Vandals Target Bradford County’s Oldest Church

Written By: Asha McKenzie
Vandals Target Bradford County’s Oldest Church

BURLINGTON, PA (WENY) -- Bradford County's oldest church has been the target of vandalism for the past few years.
     The Old Methodist Church in Burlington has been trashed and broken into repeatedly.
     And although there is no active congregation, the extensive damage has forced neighboring churches to cancel their annual summer service there.
     A staple in the community since 1822 but also the setting of a modern day scary story.
     Tales of ghosts in the building have attracted visitors - but not all are welcomed.
     "Some kind of story was hitting its rounds that there were dead bodies stored in the sides here," said Pastor Chris Nauta of the Old Church Committee. "And there wasn't. People wanted to investigate that for themselves and did a lot of damage."
     Nauta says for the past two years, the building has seen its fair share of damage from vandals.
     Windows, pews and parts of a 2 century old organ are completely destroyed but the damage doesn't stop there.
     "Someone went up into the attic and was crawling around up there and most them went through the ceiling but not all of them luckily," said Pastor Nauta. "Because he would have fallen to his death."
     Old Church committee members tried a number of ways to stop breaking ins... boarding windows, putting up signs and even inviting ghost hunters to explore.
     To some, stories of paranormal activity in the church.. Are just that. But for northern tier native and paranormal investigator, Jason Gowin, it's real and he provided WENY with A audio he claims was recorded inside the church.
     Jason: March 7th
     Ghost: I don't know what day it is.
     The ghost stories about the place and the paranormal lessons have been around since I was a kid," said Gowin. "One of the reasons we started ghost hunting there back in 2001 Was because of stories."
     The old church committee says they will continue to work with the State Police and are thinking on installing security cameras.