Betsy Ross House

Posted in Pennsylvania with tags on April 20, 2010 by Haunted History Blog

A postcard manufactured by Curt Teich & Co. depicting the haunted Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia.

The Betsy Ross House is a 2.5-story building located at 239 Arch Street in Philadelphia. Built in 1740, the building served as both the home and business of various shopkeepers and artisans for over 150 years.

From 1773 to 1785, the home’s most famous inhabitant, Betsy Ross, lived in the building and assisted with the operation of an upholstery business. It is believed that in 1777, George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross approached the young seamstress about creating the nation’s first flag.

While details of its role in American history are widely debated, the home’s haunting is not. Several staff and visiting psychics have claimed that Mrs. Ross herself still resides at 239 Arch Street.

Employees have reported seeing the spirit of Betsy Ross at the foot of her bed crying. Additionally, unidentified voices emanating from the room where Betsy may have sewn the flag continue to haunt visitors to this day.

In 1989, the Betsy Ross House opened as a museum celebrating the flag maker’s legacy. Philadelphia tourists can now experience the home’s unique history from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

Public Gaol

Posted in Virginia with tags on April 18, 2010 by Haunted History Blog

A postcard manufactured by Genuine Curteich depicting the haunted Public Gaol in Williamsburg.

The Public Gaol is a two-cell brick prison located in Colonial Williamsburg. The jail was built in 1701 to hold runaway slaves and convicts scheduled for branding, hangings, and other forms of punishments.

Several famous criminals spent time in the Public Gaol during its 109 years of operation. 15 henchmen from pirate Blackbeard’s crew were sent to the jail in 1718 and Henry “Hair Buyer” Hamilton was imprisoned in 1779 after purchasing pioneer scalps from Indians.

The Public Gaol gained a reputation for being haunted as a result of the 100s of executions which took place on the property. In the jail’s courtyard, both a hanging tree and a two-person pillory still stand where convicts were executed for their crimes.

Tour guides and visitors frequently report hearing banging and laughing sounds coming from areas of the jail where prisoners were once chained to the wall. Paranormal investigation equipment is also very active in the Public Gaol, as cameras often develop blurry photos and K2 Meters produce high readings.

Today the Public Gaol has been restored to its original 18th century façade. The prison is open to tourists seven days a week and is regularly featured in Colonial Williamsburg’s ghost walks.

Warrington House

Posted in Louisiana with tags on April 8, 2010 by Haunted History Blog

A postcard manufactured by the Louisiana News Company depicting the haunted Warrington House in New Orleans.

The Warrington House, formerly known as the LaLaurie House, is a building located at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. The three-story structure was built in late 1831 as a home for Marie Delphine LaLaurie and her husband Dr. Louis LaLaurie, prominent socialites.

The LaLaurie House hosted many fashionable affairs in its early years. Such guests as Marshal Michael Ney, Napoleon’s famous commander, and the Marquis de LaFayette have slept in the famous mansion.

On April 10, 1834 a cook accidentally set fire to the home while the LaLauries were out-of-down. When neighbors rushed into the mansion to save valuables, they discovered numerous slaves chained in their quarters.

Fire fighters acknowledged finding slaves strapped to operating tables while others were confined to dog cages. The site of human body parts scattered throughout the attic reportedly caused many of these fire fighters to faint.

As a result of its turbulent history, the Warrington House is commonly referred to as the “Haunted House.” The primary ghost is a little slave girl who jumped from the roof to her death after Madame LaLaurie chased her off a balcony.

Others believe that Madame LaLaurie buried tortured victims in the home’s courtyard; also contributing to the home’s haunting. Although the mansion has recently been converted into a private residence of five apartments, reports of the paranormal continue.

Carpenters’ Hall

Posted in Pennsylvania with tags on March 31, 2010 by Haunted History Blog

A postcard manufactured by the World Post Card Company depicting haunted Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia.

Carpenters’ Hall is a two-story brick building built in 1773 as a meeting place for members of the Carpenters’ Company, the oldest trade guild in the United States. Located at 320 Chestnut Street in the Independence Hall Historic Park area of downtown Philadelphia, Carpenters’ Hall is also where the First Continental Congress met in 1874 to complain about British rule of the colonies.

During its early years, the attic floor of Carpenters’ Hall was divided into small apartments and rented to members of the guild. One of the residents, Tom Cunningham, died in his apartment in late 1879 from the yellow fever epidemic, setting off a series of events which have now led to the building’s presumed haunting.

Immediately after Cunningham’s death, other residents began to hear heavy-booted feet stomping down the hallway and loud banging noises from his old room. These sounds continued for several decades, even after the company stopped renting out its attic space.

In 1960, the Philadelphia Police investigated loud noises in the attic which had been reported by the building’s caretakers. When the police arrived, they found no evidence of paranormal activity but were driven away by a foul and deathly smell.

The smells and sounds continue today. As recently as 1974, Pennsylvania’s Governor Milton Shapp hosted a meeting at Carpenters’ Hall only to report loud voices and the smell of tobacco emanating from the attic.

Carpenters’ Hall is still owned by the Carpenters’ Company and is currently open daily to curious visitors, free-of-charge, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.