurant in America. Opened in 1704, the building served as a tavern, general store, wagon stop and post office. Folks like George Washington and Lafayette dined and stayed at the inn, and in 1795 it got its name. General â??Madâ? Anthony Wayne completed a successful military campaign and stopped at the inn for a 3-day celebration of his success. In the course of things the inn was renamed for him, and until very recently, the name stuck.

Stories suggest that a Revolutionary War soldier got accidentally locked in the basement while hiding from his enemies. Legends say he died thereâ??but there are also other versions to the story. Some claim Hessians in the area sent one of their own to get wine from the cellar, not knowing that there were armed revolutionaries hiding in a tunnel or hidden location (the story varies, as they often do) there. It ended badly for the Hessian, and people have reported seeing his ghost, wearing the uniform he would have died in.

Most of the ghosts that have been reported through the General Wayne Innâ??s lengthy history date back to the period of the Revolutionary War. Some shook glasses in the bar; others caused the lights to flicker and napkins to be strewn throughout the dining area. Furniture in a locked room would be toppled by mysterious interlopers. Locked doors occasionally opened by themselves. Women sitting at the bar reported feeling someoneâ??s breath on their necks, and no, it wasnâ??t a lonely bar patron looking for a date. It seems to have been something even more frightening.

Psychics visiting the Inn years ago claimed to see ghosts of soldiers, one in particular reporting that a Hessian soldier had been killed by a spy in the cellar and buried behind one of the Innâ??s walls. The body was not found, but in the psychicâ??s defense, the search was called off early.

Some claim the building was built on a Native American burial ground, but there seems to be little historically to agree. And although most of the deaths and hauntings seem tied to one particularly bloody period in American history, there was, much more recently the murder of one of the Innâ??s owners.

Shortly before the murder of restaurateur Jim Webb, radio station y100 was going to hold an annual Halloween séance at the Inn. The medium reportedly was too anxious to do the normal séance thereâ??participants claim he warned Webb that the spirits were telling him something bad was about to happen. The two business partners had purchased the General Wayne in a state of disrepair, intending to restore it. But the task was bigger than they expected. As the business faced financial difficulties, Webb and his business partner, Guy Sileo, argued over how to handle the dwindling fund. One was ready to pack it in, the other wanted to redouble their efforts.

Then, on December 27, 1996 Sileo found Webbâ??s lifeless body in his office at the Inn. Webb had been shot. Suspicion was quickly cast on Sileo, but the Assistant Chef, Felicia Moyse, provided his alibi. She and Sileo were having an affair. She passed a lie detector test and later she committed suicide in February as Sileo awaited trial. Sileo changed his story, saying that Moyse had killed Webb because Webb never approved of their extramarital affair. Sileo was found guilty and is now serving a life term in prison.

Today the General Wayne Inn is little more than legend and memory. The traditional stone has been stuccoed and the building looks quaint and modern. The buildingâ??s new owners have decided to focus on their mission and goals, and rightfully so. Some even claim theyâ??ve put the spirits to rest.

49 comments on this haunted house. Share your story »


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Anna says:

November 22, 2005, 8:35 pm

I dont think that this is realy scary!!!!!

jodie says:

January 2, 2006, 3:26 pm

I heard about The General Wayne Inn on Unsolved Mysteries and was automatically attracted to it’s rich amount of history. I think that rather or not the hauntings are real it makes for a good old fashioned ghost story. And even though I live rather far away, I would love to visit there one day!!!

David says:

May 31, 2006, 9:10 pm

I live a mere three miles from the inn and would like to first say it’s not Merrion it’s Merion. Now that that is straight it has recently been purchased and is to become a cynogauge and a kosher resturaunt.

David says:

May 31, 2006, 9:15 pm

Also you neglected to mention the fact that in the early 90’s one of the owners killed the other one. Also it6 is built on an indian burial ground, also the Hessian soldier has since been unearthed from beneath the parking lot. Also until recently it was uninhabited. Also George Washington, Edgar Allen Poe, and a few other famous figures stayed there. Lastly there are apparitions of a little girl in a formal dress.

David says:

May 31, 2006, 9:21 pm

by the way the adress is 625 Montegomery Avenue, Merion, PA. 19066 if you want to take a look. They do not let visitors stay overnight it is no longer a hotel.

rs says:

June 7, 2006, 2:35 pm

this is tukey get a life

winston says:

July 19, 2006, 8:52 pm

In 1990 I developed a program (The Unexplained) for middle and high school students at the local university, in which we would look at the videos of Unsolved Mysteries and others and try to determine if all the bases had been covered. In the mid 1990s I began following up behind them with my camcorder to interview those on the program. In August 1996 we landed at the GWI.

At first the owner, Jim Webb, who had purchased the inn with partner Guy Sileo (sp) to introduce French cuisine to that part of PA, wouldn’t talk with us as he was getting the evening meal ready. After 15 minutes of looking around, he had a change of heart and told us he would be interviewed, but only would he tell us those things he had seen in the presence of others. Very strange were these events — a piece from the glass chandeleer which fell but flew sideways at the top of the stairs, inexplicable turning off of lights in the locked post office inside, glasses above the bar that shook and rattled for five minutes when the owner shown on UM was being buried in a town some distance from there. He took us downstairs and showed us the “Indian” room and to the second and third floors where items when put in place would be found later on the floor. He said that the week before, a motorist driving by the inn at night saw the Hessian soldier standing in front of the inn. After the interview, we crossed the street and I took a few more feet of video. When I reviewed it later, I noticed a car horn honk in the video, yet there was no car around to honk. Odd.

Two years later, I had a student from Philly and asked him about the GWI, of which he knew nothing. The next class, he told me to look on the internet. I did and found that Jim Webb had been murdered in December, four months after the interview.

I called the DAs office there and spoke with the lead detective, and told him that I had a video of Webb if he was interested. He was, and on our next trip to NY in August 1998, stopped in to show it. He felt the video had some potential use, but there wasn’t anything in it which was a smoking gun. When we returned to LA, I made a copy for him and for Webb’s widow.

I later learned that the partner was arrested for murder.

Julia says:

August 9, 2006, 9:55 pm

I have a few more chilling details to add to the General Wayne folklore.Our good friend was the manager of the Inn right after the murder happened.
They renovated and re-opened the Inn for business but was never able to get it off the ground like the many attempts before theirs. Over dinner last Monday night (7/31/06) he told us several eyewitness stories
of his experiences at the Inn. First off, he refused to work in the upstairs office due to the fact the carpet was still missing under his desk from the murder that had occurred there.
He had the re-carpeted immediately hoping this would ease his mind. Things only
continued to get worse for our friend who stated â??he didn’t believe in ghosts. Period.â?
A big, strong, Italian guy from Norristown who had been managing restaurants his whole
life, strange things began to occur. He said he felt utter relief to leave the restaurant at night.
The first thing he said he became spooked by the downstairs and refused to go down
there after a few weeks. He had all the liquor brought upstairs to avoid it altogether.
Very unlike him. He said it â??felt awfulâ? down there and hated the idea of dead bodies in the dark. The next thing that sent him into a tailspin was the bizarre appearance of single black crow on the windowsill behind his desk. He said â??it was about 2 AM and I was at my desk, I turn around, and there is a single black crow sitting on the windowsill looking at meâ? he said he grabbed his stuff and was out of there. Another time he kept hearing banging, like a door slamming on the third floor. Annoyed, he went down to yell at the kitchen help for messing around only to hear â??what are you talking about?! We have been sitting down here for the last half hour drinking beers waiting for youâ? the dishwasher said he
â??yelled at a man for using the back steps earlier that were off limits to the public, but the
man did not turn around or acknowledge him�. Our friend double checked and no one was on the third floor. Also, he told us of the chandelier
that had a single spinning crystal. He combed the entire area for any kind of draft or explainable reason for the movement, but found none. He said
â??I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes.â? He went
on to say that it was impossible to be ever at ease in the place. That it was so
saturated with stories and strange occurrences from the staff that no one knew
what to believe, except everyone had a story to tell and he had no explanation
to what they saw and heard. He is a straight shooter and I believed him. It
has been turned into a community center now and we will be curious to hear if
they too have strange things happen.

nobody says:

October 17, 2006, 1:47 pm

who belives in ghosts. And a man locked in the basment come on! If he’s in the basment and in the army then he counld get out easly, he’s trained for it. Who would stay in a basment? I would rather try to escape. hello my name is senor nobody

shauna says:

October 24, 2006, 10:12 am

Merion is the town not merrion

Valerie says:

October 28, 2006, 10:35 pm

i love a man in uniform, is he bringing sexy back

Jeanne Rohan says:

January 6, 2007, 12:24 pm

Was the woman who had the apparition on Ultram by any chance? This is a pain medication that produces hallucinations. I had an auditory hallucination one time while taking it and thought it was my deceased father calling my name.

Mr. Faggot says:

January 30, 2007, 5:24 pm

while (true)
alert(‘**** – You’ve been hit by Mr. ******’);

Kelli says:

February 17, 2007, 2:31 pm

This does not make sense why would he be locked in the room if he was purposely hiding from his enemies.

Margaret says:

March 3, 2007, 11:34 pm

My brother was a chef at the General Wayne Inn when one of the owners was murdered in 1996 (not the early ’90s, as someone else said). He was supposed to open the restaurant the day Webb’s body was found but he switched days with another employee the day before so we could hang out together. If my brother hadn’t switched days, HE would have found the body. Ick. My brother has told me many stories about the experiences he had there with supposed ghosts and he’s a skeptical kind of person. He’s the type of person who wouldn’t make stuff up, so, to me, the haunting stories are believable. I’ve only been inside once – and got ‘the tour’ – but never experienced anything unusual or scary. It’s just a shame that such a historic landmark has fallen on hard times since the murder; the place needs to be re-opened and restored and preserved.

loco says:

June 20, 2007, 4:27 pm

Very cool “facts”. What do the cops have to say when they investigated the murder-That would give this story some real credibility. And what does the “partner” that was the murderer have to say about the place and why the murder took place? Make it a stronger story, and it’ll become an Urban Legend. Get real facts on the “indian burial ground” this place supposedly sets on-should be in old public records somewhere.

Steve says:

July 13, 2007, 9:15 pm

This is for Margaret whose brother was a chef. Is it possible you could put me in contact with your brother either through here or my web site. We are a paranormal group and I would love to hear what he experieced. Our site


Andrew says:

September 22, 2007, 12:10 am

The Inn is now a synagauge and I was there last night for Yom Kippor. Probably the scariest night of my whole life. There are at least 8 spirits/ghosts in different rooms. Me and my friend got locked in a room and the lights suddenly turned off. Then a voice whispered “shhhh”… i screamed sooo loud. someone had to yank the door off of its hinges to get us out, due to the fact that there is no key for that door anymore. So how did the door lock? Scary when you think about it… or witness it.

mr smith says:

September 24, 2007, 10:48 pm

mk we are going here mwhahahaha

john g says:

October 3, 2007, 3:51 pm

I slept with the ghost,,he was really hot.But he ended it with me said he was seeing someone else less visible..

t says:

October 25, 2007, 10:43 am

Ok, to the person who is saying the murder would make a good urban legend- it is not a legend. it happened and it tore a family apart! Jim Webb was a great man, and a great father. His life was cut short by an evil man who acted out of greed. This was supposed to be his friend, his business partner. The 2 families were friends, but then Guy shot and killed Jim in cold blood. I know this because I know Jim’s family. The GWI has long been said to be haunted and I know many things have been reported to go on there. I happen to believe them because I believe things like that especially when from good sources. However, the murder of Jim Webb was a terrible tragedy that had nothing to do with the hauntings at the GWI.

Rich says:

October 29, 2007, 11:36 am

Is the Historicl Dining Room still in tact? Or did they get rid of that too. Oil paintings of Edgar Allen Poe and Benjamin Franklin, an original table where the Continental Congress dined and discussed the Freedom of our country. There was so much history in that room alone that it is no wonder there are spirits in the building. Poe wrote part of the Raven in that room. I was just wondering if they kept it in tact or got (sadly) disposed of it.

carol says:

February 4, 2008, 2:10 pm

My aunt was one of the owners of the General Wayne in the early 1960’s. The Inn had a fire and my father rescued a smoke damaged piano and several captain chairs and tables. We put them down our basement. You could hear the chairs move around by themselves as well as the old untuned piano play.When I sold the property and was having the basement waterproofed, the gentleman doing the work asked if anyone had died in the house. I told him my father did. He said he was still there with many others.

Brenda says:

March 5, 2008, 11:39 pm

Hi! My name is Brenn.I would like to experience the paranormal activity @ “The General Wayne Inn”.I am looking to become a full time C.P.I. someday and I think that this would be a great place to start. Please contact me if anyone is interested in helping me out. Thank you for your time.

Shieldmaiden96 says:

April 1, 2008, 5:01 pm

First of all, its SYNAGOGUE. Jeebus.

The best additional story I heard about the Inn was when Barsky was on the radio in Philly. He used to do a seance at the General Wayne every Halloween. The one year they were going to have it and didn’t, and afterward, he told us why.

The guy who would do the seance was a construction worker who had been hit in the head by a crane. After his accident (he was ‘dead’ for seven minutes or something like that) he could ‘see’ dead people. He used to sit in one room, and describe what he was seeing, and then they’d have a psychic do the same somewhere else, to compare whether they were saying the same things. (They usually were.)

The one year, that guy came to the ‘Wayne and he was really disturbed. He said, I’m sorry, I can’t do it this year. I can’t stay here. The people who are talking to me are screaming at me. They are screaming at you (meaning Webb) to get out of here, that something is going to happen. He left, upset.
Not long after that, Jim was killed. Makes ya wonder.

Ghostnspecter says:

April 21, 2008, 3:38 pm

I am looking for anyone that might be able to either get me into the building or put me in contact with someone that owns the building so I can possibly speak with them about an investigation. Anyone who helps get us in can come on the investigation as long as you agree to abide by our rules. So who is going to go investigating the General Wayne Inn with us?
Steve a.k.a Ghostnspecter

Shay says:

April 28, 2008, 6:19 am

I know the people who currently own it, although I haven’t talked to them in awhile. I doubt, though, that they’d be willing to hold an investigation. After all, they use the Inn for Hebrew school, Friendship Circle meetings, synagogue services, etc.

And, I think, it’d be a bit disrespectful to hold such an investigation in a synagogue. Even if it does sound interesting.

Besides, I’ve been in it countless times, not once have I felt a spirit or experienced any paranormal activity. Well, I mean the cold drafts are there, but old houses/buildings tend to get those a lot.


P.S. I, contrary to what you probably believe from reading my post, am actually a believer of the paranormal. But that doesn’t mean I believe it in every case.

Dave R says:

April 29, 2008, 9:53 am

I grew up very close to the General Wayne Inn and even remember going there as a child. I just barely remember what it was like before the fire severly damaged in in 1964. I worked there, under the owner Barton Johnson, from about 1971 to 1980. I have experienced many happenings and have seen some things also. I was involved in the Unsolved Mysteries show and I can tell you from personal experience that everything was true and they only scratched the surface with what they talked about. I still have a special place in my heart for the General Wayne Inn and for its extremely rich history. Let’s keep it alive.

Ghostnspecter says:

May 2, 2008, 12:08 pm

Shay no disrespect intended and I understand where you are coming from with your comments but again don’t assume just because you were in a place and nothing happened that nothing is going on. A maybe exaggerated example would be you went in the ocean on a few specific occasions let’s say in Florida and there were no sharks there does that mean sharks don’t exist and you can never find them off the coast of Florida….no. Active locations do not always on cue present us with paranormal events. Most people would be surprised at how often things are quiet even in a location that is “known” to be haunted or active.

Also I can tell you that I DO NOT think that investigating a synagogue is disrespectful. I think if you are not careful as an investigator it could be done in a disrespectful way. It all depends upon who does the investigation and how it is done. We have and will be in a church investing again. If done with respect and with care taken in how things are done and talking and listening to a priest, a rabbi etc I fully believe we can be respectful. I do doubt however that an investigation will ever happen as long as the property is used as it is and that is a shame in a way. Our hope in part is to help people notice, understand and respect historic locations. Sometimes investigations(if people want to make fact that they are done public)have helped with raising money to help with the upkeep of the building. Also just giving people something to think about as far as the history of the country or local town goes is an accomplishment. All to often in our country’s past historic locations have been torn down without any real consideration of what that location actually means in a historic sense and once it is gone ….it’s gone forever.


Laurie says:

May 9, 2008, 3:29 pm

I was one of the participants at the y100 seance. I saw what happened with Walt, the construction guy, and there were a lot of things that weren’t on the air that also indicated something was going to happen. I was ae ehe inn after the murder on two separate occasions and also when it was Abilene. I have witnessed many unexplained things and heard numerous reports from staff as is one if the most haunted places I hae ever been in, and I have been in haunted places all over the world as a paranormal researcher.
One of our members stopped by when it was being renovated to become the Chabad-Lubavitch. They informed him that it was their intention to put any resident spirits to rest. I sincerely hope they were able to do so.

Matt says:

June 29, 2008, 10:53 pm

Anyone want to go check out places in Montgomery county and the surrounding area? Let me know at, or 484 919 2087

jake mcdonald says:

September 9, 2008, 2:03 pm

It is fake. Istayed a night there and nothing happened at all not one thing

Cologero says:

October 3, 2008, 2:20 pm

Hey guys check out

Jeff J. says:

October 12, 2008, 4:27 pm

It should have been left alone. A synagauge is not right for the Inn. They should have left every thing intact and turned it into a museaum. That area has so much history. The building is 204 years old..our first president and many others hung out thier as well as Edgar alan poe. I went to the Inn several years ago to do a video project on the ghosts ..It turned out pretty good but i lost the tape..

skippy 69 says:

October 31, 2008, 2:50 pm

o well these ghost stories dont scary me they TURN ME ON UMMMMM!! so if u are between 14 and 16 call me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

megan says:

January 15, 2009, 4:32 pm

omg i been there i was madd wow al i got 2 say + i stillb dream bout it wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

friend says:

April 9, 2009, 3:51 pm

I was very good friends of both Jim and Guy. Knew them from when they work together at the American Bistro. I witnessed first hand ghostly activity in the upstairs office. The basement was the spookiest. So yes it really is haunted

Ana says:

May 12, 2009, 12:23 pm

yea, i dont think its scary at all

Lois says:

May 14, 2009, 11:43 pm

This happened to me about9 years boyfriend and I had heard about the General Wayne Inn and drove there to see it..When we arrived it was closed but the door was slightly my friend called in to see if anyone was there..a man dressed in period clothes came to the door and we asked if we could come in just to see it, being we had driven so far..he said sure come in and look around,so we did…I kind of thought his clothes were strange but thought nothing of it at the time..We just stayed on the first floor and nothing was scarey there..just a dining room and bar..We then went into his office and spoke to him for a while and he told us some of the wierd things that had happened to him..we told him we would come back some day to have dinner there and hoped we would see him again but he told us he was not going to be there much longer..he gave us a little printed paper that told about the place and we said our good this was a very hot summer day and not a bit windy but when we walked out the door it slammed so hard in back of us with nobody there that I almost fainted..we wondered who would slam a door that hard..Ghost maybe? It was really scarey..We never did get back there but I wish we had..I love all that old History and I do believe in Ghosts…Lois

Emily says:

June 22, 2009, 8:52 am

My dad said therre was a murder there too!
Also my dad use to work there and he had to go in the celler to get a broom and he also said he does not belive in gouls

Dee says:

August 25, 2009, 3:11 pm

I didn’t know the entire place had been changed, kind of a shame since it was an historical home. Anyway, I was having dinner there in 1996 with my family. I got up to go the ladies room, and the chandilier in the ladies room began to flicker, several times but randomly, not in succession (which could happen with electrical problems). The other weird part, was when I went to leave, the door would not open. It took me several seconds to get the door opened, and I have to say, knowing the reputation of this place, it was a creepy experience.

Joanne Bennett says:

November 16, 2009, 12:58 pm

Does anyone know whom I can contact to set up an investigation at the inn? Please email me if so, thanks so much.

conway link says:

August 14, 2010, 7:58 pm

I posted about the program I did for high school children early on with this website. I suggest trying to find Rich Nilsen or Nilson. He was the lead detective on the case as I recall. He was with the Lower Marion County DAs office. Long time ago — 1998. You can email me if you wish.

JOE says:

October 18, 2010, 11:30 am


Nobody you know says:

January 23, 2011, 9:13 pm

Hi. i thought this story was kind of good. who ever wrote it, write more. I mean unless its true

Elizabeth says:

April 16, 2011, 3:33 pm

I had a girls night out at the inn back in the early 90s. We were all hoping to see a ghost. I went upstairs to the ladies’ room but saw nothing, experienced nothing. I returned to the table laughing that I hadn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. I sat down as the waiter pushed my chair in for me, and I turned to thank him. There was no waiter. The other women saw my chair being pushed in by invisible hands — the looks on their faces were priceless!


August 22, 2011, 5:21 am


SallyG says:

November 13, 2011, 11:09 am

It’s a shame that any structural changes or interior changes were allowed to be made to this building. It’s of extreme historic value. If anything, it should have been restored and preserved as close to original as possible. Unfortunately, some people have no sense of historic preservation. Perhaps someday it will be converted back to it’s original purpose…an inn.

doris says:

January 11, 2012, 8:10 pm

i would like to know if you have a restaurant and also when are your hours to be able to tour the inn. also, if you have overnight stays at the inn.

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