7 More Haunted Places and the Ghost Stories Behind Them
Last week, we told you a quite a few ghost stories tied to specific locations. Below, a few more tales of spirits doomed to spend eternity wandering through estates, cemeteries, lakes, and more.
1. KREISCHER MANSION // STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK
In 1884, New York brick magnate Balthasar Kreischer built two identical, mirror-image mansions on Staten Island for his sons Charles and Edward. One still exists, and is said to be haunted. In 1894, Edward Kreischer was found dead of a gunshot wound at his factory. He was just 43; the coroner ruled it a suicide. The Kreischer family eventually left the neighborhood, and of their homes, only Charles Kreischer’s house still stands. Although Edward Kreischer never lived there, there have been numerous tales of slamming doors and a ghostly woman’s voice wailing, said to be Edward's wife Freda mourning her husband’s death.
In 2005, gangster Robert McKelvey was murdered at Kreischer Mansion, drowned in the brick pool, cut into pieces, and then burned in the mansion’s furnace. The caretaker of the house and another man were convicted of the mafia hit in 2009, and a third went into the witness protection program.
The Kreischer Mansion, which was added to the Historic Register in 1968, has been on the market for years. If you’ve got $11.5 million—and nerves of steel—it can be yours.
2. THE MYRTLES PLANTATION // ST. FRANCISVILLE, LOUISIANA
The Myrtles Plantation house was built by David Bradford, who had been a respected lawyer in Pennsylvania until he took part in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Wanted for arrest, he fled to Louisiana, leaving his family behind. There, he purchased 600 acres of land and, after a pardon in 1799, brought his wife and children to live there too.
The property passed to Bradford's son-in-law Clark Woodruff. Legend has it that during Woodruff's reign at the plantation, he had a relationship with a slave girl named Chloe while his wife was pregnant. Chloe became paranoid when Woodruff ended the affair, and he allegedly cut her ear off as punishment for eavesdropping. From that point forward, Chloe wore a turban to cover her scar. In an act of revenge, Chloe later poisoned a birthday cake meant for one of the children. Woodruff didn't indulge, but his wife and children did and subsequently died. As punishment, Chloe was hanged from a tree on the property. Today, the ghosts of Chloe and the children supposedly roam the plantation house—though there's no solid evidence she ever existed. (Records indicate that Mrs. Woodruff and two of their three children died of yellow fever.)
Ruffin Grey Stirling bought the plantation in 1834. Five of his nine children died there before reaching adulthood. The family lost their wealth in the Civil War. The next owner didn't have much luck either: Stirling’s son-in-law William Winter, who inherited the property, was murdered on the front porch in 1871, shot by a still-unknown assailant. The plantation passed through several owners since then, and, in addition to Chloe's spirit, is said to be haunted by Winter. These days, The Myrtles is operated as a bed and breakfast. You don’t have to stay the night, though, as it also has a restaurant and offers guided tours.
3. THE GRAY LADY // COLUMBUS, OHIO
Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio, is the final resting place of 2260 Confederate soldiers. Why Ohio? It was the site of a Union POW camp, which held 9400 rebel soldiers during the Civil War. A smallpox epidemic struck the camp in 1863, and the victims, both prisoners and those who worked at the camp, were buried there. After the war, the camp was dismantled; the cemetery was all that was left. In 1895, gravestones slowly began to replace wooden markers.
Louisiana Ransburgh Briggs was a Southerner from New Madrid, Missouri, whose father sent her north to Ohio to avoid the war. After it was over, she married a Union veteran—but never forgot her Southern sympathies. Briggs visited the Camp Chase Cemetery and placed flowers on various graves, even those covered with overgrowth. During her evening visits, Briggs wore a veil to hide her identity, earning her the nickname "the Veiled Lady of Camp Chase." She later spearheaded the efforts to reclaim and maintain the cemetery. After her death in 1950, reports of mysterious flowers appearing on graves—and the sounds of crying—were attributed to the ghost of Mrs. Briggs, who then came to be known as "The Gray Lady." Briggs' spirit seems particularly active at the grave of a 22-year-old soldier from Tennessee named Benjamin F. Allen. (There have also been reported sightings of Confederate soldiers' ghosts at Camp Chase.)
4. GRACE BROWN // BIG MOOSE LAKE, NEW YORK
Grace Brown was in love with Chester Gillette. After hearing that her boyfriend was consorting with other women, she pleaded with him to marry her. After all, Brown was pregnant with their child. Gillette took her to a resort in the Adirondacks, which she hoped would result in an elopement. Instead, on July 11, 1906, the couple went for a boat ride on Big Moose Lake, where Gilette beat her with a tennis racket and threw her overboard. She could not swim. Brown’s body was recovered the next day; an autopsy confirmed the pregnancy. Gillette was tried and found guilty of murder, and executed in 1908.
To this day, the ghost of Grace Brown is often seen standing on or sinking into the water, or walking along the shores of Big Moose. Those who live nearby or work at one of the resort hotels sometimes report strange happenings inside too, which they blame on Brown's ghost.
5. FREDERICK FISHER’S GHOST // CAMPBELLTOWN, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Frederick Fisher was a local businessman who had been in and out of prison. His neighbor George Worrall held power of attorney over Fisher's property while he was incarcerated. On the night of June 17, 1826, Worrall announced that Fisher had fled to England to avoid more legal trouble. Worrall soon disposed of Fisher's assets, and the suspicious citizenry had him arrested. Worrall blamed four other men, who were also arrested. But where was the evidence of any actual wrongdoing? According to legend, a local farmer, John Farley, saw the ghost of Fisher sitting on a bridge, pointing to an area where his body was subsequently found. The ghostly story was not used as evidence in the trial, but Fisher's body was recovered on October 25, and Worrall was convicted of the murder and hanged. The story was made into a movie in 1924. And now, every November, Campbelltown holds the Festival of Fisher's Ghost.
6. CHERRY HILL HOUSE // ALBANY, NEW YORK
Philip and Maria Van Rensselaer had a large house built in 1787, where their family lived for five generations. By 1827, Elsie Lansing Whipple, married to John Whipple, was the lady of the house. The couple hired a drifter named Joseph Orton as a handyman—or so they thought. The man's real name was Jesse Strang, and it turns out he was hiding from the wife and children he had abandoned.
Supposedly, Elsie hated her husband, but could not divorce him because he would then get her family fortune. Instead, she began an affair with Strang and convinced him to kill John. After a failed attempt at poisoning, Strang shot and killed Elsie's husband. Strang and Elsie Whipple were both arrested. Strang tried to blame Elsie for the murder, but was nonetheless found guilty and executed. Thousands of people turned out to witness his hanging. Elsie Whipple was tried separately for aiding and abetting the murder, and was acquitted, presumably due to her social standing.
Ghosts are said to haunt the house called Cherry Hill to this day, although witnesses are divided as to whether the ghost is that of John Whipple or Jesse Strang. There are still bullet holes in the roof of the mansion, now a museum, from the night Whipple was murdered.
7. CHASE VAULT // CHRIST CHURCH PARISH, BARBADOS
The Chase Family Vault in Christ Church Parish, Barbados was built in 1724 and used by the Chase family beginning in 1807. Remains were interred and sealed with marble and cement. When Thomas Chase, a man with a reputation for cruelty, died in 1812, two of his young daughters were already interred in the vault. Mary Anne was only two years old when she died, and her older sister Dorcas later died under unusual circumstances. When the crypt was opened for their father’s burial only a month after Dorcas’, the coffins already there had clearly been moved. (The toddler’s coffin was found standing on its end.) All three caskets were repositioned and the vault was resealed. Twice in 1816 and once in 1819, the crypt was opened for further burials; each time, the previous coffins were found flipped over or turned end-to-end. The island governor ordered a seal placed on the door and sand put on the floor to retain evidence of any break-ins.
Yet when the crypt was next opened, the seal remained unbroken, the sand was intact, and the coffins had once again moved. That's when the family decided to relocate the coffins of their loved ones elsewhere. The vault has not been used since.
Skeptics maintain that underground water seepage is to blame, because that could, theoretically, move the coffins without seeming to disturb a layer of sand. As the mausoleum is built of coral, leakage does seem to make sense. Other researchers are convinced that the story is just plain untrue, since contemporary accounts are lacking.