The Haunted Victorian Mansion has many secrets.
As I began writing a book for the owners, unanswered questions began piling up, one by one, making me realize there is a lot we still don’t know. Finding the answers has proven to be very daunting because all of the residents are long deceased, and the historical trail they left behind is filled with gaps.
Here’s what we do know:
After becoming one of the wealthiest men in the county, furniture magnate, S.K. Pierce decided to build a house that matched his stature. He hired two hundred men to work around the clock for a year and a half . When the house was completed in 1875, it was a marvel to behold.
Standing three stories tall, the Second Empire Victorian boasted twenty-six rooms, including four bathrooms, two cisterns for running water, and a tower that provided grand views of South Gardner.
It wasn’t a happily-ever-after kind of story, though. Soon after the house was build, S.K.’s wife Susan died of a very painful bacterial infection that literally ate her flesh. He remarried two years later to Ellen, a woman who was barely older than his son Frank. S.K. and Ellen had two more sons between them, Stuart and Edward.
By all accounts, the rivalry between the oldest son, Frank, and his step-mother was legendary. After his father’s death in 1888, the house passed down to Ellen, not to the eldest son, which was more customary of the time period. His brothers Stuart and Edward left the furniture business to invest in car dealerships.
When Ellen died, the house was passed down to her three sons, who squabbled and fought each other in court for many years. The youngest son, Edward, ended up with the house and lived there with his wife, Bessie, and their daughter, Rachel, who turned it into a boarding house.
Tragedy descended upon the Pierce family once more, when 2 year-old Rachel died from Influenza. When Bessie died in 1951, the house fell into quick decline. The boarding house began developing a seedy reputation. There were reports of gambling and prostitution. When Edward allegedly lost the house in a poker game, a man named Jay Stemmerman became the new owner.
Jay was a wealthy man by his own right and would bring another layer of intrigue to the Victorian. After he abandoned the house in the 1980’s, the house sat empty for nearly twenty years. When the next owners purchased it in 2000, some of his odd paintings still graced the walls. Portraits of half-woman/half-beast, as well as full blown orgy scenes were depicted on the canvases. Due to the graphic nature of the paintings, many people wondered what else transpired during that time period.
The current hauntings only make the story more complex. Having so much of the history at our disposal, we thought we’d be able to identify the ghosts who still linger there. Unfortunately, there are many we can’t identify.
Like, who is the little boy who has been seen in the windows and on the grand staircase? There aren’t any reports of a young boy dying in the house? We’ve asked many times, getting different responses. Here’s one response we received while doing an EVP session in 2012.
And who was the full body apparition who appeared at Edwin’s side as he worked in his home office? Was it the ghost of Eino Sauri, the Finnish WWII veteran who died in the house in 1963, some say by self-combustion? Or was it the man who died of a heart attack at the pizza place across the street just before the ghost appeared?
And who is the evil entity in the basement?
Some psychics feel it’s Frank, the eldest son, who battled with his step-mother. Others say it is Edward, the youngest son, who lived in the basement after losing the house. Still others feel it’s a demon, brought in by an investigator with an Ouija Board. What does the house say?
Listen to the EVP by clicking on the link to find out.
We have asked this question numerous times, getting different responses many of the times. While in the basement, here’s another response we received.
Probably the biggest mystery of all revolves around the tunnel in the basement. Why would S.K. Pierce build a tunnel to his factory across the street? I’ve spoken to two separate people who have confirmed that the foundation of the building across the street has an identical blocked off opening. Although the original factory burnt to the ground in 1938, it was very likely that the new building would have been built on the existing foundation. If there was a tunnel, it has long been collapsed. Only the entrances remain.
What was the tunnel used for?
As I reached out to various people who have investigated there while researching my book, I heard various opinions. While tunnels of this sort were typically used for home heating, capturing the steam from the factory, opinions differ. Almost every psychic feels like it has something to do with children. Several have voiced an opinion that children were often used to work in the furniture factory across the street, which would make sense considering child labor was legal in the late 1800’s. Another psychic suggested something even worse happened to children in the basement, alluding to physical and sexual abuse. Still another psychic thought that dark magic was practiced in one of the rooms at the factory across the street and that the tunnel was used to spirit them across unseen. Much of this will probably go undiscovered. Even if we were able to track down descents, no one will willingly provide this kind of information if it did indeed happen. The only hope we have is for the ghosts themselves to finally tell us.
One thing is for certain: some of the Victorian ghosts want help.
And we won’t stop digging until we find the answers.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com
To read more about the Haunted Victorian Mansion, check out Joni’s book Bones in the Basement. Click on the photo below to learn more about Edwin and Lillian’s harrowing experience in the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion.
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