Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Haunted Governor’s Mansion

Woodburn Mansion
For over 200 years, people have seen and heard ghosts at the historic Woodburn mansion in Dover, Delaware.

This beautiful, 1790s Georgian house has seven bedrooms and beautiful gardens.

Woodburn in the 1950s.
Several of Delaware’s leading citizens have lived in this house. In 1965, the state of Delaware bought the property, renovated it, and made it the governor’s mansion.

The first Woodburn ghost sighting happened in 1820. Dr. M.W. Bates the owner, at this time, invited a Methodist preacher, Lorenzo Dow to stay the night.

After socializing, Dow retired for the evening to an upstairs bedroom. The next morning, he passed another man on the stairs. The preacher noted this man was dressed in “colonial garb”—and was shuffling up the steps oddly.

When he reached the breakfast table, he asked the Bates’ who the other guest was. Baffled, they told him no other guests were in the home.

After he described this man, the couple felt certain it was Dr. Bates’ father, who had been dead for years.

Woodburn gardens.
Another ghost seen and heard at Woodburn is a “slave raider.”

Dan Cowgill, a Quaker, owned the mansion before the Civil War. The house was a stop along the Underground Railroad.

One night a group of angry raiders came to the mansion looking for escaped slaves. Cowgill was able to chase them off.

One raider attempted to escape by climbing a poplar tree in the front yard. He slipped and got caught in a knot of the tree. He hung there, trapped and unnoticed until he died.

This tree still stands.

To this day, witnesses report hearing his screams as he tries to escape.

Woodburn dining room.
Several governors’ wives have seen ghosts in the mansion’s dining room.

These women state they heard footsteps at all hours of the night in this room, as well as seeing men, dressed in revolutionary-era clothes floating across the room.

These ghosts seem to be more fun-loving than scary. The spirits in the house are called “wine ghosts.”

The reason for this is they imbibe whatever wine is left out. If glasses are left half-full, etc., witnesses return to find them empty.

When Governor Charles Terry Jr. lived in the mansion, one ghost, in particular, was observed helping himself to the mansion’s vintage wines in the dining room.

A previous owner, before it was the governor’s residence, stated every night he would fill a decanter with wine, he then would find it empty the next morning.

It seems these ghosts like to party.

The mansion also has a young female ghost. This girl is seen in the garden wearing a red-checkered gingham dress. She likes to splash water in the homes’ fountains and pools.

Fountain at Woodburn.
This young spirit  “crashed” Governor Michael Castle’s inauguration in 1985.

Several guests felt something tugging at them throughout the ceremony. And many witnesses saw her floating shyly in the corner of the reception hall.

The public can visit this mansion—but by appointment only.


Leona Joan said...

What a fun haunting. I think it's hilarious that the ghost drink wine, ha ha! Good for them! 🍷

Virginia Lamkin said...

I was amazed when doing research about this haunting -it seems they are really fun-loving. LOL.