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.