Category Archives: paranormal

The Mystery of Coral Castle

How did Edward Leedskalnin build Coral Castle?

Coral CastleIn the late 1800s, Edward Leedskalnin left his Latvian home and came to North America. The love of his life, 16-year-old Hermine Lusis, had jilted him on the eve of their wedding because she had decided that, at 26, he was too old for her and too weird. Brokenhearted and dejected, he turned his back on Latvia to build a new life across the Atlantic.

After several years of wandering across Canada and the United States, he contracted tuberculosis and came to Florida for his health, buying a small acreage in Florida City, a few miles south of Homestead. There, in 1923, he began building Rock Gate Park, using massive blocks of coral to fashion huge tables, chairs, couches, fountains, and pillars. Coral weighs 125 pounds per cubic foot and is difficult to work with. Leedskalnin was 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds, and yet he was able to extract coral from the ground, carve it into a myriad of shapes—like a 3-ton table in the shape of Florida—and move the objects around the grounds of the park. He worked at night, in secrecy, with no help, using the most fundamental of tools.

Coral Castle is built using 235 tons of coral

Coral CastleIn 1937, with development threatening the peace and quiet of Rock Gate Park, he moved his creations north to a 10-acre plot of ground near Homestead. Neighbors saw him transporting his sculptures on a heavy trailer pulled by a borrowed tractor, but no one ever saw how he loaded them. In this new location, Edward built what he called the Coral Castle, a two-story tower house using 235 tons of coral. The gate to his sanctuary was made of 9 tons of coral and was so perfectly balanced that it could be opened with one finger.

As he had earlier, he worked at night, in secrecy, and no one ever saw how he managed to extract the gigantic blocks of coral from the ground, carve them, and lift them into position. Some believed he had supernatural help. Some thought he used witchcraft. The fact is that, even though he had only a fourth-grade education, he studied physics, astronomy, and geology throughout his life and was an outstanding engineer.

He died in 1951 from cancer, but some believe that Edward stayed on at his beloved Coral Castle. Several psychics claim to have conversed with him; many feel the powerful energy that exudes from the place. One visitor took pictures, which, when developed, showed figures that were not there when he snapped the photos. Whether or not Coral Castle is haunted may still be open to question, but its construction will forever be shrouded in mystery.

Knott House Museum
Ghosthunting Florida

Ready to visit Coral Castle?  Check out the website for information.

You may think that Florida is all about Mickey Mouse; however, in his book Ghosthunting Florida, author Dave Lapham proves that the state is fertile ground for entities even more fantastic than a talking mouse. The book is a spine-tingling trip through Florida’s small towns and lively cities, its historic sites and fun spots, all of them haunted.

Picture by Christina Rutz [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Times Square

Times SquareTimes Square draws people in this life and the afterlife

The most famous spot in New York City has to be Times Square. It’s appeared in countless movies, such as Big, I Am Legend, and Jerry McGuire. Certainly everyone recognizes it as the place to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. In fact, Web cams make it possible to view this legendary location from anywhere in the world all year long.

Times Square draws people from all over the globe, in this life and the afterlife. Case in point: Two Royal Air Force pilots who appeared mysteriously on the corner of 45th Street in Times Square during World War II. They asked Harvard graduate Oswald Reinsen, who was standing next to them on the corner, whether they were in Times Square. He confirmed their location, then began to cross the street. They followed him. Noticing the pilots’ uniforms and their English accents, Reinsen struck up a conversation with them. They told him how determined they were to visit Times Square. Reinsen noticed they kept a close eye on the time, checking their watches habitually every 10 minutes or so. After walking several blocks, Reinsen reached his destination, the Harvard Club. He invited the RAF men to join him, and they gladly accepted.

Times SquareThey enjoyed dinner and “spirited” conversation; all the while, the two RAF men kept checking the time on their watches. Just before midnight, they explained that it had been close to 24 hours since their planes had been shot down over Berlin. As they rose from their seats, they thanked Reinsen for the meal and proceeded toward the exit. Reinsen watched, dumbfounded, as they got lost in the crowd and vanished from view.

The story of a crisis apparition on Times Square

That story may be the most extensive and intense example ever of a crisis apparition. A typical crisis apparition occurs immediately after death. The newly deceased person, without the trappings of his corporeal being, “makes the rounds” by showing up to loved ones as a final farewell. Here’s how a crisis apparition works: You answer the doorbell, and there’s your Uncle Ted. You’re excited to see him and invite him in. Knowing how sick he’s been with cancer, you can’t believe how great he looks and that he is out and about. You make him comfortable on the couch and dash off to the kitchen to make him a cup of tea. All the while you’re chatting at 1,000 words a minute and not realizing Uncle Ted isn’t responding. You come back to the living room with his cup of tea, and he is gone. As you call out for him, the telephone rings. You answer the phone, and your Aunt Betty says that Uncle Ted just died.

Times Square1Most crisis apparitions appear as solid as you and I. Some may speak, but that’s rare. As an example of how solid they can appear, I know of a woman who bumped into the crisis apparition of her father.
She worked in New York City, and her demanding job had her rushing from one meeting to the next. While she was racing to pick up a sandwich and head to the next meeting, she was checking messages on her cell phone. Someone bumped into her, and when she looked up from her phone long enough to give the person a nasty look, she saw her father. He waved to her and vanished in the crowd. She wondered why her father was in New York City, but she continued to rush to her meeting, figuring she’d see him back at her office later. She had enough time to inhale her sandwich, shut off her cell phone, and sit down for the start of the meeting.

After the meeting, she checked her messages and heard a heartbreaking one from her mother that said, “Daddy had a heart attack. He’s dead. I need you to come home right away.” Once home, she learned that her father had died around the time she bumped into him on the street. He had come to New York to wave a final good-bye.

In her book Ghosthunting New York City, L’Aura Hladik visits more than 30 legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public—so you can test your own ghosthunting skills, if you dare.

The Ghosts of Perryville Battlefield

On October 8, 1862, one of Kentucky’s biggest Civil War battles was fought just west of Perryville when Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg and Union forces led by Major General Don Carlos Buell clashed. The battle lasted more than five hours; when it was over, more than 7,600 soldiers lay dead, wounded, or were missing.

After the battle the Union soldiers were buried in a cemetery along the Springfield Pike. The Confederate soldiers weren’t so lucky. For three days, both the dead and wounded lay in
the roasting sun. They eventually were buried at Bottom Family’s farm, which later became the state park.

Perryville BattlefieldThe Union dead did not remain at the cemetery long and were moved to Union cemeteries at Camp Nelson and Lebanon, Kentucky. It was not until 1902 that the Perryville Commission placed a monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Perryville. The Perryville Battlefield site has become
a favorite for reenactors, who come to the park for the annual reenactment on the weekend closest to October 8th. Three times a year, the Perryville Battlefield park also offers a ghost seminar and a ghosthunt for visitors.

Perryville BattlefieldPatti Star, author of Ghosthunting Kentucky, talked with Joan House, Program Coordinator and Preservation Specialist of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Patti asked her, “What is the most common story that you have heard about the ghosts of Perryville?” Joan replied, “The one about Patrick Cleburne’s horse. During the battle, the Brigadier General was charging the enemy when his horse was killed by being shot out from under him. Soon after the battle, the locals would report hearing a horse galloping by or near them, but when they would look for the horse there was never one around.” “Have you ever heard the horse?” Patti asked. She smiled and said, “Oh, yes, I have. One late night while I was camping out with some of the reenactors, we heard the sound of a horse’s hooves running on the pavement near the camp. We thought that maybe one of the horses in the camp had gotten loose, so we set out to find it. We aimed our flashlights out into the darkness but didn’t see a horse. We went back to the enclosure and counted the horses, and they were all there. None were missing. It was at that moment I realized that we had heard Patrick’s ghost horse.”

Perryville Battlefield1While talking, Joan remembered another story that had happened while camping during a reenactment. She said that two of the reenactors were noted historians, and they told her a great story about being visited by a Civil War ghost. The men were asleep in their tent when they were awakened by what they thought was another reenactor. He barged into the tent and demanded to know the whereabouts of one of his soldiers. They looked at him and didn’t recognize him as part of their group. He called his soldier’s name over and over as he walked around in the tent looking for him. One of the men asked him who he was, and the intruder stated his name and rank. He then turned and stormed out of the tent. The two men got up and followed him as he went to the tent next door. When they got to the other tent, he was gone and wasn’t seen or heard of again. The two historians decided to investigate, so they looked up the names that this stranger had given them. To their amazement, they found that both names were listed as two of the men killed at Perryville.

It’s hard to believe that this pristine and peaceful paradise, filled with deer, beavers, turkeys, and other birds, and bordered by miles of 19th-century stone fences was once the site of so much death and destruction. But it was. One can only hope that the ghosts of Perryville will eventually find the peace that now surrounds them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Court of Two Sisters New Orleans

The Enchanted Charm Gate at the Court of Two Sisters

Court of Two SistersThe Court of Two Sisters is a restaurant in the French Quarter offering the most delightful courtyard to enjoy a meal. Here, the wisteria trees have interlocked and connected, creating a natural canopy over the courtyard that brings the space alive with sunlight peeking through the leaves.

The name Court of Two Sisters originates from the previous owners, two Creole sisters named Emma and Bertha Camors.  The two sisters (born in 1858 and 1860) spent their entire lives together, and, according to history and local lore, they died within months of each other and were buried side by side in 1944 at St. Louis Cemetery #3 in New Orleans. The ghosts of both sisters are often seen throughout the restaurant, both inside the building and strolling around the courtyard.

Locals insist that they have seen fairies dancing about in the trees and around the beautiful fountain in the center of the Court of Two Sisters. They say that you can see them day and night and that there are many elementals, fairies, and sprites that have lived in this courtyard for hundreds of years.

There’s true magic to be found at this location, both in the courtyard and at the entrance of the restaurant on Royal Street.

Charm Gates1Waiting for you at the entrance of the Court of Two Sisters are charm gates, given for the building by Queen Isabella II of Spain. These gates were blessed with magic and are reported to be lucky. It is said that if you touch them, you will be the recipient of their charms. The iron on the gate is cool to the touch, and the restaurant has attached small blue lights to it, which drape around the gate.

Over the years, hundreds, maybe thousands, of young women have touched these gates, with their wish being to find true love. More than any of the other hands that have touched these gates hoping for thousands of favors and wishes to be granted, it is the wishes of the young girls that have left the strongest impression on these charmed gates. It appears that the purpose of the gates is to help people find true love.

If you are looking for a place to get engaged, have a wedding reception, or celebrate an anniversary, I believe that the Court of Two Sisters is one of the most magical and enchanted sites in which to conduct such a ceremony or celebration.

For more stories from the other side, Join Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans.

At Arnaud’s get a meal, a museum visit and a ghost story!

Arnaud As you step off Bourbon Street and round the corner to Arnaud’s, you instantly feel as if you have stepped back in time and are preparing to dine like a real Creole. Founded in 1918, a French wine salesman named Arnaud Cazena built the restaurant.

A variety of private dining rooms, as well as a museum filled with New Orleans memorabilia on the second floor, are inside. The museum includes elaborate Mardi Gras costumes worn by Count Arnaud and his daughter, Germaine Wells, who reigned as queen over 22 Mardi Gras balls, more than any other woman in the history of Carnival.

Ghost Sightings at Arnaud’s Restaurant

There have been hundreds of paranormal sightings at the restaurant, including a ghostly gentleman standing near the beveled glass windows, who has been seen by employees. At first the tuxedo-clad man is noticed standing alone. When approached, he immediately disappears. Most believe that it is Count Arnaud checking in on the restaurant.

Others report seeing a woman wearing a hat exiting the ladies’ room and crossing the hall, where she then walks into the wall and disappears. There have been so many reports of this sighting that investigations were held to determine the original structure and layout of the building. It was discovered that this area once had a staircase where the wall is now placed. The ghostly woman is simply walking to the stairs from the time when she was here; in her world, there is no wall there to block her entry. Some believe this ghost to be Germaine, the daughter of Arnaud, who still enjoys the restaurant as well. She reportedly also appears in the museum by her costumes and has been seen in her ghostly form at various Carnival balls each year.

Arnaud New OrleansBeyond the supernatural sightings reported by local diners, tourists, and waitstaff, Arnaud’s reports that even its CPA experienced a ghostly visitation in the restaurant when he was alone one evening conducting inventory. While he was working, he  noticed a strong drop in temperature in the room. As he felt the cold chill overtake him, he became aware of a presence standing behind him. Turning around, he found himself alone in the room. The CPA was in the Richelieu Bar at the time, which is one of the oldest standing structures in the restaurant, dating back to the late 1700s. In a building still standing for several centuries, there is the opportunity for a wide variety of hauntings over its incarnations. Over the years, so many different ghosts have been seen and felt at the restaurant that not all of them have been identified by name.

When dining at Arnaud’s, try the Oysters Bienville with shrimp, mushrooms, herbs, and seasonings in a white wine sauce; it’s elegantly delicious!

Join Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead, your travel guide to the other side, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans.

The Wandering Ghosts of Nags Head

Nags HeadThe Outer Banks of North Carolina are incredibly haunted. With so many shipwrecks and people lost at sea, ghostly images are often seen walking along the shore. While the shifting sandbars and unpredictable currents caused the majority of shipwrecks along the coast, many others were caused by pirate attacks at sea. The legend of Nags Head reveals an entirely new threat to sailors, what some might describe as the darker side of the mother of invention.

According to local legend, wannabe sea pirates (landlubbers by day) wickedly designed their own special style of pirating. They would gather their horses, hang lanterns around the horses’ necks, and walk the horses up and down the dunes at night, attempting to lure ships into the area. The lights hanging from the horses’ necks led the merchant ships off course, as it appeared that the lights were coming from ships close to the shore. As the ships changed course and headed toward the lights, they ran aground on sandbars. The “land pirates” would then storm the ships and steal the cargo. The legends state that the coastal area where this occurred was named “Nags Head,” due to the reputation gained by the land pirates’ fast footwork with the horses and the lanterns. Others claim that the town was named by English settlers from a similar area in the Isles of Scilly off the English coast.

Nags Head was a popular vacation destination for local plantation owners who lived farther inland in North Carolina and sought to escape the oppressive heat, humidity, and threat of malaria from mosquitoes in the summer months. A resort called the Nags Head Hotel was built in the 1850s; 20 years later, the hotel, located near Jockey’s Ridge, literally sank beneath the shifting sands. Local legends state that the hotel remains intact 100 feet below the sand. The area cottages of that period still stand and are referred to as the “Unpainted Aristocracy.”

Ghosts often appear all along the shore of Nags Head. Some say they are the crews of the ships plundered by the land pirates, and others say that they are former guests of the hotel, looking for it below the sand.

Ghosthunting North Carolina
Ghosthunting North Carolina

A third theory for the ghostly appearances states that many of the historic cottages in the area had porches built onto their homes using lumber salvaged from shipwrecks that washed in from the coast. The ghosts connected to the lumber from these ships now remain near the homes. They are attached to the timbers from their ships and are still looking for the rest of their ships to wash up on the shores, along with their lost treasures and belongings.

Regardless of which ghosts are roaming the area, a visit to the Outer Banks and Nags Head provides many haunting opportunities.

Enjoy Ghosthunting North Carolina, by Kala Ambrose, from the safety of your armchair, or hit the road using the maps, ghosthunting travel guide, and other resources. Buckle up and get ready for the spookiest ride of your life.

Discover the Ghosts of the Mabel Tainter Theater

Mabel TainterThe Mabel Tainter Theater has been a center for the arts in Menomonie, Wisconsin, since it was built in 1889. Originally, the structure was created as a tribute to Mabel Tainter, a young woman from the area who loved theater and the arts. She died at the age of 19 in 1886, and her wealthy lumber baron parents decided to construct the theater as a memorial to her. No expenses were spared in the creation of the building. The best stone from the area was used to construct the exterior façade. The designs on the walls and ceilings were created by hand. Huge stained glass masterpieces and gorgeous marble stairs and floors decorate this beautiful building. The centerpiece of the theater is a gigantic pipe organ with 1,597 pipes in the 313-seat theater auditorium.

The theater has been in constant operation since its completion and dedication in 1890 and has seen countless employees and patrons walk through its doors. The building also contained the Menomonie Public Library until 1984, when it moved to a larger building. The only remnant of the library is the Reading Room within the theater building.

The Ghost Story

There are several places in the building where paranormal activity seems to occur. The first is the changing room area in the downstairs of the building. People have seen shadowy figures and heard phantom footsteps here. A paranormal group conducting an investigation in the building caught phantom voices on their audio recorders that they didn’t hear at the time the recordings were made. Sometimes, people in the changing rooms feel as if they are being watched or feel generally uncomfortable.

Another haunted area in the building is the theater’s auditorium, where the performances take place. Again, people see shadowy figures walking through this area, who, upon further investigation, simply disappear. The figures that appear most often are seen on the catwalks that tower over the top of the stage. People see figures on the catwalks and hear voices and footsteps coming from the catwalks despite there being no one there. Other times, while actors rehearse on the stage, they see people watching them from the seats. These figures vanish. Still other times, strange things happen with the sound boards, and the organ makes noise on its own.

The most famous ghost to haunt the theater is said to be that of Mabel Tainter herself. The apparition of a woman in a white dress has often been seen floating through the building. These apparitions are seen most often on the second floor and in the women’s restrooms. The apparition who appears on the second floor seems to just float by eyewitnesses. The apparition who appears in the women’s restroom looks at herself in the mirror and will vanish.

Visiting the Mable Tainter Theater in Menomonie, Wisconsin

Twin Cities Haunted Handbook

The theater offers guided tours, including ghost tours. For tour times and showtimes, check the theater’s Website.

From downtown St. Paul, take I-94 East for about 57 miles into Wisconsin. Take Exit 41, the WI-25 exit towards Menomonie/Barron. Stay right at the fork to get onto North Broadway Street and follow that for about 2 miles. Turn left onto Main Street East and the theater will be on the left.

In Twin Cities Haunted Handbook, ghost hunters Jeff Morris, Garett Merk, and Dain Charbonneau explore all the best haunted locales Minneapolis has to offer, including Dead Man’s Pond, Memorial Pet Cemetery, Padelford Packet Boat Company, the Old Jail Bed and Breakfast, and St. Thomas College and the Legend of the 13 Graves.

Hale House the Crown Jewel of Heritage Square Museum

Sally Richards, author of Ghosthunting Southern California, visits the Hale House with Psychic medium and paranormal investigator Kathryn Wilson.

The Hale House is the crown jewel of the Heritage Park Museum. It’s an amazingly active location with paranormal phenomena that you can both see and hear in real time.

The Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles is a community of Victorian-era buildings saved from demolition and moved to their present location, where they have been lovingly restored in an effort to educate people about what life was like in the city during the 1800s.

Hale House
Hale House

Hale House was saved from the wrecking ball at the 11th hour by the Heritage Square folks at the cost of $1. However, it cost $10,300 to move it; $3,000 to lift the wires as it passed through town during a midnight event (the crowed roared when the fireplace remained intact); and $300,000 to restore the house to its original glory, as somewhere along the way it had been “bombed” on a movie set. Originally built at the cost of $4,000 (a small fortune back in the day), the Hale House had been moved a total of three times. The restoration work on the home is beautiful.

Now, this is one of those houses that has had a lot of living within its walls, and there seem to be many spirits in the house, including an adolescent girl. During several sessions with the PX, the home was alive with characters coming through to speak with us. The PX was sitting on a table and saying “cards,” “frog,” and “rabbit”—toy items actually on the table as one of the home’s displays.

Hale House and Psychic medium Kathryn Wilson
Psychic medium Kathryn Wilson

Wilson and I felt that the house had been used for séances in the past. Throughout the event, we were hearing noises in the kitchen, as though someone was working away making a meal, but there was no one there.

In the upstairs bedroom, we heard audible breaths that came from the area of the bed, where no one was standing or sitting; I picked up some of these on my digital recorder. Back downstairs, we continued to hear the sounds of someone walking upstairs after everyone had already come down.

Is the Hale House haunted? I’d say there are so many ghosts in the home now that Mrs. Hale had to open an ethereal boardinghouse to store all the dead who’ve decided to make this place their home . . . again.

About your guides: Kathryn Wilson is the medium from A&E’s Storage Wars and Sally Richards is the author of Ghosthunting Southern California.

Three Haunted Must See in New Orleans

Jean Lafitte’s Bar

New OrleansIf you want to hang with the locals, catch a Saints game at Jean Lafitte’s Bar, where you’ll hear what’s really going on in the city of New Orleans. Try the Voodoo Daiquiris, which are made with fruit juice and are much tastier than some others you’ll find on Bourbon. They are so delicious that I’ve been known to try many of them—for research purposes, of course.

Some people report seeing red eyes floating over the fireplace area inside the bar. There are also tales of a woman who appears in a mirror. The charming bar is lit by candlelight, and you’ll feel transported back in time. Anyone with psychic abilities will pick up on the energy of the place. Paranormal researchers also come away with a variety of orbs and mists appearing in their photos.

The Napoleon House

Napoleon House New OrleansWhen Napoleon was captured and imprisoned on the Isle of Saint Helena, a group of Frenchmen in New Orleans began to plan his rescue.  They decided to acquire a yacht and sail to the Isle of Saint Helena, where they would participate in a daring rescue and bring Napoleon to New Orleans to live out the rest of his life. One of the men involved with this plan was Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815. Girod offered his home to Napoleon to live in upon his arrival. Many meetings regarding the rescue attempt were discussed here at Girod’s home, which began to be referred to as the Napoleon House.

For more than 200 years, it has served locals and travelers alike with food and drink, while maintaining its historical significance. Regarding the haunted history of the house, more people are apt to tell you that it has been haunted more by living artists and writers.

Try the Pimm’s Cup, a gin-based drink, while at the Napoleon House. The recipe remains a secret, and it’s tradition to try one. The Sazeracs made here are wonderful as well. You can buy the mixes to make Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes and Pimm’s Cup at home, but everyone says (and I’ve tried it myself and agree) that they never taste the same at home like they do while in New Orleans. So it’s best to leave the making of these cocktails to the professionals.

Beethoven, a fan of Napoleon, composed “Eroiqua” in honor of the emperor, and the classical music is played today in the Napoleon House. The Napoleon House has appeared in movies, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Runaway Jury.

Antoine’s

Antoines Restaurant New OrleansAntoine’s is a family-owned restaurant that opened in 1840 and has been offering exemplary service and French Creole  cuisine since its inception. With more than 14 dining rooms, the restaurant is capable of holding up to 700 guests at a time.

Several of the dining rooms are named after the Carnival krewes, which include Rex, Proteus, and the 12th Night Revelers. A krewe is an organization or club that puts on a parade or special event during Mardi Gras season.

One of the reasons that the restaurant is thought to have been so successful is the legend that every family member involved in Antoine’s restaurant has encountered the ghost of Antoine in one form or another. Reportedly, he looks after the restaurant and keeps a watchful eye on the operations to ensure that the finest quality is still being preserved. Guests and some staff members have also reported seeing the ghost of Antoine. By all accounts, as long as there is an Antoine’s restaurant, Antoine himself will be there to look after the staff and the guests.

To be part of the in crowd at Antoine’s, ask to be seated in one of the back rooms when calling for reservations. You will be dining with the locals.  It’s the custom here at Antoine’s that if you enjoy a particular waiter, you can ask for his card to ensure that you can book a table with him on future visits.

At Antoine’s, you must try the Pommes de Terre Soufflés, which are the most delightful puffed potatoes! They come out hot and puffy, and they must be eaten immediately to savor them. Once they are cooled, they are not the same, so enjoy them quickly.

When dining at Antoine’s, the waiters will recommend that you take a tour after your meal and walk around the other rooms of the restaurant to take in the sights. Take them up on this offer, as it’s wonderful to see the history, including photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Judy Garland, Pope John Paul II, Presidents Roosevelt and  Coolidge, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and others who dined here.

Join Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead, your travel guide to the other side, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans.

 

 

The Vanderbilts Who Never Left Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate George Vanderbilt was 25 years old when he purchased the property in the late 1880s. In 1895, he officially opened the estate with an elaborate housewarming party for family and friends on Christmas Eve. The house was his dream for a country retreat where he could pursue his “passion for art, literature, and horticulture.” In 1898, he married Edith Dresser; after their honeymoon, they moved to the estate. Even after they moved in, work continued on the home.

Edith and George were very much in love, and it was said that they complemented each other very well. They had one daughter, Cornelia, who was born in the home, and it appears that they had an idyllic life, enjoying the best the world had to offer.

In 1914, George had an appendectomy and died from complications resulting from the surgery. Shortly after his death, servants in the home noticed that Edith began spending a lot of time in the library and that, while she was in the library, she was speaking out loud to George’s spirit. At first, they dismissed this act as a woman in grief over the death of her beloved husband. They assumed that after a period of time she would move on from her grief, after finishing her discussions of things that she had wished to say to George before his untimely death.

Instead, the opposite happened. Edith continued her daily conversations with George, and during this time servants in the home began to notice the presence of his spirit, mostly in the library and in his favorite sitting room on the second floor. According to the legends, many of the servants heard footsteps and then saw an apparition of George around the home.

The ghosts of Edith and George Vanderbilt continue to converse in the library of Biltmore Estate.

After Edith died, the legends continued, as the servants reported hearing the voices of both Edith and George now conversing in the library. Perhaps now that they were joined again in the afterlife, they were able to pick up where they left off and enjoy their time together in their treasured home. Reports continue today from staff and visitors who hear voices in the library and a few other rooms.

Ghosthunting North Carolina
Ghosthunting North Carolina

There are quite a few ghost stories about Biltmore, which some locals shared with me during my visit to Asheville. Several employees answered my questions, as well, as long as I agreed to keep their identities off the record. Officially, Biltmore does not discuss haunted or paranormal activity in the home or on the property. Also, photography is not allowed inside the home. The only spirits that they will officially discuss are the spirits of the wine made at the Biltmore winery.

For more haunted tales from the Tar Heel State, join Kala Ambrose, author of Ghosthunting North Carolina, as she explores each site, snooping around eerie rooms and dark corners.