"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Southern Mansion Inn

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In Cape May, New Jersey, sits a mansion shrouded in earth tones and the privilege of a warm history. George Allen, a Philadelphia merchant, commissioned a country estate for his family and future descendents in 1863. He chose the location because it was South of the Mason-Dickson line and allowed him to do business with both Confederate and Rebel soldiers during the Civil War. Internationally acclaimed architect Samuel Sloan designed the seaside palace and Henri Phillipi built it. In 1879, the beloved summer home escaped a great fire that swept over Cape May. However, after eighty-three years, it couldn’t escape the neglect an owner could inflict upon it.

George Allen’s niece, Ester Mercur passed away in 1946. Her husband, Ulysses sold the house and all of its furnishings for a mere $8,000. The property was bought for the sole purpose of income-producing and soon went in to a transition to be a boarding house. The interior was partitioned to create a multitude of small rooms. The exterior earth tones washed away to white. The whole renovation left the structure weakened. Nearly fifty years and neglect, caused it to be wounded. In the 1980’s, the boarding-house license was revoked, leaving the mansion to fall deeper in to despair. However, all was not lost.

In 1994, another Philadelphia family would revive the original splendor. The Bray/Wildes sorted through all the important furnishings, artwork, family mementos and heirlooms into four tractor-trailers, removing twenty-five dumpster loads of garbage. Then began an eighteen month process to restore the Mansion and surrounding grounds. Outside, the entire house was ground down to the bare wood and repainted in the original earth-tones and all five chimneys were rebuilt using the original bricks. The slate and tin roofs, copper gutters, brackets, porches, soffits, trims, moldings and fascia boards were replaced. Finally, the finial was re-gilded, the entire grounds were tamed and the Italian gardens were re-established. Inside, all of the original architectural elements, furnishings, including the gasolier fixtures, walls, ceilings, floors, stairs, doors and windows have been restored to their original splendor. The 30 inch granite basement walls were waterproofed and phase I of the project was complete.

With a rejuvenated appearance came a new name. The new owners named the structure The Southern Mansion after seeing a Samuel Sloan lithograph of the house titled the same. The doors reopened in 1996 but construction was far from being over. A South Wing was added which came with ten additional guest suites, twelve bathrooms, a second ballroom, a commercial kitchen, three balconies, a gallery, verandah, solarium and two magnificent circular staircases. The project was complete in 1997.

While the Mansion didn’t see a sleuth of violence, renovations stirred up a bit of the past. Ester Mercur who loved the summer home is believed to still reside in it. She is seen and heard throughout the house, particularly in the kitchen and Room 9. Guests and employees often get a whiff of perfume in reception where people are also touched or pulled. Shadows have been seen moving about in the foyer. A Confederate soldier has been spotted walking through a wall in to the lower ballroom. A male and female are often seen and heard conversing in Room 14. This 147 year old mansion was rescued from decay and is now being enjoyed by guests and ghosts alike.

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Fact or Faked/Ghost Hunters

Evidence to support sightings of a reptilian creature in South Carolina is sought. Also: Footage of alleged paranormal activity captured at a gas station in Ohio is scrutinized. Tune in tonight at 9/8c to see the surprising results.

The most shocking and surprising episodes are coming this fall as Ghost Hunters returns in September!

GS Question of the Week

Are you looking forward to Destination Truth's return to Hoia Baciu Forest? What do you think they'll find during their second trip?

Reader Submission - Unknown Sounds

The following story was submitted by James:

The following event took place shortly after my wife and I were married. Due to the economic situation at the time, I could not land a job, and so we had a temporary bedroom set up in my father-in-law’s basement.

It was late, sometime after midnight, and we heard one of the cats tearing around upstairs, as cats are wont to do in the quiet hours of the night. There was nothing out of the ordinary in this; we were quite used to it.

Then we noticed two things. First, there was a cat lying in the bed with us. Again, nothing out of the ordinary there; he often slept with us. Second, we saw a pair of green eyes staring at us from across the basement—our other cat, who we recognized by her black and white fur.

At this point, my wife and I exchanged wide-eyed glances. We only had two cats.

The noise from upstairs continued, and for the life of us we could not come up with a suitable explanation. It was exactly the sort of noise an animal would make as it ran back and forth through the house.

Needless to say, we were spooked. The goose bumps had run their tingling course up and down our arms, and we had wrapped the blankets tight around ourselves. We were not, however, thoroughly convinced that anything paranormal lay at the root of the noises. There had always been, in our experience, a natural explanation for everything.

Then the basement stairs echoed with the frantic, stumbling sound of running feet.

Let me be perfectly clear: the sound moved from upstairs to downstairs, so could not have been one of the cats that already occupied the basement with us. Besides, we could still see both of them. The black and white one, whose eyes glowed at us from across the room, let out an unnerving, low whine, as cats often do when upset. This was an odd observation, because so far the only aberrations had been in the realm of sound, and this particular cat was deaf.

Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, the noise abruptly stopped. All was quiet at first, save for the disturbed groaning of our deaf cat, but then we noticed that if we listened closely we could hear, drifting faintly from the darkness of the stairway, what sounded like breathing, or more accurately, panting. This went on for several minutes, and then gradually faded away.

My wife and I were too unnerved to investigate that night. The next morning we examined the stairway, but found nothing out of the ordinary. We considered several possibilities, including an intrusion by a wild animal, but none of our explanations held up under close scrutiny.

There is one last fact I must reveal, and then I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. Until recently, we had also owned a dog, but she had died a few weeks prior.

You can find more of James' work at Nox Requiem: Ghost Stories - a library of haunting tales and ghostly encounters to keep you up at night.

The Brady Theater

The Brady Theater is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Even though it was named after "Tate Brady", an affluent oil baron, the real owner was Mr. Peter Mayo. Mayo renamed the theater to reflect the district which was also named after "Tate Brady." The Brady Theater was the largest theater west of the Mississippi River. It hosted some of the most famous actors of its time including the one that is said to haunt it til this day, the famous Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso.

According to the legend, Enrico Caruso went to see an oil well in Sapulpa accompanied by two other cars. The day had been wet and rainy and all three cars ended up breaking down. Caruso had to walk 1/2 mile to the Brady Theater for his sold-out concert. Enrico Caruso died about 9 months later from abscesses on his lungs do to pleurisy in 1921. It is said that Caruso haunts the Brady in retribution of his illness from walking in the wet Tulsa weather. His manager also blamed the weather for Caruso's demise.

The Brady Theater also played an important part in the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. The area of the town called the "Black Wall" was known for its affluent black people and its poor white people which is said to be what caused the riots in the first place. The Brady was said to be a safe haven for the opposition from the wrath of the riots but instead, it was the place where many black people were tortured and killed. Black people claimed that men were tortured, burned and buried alive in the basement of the Brady. Later, pictures surfaced of black people being forced into the theater by gun point with their arms raised high into the air. During the riots, much of downtown Tulsa was burned to the ground. Only The Brady Theater and the Cain's Ballroom were spared, supposedly because they were owned by white men.

Paranormal claims include lights turning on and off and unexplained equipment failures. However, many believe the theater isn't haunted at all.

More info:

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Fact or Faked/Ghost Hunters

The team prepares for a strange encounter of a third kind. Tune in Tonight at 9/8c to see what happens.

For Grant’s final investigation, the hunt leads to the team to Jason and Grant’s very own haunted property. Tune in Wednesday 9/8c!

GS Question of the Week

Which new paranormal reality show are you looking forward to seeing? Why?

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Fact or Faked/Ghost Hunters

The team travels to Texas for a ghost hunt and to Kentucky in search of Sasquatch. Watch what they find TONIGHT at 9/8c.

Grant's final episodes continue to countdown. The last one will air on May 16th. This Wednesday, TAPS returns to the Mt. Washington resort in search of a paranormal princess who refuses to check out. Tune in at 9/8c!

GS Question of the Week

Today, Richard Wiseman's book Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There is available for FREE on Kindle devices. Who is Richard Wiseman and do you agree with his position on paranormal phenomena?
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