Woodbury Glebe House
Haunted Dwelling — The Glebe House Museum
49 Hollow Road
Woodbury, CT 06798
Telephone: 203-263-285 * website
Museum Open 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wed-Sun or by appointment.
Admission to Museum - $5.00 adults - $2.00 Children - MEMBERS FREE
From I-84 take exit 15 and turn east on Route 6. Travel 5 miles to Woodbury and turn left onto route 317 at the stop light. After less than 1/4 mile the road forks -- bear left. At the stop sign the Glebe House is across the street. MAP
The 3 story, wooden plank Glebe House has been described as a beautifully quaint, peaceful, simple Colonial structure. The word, "Glebe" refers to a plot of land given to a Church of England for its sanctuary, the Parsonage, and perhaps a graveyard. While the present structure was built in 1750, two of its original rooms and its foundation date back to the 1650s, making it one of the oldest buildings in Woodbury. Apparently, the original structure was remodeled and updated in 1750. This Colonial home has an interesting, unusual blend of architectural styles that complement each other nicely. For example the visitor notices the combination of gambrel and saltbox roof styles; something not seen everyday.
Inside this charming, historical home, the visitor finds the decor much like what it was during the first years of this home being used as the parsonage for Woodbury's first permanent Episcopal church parsonage family; Episcopal priest, Rev. John Marshal, his wife, Sarah and their nine children. Seabury Society for the Preservation of the Glebe House has done an excellent job in not only restoring and maintaining this house museum, but also in furnishing it in historically correct ways.
There is no wasted space in this 3 story home.
The first floor has all the common living areas needed for its 17th and 18th century residents. One of the common rooms in the Glebe House was the "waking/funeral room", where the coffin of the departed lay in state for visitation and for the celebration service as well.
The second floor has the family bed rooms, that could accommodate a large brood of children, and their parents as well.
There is a wickedly steep, treacherous back staircase that led up to the third floor/attic area, where the family slaves lived. This was the worst area of this house, but thought good enough for slaves, despite the dangerous staircase, and hot living environment. Care has always had to be taken not to fall down the staircase, as a person would surely break his or her neck!
The Glebe House also has a large grassy area and garden area, called The Jekyll Gardens, originally planned in 1926, by well-known, English horticultural designer and writer, Gertrude Jekyll. Hired by the museum founders to design a 600 square foot garden of vegetation and flowers of various kinds, her plans weren't implemented until the 1970s. Perhaps, it was because of the lack of money, or that people perhaps were once buried in this land, which is feasible, as the graveyard and church are right across the road from the Glebe House. Today, 20 headstones that are mostly blank are used for stepping stones around the perimeter of this botanical garden. Uh Oh!
There are activities scheduled at the Glebe House Museum throughout the year, some of which are listed below:
June 24th - Historic Garden Day
June 25-July 27 - Summer Experience
July 14 - Jekyll in July-Wine & Roses
September 16 - Colonial Fair & Muster Day
October 20 - All Hollow's Eve -
November 30 - Holiday Party
December 1 - Christmas Festival
Traditionally, this property served the Episcopal clergy on and off throughout the years, as it is directly across the road from Saint Paul's Episcopal Church and graveyard, that has existed from the very founding of Woodbury during colonial times. Rev. John Marshall moved his family to Woodbury in 1771 to be the community's first permanent Church of England pastor; serving at Paul Episcopal Church for the area. He, his wife, Sarah, and their nine children lived in the Glebe House from 1771 - 1786. He was loved and respected by the people. The Marshall family settled down to a simple, pious, and peaceful life, until 1775, when war erupted. During times of war, the worst in people comes out with a vengeance.
During the Revolutionary War, the community of Woodbury was "especially zealous in its devotion to the cause" of freedom from England. Needless to say, reason went out the window, and anyone perceived to be on the Tory side, known as the Loyalists weren't treated well in Woodbury. Unlike other English Episcopal ministers who fled to safer grounds in Canada, Reverend Marshall chose to stay in his community, out of duty to the Lord and the people in his congregation, despite being staunchly in support of the King and England. Reverend Marshall was put on house arrest, but was granted one day of amnesty, on Sunday. He was allowed to go to the church, preach and say anything he wanted, and return home. He always said, "Pray for the King and England" sometime during his sermons. He felt his first sacred obligation and duty was to God and to England. Reverend Marshall continued with his unpopular prayer, despite the consequences. His family was a strong support and encouragement for his beliefs, which kept him strong and unwavering.
He paid dearly for his courage and beliefs. During the week, "inspectors" would drag him out of his home, beat him up, and trash the family home, subjecting the Marshall family to terror and torment. He found a way to survive, by making a secret little space under the main stairs, built half-way into the ground. The doorway to this secret room was hidden behind a false back of the hutch, covered with a panel of wood. It could be accessed quickly in times of invasion. Also, right behind and below this hiding space was an entrance to a tunnel, that may have led to his friend's house, fellow Loyalist, Jebez Beacon, the richest man in town. It wasn't until 1925 that the secret space and tunnel were discovered by people from the Seabury Society for the Preservation of Glebe House, who were restoring the home.
However, sometimes he left his home during the week, chancing a severe beating, that he would receive if caught by his tormentors. Rev. Marshall was caught several times, and was severely beaten, causing dire health issues for him. Thankfully when the Revolutionary War was won, and the newly independent nation, The United States of America, was secure, the abuse and persecution stopped. At the Glebe House, a group of Episcopalians were able to met secretly, probably by crawling through the underground tunnel. They decided to embrace their new country, while upholding their spiritual heritage. This courageous group of Episcopalians even elected the Reverend Dr. Samuel Seabury to be the first American Bishop in the United States, stepping out in faith that the separation of church and state and religious tolerance found in the new constitution would be upheld and followed.
In the late 1700s, the parsonage was probably moved to a newer structure, as the Glebe House was sold to Gideon Botsford and his large family. The Botsford family kept ownership of it within their family until the mid 19th century. The Glebe House once more became church property in 1892, when 3 Episcopal clergy bought it as a gift for their Bishop, by the name of John Williams.
After this owner, John Williams, several other owners lived here, but didn't have the money to repair this now really old historic relic that needed a boatload of money to properly restore the structure. By 1920, the Glebe House faced the old wrecking ball, but was saved from destruction by William Henry Kent, from new York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, who orchestrated the founding of The Seabury Society for the preservation of the Glebe House. This organization raised funds to buy the now sorry-looking Glebe House. The Glebe House opened as a museum in 1923 and has been going strong ever since, as their funding is secure, thanks to great planning by The Seabury Society, throughout the decades.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Possible explanations as to why there are spirits here.
The historical restoration of structures to their former glory, often acts as an environmental trigger that encourages entities to cross the veil and enjoy the property.
( Brumder Mansion * The Hermitage * * Lemp Mansion )
Structures located near a graveyard, and/or have a coffin room for funeral viewing or services, sometimes have spirits visiting.
( * Little Bighorn Battlefield * Madrona Manor * )
Spirits sometimes choose to stay in structures/areas where they endured hardship/hard times/abuse as a consequence of standing by a cause that they really believed in and supported.
( Fort Pulaski * * Saint Augustine Fort-Indians * * MacArthur Military Museum - David Owen Dodd )
Unfortunately, Rev. John Marshall eventually died of his injuries suffered in his beatings, passing in his 40s.
People who had to hide to stay alive, sometimes continue to do so as they relive this part of their lives.
( Octagon House * McClellan Pomeroy House * General Wayne Inn * )
Rev. John Marshall escaped a lot of physical abuse by hiding in a hidden room
People who were denied a peaceful existence because of circumstances of their lives or choices made, sometimes like to enjoy their homes or special place in their after-life.
( Hartford Twain House * Waverly House * Clinton Tavern * * Sturtivant Hall )
A slave's life was hard, even when owned by nice folks. They often had to live in quarters not deemed suitable for their owners, as well as having a huge chore chart as well. Sometimes accidents happened, or they died early from disease, abuse or their hard life.
Unfortunately, Rev. John Marshall eventually died of his injuries suffered in these beatings, passing in his mid 40s.
The family of Rev. John Marshal had to suffer through terror and torment of the abuse by former friends and neighbors, plus witnessing the suffering of their father/husband, Rev. John as well.
Spirits get annoyed, angry and confused when their graves/grave stones are disrespected.
( The Rose Hill Cemetery * Easton Library * * General Wayne Inn * Liberty Hall Mansion )
Using headstones that were so worn by the elements that they are blank, as stepping stones, adds insult to the fact that the people who once were linked to these stones have been forgotten, their resting places no longer marked.
Sometimes spirits who are really enjoying their memories in their favorite place, resent deeply the living who they deem to be a huge pest, invading their privacy, especially paranormal investigators, with their equipment, annoying questions and cameras.
( Saint James Hotel * * Pirate's House Restaurant * Steak Joynt Building/The Adobo Grill )
In structures or areas where dastardly violence, abuse, neglect or actual dark arts took place, not only are angry spirits still there, but the negative energy that lingers attracts other negative entities, some of whom are aggressive, or even demonic spirits.
( * Ciro's and the Comedy Store * Alcatraz Prison National Park * Bobby Mackey's * Wyoming Frontier Prison * )
It seems that spirits from the graveyard, spirits who are attached to the grave stones turned stepping stones for the garden, as well as some owners and former residents of this historic Colonial home like to visit and perhaps stay, remembering. One non-human spirit, or just an aggressive, negative entity also visits, it seems.
Some of them don't like paranormal investigators, while others are more cordial, especially to children.
Entity of a Black Woman; thought to be possibly a slave at some point.
Her unseen presence was felt on the third floor, and she was caught on recorders, with two intelligent comments to statements of investigators.
An investigator psychically felt the presence of an angry, annoyed black woman, perhaps protective of the in-house spirits privacy!
A Girl Scout leader, who was on a tour with her troop of 7 year old girls, inadvertently got a picture of a smiling black women, on the first floor, enjoying the visit of the little girls.
Unseen presences on the second floor; (Perhaps family members of the many people who live here throughout the years.)
Male Entity; Older man with white hair, and two women in long dresses, party attire.
Personal experience of an investigator: In a dream, right after the investigation of the Glebe House:
In his dream, he was in the Glebe House, facing an angry male spirit with white hair, choosing to appear to this investigator as a decomposing body, who was silently yelling at him, mad that this investigator had come in with cameras and recorders. When the spirit moved to attack him, the investigator spoke up and forbid him to do so, making this cranky spirit even more furious, being stopped in his tracks. In the back of the room, the investigator saw two women rushing around, preparing for a big social event, oblivious to all that was going on around them.
Visiting spirits; Outside and on the first floor
Many different types of orbs were caught on camera.
Nasty, aggressive spirit in the attic: Perhaps one of Rev. Marshall's vicious attackers, who could've been the one to deliver the blows that eventually killed the Reverend. Or a negative, angry entity from the graveyard or grave stones. Or, it could be a non-human entity, attracted to all the negative residual energy.
One investigator caught what Donna Kent describes as a non-human voice on the recorder, threatening to go home with Donna Kent, which backs up Donna's distressing personal experiences with a nasty entity in her car and in her home. Yikes!
Cosmic Society investigated with Donna Kent, as they have done many times before, investigating other haunted places, like the Curtis Inn, also in Woodbury.
Caught many multicolored, opaque and translucent orbs, on the first floor, and outside as well.
A participant in a ghost tour caught a photo of a black woman, smiling.
Felt unseen presences on the second floor, watching the investigation.
Another investigator got a nauseous headache on the second floor, which indicates to her of a host of strong spirits.
Several reassuring, friendly EVPs were caught on the second floor.
Donna and Brian's personal experiences: Something followed Donna home - and caused some havoc before they did some prayer and salt rituals. Check out Donna Kent's book, Ghost Stories And Legends of Southwestern Connecticut.
Cosmic Society captured EVP caught a negative/possibly demonic voice in the attic, at the end of the investigation. The recorder had been turned off by crew, but it turned back on by itself, to record, "I'll get in!" This referred to getting into Donna's car and consequently caused an accident and trouble in her home.
Most Probably So, though it would be nice to see other hard evidence/other results from both scientific and psychic investigations from other paranormal groups and gifted individuals to back up people's personal experiences.
Cosmic Society, Donna Kent and the Girl Scout Leader did capture some hard evidence that backs up psychic feelings, impressions, and personal experiences. Considering the great restoration efforts, the amount of history attached to this building, and the nastiness that happened during the Revolutionary War, it isn't surprising at all that spirits have gravitated to this structure and building. The EVPs caught here are truly revealing evidence, that some spirits call the Glebe Museum their home.
GHOST Stories and legends of Southwestern Ct., by Donna Kent, Haunted America, 2009.