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Bishop Huntington House
Also called Forty Acres, or known as The
Porter/Phelps/Huntington Mansion, this haunted mansion, now a
museum, can be found on Route 47, near Hadley, Massachusetts. It's
open to the public in the afternoon, for a fee.
This "Authentic, Colonial House" was one of
the first built on May 27, 1752, that was north of town, outside
the stockade, on a forty acre estate. Although there have been many
alterations and improvements to suit the occupants throughout the
years, much of the original house, built by Moses Porter, remains
as it was originally built. The main part of this mansion, a
valuable piece of American history, has two floors, with the usual
peaked roof of the time. A third floor attic and bedroom were added
Practically every item in this mansion is
100 years old, and some are as old as 175 years, including
"breathtaking leaded glass, 12-foot ceilings, and spectacular
staircases, woodwork, china cabinets, built-ins and marble." Among
the many historical relics, one can see two colonial-style cooking
fireplaces, a smoke oven, and various types of colonial furniture,
such as the four poster bed used by the original Porters in the
downstairs front bedroom. Also in this bedroom, Mr. Porter's sword
can be seen on the mantelpiece of the fireplace. In the door yard
south of the mansion, Moses Porter planted 3 elm trees; one for his
wife, Elizabeth, one for himself, and one for his 4 year old
daughter, Betty. One of these elms is still thriving today, among
the lush gardens.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
The happy Porter family had lived in their
new mansion only three years, when tragedy struck, breaking the
hearts of both Mrs. Elizabeth Porter, and the young daughter,
Betty. Moses Porter, a Captain in the Militia, was called up to go
fight the French and their Indian allies. While putting Betty to
bed in the downstairs front bedroom, Moses Porter's Indian servant
handed Mrs. Porter her husband's sword through the heavy bedroom
window shutters, silently indicating that Moses had been killed, in
a bloody ambush. As a result of this tremendous loss, both Mrs.
Porter and Betty mourned his passing for the rest of their lives,
never getting over their grief. Unfortunately, grief counselors
weren't available during this time era.
Either Mrs. Porter or her daughter, Betty,
mentioned above may be the entity haunting the mansion. Or it could
be someone who died more recently. No one knows for sure. It's hard
to say when the manifestations started. The haunting incidents
weren't discussed among family members until a generation or two
before the mansion became a museum, started by Dr. Huntington and
his family, direct descendants of the Porters.
1) Throughout the years, children have
found themselves being gently, lovingly tucked in at night, by a
kindly, well-meaning presence. Awakening in the middle of the
night, children of many generations have seen an apparition bending
over their beds, who was wearing a full skirt, with an oddly
patterned design, and a frilled white cap, that both glowed in the
dark. Children would tell their mothers, that they had felt being
tucked in, thinking it was their own mother. Mothers told them that
it must have been the ghost, an ancestor of their family line.
2) While the first Elizabeth's spinning
wheel was kept in the north kitchen, the whirring sound of this
spinning wheel was heard coming from the attic.
3) "A firm, but light step" has been heard
going up the staircase to the attic, usually after midnight or
sometimes at sunrise. The door to this staircase on the second
floor hallway, was always firmly closed and latched, but would be
found open the next morning. A young Huntington boy, who was
sleeping in the attic room had an encounter with an apparition on
the stairs. After hearing for two consecutive nights, approaching
footsteps coming up to the attic, he flew down the stairs, on the
third nightly hearing of these footsteps, passing a child-sized
apparition, on the stairs.
4) Dr. Huntington has personally seen
latches rise by themselves, and doors open., without any help from
the wind or the living.
5) While sitting with the family in the
long room, or at the dining room table, visitors have seen, out of
the corner of their eyes, something bustling by in a hurry.
6) Family members had heard a "high,
sustained musical note" once in a while during the day and
7) Indentations on the four poster bed in
the front bedroom have been seen by the living, as if someone
unseen was lying down on top of the spread.
Well-known author and psychic, Suzie Smith,
briefly saw a gray mist traveling up the staircase to the attic,
and saw an unexplained shadow, while on her day tour of the
mansion. Full details of her observations and her report on the
mansion can be found in her book, "Prominent American Ghosts," a
must see for ghost lovers.