Monday, March 10, 2014

Belcourt Castle’s Haunted Objects

Newport, Rhode Island is one of the oldest settlements in America--it was established in 1690. Starting in the 20th century this seaside community became a summer playground for some of America’s wealthiest families.

Belcourt 1895
Shortly after completion.
Many of this communities’ elegant homes, which have been around for several generations, are considered to be haunted. One of these is Belcourt Castle.

Richard Morris an architect designed and built this home for a 33-year old bachelor, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont in 1894. This chateau reflects a strong French Renaissance and Gothic influence.

Belmont only resided in this home for 6 to 8 weeks out of each year. He married a socialite, Alva Vanderbilt in 1896. After his death in 1908 his wife becoming bored traveled extensively. Belcourt then fell into disrepair. The chateau was sold in 1940 to an entrepreneur who hoped to turn it into a car museum--this never happened.

The next owners, the Lorillards seeing the grounds could accommodate 10,000 visitors used the property to hold regular jazz festivals. During this time the home continued to deteriorate.

In 1956 the Tinney family acquired the property. The Tinney’s owned Belcourt Castle for the next 56 years. They filled the castle with their own extensive collection of antiques and reproductions. They also fully restored Belcourt to its original grace and beauty.

Harle Tinney
One member of the family, Harle Tinney who married the Tinney's son feels the castle is haunted. This activity appears to be connected to various items in the castle.

Harle Tinney saw the ghost of monk dressed in brown--she feels this haunting originated from a carved monk statue the family owns. This ghost monk would only appear nearby this statue. When the statue was moved from its place near a staircase to another room the ghost then only manifested in this room. When the Tinney’s decided to place this statue in the chapel they feel it appeased this ghost for he stopped appearing.

Belcourt Monk Statue

A piano tuner working in the castle heard loud screaming coming from one Japanese suit of armor.

Gothic Ballroom
One night in the late 1990’s Harle was headed to the castle’s kitchen when she noticed the stain glass lights were on in the gothic ballroom. As she walked over and turned them off she then heard a blood-curdling scream behind her. She quickly turned toward the kitchen but the lights turned back on and she heard a second even louder scream.

This 17th century Samrai armor has a helmet that is cracked by what appears to be from a medieval weapon piercing it. It is speculated this Sumrai experienced a painful death when a lance pierced his eye. Many visitors have claimed to see the face of a man inside this armor. He often screams as young girls stand nearby.

An 18th century mirror that hangs in the castle’s music room is also haunted. When people look into it they find their reflection moves even though they are not moving. Items around the room that are reflected also appear to be vibrating. The mirror itself does not move.

The castle also has two old salt chairs * located in the castle’s gothic ballroom that are possessed by spirits. On one occasion 70 visitors to the castle saw a “bolt of lightning shoot out of one of these chairs.”

Many visitors have mentioned that when they have placed their hands over these chairs they have felt uncomfortable some even state they felt a strong static electricity jolt.

People who have sat in these chairs state they felt an “immediate cold.” Others have reported waves of nausea overwhelming them. Yet others state as they sat in one of these chairs-- it was if somebody else was already sitting there.

Belcourt today
Harle Tinney tells the story of one male visitor who was touring the castle, he stopped and sat on one of these salt chairs. The tour guide then saw him physically ejected from the seat and thrown 6 feet through the air.

For years, Belcourt Castle offered a variety of haunted tours. The castle was sold in 2012. Harle Tinney is the only surviving member of the Tinney family.

* Kings only used salt chairs or throne chairs. Their high backs distinguish this type of chair.

No comments: