Landenberg, Pennsylvania, is home to the Ticking Tomb, one of the most famous legends in all of America. Staying in a Landenberg Inn means that you are close to the historical churchyard and cemetery where the legend of the Ticking Tomb lies. Inhabitants of Landenberg claim that the legend is due to one of two railroad surveyors who arrived during the 1760s. The graveyard at the source of the legend is one of the most visited historical sites in Pennsylvania. There is no official address for the church, but it can be located easily.
The Ticking Tomb
Next to the London Tract Meeting House
London Tract Rd
Landenberg, PA 19350
Head east on Strickersville until you cross 896. Continue along London Tract Road until you come to a small churchyard. There is a marker for the Ticking Tomb in the old Indian burial ground which is the cemetery of the church, and which adjoins the London Tract Meeting House. Almost all of the visitors to Landenberg have heard of the legend and come here specifically to visit the grave in this small church cemetery where the tale stems from. The grave and the gravestone is a must-see, must-visit for the majority of individuals, couples, families and groups that make their way to the churchyard to listen for the sound of ticking.
How the Legend Began
When surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were strolling through the Landenberg area and mapping out the route for their now famous Mason-Dixon rail line, a local youngster somehow managed to get hold of Mason's pocket watch. The young boy then put it inside his mouth and swallowed it as the two surveyors looked on in horror. It is said that Charles Mason was not overjoyed at what happened and one explanation of the legend is that it was Mason who put a curse on the boy - and the watch continually ticked throughout the rest of the boy's life and went with him into his grave.
The Ticking Tomb of Landenberg is believed to have been the inspiration for author Edgar Allen Poe's book, The Tell-Tale Heart, after he himself had visited the grave and heard the ticking from within. It seems more than likely that Poe could have visited the Ticking Tomb, as records show he stayed in the same tavern as Mason and Dixon had stayed at almost a century earlier. It is possible the author had heard of the legend and visited the grave himself during the early 1840s.
Listening for the Legend
Today, most visitors put their ears to the gravestone and some even claim to hear the ticking. A few even use stethoscopes and other listening devices in the hope of hearing something. The Ticking Tomb is a legend that stretches back many years, and every visitor to Landenberg makes a point of visiting the churchyard to decide for themselves whether it's true or not. You'll have to pay a visit from your Landenberg Bed and Breakfast to decide for yourself.