Friday, November 23, 2012

Charlie Schwab

 Charles Schwab from PA Libraries

Charlie Schwab was a lot of things in his lifetime. He was a business tycoon that ran Bethlehem Steel, philanthropist, the force who forged the city of Bethlehem out of four municipalities, theater lover, business wheeler and dealer, union buster, gambler, womanizer and ultimately a rich guy who died broke when the stock market crashed in 1929.

But it's his afterlife that interests us. He's known as "Schwaboo the Ghost" at Penn State and left behind a legacy of haunted houses. He's kind of an oddity in that he was was associated with several haunts during his lifetime, but has chosen not to spend eternity in them.

Maybe the everyday dead people they host are too low brow for a member of the gilded gentry to join with, but it's much more likely that he just didn't have much attachment to the rooms when he was alive. But he sure had a nose for places the otherworlders liked.

The most famous of the buildings is the Hotel Bethlehem. Schwab built it in 1920 so his business clients had a first class hangout when they came a'calling.  It was erected on the demolished bones of the Eagle Hotel, and that inn is the root of its spookery.

The Bethlehem is storied to be home to all sorts of paranormal phenomena, from poltergeist annoyances to mists and apparitions. Some spirits are seen regularly, and three are known by name. One is May Yohe, a stage actress who once lived at the Eagle. People have heard her singing and playing the piano while her specter has been reported in the exercise room on the third floor and in the lobby.

Another is Mrs. Brong, an Eagle innkeeper who was noted for going barefoot. Staff and guests have seen her ghost in the restaurant and kitchen, dressed in 1800's attire but sans shoes and stockings, giving her away. Finally, there's Daddy Thomas, an unofficial city welcome wagon type during his life, who resides in the boiler room.

Some as of yet unidentified spirits have been seen, too. They are a lady who is often spotted in the dining room/kitchen area, children playing throughout the hotel and another child on the mezzanine.

And if it's open, don't miss a chance to book Room 932, publicized by the Bethlehem as the "Room with a Boo." A man has been reported popping in on guests occasionally, and EVPs recorded the voice of a spirit named Mary. Paranormal phenomena is commonplace; we particularly like the wallpaper changing color.

Another of his haunted addresses was 114 W Fourth Street in Bethlehem. It was his in-laws' home, and Charlie and his wife Emma stayed there while waiting for their new house to be readied. Later, it was the the residence of Schwab protégé Eugene Gifford Grace, who became president and chairman of Bethlehem Steel.

It's the following act that's the likely source of the spooks, though - Cantelmi’s Funeral Home. No one spoke of spooks there; it was an occupational hazard, so why complain?

But the business that followed, Anna Mia's Restaurant (don't look for; it's been shuttered for over a decade) bore the brunt. The guests and staff heard unexplained music, footsteps, voices and found objects moving from place to place. As for spirits, well, that's up in the air. The owners were said to be fond of their friendly ghost, though others said there were no actual apparitions at the place.

A Moravian College student and her bud investigated rumors of Schwab's haunted barn on his former Bethlehem property after hearing old wives tales concerning its spookiness. They entered the gray, falling-apart shed, and the first thing they noticed was that no sound from the outside penetrated the barn, even though the doors were wide open - and they were as big as, well, barn doors.

Then they felt a cold spot. That was followed by raspy voices warning them to “Get Out” over and over, and they heeded the advice. Whether there's a rational explanation or not we'll never know; the rickety structure has since been demolished.

Ah, but there is one place that the specter of Charlie Schwab is thought to visit. That would be Schwab Auditorium at Penn State, built through a $155,000 donation by the stage-loving Scwab and his wife. It was the first PSU building financed by a private donor, and is still used by the Center for the Performing Arts for chamber music.

Now he wouldn't be the only ghost there; George Atherton, a college president buried outside the auditorium, is reported to be an ethereal visitor, along with a variety of mists and apparitions.

Schwaboo the Ghost's claim to fame: Performers have witnessed a seat in the auditorium go down as if someone were sitting on it, and then later rise, as if the invisible person got up and left. People believe that the unseen patron is Charlie, who loved theater. No report on he he feels now that it's a musical center.

So old Charlie may not be earthbound any longer, but he sure has left a trail of haunts behind him - his hotel, his temporary crib, the barn on his estate, and a college auditorium that we know of. Too bad he wasn't a medium back in the day. Charlie Schwab would have attracted the spirit world like a flower does bees.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Burlington County Prison Museum

The Burlington Prison Dungeon from the Burlington Prison Museum

Mount Holly Township is home to 9,500 souls, the county seat of Burlington County, New Jersey, and an eastern suburb of Philadelphia. It's also noted as one of the more actively haunted spots in the east, which makes sense as they trace their municipal roots back to 1688. If you want confirmation of that spooky factoid, just take a trip to 128 High Street and visit the Burlington County Prison Museum.

Built in 1811, following the design of the young and then unknown architect Robert Mills, the prison functioned from 1811 to 1965, making it the oldest continually operating lockup in America at the time of its closing. The smallish stone building (it held 100 prisoners in its heyday) not only looked foreboding, but also looked like a textbook haunted English manse. And its reputation has lived up to its looks.

Workman renovating the prison in 1999 for its conversion to the museum were the first to note some eerie going-ons. Their tools would disappear, to be found later behind prison doors that hadn't been opened in decades. They could hear footsteps where no one was at, and ghostly voices and moans added to the cacophony. Glimpses of shadow figures flashed by, caught just in the corner of their eyes. It got to the point where the work gang would leave the job site in a group; no one wanted to be left alone in the old jailhouse.

So whatcha gonna do? Well, what everybody does in those circumstances (at least in this blog) - they called in the paranormal investigators to get to the bottom of the situation. The ghost hunters poked and probed with their electronica, and came up with EVPs, orbs and mists, apparition sightings, temperature spikes and drops, and all sorts of anomalies. One set of investigators were followed by the scent of a burning cigarette that tailed them through the womens wing. The paranormal community confirmed what the workmen already knew - the prison was spook central.

Staff and visitors reported like phenomena (especially in the gallows and solitary confinement areas), and more - the senses of presence and depression, objects that move themselves, electronic malfunctions, moans and screams, but especially sightings. Shadow figures were reported from the first floor of the prison. There are tales of a spirit in the shower area who was kind enough to leave a footprint in the dust once. Others have claimed to see a legless ghost glide from the main gate toward the prison yard.

The basement is a hot spot; twice prison employees were killed near there by inmates during break-out tries. One cellar spook is thought to be that of murdered prison guard William Harry King, who has been reported roaming the lower level hallways of the prison.

But the star of the show is the otherwordly Joel Clough, who was sentenced to hang in 1833 for the brutal stabbing murder of a lover who had jilted him, convicted by a jury that didn't buy his insanity defense. He tried to escape - not much to lose, hey? - and for his efforts was tossed in the dungeon, a solitary cell with an iron ring in the middle that he was chained to while stark naked 24/7. Clough eventually had his neck stretched at a crossroads a few miles outside the jail in front of a large crowd, and was buried in the prison yard in an unmarked grave, the spot now marked by a tree.

Since his hanging, prisoners, guards, staff and regular folk have allegedly seen items in the room levitate, heard his moaning and rattling chains, and seen his apparition sitting in his cell. Security motion detectors keep going off there, even when the area is empty. Paranormal teams have all confirmed an active presence in and around the dungeon, so it looks like Joel Clough has claimed Burlington prison as his home for the afterlife.

The prison lore was featured in an episode of the SyFy Channel's "Ghost Hunters." It's included in Jeff Belanger's "Encyclopedia of Haunted Places." And if you want to catch it up close and personal, no prob. The museum (a National Historic Landmark) is open Thursdays-Sundays. If you're in the neighborhood during trick-or-treat season, they offer a "Haunt of the Prison" tour weekend evenings in October with a tricked-out Halloween prison yard.

See if you can tell the local actors from the local apparitions.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Back To Normal

Sorry, guys, the blog was hijacked earlier this week and it took ol' H&H a couple of days to root out the offending code. But we're back to normal, and we're sorry for the redirect.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Deacon

The Depreciation Land Museum from Find A Grave
Photograph by David Briggs

In 1783, the Commonwealth set aside 720,000 acres of land in western Pennsylvania to compensate its Revolutionary War soldiers for their service. Since the dollar had depreciated drastically enough during the war to become virtually worthless, the land was offered in lieu of their pay. The area became known as The Depreciation Lands, and included all of the North Hills of Pittsburgh, along with parts of Butler, Beaver, Lawrence and Armstrong Counties. And a bit of it still exists today.

At the Depreciation Lands Museum, located on 4743 Pioneer Road off Route 8 in Hampton, you can visit the museum, housed in what was once the red brick Pine Creek Covenanter Church, built in 1837, along side its tree lined cemetery.

The grounds include a replicated one-room schoolhouse circa 1885, complete with a school bell, the Armstrong's log cabin that was built in 1803, a wagon house with a Conestoga and one horse sleigh parked inside, a working blacksmith's shop, outside baking hearths, a meeting hall and an old-timey herb garden. The staff even turns the museum into the "Talley Cavey Tavern" for grog and victual funders.

Oh, the Deacon is still there, too.

He was first noticed in 1973, when the deserted church was being fixed up after Hampton Township bought the property (It's operated by the Depreciation Lands Museum Association, a non-profit group). Workers said they saw a tall old man dressed in a long black coat, trousers and boots, the epitome of an eighteenth century preacher. He was seen often enough that they decided to give him a name, and the Deacon was christened.

Hard to tell if he's a jolly old soul, since he's never spoken. But unlike many spirits in renovated buildings, the Deacon seems pleased that folk are back in his church and polishing it up, even if it's for sightseeing, not soul saving. He's especially fond of the workers.

His first good deed was helping a volunteer who was replacing a window. She was having a tough time squaring up the frames, and was shaving the wood to get a snug fit. In the middle of her frustrating work, she saw the Deacon out of the corner of her eye, but he was gone in a flash when she turned toward him.  Going back to the job at hand, she caught a glimpse of him again, and again he faded from view.

Exasperated at her disappearing sidewalk foreman, the lady said "Don't just stand there. The least you can do is help me." And bingo, her knife sliced the frame perfectly and the window slid cozily in place.

A little later in the project, a youngster was on a ladder painting the frame around the stairwell. Other workers present said that his ladder slipped off the wall, then just stopped in mid-air and popped back up. Some of them believe the Deacon caught the ladder and saved the painter a nasty fall.

In fact, the Deacon may have been in the church before the Depreciation Museum staff. Karen Parsons, the volunteer coordinator, related to Deborah Deasy of the Pine Creek Journal that a visitor told her that his mom was churchgoer there, and fell off a ladder while cleaning. She landed gently on the floor, and he credited the Deacon with catching her and providing a soft and safe landing.

Sometimes he can be a little hard on the help, though. Parsons also told Deasy that an electrician left the museum in a huff when the light switch he turned on kept getting turned off - and no one was in the building but him (and the Deacon, we assume).

He's also a protector. The museum is only open on Sundays, but rents out the grounds to various tours and groups on other days. Once some Girl Scouts spent the night in sleeping bags in a utility room. Their adult mentors, in a different room, were awakened by an avalanche of noise. The original plaster ceiling had crashed through the newer dropped ceiling and its lowered light fixtures, showering the girl's room with debris. Not only weren't any of the scouts hurt, but many never even woke up during the collapse. Once again, it's thought the Deacon came to the rescue.

The Deacon has become quite the local celebrity. Beside Deasy's article, "Ghost Stories of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County" by Beth Trapani has a chapter on him. You can do one better by visiting the museum. Just bring a ladder and wobble - that should bring the Deacon running.

Friday, October 12, 2012

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

One If By Land, Two If By Sea from Restaurants In NYC

One if by Land, Two if by Sea is a restaurant located in the heart of New York City's West Village on Barrow Street. It's a romantic room, with rich wood decor, white linen tablecloths, ornately framed oil paintings of old dead people, a grand piano and ghosts...

Well, the ghosts may not be all that romantic, but they do add to the ambiance. Some of paranormal phenomena is just poltergeist pranking: picture frames tilting, devices turning themselves on and off, icy drafts (and we don't mean imported ales) by the bar, flying plates, chairs being pulled out from under people, flickering lights, footsteps heard coming from an empty attic, cold spots, staff members being shoved by unseen hands (sometimes down steps), orbs and that sort of ghostly tomfoolery.

Minor ethereal annoyances, to be sure. But the waitstaff has caught glimpses of shadows out of the corner of their eye, and waiters have even gone to serve customers who turned out to be hungry specters instead of warm bodies. It's enough that some workers have handed in their resignations on the spot.

But there are a lot more things going bump in the New York night than misty forms and incarnate mischief. Mediums have identified 23 spirits who call the restaurant home. The physics say they are from a variety of eras, but are all aware of one other.

In the Constitution Room, diners who are loud or argumentative usually request being seated in another of the restaurant's rooms without knowing why. The answer is simple. The room is the haunt of a former Ziegfeld Follies girl who passed away in the building and didn't approve of uncivil tongues. The staff lights candles for her gentle soul.

The Mezzanine is the stomping grounds of a lady entity in a nineteenth century black dress who appears late at night. One of the balcony tables is sometimes occupied by the specter of an African-American man. Another shadow is a woman dressed in a black gown who walks down the staircase, but never up. The speculation is that she broke her neck falling down the steps.

There's a spirit who inhabits the restaurant office. Another regular apparition is of a man who enjoys sitting by the fireplace, and yet another of a ghostie who is generally spotted by the front door. Others have noted the distinctive perfume scent of a dearly departed patron in the ladies’ room. Every nook seems to have its own lore...or at least 23 of them do.

But Aaron Burr and his daughter Theodosia Burr Alston are the pair most identified with the restaurant, and in fact the building is claimed to be Burr's old carriage house. There's a big honking portrait of Aaron in the house to drive home the connection. Yet with the proximity and all the baggage old Aaron carried around (that duel definitely brought on some bad juju), the jury is still out on whether he is one of the many other worlders who frequent the hideaway, although the court of popular opinion says yea.

Theodosia has quite a story, though. The tale goes that she traveled by ship from South Carolina to visit her dad at home, but was captured by pirates off North Carolina who made her walk the plank. But she made it to New York in spirit, and it's said she now has taken up residence in the restaurant, the closest remaining part of her home.

She's said to have a thing for jewelry, and her usual manifestation is to yank off the earrings of lady patrons, especially at the bar (although in this day and age, she may start targeting the guys, too.)

So if you're looking for a nice, lights down low dinner in the Big Apple with your inamorata, head to One If By Land. Who knows who the two of you will get to split that last bottle of wine with? Oh, and have her wear clip-on earrings, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hotel Wayne

 Hotel Wayne from Expedia

Charles Forbes built the first public house in Honesdale in 1827 on the corner of Park and Main Streets (1202 N. Main Street is its exact address). The two-story wood frame building, redone in brick in 1895, measured 50 by 100' with a livery stable in the rear and was then known as the Forbes House.

It shortly thereafter became the Wayne County House (or Hotel) and provided accommodations for the superintendents of the D & H Canal company and for travelers who stopped in at the popular stage coach station. It's now called simply the Hotel Wayne, a 20-room hostelry with the restaurant/tavern Bistro 1202 at street level.

The psychic Crystal Boehmer investigated the Hotel Wayne for paranormal activity. And boy, did she ever encounter a houseful of eerie guests!

Taking the grand tour, she first felt the spirit of a race horse in the Philip Hone room, which when the hotel first opened was a passageway to the stables. Boehmer even came up with a name, more or less - she thought the quarter horse answered to either "Sparky" or "Spartacus."

When she passed the office, she sensed a Civil War soldier who paced the Hotel and seems to be a chivalrous guardian for the womenfolk who visit the hotel. Boehmer also heard gunshots from the basement, and when she went downstairs, she could smell gunpowder.

Crystal also found the shadow of Paul, who provides a noticeable presence in the basement and likes to move things around. The hotel says that could be the spirit of their old cook who was named Paul and who spent a lot of his working hours in the cellar.

She had a talk with the spook of a young alcohol and drug abuser named "Cookie" who had OD'ed and died in one of the Wayne's rooms. Beohmer told him he was forgiven and to go to the light, so there may be one less spirit in the hotel to deal with if he took her advice. In Room 208, she discovered Margaret still occupying her old room, along with an elderly schoolteacher who likes to gaze out from the balcony overlooking Main Street.

On the third floor she found a prostitute in red, a much battered lady of the night who died there, possibly at the hands of a client. She kept referring to "the Captain," perhaps recalling her seafaring boyfriend.

There was lots more ethereal flotsam floating around the hotel. She also said that she found:
  • A doctor in the bar area,
  • An "Adams" and a "Smith" in the building, 
  • A few children in the hotel, and
  • A mother who sits in Room 210 singing "Rock-a-Bye Baby" to her child and cooking.
And hey, that's nearly not all of the haunted roster. A couple of paranormal teams have probed the building including “Ghost Finders,” who have their findings posted on youtube, and come away with readings, messages, EVPs and visions from the many spirits who are said to inhabit the Hotel Wayne. They added to the ghostly list:
  • A tall man with a long beard who strongly resembles Abraham Lincoln (but isn’t),
  • A baby crying in Room 208,;
  • A man in Room 321 who told one of the psychics to “lie on the bed” in a chilling voice (maybe one of the lady in red's clientele), and
  • Shadowy reenactments of lively parties that used to be held on the third floor in the hotel's main hall.
Hey, hotels are always hotbeds of paranormal activity. They're frequented by a transitory crowd, and those who meet their fate in one often have no where else to go until they cross over. So if you're in the mood for a weekender and don't want to risk feeling lonely on the trip, book a visit to historic Honesdale and get a room at the Hotel Wayne. You'll have lots of company.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lilburn: Ellicott City's Haunted History House

Lilburn from Ellicott City Tourism

Lilburn Mansion, also known as Hazeldene, Hazelhurst and/or Balderstone Mansion, is one of the historic treasures of Maryland's Ellicott City in Howard county.

An Englishman from Berkshire, Henry Richard Hazelhurst (his name is sometimes recorded as Richard Henry), started out as a civil engineer and made a fortune dabbling in railroads and then from his iron foundry in Baltimore, which would become an especially lucrative business during the Civil War. Hazelhurst was part of the gentry; his name can be found in the nineteenth century "Blue Book."

In 1857, he and his wife Elizabeth built a 20 room Gothic stone mansion with a four story tower, surrounded by seven or eight acres of rolling land off Cottage Avenue. The amenities included seven marble hearths, a circular drive, a guest house, a carriage house, a smokehouse and a swimming pool.

Sadly, a big crib and blue blood doesn't always translate into domestic tranquility. The Hazelhursts lost three of their six children at home. Two were taken early by childhood accident and illness while the third died during childbirth. Elizabeth then passed away, and Henry joined her in 1900, giving up the ghost - maybe literally - at the age of 85.

The home sat dark and unoccupied for a couple of decades before the estate sold it to the Maginnis family in 1923. Well, maybe not exactly unoccupied...

Almost as soon as they moved in, the Maginnis clan heard unexplained footsteps throughout Lilburn and in the tower. Some of the family thought that it may be the spirit of Hazelhurst's daughter; others believed that it was Henry pacing the top floor of the mansion.

But they quickly had more pressing concerns than a Hazelhurst spiritual reunion. The structure caught fire around Christmas time that year, and while the family escaped unharmed, Lilburn was badly damaged. It was rebuilt almost identically to the original - except for the tower. Maginnis replaced the Gothic turret with  a stone parapet.

As you can imagine, the ghosties of Hazeldene were not pleased. A common theme of haunted homes is that family spirits are pretty resistant to change and not the least bit shy about letting their feelings be known to the renovators. The paranormal activity increased with the sound of bodiless footsteps echoing through the mansion and the widows of the new tower refusing to stay shut. But the Maginnis and Hazelhurst clans got along well enough, considering everything.

Beth Hillel Sanitarium bought it from the Maginnis family in 1930 - we'd bet a haunted house is just what the doctor ordered for the Sanitarium's patients - and it changed hands four more times over the years until the Balderstones purchased it in 1965. None of the other owners reported anything particularly out of the ordinary, but they may have just been playing possum, because the place became spook central after Balderstones got the deed.

The footsteps were back (if they had ever gone away), and doors would open, shut, and unlock themselves without any human help. A chandelier would swing wildly (once during a party with a houseful of witnesses) and cigar smoke could be detected, both by smell and sight, in the library. The aroma of food cooking from a deserted kitchen was reported. The sounds of a crying baby could be heard coming from an upstairs bedroom.  There was a small room upstairs that the family pooch refused to enter.

The housekeeper even reported an actual apparition of a man and little girl in a chiffon dress, suspected to be Henry and one of his daughters. Sometimes they're seen together, and other times separately, with the girl often seen playing in various spots around Lilburn. There's also a spirit named "Margaret" who is blamed for much of the mischief (as in "Margaret, quit playing with the chandeliers already!") We're not sure who she is, perhaps a daughter or one of their playmates who took a liking to Hazeldene.

Oh, yah, almost forgot about the tower. Those dang windows proved to be quite the poser for the Balderstones. They opened on their own, and no matter how often the Balderstones shut them, they ended up open again.The family even tied them shut with ropes; often by the time they reached ground level and looked up, the tower windows were untied and wide open again. We'd have gotten screens, but hey...

Anyway, the Balderstone era ended in 1977, when Dr. Eugenia King became owner. She reportedly had the same window problems in the tower and with the swinging chandelier as the previous tenants, with the addition of a little poltergeist play involving a dumped vase.

The good doctor sold it in 1983, and the house, even with some renovation work, has been quiet since, according to its owners (Hazeldene has had its deed flipped a couple of times since, so we suppose upscale Ellicott City, located between Washington and Baltimore, is a pretty sweet market for home sales.)

So maybe the Hazelhurst family has left this vale of tears and crossed over. Then again, maybe the  owners figure that things going bump in the night might be a drag on the return on their investment...

If you want the full scoop on Lilburn, get thee to a library or bookstore and pick up "Ghosts And Haunted Houses of Maryland" by Trish Gallagher and/or "Haunted Ellicott City" by David Ketchersid and Troy Taylor.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Columns Museum

The Columns Museum from Our Country Home

The Columns is a 1904 neo-classical mansion on Broad Street in Milford, built as a private residence and now the home of the Pike County Historical Society. And it houses some pretty outre - and out there - objects

It's main claim to fame is the "Lincoln Flag," the actual red, white, and blue banner that hung from the front of Lincoln's theater box and was used as a pillow for his head after he was fatally wounded at the Ford Theater. The bloody bunting was taken by the theater manager Thomas Gourlay, who gave it to his actress daughter Jeannie, who happened to be a player in "Our American Cousin" that fateful night. She married a Milford man, and the flag ended up with her son, Paul Struthers, who used to hang it on his porch every July 4th. He eventually donated it to the Society.

They have other stuff - the noose used for the only public hanging in Pike County history, an exhibit on Chief Thundercloud, who's visage may have been engraved on the Buffalo nickel and five dollar gold piece, William Jennings Bryan fedoras, a presentation of mourning clothes, a Gifford Pinchot area (he was a PA governor and conservationist whose family had an estate in Milford), an exhibit of the belongings of Charles Saunders Peirce, the mathematician and philosopher often called the "father of pragmatism" and his wife Marie, displays of Lenape artifacts, rooms dedicated to early wars...well, all kind of museum oddities, minus King Tut (after all, he wasn't from Pike county).

As you might imagine with a collection like that, there have been reports of some eerie activity from The Columns. And oddly, Old Abe isn't included in them; the White House halls seem to be his otherworldly hang out. But even without the Rail Splitter, paranormal groups visit the museum every so often with heat detectors, tape recorders, and video cameras to get in on the ethereal action.

Dark Illusions Paranormal Investigators filmed ghostly mists and forms in the Columns, and heard clicking sounds, like a woman's heels, walking from Mrs. Peirce's room to Chief Thundercloud's. They visited on a Friday the 13th, and their results are posted on youtube.

Banshee Paranormal Investigators recorded a voice saying, "This is mine," over and over in a room filled with old cradles, one of which was made by a slave. And they took sequential photos of the door to Mrs. Peirce's room, showing that it closed on its own volition.

Other people told of visions of a small woman in the basement, several dancers on The Column's main floor and the spectral scene of a woman falling (or being pushed) down the third-floor servants' staircase while a man at the top of the steps watched. Two volunteers reported unspecified creepy doings in the Music Room as well.

But the star of this show is Juliette Peirce, Charles' widow. She was by all accounts head-over-heels in love with her philosopher hubby, but he wasn't quite pragmatic enough to turn his considerable brainpower into folding green. He died impoverished, and she slowly sold off their possessions, even reading tarot cards (she was supposed to have the deck used to predict Napoleon's downfall) to make ends meet in her later years. The remains of their estate after she passed on went to the museum. Apparently, Juliette was pretty possessive of the few belongings she had left.

It’s said that her spirit roams the second floor hallway, and she doesn't always play nice with visitors who get too touchy with her things. It's been reported that a couple of guests have been sent scurrying down the stairs in terror after a run-in with Juliette.

Linda Zimmermann, ghost investigator and author, has been to The Columns a few times and believes she's made Juliette's acquaintance. She encountered Madame, her nickname from her fortune telling days as a tarot reader, on the main stairway on the second floor. The apparition was dressed in late nineteenth century style clothing, matching her era on earth. The spirit beckoned to Linda and led her to the back room, which housed the Peirce family artifacts.

The name “Beatrice” kept popping up in Zimmermann's mind, followed by her bumping into a painting of a woman named Beatrice Bailey hanging in the hallway. That led to a room where she found a portrait of Juliette Peirce, confirming that she was the woman who Linda saw at the stairs.

It's thought that Juliette is so attached to the remaining items from her and Charles' days in Milford that she can't bear to leave them, even to rejoin her hubby on the other side.

Most senior and long-time staffers pooh-pooh all the ghost talk, as to be expected. But they do occasionally give a nudge and a wink acknowledgement, using the lore for The Column's good. The organization held an event called “The Ghost Gathering” just six weeks ago. And Linda Zimmermann has The Columns included in her book “Ghost Investigator Volume 9: Back from the Dead.”

Hey, we like to believe that the ghost hunters were on to something. And we'd love to know why Juliette was visiting Chief Thundercloud on Friday the 13th; that sounds like a good storyline by itself.