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December 6, 2014 - Zion Lutheran Church in Flourtown, PA
Built in 1818 
Zion Lutheran Church is the resting place of the Van Billiard Family. Mr Austin van Billiard and his two sons, James William and Walter John perished aboard the Titanic on April 15, 1912. Mr Austin Blyler van Billiard, was born on 9 February 1877, the only son of James van Billiard, a successful marble merchant.
                                                                                                                           James and Walter 
At the turn of the century Austin emigrated to Europe to find work during the arrangements for the Universal Exposition that was opening in Paris, France that same year. Austin found work, as an electrician, and he prospered. It was while working in France that he met his English wife, Maude Murray (b. 13 April 1873), whose father was in Paris on business. The two were married on 3 November 1900 after only a few months courtship. The couple soon had two children: James William (b. 20 August 1901) and Walter John (b. 28 February 1903). In 1906 the van Billiard family decided to try their luck at diamond mining and, therefore, emigrated to Central Africa. Here they lived a harsh existence and two more children were born. In 1912, however, Austin had decided to return back to America to work as a diamond merchant. They first returned to London, England on board a French steamer, after smuggling their children on board. Maude’s parents lived in London.
Austin decided to take his two eldest children with him to America ahead of the rest of the family. He and his two sons boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers.  The body of his son Walter was also found but James’ body, if recovered, was never identified. Austin’s wife Maude eventually make the trip to North Wales, Pennsylvania with her two remaining children: she never remarried and died in a nursing home on 17 January 1968, aged 94.
Paranormal Claims 
  • Boy ghost named "Freddy”. According to Pastor Thompson, the children over the years had been talking about a little boy who would visit them while they were playing in the play room of the church. A ghost of a little boy  wanting to play and apparently told them that his name was "Freddy”. Upon further investigation by the pastor, she found a grave marker with the name of Frederick, a little boy who passed away when he was only 14 months old
  • Whispers when no one else in room
  • A man wandering the cemetery wearing a top hat and dresscoat
  • Unexplained footprints in snow





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