Seven Stars Inn Investigation

Location: Route 23, Phoenixville, PA

Date: Friday, March 25, 2005

Moon Phase: Full

Solar Weather: Unknown

Investigators present: Hillary M., Robert H., Paul M., Randy G., and John

Olympus C-3000 digital camera, Extech EMF meter, Olympus 2000 Digital Voice Recorder, Extech IR thermometer, Olympus C-4000 Digital Camera, Trifield EMF meter, 4 Sony digital Video cameras with night vision with IR extenders, Olympus D-370 digital camera, Kodak digital camera, Minolta Digital camera, Olympus digital voice recorder, IR Thermal temperature gun and EMF.

History: Seven Stars Inn actually began as the homestead of Gerhard Brumbach who settled in Vincent Township soon after his marriage to Mary Rittenhouse Papen in 1718.
In about 1720, Samuel Nutt, an Iron Master, opened the first thoroughfare in this section of Chester County at his own expense. This great road, called Ridge or Nutt's Road, extended by Gerhard Brumbach's homestead. With the growing iron industry and the continued procession of new settlers on Ridge Road, Gerhard found he was frequently sheltering weary travelers. On May 25, 1736, he petitioned to His Majesty's Justices for the privilege of conducting a Publick House.
  Gerhard prospered, improved his land and erected the first grist mill along French Creek. In 1741, he gave a plot of ground for the church "for a burial place for his family, his descendants, and his neighbors." This church, Brownback's German Reformed, still is in use today. It stands just below the ridge Road and is known as Brownback's United church of Christ. Gerhard died in 1757; his son Benjamin succeeded him in conducting the business of the inn.
  Benjamin continued in business for nearly thirty years. Later he erected a larger house at the junction of the Lancaster and Ridge Roads, now called Heistands Corner. Benjamin died in 1786. His widow, Rachel Parker, was murdered at the age of 85; her assailant never being captured, The Inn, then known as the "Tavern," was left to his son Henry who was proprietor until his death in 1804.
  For three generations the Inn belonged to the Brumbach family. It was sold to John Baker in 1804. He is credited for the name "Seven Stars." During this time the inn was a bustling center of activity. At about the peak of the Conestoga Wagon days, it became a gathering place for town meetings, elections and celebrations.
  In 1848, the owner was John Yeager, an avid Fox Hunter. At that time the Inn was well known throughout Chester County as a hunter's retreat. During Prohibition it was used as a farm home and headquarters for the sale of cattle. Other owners have been Joshua Rhoads, George Christman, Jacob Smith, Isaac Davis, Washington Smith, John Hipple, Russel Latwhaw, Herbert Swanson, Kenneth Ott, and Benjamin and Margaret Pupek. The present owner is Frank Cacciutti.
  Over the years, work has been done to restore the original building and add space in keeping with the Inn's historic charm. The Inn is decorated with beautiful Tiffany chandeliers, overhead brass hurricane lanterns and antiques throughout. The bar features a unique lighted seven point star which is used for an overhead glass rack.
  During construction of the Conestoga room in 1971, an old well was discovered. While excavating, the contractor found the old well one foot below ground level. The hand-dug well, believed to have been dug prior to the building of the Inn, contained over 18 feet of water. The roof and walls of the old well shaft have been restored. The contractor also uncovered an arched brick cellar or passageway measuring six feet wide by thirty feet long. It adjoined the well and had walls over two and one half feet thick. A portion of it is now being used as the wine cellar.
  The name "Seven Stars" remains a mystery. Some say it was named for Seven Crossroads, or Seven Daughters. Others say it is for the seven stars in the Big Dipper or the seven years of America's War for Independence. From antiquity people have been fond of using the number seven in naming their properties. "Seven Stars" was a popular name for inns and taverns in England and Colonial America. The name lent itself to simple, clear symbolic signs which were much in use for the benefit of those who did not speak English.

More information can be found at

  Seven Stars is known all over southeastern PA for their fine food and huge portions,
making it one of the PRSNA's favorite restaurants. We highly recommend that you pay a visit to the inn.
  During our many dinner visits to Seven Stars, we have been told many stories regarding the haunting. Although the waiters and waitresses never bring up the subject themselves, they always seem to be happy to discuss it when asked. I've heard from two employees who have seen the apparition of a women, one in the downstairs dining room, and one at the top on the stairs in the upstairs dining room. It is unknown if both employees saw the same woman, but one of the apparitions was wearing riding clothes. Could this be the same woman that was murdered in the building at the age
of 85 in the 1800s?
  Employees also speak of the scary attic, and how no one will go up there alone. Several employees have even seen the attic door open, then close again a moment later all by itself.

Investigation: We arrived around noon, and were given a very informative tour by an employee. During this time, we took control pictures and EMF and temperature readings. We then split into two teams to assure that we covered the entire building. Team "A" was Hillary, Paul, and Robert, and Team "B" was John and Randy.
  Team A first headed to the basement and first floor dining rooms to conduct EVP sessions while Team B headed for the second floor and the attic. During these sessions, Paul (Team A) recorded an EMF fluctuation (1.0-2.2, then back down to 1.0) over the big, round table in the middle of the basement dining room. Robert immediately took a picture of Paul, and obtained a picture of a moving orb next to him. We were unable to locate a source for the EMF fluctuation. Hillary also obtained a picture of a slightly moving orb in front of the fireplace. During this time, John and Randy recorded two temperature drops of ten degrees each: one in the attic, and one in the small room behind the bar. When they were in the second floor dining room, they also witnessed the attic door, which was completely shut, open about eight inches then slam shut again.
  At 1:10, the teams switched places. At 1:13 p.m., Paul witnessed the attic door, which was open about 10 inches, close by itself. During these sessions, Team A recorded two EMF fluctuations on the eastern side of the attic. The readings fluctuated from a background reading (less than 1.0) to 2.6 and 3.6. As Team A was approaching the top of the stairs to go down to the bar area to meet Team B, Hillary saw a shadow pass by the bottom of the stairway. She immediately went downstairs to see if anyone was in the area, but she found no one.
  At 2:08 p.m., the two groups went up to the attic to conduct an EVP session together. During this time, Hillary got a few pictures of a pink orb. The group then moved down to the second floor, spreading out in the main dining room, as well as the smaller dining rooms, while Randy stayed up in the attic. At 2:31, Robert got a moving orb on the banister of the stairs between the first and second floors. Hillary immediately moved into the main dining room and started snapping pictures. One minute later, Hillary got a moving orb at the top of the steps.
  At 2:44, Robert, Paul and John moved down to the first floor dining rooms, while Randy and Hillary stayed in the 2nd floor main dining room. 11.5 minutes into the session, Hillary felt a presence behind her, watching her. She turned and took a picture behind her and got a moving orb in front of a painting on the wall. During this session, John also got a picture of a moving orb on the stairs.
  At 3:16, Hillary, Robert and Randy went down to the basement dining room, while John and Paul headed to the basement under the kitchen. No anomalies were recorded in these sessions. We left the inn around 3:30 p.m.

Conclusions: We obtained approximately 18 pictures of moving orbs during our three-hour daytime investigation of Seven Stars Inn. We only obtained one orb on video, and two possible EVPs. Two investigators witnessed the attic door moving by itself. We did notice a draft coming down from the attic, which may explain the door opening by itself. We opened and closed several doors throughout the restaurant (including outside doors) to see if it would create enough air current to close the door, but the door did not move at all during these tests. We also stomped around the entire second floor trying to get the door to move. We noted that the air conditioner was off. Therefore, we were unable to explain or recreate the instance of the door closing by itself.
  Although we cannot state for sure that a site is haunted after investigating it for only three hours, we have to admit that the results that we obtained at the Seven Stars Inn have made us more than a little curious. We hope to be invited back to this restaurant to study it further, at different times of the day. If you should happen to take the PRSNA's advice and visit the Seven Stars Inn for dinner one night, tell them we sent you.

Special thanks to manager Mike Bolognese and owner Frank Cacciutti for
allowing us to investigate the inn.

Report submitted by Hillary Murdoch.