"I dream't I dwelt in marble halls"
Devoted to the histories and current state of the great mansions of America's Gilded Age.

Friday, November 7, 2014

I've Been Rich and I've been Poor

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Haunted Mansion of the Gilded Age #31 Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst at Tarrytown, New York
Lyndhurst is an amazing mansion that we are so fortunate to still have standing and open to the public. While there doesn't seem to be any well documented  wild stories of hauntings, ghosts or evil deeds at Lyndhurst, it is a house that seems built for them. It was this architectural image that made it a natural backdrop for the movies, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows. Both movies were based upon the hit 1960s Gothic Soap opera, Dark Shadows. I have visited Lyndhurst for many years since I was child and photographed it numerous times. On one occasion in the 1980s while visiting other houses in the Hudson Valley area I stopped by to see it after a  recent snowstorm. In the 1980s I was experimenting with black & white film and shot a series of photographs at houses before and after my visit to Lyndhurst. In those days 36 images to a roll were all you got. After I got the film back I noticed on the photos that I took of Lyndhurst that there were some sort of imperfections? Almost like ice crystals and I was disappointed  because they were some nice views of the house and I felt they were ruined. I took them back to the film shop and asked what went wrong. The shop keeper said he had never seen anything like this and of kindly offered me a new roll of film. What puzzled me the most is why only at Lyndhurst? After my visit to Lyndhurst I went to the Vanderlip mansion called Beechwood, which has a rumored past of murders and odd happenings. Nothing strange appeared on those photos? Same day, same cold temperature, same lighting, etc. I have been to many old mansions over my lifetime  and visited some houses that many claim are haunted. I have never experienced anything odd at any of them or photographed any unexplained unusual. So these images below may be just a quirk of the camera, film or some other natural occurrence, but maybe not? 

Here are the images with the first one almost clear of any oddities.

Lyndhurst at Tarrytown: Photo Gary Lawrance

Lyndhurst at Tarrytown: Photo Gary Lawrance

Lyndhurst at Tarrytown: Photo Gary Lawrance

Lyndhurst at Tarrytown: Photo Gary Lawrance

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Haunted Mansion of the Gilded Age #23 Beaulieu, Newport, Rhode Island


Beaulieu at Newport: Photo courtesy of Robert King
Beaulieu is an elegant villa from the very earliest days of Newport's golden era.

During its early years it was rented to the famous Mrs. Potter Palmer of Chicago.
Here is a little story of her accounts about unusual happenings while she stayed there.
Mrs. Potter Palmer, [in 1899] it is said always felt a shiver as she went through the big dark front hall, after the guests have gone. Every door opening out of it had to be locked at night, as well as every door that she passed on the way up to her sleeping room
For noises were heard at night light the rustle of silken shirts, as if the unbidden guest of the past were passing in and out the rooms and halls and opening and closing doors.
The climax came one night soon after the Grant wedding, when Butler White was putting out the lights on the lower floor.
In half darkness, he saw an apparition, in white ball costume, with a Spanish mantilla thrown over her heard, as if she had stepped from a heated ball rooms out upon the lawn and been suddenly chilled the night air and mist flowing in from the sea.
The figure in white glided in through the closed doors, swept past the terrified butler, with a silken rustle and passed up the broad staircase. The backward glance given as she ascended the stairs, while the mantilla fell from her heard, revealed a face of a dark Spanish beauty. That much Butler White saw, then fell prostrated on the hall floor.
Two footmen, hearing his fall, rushed up from the basement and picked up the butler. They said he looked like a dead man as he lay there with arms wide outstretched, hands clenched, and white, set face upturned with wide open, but apparently sightless eyes staring at the ceiling.
The next morning, when the butler had fully recovered his senses, he declared that nothing would induce him to stay another day in the house. He did stay the rest of the season. But ever after that when he was in the front hall two footman were always with him, either day or night, one stationed behind each of the two tall bay trees that flanked the entrance to the staircase.
(The Marlboro Democrat – 9-1-1904 - Bennettsville, S.C.

Historic story courtesy of Robert King 

Haunted Beaulieu

Robert King is the author of 3 books on Gilded Age Mansions of which I have all of them and highly recommend them also.

The Vanderbilt Homes

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