Is Bethlehem haunted?

It would seem so, according to the Ghost Tours led by Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem. There are enough spooks and spirits to fill a whole tour, apparently. Certainly, there is plenty of history here, so if ghosts do exist, one would expect Bethlehem to have them aplenty.

I don’t know how much I believe in that stuff, but if Bethlehem is haunted I hope it’s by Count Zinzendorf. First of all, he has probably the best ghost name in recorded history. I mean, who would you rather be haunted by, Casper or Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf? Point, set, match, Count Z.

But it’s not just his name, it’s the spirit of the man, and the Moravians he led, that makes me hope he’s still haunting our land. Zinzendorf was a strong voice for religious tolerance – back in the eighteenth century, he had the courage to proclaim that one’s denomination mattered less than being a part of “the congregation of God in the Spirit.” He preached that our relationship with God was more important than any doctrinal dispute. And while, like many Europeans of his time, he did attempt to convert the “heathen” Lenape, he was fascinated by their culture and insisted that they be treated as equal – in God’s Acre cemetery, they were buried alongside the white settlers. The cemetery is perhaps the first “integrated” burial ground in America. Whether or not the cemetery is haunted, I cannot tell you. But I assure you it is hallowed.

Hopefully, the spirit of the Lenape people is still with us, too. Fortunately, the Lenape nation and her people have survived. But whether all of us residents of the Lehigh Valley have kept alive the Lenape reverence for our environment remains to be seen. Lenape religion held that the Great Spirit was present in all living things. Consequently they treated nature with the utmost respect and care. If we were to be haunted by visions, this would be a great vision for us all.

Monday Meditation: Who “haunts” your life – what ancestors, predecessors, great examples live on in the way you go about your day?