Friday, April 25, 2014

Hauntings: Van Horn Mansion

Van Horn Mansion (New York)

The Van Horn mansion was built in 1823 by local judge, James Van Horn.  The large house was home to his nine children and a number of servants, and later to his oldest son, James Van Horn, Jr.'s wife, Malinda.  In 1837, Malinda died, but the circumstances and explanation of her death varied.  Some claimed she died in childbirth, some said she was accidentally killed by a falling branch, and some whispered that her husband killed her.  Whatever happened, the wealthy judge was able to quash a police investigation.  However, her body was never buried at the family cemetery, and the headstone ordered for her was never erected but was hidden in the carriage house.  Years later, an investigation using cadaver dogs revealed a shallow grave only fifty feet from the back door of the house.  They found a female skeleton, the right age to be Malinda, and twisted as if it had been hurriedly dumped in the ground.

Sightings of a female ghost have been reported by roofers doing renovations.  They've seen a face in windows when the mansion was vacant and observed lights flicker for no reason. Carpenters swore they saw a spirit appear.  On the street outside, drivers have slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting a girl running from the mansion who later vanishes.  Doors have been known to open and close on their own, and in certain parts of the house, visitors have smelled lilac perfume although no one nearby is wearing it. Lilac perfume was always said to be Malinda's favorite.

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