Ghost Hunters had a number of EVP’s and personal experiences at both the 1875 Inn in Tilton, New Hampshire and the Shippen Manor of Oxford, New Jersey.
The best known ghost at The 1875 Inn was that of a little girl named Laura who allegedly died in a fire at the inn when her family was in residence. Owner Joanna Oliver told Jason and Grant that the inn had burned to the ground twice over a 100 year period.
Joanna talked about past paranormal activity at the inn including female apparitions, doors opening and closing, and guests reported experiences of waking to having their hair stroked in the Tilton Room. Laura was also reported to have been seen sitting on the foot of the bed by a male guest exiting his shower while another reported her ghost leaping over him.
Both Joanna and a female employee shared their experience of simultaneously seeing a disconcerting entity hanging from the ceiling of the main dining room. Joanna described it as having an alarming gargoyle sort of appearance. TAPS was provided with a grainy photograph of a rounded mass trailing thin tendrils taken at the time of the “gargoyle” sighting.
Something was off about this “gargoyle”. It simply didn’t have the energy signature of a dark entity. With some discernment help from my guides I saw that it was caused by the ghost of a little boy with a mischievous sense of humor. I think the ghost boy was trying to frighten the modern day staff and patrons at the inn. The dark, faintly translucent image in the photo looked more like a monster jellyfish to me. My guides told me the boy ghost had been stung by jellyfish during his lifetime. He was young, maybe five years old and such an experience could have been truly traumatizing at that age.
The 1875 Inn boasts 12 bedrooms and two apartment suites. A former resident of one of those apartments related her experience of entering the space in the dark after taking her dog for a run. She was greeted by a ball of light that disappeared as soon as she flipped on the lights.
TAPS set up cameras and got to work. Jason and Grant started out in the main dining room. They didn’t encounter the “gargoyle” but did hear disembodied voices talking in the bar area. I saw a room full of the ghosts of drinkers past. It was mostly populated by men dressed in 1930’s era business suits.
Amy and Kris investigated the third floor apartment where a tenant had been greeted by a ball of light one evening. Kris asked, “Are you here?” I heard the ghost of a young woman answer “I am always here.” Shortly thereafter Kris and Amy both heard a male voice from behind them that seemed to be saying, “Helping me” or “Help”. These experiences were not recorded, but an unexpected EVP was captured in response to Amy trying to reassure any ghosts around them that they were not in trouble, that people were yelling outside the window of the room they were investigating in. The EVP said, “No.” This was a bit hard to follow because this segment of the investigation was only discussed at the reveal.
Going back to the male voice Amy and Kris both heard coming down the hall from the apartment, there was a male ghost present. I saw a middle aged man with a leg withered from polio heavily limping down the hall approaching the apartment. He had had a hard time due to the damaged limb and told me that the ghost of the young woman in the apartment with Kris and Amy had been helping him out when both parties were alive.
Meanwhile Britt and KJ had solid interactions with the ghost of Laura in the Tilton Room where guests had reported waking to the sensation of their hair being stroked by invisible fingers.
Typically, KJ was trying to put Laura’s ghost at ease, telling her that he and Britt didn’t want to scare her. Laura’s ghost tossed her seven-year-old head and informed KJ that “I am not afraid of anyone!” KJ offered to play hide and seek with Laura once she revealed her presence to the guys. Laura immediately darted behind floor length curtains framing the window that I believe dated from her era.
Britt set a flashlight on the mantle in the bedroom and asked Laura’s ghost to twist the control to turn the light on and off. Before he could complete his request a second time Laura turned the flashlight on, then off. She consented to do this one more time before loosing interest in the game. No question of faking in my mind in this instance. Laura was there and was manipulating Britt’s flashlight.
Britt asked Laura’s ghost, “Are you the one who likes to play with the ladies hair?” No response was recorded, but I heard Laura wistfully reply “My mother used to bush my hair.”
Jason and Grant checked out the Sanborn room where Laura reportedly died. When the guys talked about the fact some “…sad things happened in this room…” I heard Laura emphatically respond, “I DIED in this room!” I had the distinct impression she was trying to impress Jason and Grant. She didn’t seem sad or upset; it was more like bragging rights.
The guys heard a banging noise when trying to communicate with Laura. Jason asked Laura to respond to their questions with two bangs meaning no and one bang meaning yes. Immediately Jason and Grant heard two bangs followed by a clearly female voice. I had the impression it was Laura’s mother speaking to them, the only time I saw or felt her presence at the inn. Jason explained the signal system again. His explanation was immediately followed by another two bangs.
TAPS picked up an EVP of a young girls voice after Jason started talking about his children. The EVP said “Daddy”. When I asked Laura’s ghost for clarification on her comment she told me “Daddy’s gone” or had been gone at the time of the fatal fire.
During the reveal Jason and Grant shared the “Daddy” EVP, ghost caused knocking in response to their questions and an indistinct soft and childlike voice captured in a hallway. Kris and Amy’s “No” was played back as were the faint male and female voice EVP’s
TAPS historical research turned up not two but three catastrophic fires at the 1875 Inn. They noted at least eight deaths had been recorded on the property, three of them children who died of dysentery.
Next up was the 1754 Shippen Manor in Oxford, New Jersey. According to docent and TAPS host Andrew Drysdale the manor was the headquarters for Oxford Furnace iron works between 1760-1765. Built by Joseph and Dr. William Shippen who owned the local Oxford Furnace, the third iron ore processing furnace in Colonial New Jersey, it was intended as appropriate accommodation for the Shippen family when they visited their investment. Shippen area holdings included both iron ore mining and smelting. The kitchen basement of the home once served as a mess hall for Oxford Furnace workers.
In 1766 Dr. William Shippen turned the Oxford Furnace operation and the home over to Joseph Shippen.
Past paranormal activity included the apparition of a boy in period dress, the shade of a Revolutionary War soldier, bolted doors that opened and closed on their own and a burst of air rushing past and through a man in the attic.
In the dining room of the home vocalist Shelly Shutter saw the ghost of a blond haired, blue eyed little boy about four or five years old out of the corner of her eye.
Docent Andy Drysdale shared his experience of sitting behind his desk upstairs while alone in the building one summer day. He heard a door on the floor below him close by itself. TAPS found the door handle to be substantial and the door itself had a tendency to stick, making the event even more inexplicable.
In the Victorian Parlor Susan B. recounted the time she observed the upper torso of a female apparition wearing a navy blue shirtwaist.
Grant noted that the reports of paranormal activity had occurred at Shippen Manor only over the past five years. I couldn’t help but wonder, what had happened to stir up a flurry of activity?
Jason and Grant started the investigation in the attic storage room that was stuffed with an assortment of furniture and boxes. Jason told any ghosts in the area, “If anyone is here we would like to talk to you.” This was not recorded, but I saw a slim, nattily dressed figure of a young man lounging against some boxes across the room from Jason and Grant. He responded to Jason saying, “That doesn’t mean I have any desire to talk to you.” I asked the ghostly figure if he was the shade of Joseph Shippen. He replied in the same bored tone, “Who else?
When Jason asked, “Why are you here?” I heard Joseph’s ghost reply, “Nothing better to do.” My overall impression was of an utterly bored, spoiled young man who never had to consider where his next paycheck would come from.
Right about this time Jason felt the air move around him and said it “…sounded like someone running right by you.” Grant heard the same sound of movement that Jason later described as the sound of clothing swishing. I saw Joseph Shippen’s ghost stride past Jason.
Grant attempted a dialogue with Shippen’s ghost by mentioning that some of his activities had confused and scared manor staff. Shippen was completely unrepentant and commented “So what? They are the interlopers.” The ghost of Joseph Shippen seemed utterly convinced of his continued ownership of the manor.
Jason and Grant heard something fall behind an attic desk but didn’t find anything apparently disturbed.
I tried asking Joseph Shippen’s ghost about the concept of heaven or crossing over. He wasn’t interested, commenting, “I never believed in all that.” Adding such beliefs were, “Superstition for old ladies.”
Britt and Amy tried their luck in the Victorian Parlor. Just as they entered the room Amy was slightly startled by something flying around in the room. She was convinced it was a bug of some sort, but Britt wasn’t as sure as he had seen a brief streak of light around Amy. Neither Britt nor Amy could find any moths or bugs flying around the room and whatever it was did not reappear.
While investigating the Reception Room, Kris and Amy heard indistinct sounds coming from the basement. They headed downstairs where Amy called out, “Somebody in here?” Although the ladies could not duplicate the sound they described as “wood on wood” I saw and heard a ghost respond to Amy’s call.
The ghost of a 1950’s era handyman wearing overalls and brandishing a pipe wrench cheerfully waved at Amy and responded, “Just me”. He was a middle-aged man working on a large black furnace with a number of pipes coming off a huge boiler. I asked him about the furnace and he told me, “Oh, it breaks down every six months or so.” When it did he was the one called out to fix it. I did not see any kind of furnace in the basement when Kris and Amy were there, but the view around them was limited. It’s entirely possible the black spider of a furnace the ghost was working on hasn’t been in the basement in decades. I saw it only from the perspective of the handyman’s ghost.
Grant and Jason took their shot in the Victorian Parlor room where they saw something out of the corners of their eyes. Grant asked the room at large, “Are these items yours?” Nothing was recorded, but I heard the ghost of an elderly lady in a nightcap and wrapper reply that the room was “Full of stranger’s things. I don’t understand why they are here.” She told me only three items in the room belonged to her. I felt rather sorry for her, she seemed a touch disoriented and confused.
During the reveal Jason and Grant shared their simultaneous personal experience of seeing a shadow cast on the door of the Victorian Parlor when they were the only ones in the building. They were able to duplicate the effect only when standing in front of a window in the room. Andy Drysdale commented that a past owner of the manor had once visited after it became a museum. The past resident noted that he had always seen the ghost of a Revolutionary War soldier in the same spot required to cast a shadow on the parlor door. I got a glimpse of the soldier in question. He was standing about a yard away from the relevant parlor window, but for him it was bitterly cold and stark winter. Not much snow but heavy frost and ice on the ground and small tree behind him.
Jason’s experience of feeling someone running by him and hearing the swish of clothing was presented along with an EVP of a faint voice and footsteps captured at the same time. That was consistent with what I saw and heard the ghost of Joseph Shippen do around Jason and Grant in the attic.
The final EVP of the episode was of a high pitched childish voice right after the sound of something dropping in the upstairs office. It said, “Uh-Oh”. I believe it was the same little boy ghost vocalist Sally Shutter saw out of the corner of her eye in the manor dining room.
I like that TAPS is now including both personal experiences and more concrete recorded evidence in their reviews this season. Personal experiences cannot be PROVEN, but they do count. After all, the majority of reports that bring TAPS to their investigative locations are based on assorted personal experiences of paranormal activity.
Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(C) 2010 Lynne Olson. All rights reserved.