A full hour was devoted to Briarhurst Manor, a Victorian home built by Manitou Springs, Colorodo founder Dr. William Bell. Ground was broken in 1872 and the newlywed doctor and his wife Cara raised four children there.
Today Briarhurst Manor is a restaurant. Current owner Ken Healey put the Ghost Hunters in the hands of Tammila Wright who showed them the hot spots. Alleged hauntings included a vase that threw itself off a mantlepiece in the conservatory, a mysterious red substance that bubbled under the 1888 wall paper and smelled metallic, and many stories of the Bell children running around the house and grounds. The most creepy haunt was a skeleton thin woman with gray hair seen wandering about on the grounds.
About the vase, the ghost of Dr. Bell swept his arm over the mantel in a fit of rage. That is what was behind the story that the current owner saw the vase fly off the mantel and shatter. Did anyone else notice that the supposedly glued back together vase didn’t show any cracks on a camera close up? I think the original got thrown out, not re-glued.
Jason and Grant debunked the “bloody wall” when they checked out a defunct bathroom directly above it. Upon opening the bathroom door they found a gallon of red hued cleaner sitting on the sink. Some dried cleaning fluid on the bottle looked just like the remants on the wallpaper in the room below. I did not see enough of the bathroom to be sure but I had the impression the dark metallic smelling sludge had come from an old rusted cast iron pipe that at one time served a claw foot tub.
Briarhurst Manor employee Janice Montoya recounted an experience of seeing a dark vertical shadow in the course of her duties. Several dining room guest book entries talked about diners who enjoyed watching a little redheaded girl playing outside in the yard. This little redhead is widely believed to be one of the Bell daughters. It was hard to hear her name. I think it was Hyacinth after the popular flower.
Past Briarhurst Manor guests had many stories of hearing kids playing with a ball running up and down stairs or spending rainy days in an attic playroom.
Jason and Grant started the investigation in the Palmer Room, a remodeled dining area that originally held the Bell children’s bedrooms. Jason immediately said, “What is that?” and claimed he heard a creaking board above them. I heard nothing on the show, during the replay or with my psychic gifts. So Jason and Grant headed up to the attic and found a loose creaky board that Jason said exactly duplicated the sound had heard in the Palmer Room below. Kris and Amy had a similar experience with footsteps above them in an empty attic room. They started on the floor below the attic which was carpeted but said the footsteps sounded like they were made on a hardwood floor. Going up to the attic they found the floor to be uncarpeted hardwood. When Kris started asking questions, I heard a little girl giggling and responding that yes they played hide and seek in the attic on rainy days.
On the way up to the the bathroom above the bloody wall Jason was sidetracked when he thought he heard a little girls voice. She was there all right, but nothing on camera or EVP. She saw them heading into the bathroom and said, ” It doesn’t work. It is broken. Daddy said don’t use it.” I wonder how far back troubles with that bathroom go? According to Grant the modern sink had a bad trap in it and that might have dribbled the red cleaning fluid onto the floor and down the wall below.
I did see and hear the Bell children periodically during this episode, but Ghost Hunters did not have any striking personal experiences or evidence about them. When Jason and Grant were up in the attic investigating the creaky board Grant asked if the kids were up there. I heard a young voice say yes. The attic roof was steeply pitched and I saw that the Bell children used to run up and down the floor under the peak of the roof. Like most siblings they were chasing each other.
Steve and Tango didn’t have any better luck in the foyer. Steve was climbing the stairs talking to the Bell children and I saw the boy mimicking Steve’s steps one stair at a time. The little guy was dressed in some sort of blue sailor suit and thought shadowing Steve was great fun.
Steve and Tango were lounging around on the foyer furniture when Steve found a cold spot. He debunked it as a draft coming from the adjacent kitchen that had an outside door. There was no evidence, but I disagree with him on this one. I saw the same boy from the steps sitting next to Steve on an ornate love seat. When Steve and Tango started putting their hands into the cold spot he giggled and said it “tickles”. Steve got goofy with a dirty mop, jabbing from the inside of the kitchen doors. Tango had a fit about how bad the mop juice smelled and went to wash his hands. They had no luck trying to get a response from Hyacinth Bell in the dining room. I did see Hyacinth mush her face up against the window from the outside but Steve and Tango had no sense of her.
Back in the Palmer Room Grant thought he saw a column of “long and thin” light in a corner, but it wasn’t caught on tape. More footsteps were heard above from the attic. I think the Bell children were still running around up there but I couldn’t hear the footsteps on the show because Grant kept up a staccato imitation of what he said he was hearing. Jason noted the K2 meter was going nuts, but I didn’t see the cameras turn to the meter.
Round three in the Palmer Room had Jason saying, “Did you hear that?” referring to a girls voice once again, and Grant agreeing. Sorry, I but I didn’t pick up ANYTHING. The only times I don’t pick anything up, even just energetic intent is when NOTHING IS THERE.
Steve and Tango had no luck walking the grounds outside the manor. Kris and Amy similarly came up empty handed but scared themselves silly when they accidentally activated a light set up on a motion detector. I saw two things going on when Kris and Amy were on the grounds. They were also trying to establish contact with Hyacinth. I saw Hyacinth Bell standing up against a manor wall refusing to engage with the girls. She kept shaking her head no as Amy and Kris tried to draw her out. I have no idea why she wouldn’t respond. She didn’t feel frightened, more like she was being shy or playing a ghostly version of hide and seek.
Amy asked the shade of the skelletaly thin woman if she was buried out on the grounds. I got the answer was no, this lady had been buried in the family plot.
Steve and Tango found nothing walking the grounds outside the house.
I did ask about this woman often described as a walking skeleton. She was an aunt of Cara Bell. I asked why she was so thin and was told she was mentally ill and had so much trouble keeping down food that she didn’t eat enough. Briarhurst Manor was the center of Dr. Bell’s European style mineral waters health spa and the social center of the town. This poor woman was loony and a sick loon at that, so she was kept confined. I asked why she was most often seen out on the grounds. When important guests were at the manor she would be taken to a smaller cottage on the grounds. Once she got loose and was practically giddy with the excitement of it all. I am fully aware of the echoes of Manderly in this story. A bit of online reading did confirm there was cottage for the couple who maintained the manor’s English garden. Later on it occurred to me to ask if this elderly and ill aunt might have been a tuberculosis (TB) victim.
Interestingly part of Dr. Bell’s medical practice in Manitou was a TB hospital in a building known as the Red Crags which today operates as a B&B. None of this came out in the show. I was told this unbalanced aunt was a TB victim, but the family was so embarrassed to have her mental problems known they denied it and kept her out of their OWN TB hospital! I only looked it up because my guides nudged me to ask about this poor woman and TB.
Ghost Hunters only got a brief snippet of audible recorded footsteps from the floor blow the attic and several extremely bad EVP’s that didn’t even have any discernable words in them. I have no idea how Jason managed to hear a female voice when no words were formed. It also is beyond me how Grant and Jason could attribute a faint EVP to a male voice humming when what I heard at best was “huh, huh, huh, huh”! Grant attributed the scant ghostly activity of the investigation to imprint haunting. I completely disagree, the Bell children were highly interactive. Imprints don’t comment on broken plumbing to modern people, nor do they hide from investigators or mimic them climbing stairs.
The final straw in this episode for me was when Briarhurst Manor employee Tammila Wright tried to act surprised that Ghost Hunters had found red colored cleaning fluid in the bathroom upstairs, protesting they were upset when the blood wall happened because it damaged the 1888 original wallpaper. If you happened to record this episode, watch her eyes. Not only does she break eye contact with Jason she looks to her left, a well known signal for deception in law enforcement circles. Also she needed to keep track of her dates. If the house was built in 1872, wallpaper dated 1888 was not original. Old, yes, original no as I doubt the prosperous doctor waited 17 years to paper inside his own residence!
In a nutshell I was completely disgusted with this episode, both with the Ghost Hunters team and with the management of Briarhurst Manor. Please, stop treating your adoring public like idiots! We would really like to see you do good investigative work. You have done it in the past, what went sideways?
Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at: email@example.com
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