The Heilbron Mansion from Delaware County Paranormal
"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all" should be the motto of this house. The home, built by the Murchison family on the corner of Painter's and Rose Tree Roads in Middletown Township in Delaware County, burned to the ground a few years after its' construction.
Seven Murchisons died in the blaze, and their crypt was built on a hill under an oak tree. Another home was built by the Edwards family, the new owners, in 1837, called Chroledale, and the graves were within view of their digs. In fact, it was built on the blackened foundations of the Murchison house. It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.
In 1864, 14 year old Margaret Edwards was supposedly raped and murdered under a large maple tree in the yard. She was lured out of the house by Elisha Culbert, a farmhand on the estate. He was lynched by the other workers when the body of Margaret was discovered in the creek.
Her distraught and increasingly unhinged mother began spending her time in the library, Margaret's favorite room. She eventually hung herself from a beam above the third floor window (some say it was at the nearby creek.) All three spirits are said to haunt the mansion and its grounds.
Culbert and the mom could be heard, but not seen. Culbert's footsteps were heard approaching the front door from the coachhouse, while the mother's footsteps retrace her final act sometimes, and just wanders the halls looking for daughter at others. They were heard going from the library and up the stairs to the third floor where they end.
It's said that the library was her private domain. If anyone entered it, a book would fly off the shelf and hit the floor with a retort like a gunshot to show her displeasure with the unwanted visitor. Margaret was reported seen upstairs.
The basis for this tale is from a book released in 1977 entitled "Night Stalks The Mansion," written by Constance Westbie and Harold Cameron. It's purported to be non-fictional and based on their experiences from living there for two years in the 1960s.
Unfortunately for wraith fans, the Philadelphia Inquirer squelched a great ghost tale. The primary evidence against the tale is that Margaret showed up in the 1870 census, six years after her alleged death. She seems to have survived her murder quite well. And with no crime, no spooks.
There's also the little matter of the Murchison's, since the grounds were in the hands of the Edwards clan since the 1660's when they bought 82 acres from George Smedley, and stayed in the family until 1877. The story is news to the Edwards descendants and the area historical society.
Other locals, though, remember an old legend of a murder-suicide there, which may be the basis for the book. There was talk of building a B&B there decades ago, but the home was torched in 1987 by arsonists and a high-end housing development popped up on the old estate instead. But it's said the bad vibes remain.
The things real estate agents forget to tell you.