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Haunted Moonshine Church and the Blue Eyed Six

For such a small place, Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County seems to have a disproportionate serving of local legend. The place has not one but two sets of apparitions associated with it. In addition to military vehicles and tanks, the army base at Fort Indiantown Gap houses a green and white church called Moonshine Church. Named after Henry Moonshine (1760-1836) who donated the land, an old log church was built on the site next to an acre of land. Henry Moonshine had designated the acre as a free burial land as a memorial to his son, who died at the tender age of 14. The original log church on the site burned down in the 1960s and was completely replaced by the one that stands on the camp today. And while it’s not a smart idea to stroll onto military camps, but those who have peeked into the church say they see dead people, walking around the place. Given the sad history of the place, nobody’s sure whether it’s supposed to be Moonshine or his relatives wandering around there, but some say it may be a murder victim named Joseph Raber. And it’s this man who features in Indiantown Gap’s other set of apparitions.

After Raber’s untimely death in December 1876, a sordid tale of greed and betrayal came out involving six men: Israel Brandt, Josiah Hummel, Charles Drews, Franklin Stichler, Henry F. Wise, and

George Zechman. During the trial, a reporter noted that all the defendants had blue eyes, and so history remembers them as the Blue Eyed Six. The six apparently took out life insurance on Joseph Raber, a local laborer in his late fifties. Raber lived in a one-room shack with his common-law wife, and had no connection with the six—but the graveyard policy they took out didn't require them to. Simply stated, if the six kept up the premiums, they would walk away with either $8,000 or $10,000 (sources disagree) when Raber died. Although this plot was ghoulish, the so-called graveyard policies were perfectly legal. (In fact, WalMart takes out similar policies on its employees to this day). What wasn’t legal was a plot they hatched to bring the payday forward by doing Raber in. In bar-room meetings, the six discussed how they would do the deed (rather too loudly, as it turned out), and settled on drowning Raber in the Indiantown Gap Creek. After knocking him into the water, at least two of them held him under to ensure the success of their plan. Unfortunately, insurance fraud and murder plots have a way of coming unglued, and all but one of the six ended up hanging. Only Zechman was not indicted, and he died a year later anyway.

Although the Blue Eyed Six were not allowed in the Moonshine graveyard with their victim, the story goes that if you drive to the graveyard at night, you can see floating blue lights along the road and in the graveyard. Like all good cemetery stories, they recommend you leave your motor running, because if you need to beat a hasty retreat, your car will undoubtedly fail to start up.

The Eyes Still Have it at the Haunted Moonshine Church

There is a tale around Elizabethtown about Fort Indian Town Gap. It’s an army base that stores tanks and ATVs. In the summertime they use live ammo for training with the tanks and it can be heard for miles. I live almost 30 miles from it and can still hear them. Inside the base is a church called Moonshine Church. It was built in the late 1800's or early 1900's.

It looks in bad shape but is still in use. The church is painted to match everything else military on the base: green and white. Across the road from it is a graveyard where the notorius Blue Eyed Six are buried.

I have heard many tales about the church and the six. One is that the church used to be a murder house, where many people were killed. People have told me that if you wonder around in the woods out back around midnight, you cannot find the church again, and if/when you do, a pentagram is visible on the back door. If you look inside the windows, you can see ghosts and soldiers walking around.

In the graveyard are the Blue Eyed Six who were put on trial and hung for drowning a man in the Susquehanna River. The Six killed the man for his life insurance, which was worth 1,000 dollars. They were caught, hung and buried in the church’s graveyard. Sometimes you can see their eyes roaming in the graveyard or alongside the road. This only really occurs around midnight. Other times, if you are speeding your car will stall for no reason. This has happened to a few of my friends. A warning though, never turn your car off if you arrive there, it may not start up again!  –James

 

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