Former gentle residents still reside here.
Some have a loving heart that they share with the young.
This “Authentic, Colonial House” was one of the first built on May 27, 1752, that was north of town, outside the stockade, on a forty acre estate. Although there have been many alterations and improvements to suit the occupants throughout the years, much of the original house, built by Moses Porter, remains as it was originally built. The main part of this mansion, a valuable piece of American history, has two floors, with the usual peaked roof of the time. A third floor attic and bedroom were added later.
Practically every item in this mansion is 100 years old, and some are as old as 175 years, including “breathtaking leaded glass, 12-foot ceilings, and spectacular staircases, woodwork, china cabinets, built-ins and marble.” Among the many historical relics, one can see two colonial-style cooking fireplaces, a smoke oven, and various types of colonial furniture, such as the four poster bed used by the original Porters in the downstairs front bedroom. Also in this bedroom, Mr. Porter’s sword can be seen on the mantelpiece of the fireplace. In the door yard south of the mansion, Moses Porter planted 3 elm trees; one for his wife, Elizabeth, one for himself, and one for his 4 year old daughter, Betty. One of these elms is still thriving today, among the lush gardens.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The happy Porter family had lived in their new mansion only three years, when tragedy struck, breaking the hearts of both Mrs. Elizabeth Porter, and the young daughter, Betty. Moses Porter, a Captain in the Militia, was called up to go fight the French and their Indian allies. While putting Betty to bed in the downstairs front bedroom, Moses Porter’s Indian servant handed Mrs. Porter her husband’s sword through the heavy bedroom window shutters, silently indicating that Moses had been killed, in a bloody ambush. As a result of this tremendous loss, both Mrs. Porter and Betty mourned his passing for the rest of their lives, never getting over their grief. Unfortunately, grief counselors weren’t available during this time era.
Either Mrs. Porter or her daughter, Betty, mentioned above may be the entity haunting the mansion. Or it could be someone who died more recently. No one knows for sure. It’s hard to say when the manifestations started. The haunting incidents weren’t discussed among family members until a generation or two before the mansion became a museum, started by Dr. Huntington and his family, direct descendants of the Porters.
Throughout the years, children have found themselves being gently, lovingly tucked in at night, by a kindly, well-meaning presence. Awakening in the middle of the night, children of many generations have seen an apparition bending over their beds, who was wearing a full skirt, with an oddly patterned design, and a frilled white cap, that both glowed in the dark. Children would tell their mothers, that they had felt being tucked in, thinking it was their own mother. Mothers told them that it must have been the ghost, an ancestor of their family line.
“A firm, but light step” has been heard going up the staircase to the attic, usually after midnight or sometimes at sunrise. The door to this staircase on the second floor hallway, was always firmly closed and latched, but would be found open the next morning. A young Huntington boy, who was sleeping in the attic room had an encounter with an apparition on the stairs. After hearing for two consecutive nights, approaching footsteps coming up to the attic, he flew down the stairs, on the third nightly hearing of these footsteps, passing a child-sized apparition, on the stairs.
While the first Elizabeth’s spinning wheel was kept in the north kitchen, the whirring sound of this spinning wheel was heard coming from the attic.
Dr. Huntington has personally seen latches rise by themselves, and doors open, without any help from the wind or the living.
While sitting with the family in the long room, or at the dining room table, visitors have seen, out of the corner of their eyes, something bustling by in a hurry.
Family members had heard a “high, sustained musical note” once in a while during the day and night.
Indentations on the four poster bed in the front bedroom have been seen by the living, as if someone unseen was lying down on top of the spread.
Well-known author and psychic, Suzie Smith, briefly saw a gray mist traveling up the staircase to the attic, and saw an unexplained shadow, while on her day tour of the mansion. Full details of her observations and her report on the mansion can be found in her book, “Prominent American Ghosts,” a must see for ghost lovers.
Also called Forty Acres, or known as The Porter/Phelps/Huntington Mansion, this haunted mansion, now a museum, can be found on Route 47, near Hadley, Massachusetts. It’s open to the public in the afternoon, for a fee.