'Ghost Walks' explore Port Vue ball field area
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, 4:16 a.m.
Do ghosts walk the grounds of the Port Vue Athletic Association complex?
East Hills Paranormal investigators believe so, and welcome others to find out through their Ghost Walks.
The walks are in partnership with the Port Vue Citizens Committee. They had their first round of walks on Saturday. The next walk is Nov. 9 from 6-10 p.m.
There are two walks available around the ball fields. Each takes approximately 30 minutes.
Cost is $5 for one trail or $7 for both. Proceeds go to the East Hills Paranormal group and the committee, which contributes to many borough events.
Groups gathered near the ball fields to hear some borough history and legend from committee president Steve Hvozdik.
Hvozdik said the land the ball fields were built upon included Native American burial grounds.
The forks of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers were occupied for thousands of years by the Iroquois and Delaware Indian tribes, he added.
Queen Alliquippa, leader of the Seneca Mongo Tribe in the early part of the 18th century, camped out for a time each year at the confluence of the rivers.
Hvozdik said she called upon shamans and “demon dogs” to scare white settlers when they tried to expand from the McKeesport area.
Paranormal investigator Fred Broerman said his team experienced several phenomena last month while walking along the athletic fields.
“Some of us thought we felt arrows going by our heads,” Broerman said. “(Investigator) Josh (Shelton) had someone tell him to ‘watch out.' We took some pictures and looks like we had some Indians in the pictures over here.”
Hvozdik explained the origin of the “White Lady of Port Vue.”
He said years ago a woman was expected to meet her fiancé one night near Calvary Cemetery. The man, who lived by the coal mines, was mugged and never made it to see the woman. The lady waited by a tombstone and ended up freezing to death. According to local legend, she still can be seen walking about.
Port Vue Councilman Frank Cortazzo and Mayor Brien Hranics were among the first group of walkers Saturday night.
Hranics asked questions of any spirits who might be in the area, along with Broerman. Others took photographs of the area and claimed to have found orbs floating around people and fences.
Hranics said he had a good time on the walks and encouraged others to participate.
Cortazzo said he remains skeptical about hauntings, but had a positive experience.
“If everybody had to believe then I was holding the group up,” Cortazzo said. “Anytime you get together with good people for a little walk in the evening is always a positive experience. I think the citizens committee did a good thing when they tried to bring somebody's interest in (the borough). I believe in the Holy Spirit, that's it.”
Madison Pikula, 10, of Port Vue was one of the youngest ghost walkers. She was joined by family members and friends.
“I want to experience spirits,” Madison said. “The spirits are around and I want to have an experience in the woods.”
East Hills Paranormal started about five years ago in Pitcairn. The group has investigated places in areas that include New Castle, West Virginia, Greensburg and Coulter.
Port Vue police officer Ray Sczur, who also serves on the Pitcairn force, invited the paranormal group following an experience he said he had near the ballfields a few weeks ago.
“I couldn't get in my car,” Sczur said. “My door was unlocked, the window was down. I tried to get in my car and couldn't open the door. I reached in, hit the unlock button (and) couldn't get into the car. Popped up the button, I got in and I left. That's when I called the paranormal guys. I'm not coming up here by myself.”
Hvozdik said this marks the first time a paranormal group has publicly explored the area.
“We've done hayrides down through here, but we've never done a paranormal walk,” Hvozdik said.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or email@example.com.
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