By JIMMY JOHNSON
JAM Paranormal Lead Investigator
READING, Pa. — This is a summary report of our investigation at Reading Central Catholic High School.
JAM Paranormal investigated the “prominent haunt” for three hours on Nov. 30. Equipped with five camcorders, a thermal imaging camera, EMF meters and digital audio recording devices, we covered the Luden Mansion — also known as the Bon-Air Mansion — section of the high school, looking to find evidence that would either debunk or verify the stories.
JAM Paranormal’s investigation results were revealed to the school in January and we will not post them online until we have been given permission to.
Until that happens, I have a brief report of the history of the building and a theory of my own after investigating the school.
There are many stories online about Reading Central Catholic High School and the history of the Luden Mansion, but which stories are true and which ones are false?
William H. Luden, the founder of Luden cough drops, built it in 1914. Luden, who was born on March 5, 1859, in Reading, was married to Anne Ritter in 1889. Together, they had eight children.
A quick search online of the Luden Mansion brings up the story of one of his sons committing suicide by hanging himself on the staircase between the second and third floors. Another story includes the murders of his wife and daughter.
It is a fact that his wife, Anne, died in 1916 and that when Luden died in 1941, only six of his children were alive; however, there were no records of which children died, how and when.
That leaves the possibility of their being some truth to the stories, however, without concrete proof it would be unfair to label the murders as true. Knowing that Ritter passed away in 1916 gives us the opportunity to search through microfilm of newspapers in Reading and see if there is any truth to these stories.
Seeing that Luden was a prominent figure in the city at the time and Ritter was the daughter of the editor of the Reading Adler — one of the oldest newspapers in the country —there’s a good chance her death would have made it into the paper.
That will be a project for JAM Paranormal in the next couple months.
Luden re-married afterward to Kathryn Fasig. He owned several mansions, including homes in Villanova, Atlantic City, N.J., Palm Beach, Fla., and Miami Beach, Fla.
His business, Luden Candy Company, grew quickly and took off with the better-tasting cough drops — he sold five million nickel packs.
Luden passed away on May 8, 1941, in his home in Atlantic City.
Reading Central Catholic was formed when Rev. William Hammeke, then-rector of St. Pauls Parish in Reading, purchased the mansion in 1939. (Historical information provided by article by Kelly Weber.)
Residual haunt? Limestone theory:
The Luden Mansion’s outer walls are made up of Indiana limestone. This is an interesting fact that we dug up because there are several theories in the paranormal community that suggest that an area rich in limestone is often a place where residual haunts can occur.
There is something about the limestone that helps “record” time and replay it back.
Once we are able to post our findings, I will be able to further comment on this and make ties with evidence that we found.