Showing posts with label haunted house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haunted house. Show all posts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Little Hands

First person account from the Reader’s digest:

When my mother was a teenager she lived in a haunted house. What is unusual about this is she never talked about it. She did tell me a story about an encounter with a ghost but it didn’t occur in her home.

A few houses down her street lived a family with two daughters. The younger of the two girls went to bed complaining of a terrible headache.

The family discovered this little girl dead the next morning. It was determined she had died of an aneurysm.

Overwhelmed with grief this family left town for a while after the funeral. They asked my uncle to take care of their pets.

My mother and father were dating at the time and they asked to go along. My mother really wanted to play the family’s grand piano and my father was studying to be a veterinarian.

As the trio entered the house the two men went to the basement to feed the pets, my mother headed straight for the piano. As she played she felt something brush her ankles. She continued to play thinking one of the cats must have escaped.

A few moments later she felt the soft brushes again. She looked under the piano but saw nothing. As she started to play again she felt two small hands grab each leg tightly.

She got and ran to the basement door. The two men responded quickly to her panicked call. When they arrived at the top of the stairs she explained what had happened.

Her uncle turned white. He told her a story the neighbor had told him at the funeral. The deceased daughter always played a game with her father as he played the piano.

She would crawl under the piano and grab his ankles and then push his feet up and down on the pedals.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Memory Ghosts

People often experience what some call Memory Ghosts. These ghosts are not ghosts in the true sense of the word rather they are imprints on the environment.

While a person is living, places and objects that hold meaning for them can absorb their energy. After they pass this energy can linger.

A good example of this happened to a friend of mine years ago. Her grandmother died and she inherited the family home. Once she moved in she became convinced her grandmother haunted the house.

She often would catch a glimpse of her grandmother in the kitchen standing at the stove or she would see her sitting in her favorite rocker in the living room.

After doing some research she decided she needed to help her grandmother move on.

She made several attempts to talk to her deceased relative but she never got a response or sign that her grandmother heard her. She finally gave up.

Several years passed and she realized she no longer saw her grandmother. Years later, while reading a book about energy imprints she realized this is what might have happened in her home.

Was what she experienced just some of her grandmother’s lingering energy?

Could the home have picked up and stored some of her grandmother’s emotional residue?

Her grandmother loved to cook for the family. This was how she expressed her love. So a great deal of her energy was invested in the kitchen especially around the stove.

The rocking chair in the living room was her grandmother’s favorite spot to rest and think. So this spot as well could have picked up some of her relatives energy.

So do we leave echoes of ourselves in places and on objects that we have strong emotional ties to? Many believe this is true.

The following poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the 1800s reflects this concept of memory ghosts.

Haunted Houses

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been visible and clear.

We have no title deed to house or lands . . .

Monday, April 11, 2016

Our Phantom Nanny

This is a first person account told by one mother.

When our daughter turned 6 months old I began to notice a change in her behavior. Something unusual was going on.

I would walk into to her room to find her babbling and laughing—as if she were interacting with someone.

When I would hear her cries of distress I would head to her room to comfort her only to find she had stopped. She often would be cooing happily.

It was as if someone else had gotten to her first and comforted her.

I noted these incidents and didn’t think much of them—that is until one late evening. I was working on a report that was overdue in my home office when a noise from the hall distracted me.

I looked up and caught a glimpse of a woman’s reflection in the hallway mirror. She appeared to be standing near the front door. She was tall, her dark hair was pulled back into a severe bun and she was wearing an old-fashioned dressing gown.

When I walked to my office door to take a closer look her reflection disappeared.

The home we lived in had been in my husband’s family for generations so we felt she might be a deceased relative looking over our daughter.

 As the months passed her interactions with our daughter became more frequent.

Near my daughter’s first birthday my husband and I were awakened by her cries. We both got up to check on her. This is when I heard odd noises coming from the baby monitor.

My husband grabbed my arm and put his fingers to his lips. We stopped and listened. There was the unmistakable sound of a female voice singing a lullaby.

My daughter’s cries ceased and we heard her say, “Night, night.”

My husband then ran to her room to check on her. Everything was fine. But this incident freaked us out. We had our home cleansed a short time later.

Since, there have not been any more appearances by our phantom nanny.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Hunters Return

James Heyward had two loves in life, his books and hunting. James’ father was killed in the Revolutionary War and his mother was disappointed when James, her eldest son took no interest in running the family’s rice plantation.

1800s Rice Plantation S.C.
At the end of the war the widow Heyward had a refined 2-story house built on the fashionable Legare Street in Charleston, South Carolina. She loved to entertain friends and her children often came to visit.

One early morning in January of 1805 she went into the home’s library. There as usual sat James in an alcove. He was hunched over holding his head in his hands.

The widow concerned approached the table. She asked him why he had not left yet. He had informed her the night before that he and friends where going to leave Charleston early the next morning to go quail hunting at the family plantation.

When she received no response she asked, “James, are you ill?” She watched as her son just faded away.

Now certain what she had seen was a bad omen she sent for a servant. She demanded this man go to the plantation immediately and see if something was amiss with the hunting party.

However before this servant could leave there was a commotion on the front porch. The door swung open and a group of plantation workers entered, carrying the lifeless body of James Heyward—his grieving friends trailed behind.

They told the widow as they had galloped across a field that morning a cow had startled James’ horse. He was thrown and killed instantly.

At the precise moment of his death Mrs. Heyward had seen and spoken to her son in the library.

Library window.
It has been over two hundred years since this tragic accident but James’ ghost still makes appearances in the Legare Street home’s library.

Fourteen families have lived in this home since the widow Heyward had it first built in 1789. Several of these residents have claimed to see James’ ghost.

He is seen, wearing his green riding coat and reading a book in the alcove. At other times he is seen gazing out the window toward where the family’s plantation once stood.

This residence at 31 Legare Street has 7 bedrooms and 9 baths. The home is almost 7,000 square feet in size and is valued at $1.2 million. The owners’ wish is that everyone respects their privacy.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stambovsky v. Ackley: Notoriety Backfires, Part ll

Ackley home.
In 1989, Jeffrey Stambovsky, a Manhattan transplant bought Helen Ackley’s house for $650,000.

Stambovsky not aware of the home’s reputation for being haunted moved in with his wife. He first heard the news from a neighbor. Stambovsky then professed he did not believe in ghosts.

But despite his profession he was disturbed that Helen and the realtor had not mentioned this information. He felt the notoriety of a haunting could potentially affect the home’s value.

Later, when his pregnant wife heard the news, Jeffrey decided for her comfort they should not have to stay in a place that made her nervous. Nor should they be expected to put their life savings into the home.

He filed a lawsuit against Helen and Ellis Realty for “fraudulent misrepresentation.” He lost his first suit in a lower court, it sided with Helen Ackley citing caveat emptor or buyers beware.

Stambovsky then appealed his case to the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court in 1991 in front of a panel of 5 judges. In a narrow 3 to 2 decision Jeffrey won.

Whimsically, Justice Israel Rubin, who wrote the decision declared, “That Helen Ackley had promised the Stambovsky’s that the property would be vacant when they took possession, which was obviously not true.”

The court based their decision on the fact that buyers beware did not apply in this case for how does one inspect a house for ghosts. They also cited the fact that Helen had deliberately publicized her house as being haunted so she owed the buyer no less.

Helen Ackley at age 77. She
has since passed away.
They did not find fraud on Helen’s part but considering the history of her published comments she could not deny the property was haunted—so as a matter of law, the house was haunted.

Excerpt of dissent.
Stambovshy was allowed out of his contract and his down payment of $32,000 was returned.

The next buyer of this LaVeta Place home on the Hudson River sold it for $900,000, a fair market value. None of the 3 subsequent owners of the home have experienced paranormal activity.

The Stambovsky v. Ackley decision is considered historic because of its impact on New York and several other states laws when it comes to property that is stigmatized.

It varies from state to state but most, including New York now have statutes on their books that the seller does not have to disclose ghostly activity to prospective buyers.

The one failsafe to this is if the prospective buyer asks, then the seller does have to tell the truth about a possible haunting.

In Part l of Stambovsky v. Ackley: Notoriety Backfires, the hauntings the Ackley family experienced over many years are described.

Stambovsky v. Ackley: Notoriety Backfires, Part l

Stambovsky v. Ackley is an historic court case where a house in Nyack, New York was declared legally haunted.

It appears when Helen and George Ackley with their 7 children moved into their stately Victorian home--several entities watched them.

Ackley's home.
The Ackley’s felt this 2-story, 5,000 square foot, 18-room home, with a full attic and basement, would be ideal for raising their family.

They had only one initial concern. The house had been abandoned for 7 years so there was a lot of work to be done.

The family soon discovered their new home was already occupied. As Helen looked out one bay window at the Hudson River a plumber who had been working in the basement mentioned that before they moved in he had heard footsteps on the floor above him.

He said they would stop mid-swing, defying gravity.

Then a neighbor mentioned that one set of French doors would burst open without cause. George was told that people had heard disembodied “voices” in the house.

One day as Helen painted the living room she spotted a ghost watching her. It looked on with approval so Helen took this to mean it liked the color she had chosen.

The family discovered the house was occupied by a poltergeist as well. Items were moved or would disappear.

Helen’s oldest daughter, Cynthia frequently felt her bed shake on school days. This would occur just before her alarm was set to ring. Over spring break she informed the ghost that she didn’t have to get up early the next morning. The bed didn’t shake.

As the years passed, Helen and other family members saw three distinct ghosts. One was a young woman who wore a red cloak. She was seen descending the stairs.

An elderly man was often seen levitating four feet off the floor. He was spotted most often in the home’s living room. Helen stated this man with his “cheerful” continence and “apple cheeks” reminded her of Santa.

The third ghost was a sailor that wore a powdered wig. Helen came to the conclusion that all three of these ghosts were from the Revolutionary War period.

The Ackley’s home gained notoriety when Helen wrote an article in 1977 about this activity for Reader’s Digest entitled, My Haunted House on the Hudson.

This article is no longer available online but one quote from it states--

“The ghosts have been, gracious, thoughtful—only occasionally frightening—and thoroughly entertaining. Our ghosts have continued to delight us . . .”

In the 80s, two local newspapers, the Nyack News and Views published articles Helen wrote about the ghosts.

As the family grew up, the house turned into a compound, the older children’s spouses moved in.

Various family members received gifts that would appear and then disappear from the ghosts.

Helen was given a set of small silver sugar tongs that then disappeared. The grandchildren all received baby rings and a daughter-in-law was given coins.

Cynthia’s husband, Mark Kavanagh who later wrote an article, The Ghost of Nyack , was alone in the house one Christmas. As he put various toys together, he heard a muffled conversation in the dining room.    

When he went to investigate the voices stopped but once he left the room they continued. After, he felt he was being watched.

One night as he lay on his side he heard his bedroom door open. He heard the floorboards creak as someone approached the bed. He felt a weight as someone sat down by his feet. Then something pressed against his body.

When he turned he saw, “a womanly figure in a soft dress in the moonlight.” Within minutes this figure got up and walked out.

After George died, Helen decided to sale the house. This decision would involve her in a case that landed in front of New York’s Supreme Court.

In Part ll of Stambovsky v. Ackley: Notoriety Backfires, this case is described.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Colonial Yorktown: Nelson House

It was at Yorktown where the siege that ended the Revolutionary War was fought it was also here were many Yankee and Rebel soldiers died in agony during the Civil War.

One large 3-story Georgian brick house that sits on a hill overlooking the York River played a definitive role in both these wars. This house is a beloved landmark today in the small community of Yorktown, Virginia.

Nelson House
The Nelson family built the house located on Main Street in Yorktown, in the 1730s. By the outbreak of the Revolutionary war Thomas Nelson Jr. was living in the home with his wife and 3 children.

Thomas Nelson Jr. was a member of the Continental Congress, Commander of the Virginia militia, a governor of the state of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Nelson Jr.

Nelson House became famous when Nelson himself directed General George Washington during the Revolutionary War to attack the house for it was suspected to be General George Cornwallis’s headquarters.

Washington during siege.
On the morning of October 9, 1781, Washington’s men and allies bombarded the Nelson house with cannon shells. One of these shells hit a secret stairway hidden behind a panel in the dining room hall heading to a garret.

A well-known legend states a young British soldier was hiding here and was killed in the blast. It is said his sad, restless spirit remains in the house.

The Nelson family owned the house until 1907 when Captain George Preston Blow purchased it. The spirit of the British soldier made his presence known during a luncheon hosted by Mrs. Blow.

One guest asked Mrs. Blow if the house was haunted? She replied, “Goodness, no.” As soon as she said this the secret door behind the panel flew open and knocked against the sideboard with such force that dishes crashed to the floor.

During the Civil War, Nelson House was used as a hospital for Confederate and then Union soldiers. The most grievously wounded soldiers were kept on the third floor.

It is said that the heat and the smell of rotting flesh--gangrene--was so overpowering the windows were kept open 24/7.

Yorktown in late 1863, Union gunboats can be seen
patrolling York River. Nelson House can be seen
at center. Virginia Historical Society.

After the war apparitions of the young British Revolutionary soldier and Civil War soldiers were seen wandering the home.

Today smells of rotting flesh are still noted. Gusts of wind whip through the 3rd floor hall when there is no wind outside. The sound of a woman weeping is heard in the upper halls.

Voices are heard coming from the 3rd floor windows.

Because of all this activity the house has attracted young thrill-seekers. One recent group of teens visited the home on a moonlit night on Halloween. This group was not disappointed.

As the group walked to the back of the house one member, a girl looked toward the 3rd floor. She was surprised to see one window open since it was after hours for the museum.

She and the rest of the group froze as they heard the sounds of moans and voices coming from this open window.

They then saw a male face appear. This man looked down at them with an angry expression. The teens quickly left--running down the middle of Yorktown’s main street.

Nelson House today.
In 1968, the National Park Service acquired Nelson House and restored it to its original Colonial splendor. The house is open to the public. The tour guides are careful not to mention the ghosts--even though the house is considered to be Yorktown’s most haunted.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Montana’s Little Girl Lost

In Helena, Montana on 9th Avenue sits a Victorian mansion that was built in the 1880s.

One mansion on 9th Avenue that
has been renovated.
The original owner William Zastrow lost his first wife and then remarried. After his death in 1912 his second wife Marie lived in the home until 1927.

William Zastrow had no children but like many of his neighbors he took in borders in the 1890s because of the mining boom.

It is believed at this time a major tragedy took place in the home--but the details are lost to history.

In 1995 a Helena newspaper, Independent Record published a story about the Zastrow mansion being haunted.

A Mystery

A mother and her young daughter lived in the home in the early 1970s. This daughter played with a neighborhood boy that lived close by.

The two would ride their tricycles endlessly around the upstairs hallway. The mother would hear them laughing and pedaling as she did her chores downstairs.

One morning the mother heard the two playing upstairs. She had not noticed the neighbor boy enter the home but she was glad her daughter had a playmate and that the two had so much fun together.

At lunchtime she went upstairs to get the two so they could eat. As she walked up the stairs their laughter ceased but she heard two voices whispering.

When she reached the landing her daughter was playing quietly in a corner. The rocking chair at the end of the hall was rocking slowly back and forth.

There was no sign of neighbor boy. She searched but there were no other children upstairs.

A Crying Girl

Not long after this the mother awoke one night to the sound of a child crying. She immediately went to her daughter’s room but she was fast asleep.

A few nights later she awoke again. This time the sobbing was even louder.

She turned over and saw a little girl with old-fashioned brown ringlets partially covering her face. She wore a rumpled Victorian-era dress. She stood next to the bed crying hysterically then she faded away.

The mother awoke the next morning feeling that she must of had a weird dream. But when the same image continued to appear at her bedside always crying she knew it wasn’t a dream.

The mother became depressed feeling there was nothing she could do to help ease this little girl’s sadness.

As time passed, the girl would turn away and head toward the hall where two adults stood, a male with a mustache and a woman wearing a black silk Victorian dress.

Each would take one of the girl’s hands. It appeared she did not want to go with them for she tugged at their hands trying to free herself and crying even louder.

The mother watched this scene unfold several times--each time the three would then just disappear through a wall.

After a time, the little girl still appeared but now she would walk into the hall and stop and gaze out a window that overlooked the valley.

Always the ringlets fell over her face so the mother never saw her face clearly.

She felt instinctively this little girl must have lost her real parents and "didn’t know how to find them."

Months before this woman moved from the house she arranged to meet with a circle of friends in the home’s backyard one evening. They held hands and tried to send positive thoughts to the little girl.

They communicated that everything was all right and that she should "step into the next world." But this ceremony did not work for after this the mother still heard her crying.

The group once more gathered and tried, this time the crying stopped.

The Next Owner

A single woman stayed in the home in the late 1970s.

She never saw the little girl ghost but she felt she still haunted the house. She experienced what she described as "tricks" this ghost played.

Her most cherished possession was an old German clock. Even though this clock had always worked, once she moved in and hung it on the wall it stopped working.

She had it repaired several times but each time she returned it to the old home it stopped. She finally gave it to a friend for safekeeping. At its new location it "kept perfect time."

She had a family antique chair reupholstered but soon after it was unwrapped and placed in the home a purple stain appeared on the back of the seat.

The owner knew she had not done this so she wondered if this had happened at the upholstery shop. Upset, she planned to return it but the next morning the stain was gone.

The stain appeared several more times it then would completely disappear again.

The new owner found out about the crying child several years after she moved in. She felt this little girl was now happier since she enjoys playing pranks. 

In the winter months when there is frost on the mansions' windows neighbors report seeing an oval shape wiped clear in one window pane. They state they see a small face hidden by ringlets looking toward the valley.

Excerpts from Spirit Tailings by Ellen Baumler