The night manager was in the process of closing the Accomac Inn in York, Pennsylvania, one evening when he stumbled across a young woman quietly weeping in the dining room. He asked if he could offer her any assistance, but she didn’t answer. Perplexed by her lack of response and her strange clothing, the manager went out to his car, only to be confronted by the same young woman, sitting on the hill next to the parking lot, sobbing into her hands. Once again he asked if he could help, but received no answer. He was worried enough to report the girl to the police, who asked him for a description. But he couldn’t remember her face.
Odilia McDonald, the longtime general manager of the Accomac, though, knew the girl was past help. Her name was Emily Myers—and over a hundred years ago she was murdered on the Accomac grounds.
In 1864, a family by the name of Coyle came to own the inn. A young woman named Emily began working at the inn in 1882, and John Coyle, Jr. was smitten with her. But after a series of marriage proposals and rejections, Coyle, who in local reports of the murder was described as “slow,” decided if he couldn’t have Emily no one would. So he shot and killed her in the barn. He then turned the gun on himself, but survived.
Despite a retrial and a change of venue, Coyle was found guilty of Emily’s murder and hanged. Though his mother wanted to bury him in their hometown of Marietta, the city refused, and his mother brought his body back to the Accomac for burial. His tombstone and burial plot can still be found in the backyard of the inn, a mere fifty feet away.
For decades, patrons of the Accomac Inn have reported the feeling of being watched. But some visitors and staff members have had much closer encounters with Emily and her murderer, who seem doomed to haunt the halls. McDonald, who began her career as a waitress at the Accomac in 1976, tells of strange flashing lights, loud banging, and the intercom ringing, when she knew for a fact that the building was empty. A waitress was walking back from the empty dining room one night and saw a man sitting at the table, alone, with his head in his hands. When she walked back, there was no one there.
The Accomac’s pastry chef, Deb, was baking early one morning when she heard someone enter the building. She assumed it was another employee, but instead she found herself greeting the ghost of a man who she believed to be John Coyle, Jr., as the young male figure vanished right in front of her eyes. Another day Deb was in the walk-in fridge, and felt someone standing behind her. When she turned around she was confronted by the same young man she had seen before.
Ghost hunters have had their instruments malfunction inside the inn, and one group even recorded what they believe is the sound of a young woman pleading for help (see below).
McDonald, for her part, has no doubt the specters in the hotel are those of John Coyle, Jr. and Emily Myers. “I think, definitely,” she said, “he’s probably sitting here, listening to us right now.”
In 2018, the Accomac Inn hit the market for $1.4 million. A buyer may have been found, however, as property listings are no longer active. But never fear, the Inn remains open. If you’re up for a haunt hunt, venture to York for the night of a lifetime. After all, Coyle’s epitaph reads: “Mother, don’t weep for me, for I am not dead, only sleeping here.”
All photos: The Accomac / Facebook