Friday, November 20, 2009

Aspen Manor - Visions From Vancroft

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Aspen Manor image from Bed & Breakfast

Located on the hills above Wellsburg, West Virginia, Aspen Manor dates back to 1901, built by Captain Jacob "JJ" Vandergrift of Standard Oil fame for his playboy son, Joseph "JB" Vandergrift.

The estate was planned by Frank Alden and Alfred Harlow, noted Pittsburgh architects who designed many homes for the rich and famous. The manor still holds priceless museum-quality furniture and paintings inside its walls.

It was then known as Vancroft, and was quickly nicknamed the "Monte Carlo of the Ohio Valley." Vancroft's 600 acres boasted horse races, cock fights, week-long poker games, an opium den, a billiards hall, bowling alley, indoor pool, themed rooms, hunting, and fishing.

Everything JB loved was there, including, of course, some fast ladies whom he was alleged to have cavorted with frequently.

Currently, it's a B&B and hotel known as Aspen Manor after a long run as a Catholic assisted living facility and home for retired religious.

The mansion is now at the center of a police investigation after skeletal remains were found hidden in a wall, thanks to some spirit snooping by the Brooke County Paranormal Society and a spectral plea from beyond.

The voice's human remnants were presumably found after the spook seekers said they sensed someone was buried in a wall and followed a voice saying, “Help me. I’m stuck inside of this wall." They made a gruesome discovery in the basement - old bones.

They had been chopped into pieces, and were found along with glasses and hair. The remains were sent to the state medical examiner, and they were found to be chicken bones; so much for the clucking from the walls.

Vancroft's lore is that Diane Vandergrift was having an affair with a stable hand, and her hubby found out. It was not a case of what's good for the goose is good the gander.

It's said that womanizing Joseph Vandergrift couldn't take being two-timed, and had his wife killed and her body burned in the stable along with that of her lover. Other tales say she hung herself in the stable while JB had the hired hand murdered.

They too are all just part of the mythology of the place - Diane divorced Vandy in 1904, and so her spirit isn't very likely to floating around the Aspen Manor halls.

At any rate, after the divorce in 1904, Vandy left the house, never to return, taking just a few belongings along with him and forever washing his hands of his man-toy mansion.

But even with Diane and the entombed bones out of the spectral picture, lights going on and off by themselves, freezing rooms in the middle of summer, and visions of a woman who disappears in a flash have all have been reported from Vancroft. The Brooke County psychics also picked up some clicking sounds on EVP from an old convent on the grounds, the type of sound the good nuns used to warn students to hush.


Candykitten, whose hubby owns the manor, wrote to debunk the Diane stories and added that "The only ghosts here are those of the nursing home who passed on." We appreciate her input and helping to put the Diane Vandergrift tales to bed.

7 comments:

Reagan said...

Great post! It was indeed an informative and helpful one. Thanks a lot for sharing this one. We're looking forward of reading articles as informative as this one. Keep it up!

Reagan

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Ron Ieraci said...

Thanks, Reagan. From one Aspen to another...

Anonymous said...

My grandfather lived in the house when it was a retirement home in the mid-to-late 1960s. I was just a child then, but recall it was kind of a creepy place. It would not surprise me to learn that some of the residents have never left.

the_candykitten said...

okay. I realize this is old. My husband runs Aspen Manor Resort now. This information is 100% completely wrong. Our guests all think this is gospel and are sorely disappointed. Diana Montaine divorced Vandergrift in 1904... SHE DIDN"T DIE. She married a district attorney named Edwin Parson Young and they had a son named Edwin Jr. Rumor of the hanging in the stables, is 100% wrong.
The bones in the wall were proven to be chicken bones. The only ghosts here are those of the nursing home who passed on.

YOu really need to update your info. And BTW... We are in Wellsburg WV not Pennsylvania.

Ron Ieraci said...

Candykitten - Thanks for for info. We did have the Manor as in Wellsburg (gotta change that head one day!)and did have the animal bones thing; I moved it from a postscript (It must have been ID'ed after the post) into the story. But I was sloppy about Diane Vandergrift; no excuse for that. Thanks for that correction, and it's part of the story now, too. Appreciate the comments.

Anonymous said...

Me and my fiance stayed this past week for 2 days at this beautiful magical place
Offset by a long bumpy,creepy road that seemed to lead nowhere at first.ihaddoubts of this place being there.but it was about 10 pm when we arrived and was taken by the scenery. Upon our arrival at the road we were a little reluctant but as we drove up the drive we became over whelmed by the place.the staff,Mr.Trevor, gave us a great welcoming and a short tour,for was so excited to be in such a mysterious place,and couldn't wait to go to sleep to awake in the AM to see its beauty. As my fiance fell asleep,both in the massage chair and then retiring to the bed in a cozy room.that felt like home.I was retiring myself when I heard a few weird noises but nothing that made me uncomfortable. We slept and I have to say, one of the best nights sleep in a while.to awaken before the sun came up and as we sat on the front porch enjoying the serenity of peace and quiet. We talked about getting married there.asy fiance finished an email. I started taking pictures outside to share wity family when I got home. I didn't look at them until we went back inside. As I was going through the pictures one stood out.it was directing towards the nuns waiters in front of the Chinese room,outside mind you. As I showedy fiance he suddenly became a nonskeptic.for I was hoping I would make some kind of contact with someone on the other side.without anyone trying to mess with me.well in the picture it looks like a good of some sort,right in front of me. But didn't know about the nun waiters until the next day as we were leaving.I was so excited to share the picture with yet another staff member and he informed me of the nun stuff.I was so pleased with our stay and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. No malevolent entities there.but sure is awesome that the gem of history is still available for everyone to visit. Thanks and we will be back many times in the future. Making wedding arrangements!!!!!!! I am posting the picture to Aspen manor Facebook page.check it out?!!? 0;)

Anonymous said...

Me and my fiance stayed this past week for 2 days at this beautiful magical place
Offset by a long bumpy,creepy road that seemed to lead nowhere at first.ihaddoubts of this place being there.but it was about 10 pm when we arrived and was taken by the scenery. Upon our arrival at the road we were a little reluctant but as we drove up the drive we became over whelmed by the place.the staff,Mr.Trevor, gave us a great welcoming and a short tour,for was so excited to be in such a mysterious place,and couldn't wait to go to sleep to awake in the AM to see its beauty. As my fiance fell asleep,both in the massage chair and then retiring to the bed in a cozy room.that felt like home.I was retiring myself when I heard a few weird noises but nothing that made me uncomfortable. We slept and I have to say, one of the best nights sleep in a while.to awaken before the sun came up and as we sat on the front porch enjoying the serenity of peace and quiet. We talked about getting married there.asy fiance finished an email. I started taking pictures outside to share wity family when I got home. I didn't look at them until we went back inside. As I was going through the pictures one stood out.it was directing towards the nuns quarters in front of the Chinese room,outside mind you. As I showed my fiance he suddenly became a nonskeptic.for I was hoping I would make some kind of contact with someone on the other side.without anyone trying to mess with me.well in the picture it looks like a good of some sort,right in front of me. But didn't know about the nun quarters until the next day as we were leaving.I was so excited to share the picture with yet another staff member and he informed me of the nun stuff.I was so pleased with our stay and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. No malevolent entities there.but sure is awesome that the gem of history is still available for everyone to visit. Thanks and we will be back many times in the future. Making wedding arrangements!!!!!!! I am posting the picture to Aspen manor Facebook page.check it out?!!? 0;)