Depue S. and Thomas T. Miller were brothers who owned a general store in Easton, Northampton County in the 1850s. Although Thomas was regarded as a God-fearing man, his brother Depue was less inclined to believe in the concept of eternal life. Depue's friend, Fred Heller, was also a strong believer in life after death and to prove it he made Depue an interesting bet.
The one of us that dies first, said Heller to Depue, will return and - by a series of agreed upon raps - provide evidence that his belief is the correct one.
The following winter (1857 by Hauntingly PENNSYLVANIA™'s calculations) Heller went to a sleighing party during which he caught a cold. The cold became consumption (tuberculosis) and Heller left Easton for his home county of Monroe. Odd things began happening to Heller upon his return home including one instance where he swore he was briefly levitated while picking shellbarks (which we assume to be hickory nuts.)
As his condition worsened it became important to Heller that he go back to Easton. He moved into the residence of Thomas T. Miller where he died two days later. [NOTE: the house, then located at North 4th and Spring Garden Streets, no longer stands.]
Soon after Heller's death, strange noises were heard in and about Thomas Miller's house. Though they came from different rooms and areas, they always presented the same pattern: three distinct raps. Even the piano was heard to sound three notes. And Heller's pall bearers reported hearing three knocks as they removed his coffin from the home.
So persistent became these sounds that Thomas Miller - concerned about the publicity the events were generating - sent his family from the house, although he remained with an employee keeping him company.
According to Miller, the noises continued and worsened. One night he claimed to have his blanket yanked off with three firm jerks. It was only then that he remembered the agreement between his brother Depue and Fred Heller. This MUST be Heller keeping his end of the bargain, Thomas Miller told his employee.
And, just as suddenly as they had begun, the sounds ended - for someone had finally acknowledged Fred Heller the winner of his bet with Depue Miller. 💀