It can be
found on a hill in the Heritage Hill section of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It is currently a private residence.
story antebellum mansion is built in the Georgian Revival style, and is
very handsome example of this type of architecture. It has an attic, gaslight
fixtures, been decorated with period furniture and 19th century paintings
and sculptures. Four large pillars in the front are a big plus in adding
a grand feeling to the place.
HISTORY of the Mansion:
It was built
in 1864, originally as an eight room home, with the kitchen in a shed
in the back. Different owners, throughout it's history, "improved"
it by adding more rooms and the massive, enormous front pillars, transforming
this mansion into a pretty big place. James T. Phillips, who had started
and ran the Grand Rapids Clock and Mantel Company, bought this mansion
in 1880. The Phillips family lived there for 32 years.
Then, in 1912, Dr. John F Burleson and his family bought the mansion and
lived there until a mysterious fire drove them out in 1934. One of his
daughters was a spiritualist, who probably contacted the dead in seances
During the 1940s, the mansion became a nursing home for elderly women,
for about 12 years.
In 1952, the place was bought by investors, and transformed into apartments,
to be used as rental property, as is sometimes done with large mansions.
However, in 1973, after two women who were renting an apartment on the
second floor, had scary experiences provided without charge by the second
floor ghosts, who like to tease the living, the mansion once again was
quickly sold into private hands, by Ward Paul and Chuck Schwander, who
restored the mansion to its original and former glory.
three ghosts have made an appearance. Others may be there also.
1) In 1972,
Miss Schwander and her roommate. Feeling that the mansion would offer
a quiet, nice place to live, rented a second floor apartment, that had two
bedrooms in it.
* Miss Schwander
awoke one night, from a deep sleep, and was startled to see above her,
near the room's ceiling, a large head of a young, blond man, smiling
warmly at her, as he slowly moved across the ceiling before finally
* On another night, she was again awakened by a bright and blinding
light, like a giant floodlight had been turned on. She became terrified,
and ran to get her roommate. The light was gone when they both returned
to the room.
* Miss Schwander and her roommate stubbornly stayed in the mansion,
until 1973, when Miss Schwander had the following experience, that sent
her and her room mate packing, informing the public of her experiences.
Early one morning, Miss Schwander awoke to feel a strong presence near
her. She turned her head, and lying next to her on the bed was a wrinkled,
very thin, old woman, who looked like she had been sick for quite awhile.
The apparition looked like a real person, but was deadly white. She
was breathing noisily from her mouth, and obviously was in horrible
pain, as her face was contorted in agony. Screaming, poor Miss Schwander
ran to get her roommate. When they returned, only the old woman's head
impression was still seen on the pillow. Someone who lived in the nursing
home must have died in the mansion, or it could have been someone in the
of the publicity about the hauntings, the mansion was sold to two men
who weren't bothered by the idea of sharing the mansion with the ghosts.
Throughout the years of living there, they have found them amusing, as
they mostly tease, and so far aren't sinister. Ward and Chuck started
to renovate the mansion by tearing out the apartment partitions, and eventually
restored the mansion, so it has its original, old-fashioned ambiance.
after moving in, Chuck was in one of the upstairs bedrooms, almost asleep.
He woke up real fast, after hearing footsteps on the staircase, which
goes from the first floor up to the second floor hall, becoming louder
and louder as they came closer and closer to his bedroom door, where
they stopped abruptly, just on the other side of the door. When he bravely
opened the door, nothing was there or in the house that could've been
responsible for the footsteps.
* Ward felt something jerk his big toe, while he was lying in bed, reading.
* After the mansion had been redecorated, disturbances started in earnest.
Thumpings, vibrations, and moving objects & furniture seemed to
be the norm, with no rational explanation to explain these occurrences.
* Guests who stayed overnight were kept awake by bangings, heavy male
footsteps, and the sound of furniture being dragged across the attic
floor. They just wrongly assumed that Ward and Chuck were working on
the mansion, and didn't worry about it.
* Guests over the years have also seen brightly glowing images floating
around the bedrooms. However, each bedroom comes equipped with a large
whistle and a huge glass of water, which supposedly will keep ghosts
at bay. Ghosts are said to be afraid of water.
* Vibrations shook pictures off the walls, and contents of waste baskets
would be thrown all over the room.
* One night, when the furnace failed, Ward and Chuck brought their sleeping
bags down to the living room, but didn't get much sleep, because unseen
presences walked around them all night.
* While having a dinner party one evening, sounds of a "shattering
explosion" brought everyone quickly up the stairs, only to find
nothing amiss. Everyone did see, however, a misty apparition float up
the stairs after them, disappearing near the top of the staircase.
* Three years after moving in, Ward and Chuck were in their living room,
when an older gentleman with an open, friendly, gracious demeanor appeared
to them, standing next to the fireplace. He was dressed smartly in an
Edwardian-style brown tweed coat, and was solid and detailed in form.
He melted into the air when Ward went toward him.
* A few evenings after this apparition's first appearance, Ward saw
him again, while standing on the second floor landing. Ward happened to
glance down toward the entry hall, and he saw this same gentleman, dressed
in his brown tweed suit, with his cane under his arm, and a bowler hat
on his head. This friendly semi- transparent entity looked up at Ward,
tipped his hat and smiled pleasantly, before walking right through the
front door, seemingly at peace. Ward and Chuck have identified this
apparition as being James T. Phillips, who had loved the mansion, and
had died there in 1912. He seemed to be very pleased with their restoration
work, and hasn't made another visible appearance. Ward and Chuck hope
he comes back, because they would like to have such a "nice old
the up-keep of the mansion wasn't cheap, Ward and Chuck rented a large
second floor room to a friend, Rick, an art student, who used it as both
his bedroom and art studio, where he painted. Some presence resented him
staying in this room at first, but eventually accepted Rick as a source
of entertainment, that could be teased on occasion. Rick learned to think
of the presences as sometimes annoying roommates, that could be tolerated
* One night,
after Rick had turned off the light, and had gotten in bed, something
slammed his door shut. When he had gotten up to examine the door, it
was once again opened, about 3 inches. There was no draft that could've
reopened the door.
* While working on his art projects, he sometimes was distracted by
loud noises coming from the attic. Once, he lost his patience, and rudely
yelled, "Shut-up!" Just a few seconds later, Rick watched
in amazement, as his red paint cup rose quickly in the air and dumped
its contents on his head. While he wiped paint from his hair, his painting
board arose by itself and whacked him on the back. Some unseen presence
was admonishing him for his behavior that was considered an exhibition
of poor manners and a lack of respect for the unseen residents who were
obviously working hard in the attic, on their own unfinished perceived
projects. Rick learned not to become angry, just to focus harder on
* One early morning incident happened around 3:00 AM. Rick awoke from
a sound sleep by a tapping noise coming from inside his chest of drawers.
After turning on the light and investigating, and finding nothing, he
popped back into bed, after turning off the lights. When the tapping
started again, he didn't want to continue with this game, so he left
the drawer open and the light on, a practice he did every night from
that moment on.
* One breezeless, hot, still summer night, Rick was reading in bed,
with his three Siamese cats sleeping on his feet. Suddenly, he felt
a cold chill from nowhere flow refreshingly on top of him, engulfing
him for a moment. His cats abruptly awoke. They all simultaneously looked
at the same spot above his door, calmly turning their heads in unison
as they watched something not seen move across the ceiling of the room.
This presence wasn't menacing, just letting Rick know that he wasn't
A big YES
is in order.
are accepted residents with quirky idiosyncrasies, who like to tease the
living, but expect the living to be well-mannered and respectful.