The Baleroy Mansion has held the title of America’s Most Haunted House for the better part of half a century. With a history of deaths on the property, an assortment of old artifacts and historical items. These combined seemed to have made the Mansion into a mecca for these lingering, and in some cases malevolent spirits.
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In the Chestnut Hill region of Philadelphia, sits one of the most haunted homes within the United States, the Baleroy Mansion. The mansion itself houses over thirty rooms, a courtyard and a completely separated carriage house settled upon it’s impressive 22,000ft of land, or about 6.7km for my international friends. The Baleroy Mansion’s construction completed in the year 1911. The origin of this building is a tad strange. As there are rumors right off the bat, the original owner was the carpenter that constructed the home, though there are stories that he and his wife were both murdered there years later. Whether or not this is true it certainly starts us off on a weird note, however, the owners that we shall be mainly focusing on is the family that moved it next.
In 1926, the Baleroy Mansion ownership was bought by the Easby family. A well off family who claims to have roots within English nobility as far back as the 12th century within Easby Abbey. The family would even end up filling the home with several artifacts and antiques from famous and historical individuals. Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson and Civil War General George Meade, who the family claims as a part of their lineage.
The stories of the house really begin with the Easby family after they purchased the land, and in particular the elder of the two Easby sons, George Meade Easby, who is named after his great grandfather the war general mentioned earlier. These stories began shortly after the family moved in, during the year 1931, as George and his younger brother Steven were playing about within the courtyard, when they took a moment to look upon their reflections within the fountain; to their surprise, or perhaps shock, only George’s reflection was normal, where as Steven’s reflected back the image of a skull. Nothing would come of this at the current moment, however within just a few months, Steven would pass away at the age of eleven, due to an undetermined childhood illness.
This would mark the first death within the home, if we’re not including the rumored carpenter couple from the supposed lore of the location. As time would pass however, this number would only increase; the Easby’s were hit hard by Steven’s passing, but had to move on and continued life. This would remain true until the passing of Henrietta Easby, George’s mother, some thirty years later in 1962 at the age of 82. She would be followed by her husband only seven years later in 1969, George’s father would pass away at the age of 90, leaving George the last remaining member of the family within the mansion.
At this time, George would rename the home, the Baleroy Mansion. Most believing it derives from the name Balleroy, with two ‘L’s, which is a chateau located in the Loire Valley of France. George would also at this time hire workers and general housekeepers to perform duties about the home, however it’s important to know that none of these workers would live with George at the location. This is also where we begin to get into more of the hauntings and strange occurrences within the home.
George is the most prominent member of the family, and you’ll begin to notice why; most if not all of the stories and hauntings are either from George’s perspective, or has some aspect of George. I’ll be doing my best to touch base on all these stories, as they can sometimes be muddied.
To really start these ghost stories, we need to begin once again begin with the Easby family themselves. As it has become clear, with the support of George, that both his younger brother Steven and his mother Henrietta still remained within the home long after their deaths.
Steven and his brother George witnessed the figure of a skull replace his reflection in the fountain; apparently being an omen of his soon to come death. Well if you were to ask George, Steven never seemed to have left the home, and there may actually be some credence to these claims. Years ago, while renovations were occuring on the property, contractors had been outside in the yard and had what they claim to be, the sudden urge to look up.
Upon doing so, they spotted a young blond haired boy watching them from a second-floor window. At this point in time, no children lived in the house, nor should there have been any within it. Upon reporting the sighting, they learned the window they spotted the child in, was none other than Steven’s old childhood bedroom.
Furthermore, Steven would pop up throughout George’s time at the house. One evening, while hosting a dinner event with some friends, a loud crash echoed throughout the house. The party went to investigate, they found that in the gallery, a picture was thrown across the room. This picture had been one of Steven, and weirdest of all, it seemed to have almost thrown itself. George and his party goers tried to find a reasoning, but they found that the hanging wire on the back of the frame was perfectly fine, and that the hook on the wall had not fallen off or moved in any way.
The next spirit that is rather prevalent would be Henrietta, George’s mother, who communicated with her son in a much more unique way than Steven’s sudden spottiness. Henrietta almost exclusively spoke through a psychic that George invited to the home, by the name of Judith Haimes; who we shall most certainly be talking about come Part 2 of this location. Judith and George had become friends and after one visit to the home, Judith began to describe a female spirit who had been repeating the name LongFellow.
George immediately became interested, as his mother had often read Longfellow to him back when he was young. Judith continued on by stating that this spirit had begun to repeat the phrase “the children’s hour” once again George seemed to know what it meant. As this phrase was actually a title of a Longfellow poem, that he and his mother often times read together.
Intrigued by his mother’s sudden spiritual appearance, George would question the meaning of the specific poem she had chosen. Later that evening, while resting in the study, George noticed a book pulled partially from the shelf, this particular book was a collection of Longfellow poems. Upon further inspection, George discover an envelope, with his mother’s handwriting on it; the words read as such “to my son Meade in the event of my death..”. However, upon opening the envelope, it was empty.
When Judith would visit again, once more would Henrietta speak through her, informing George that she had hidden away some family antiques within the home and wanted George to know of them. So they searched the home, low and behold, George did discover some silver candlesticks up in the rafters of the storeroom. Next, Judith informed George that his mother had also mentioned that there was a hidden drawer in one of the old office desks within the home.
George once more, eventually located said desk and found the false drawer hidden within it. Inside the drawer, was an old and battered Confederate Flag, [a bit of a red flag, literally, but George didn’t seem too fazed]. His ancestor was General George Meade, although it still is a bit odd that a Union general would store away a Confederate Flag as some keepsake or trophy, or whatever. This desk story also seems to possibly be the one in which George discovered a letter from his father, in which detailed how he grew from a firm skeptic into a believer of spirits and ghosts due to his time in the home.
Henrietta was not done just yet. She informed George of a secret chest located in the attic, one that belonged to George’s great-grandfather, Richard Meade. Well, as it would seem, inside the chest there were papers, papers that detailed how Richard Meade had loaned the still young American Government $5 million dollars back in 1819, in order to help with the purchasing of Florida from the Spaniards. Although he was never compensated, George, his only living descendant inherits the repayment. Along with the over 170 years of compounding interest that has been growing along side it. George did try to fight the federal government for the money, but I don’t think he ever won that battle.
That’s all for the family ghosts, there aren’t really stories relating to George’s father sticking around after death. Supposedly though, before he did die, he confessed to George that he had witnessed his wife’s spirit and was well aware of the entities within the home; but we’ll discuss this more during part two. This however, is not where the stories and reports of spirits end, not by a long shot. The Easbys were rather fond of gathering antiques, artifacts and historical items, especially those from their own family heritage. If you are familiar with the paranormal; then you are aware of the phenomenon where spirits can become attached to objects or items with significant value. So what might happen when you gather these objects together into one condensed space, things get a bit cramped.
Even though George lived on his own, aside from staff members during the day. Seems that he had several spectral tenants who resided within the Baleroy Mansion along with him.
The first of these added residents is that of an old woman, often times spotted by George. The old woman’s spirit is seen walking the halls upstairs in the Baleroy Mansion; oftentimes at a slow and labored pace while utilizing a cane for support. Some believe that this maybe the spirit of the orignal wife who owned the house. However, there really isn’t anything that supports this narrative.
Next is the spirit of a monk, wearing tan robes, he does not do anything special. This spirit maybe linked to one of the many family artifacts brought from overseas.
A famous spirit is that of Thomas Jefferson, a founding father and the 3rd President of the United States. At this point in time, Jefferson has been long dead. However, within the Easby’s home there are several items that were once owned by Jefferson during his life. The spirit is often times spotted within the dining room. Here an old grandfather clock stands, many believe the spirit is attached to it for some reason or another.
The last spirit that we are going to talk about, is the worst; arguably the reason as to why the Baleroy Mansion became so famous within the paranormal community. This spirit is another attached to an object within the mansion and goes by the name Amanda, or Amelia. Depends on who you talk to, but I will be referring to her as Amanda. Out of all the spirits in the home, aside from Steven, Amanda is by far the most prevalent, with the most stories, rumors and sightings attached to her. Amanda’s spirit seems to mainly operate within one specific room in the home. Since been dubbed the Blue Room, as a response to the blue haze or mist that’s linked to sightings of Amanda.
Some articles and sources will also have the mist as being ‘red’, however I don’t really understand why, as George and those involved did dub the room the “Blue Room” due to the mist. The room and in turn this spirit, are also infamous for another connection. Being an antique chair that resides within the room, once supposedly owned by Napoleon Boneparte; it’s because of this chair, that we have so many stories surrounding Amanda.
If you were to ask George, he would tell you that Amanda is an unpleasant and vengeful. In fact, George once had an experience in which he felt someone grip his arm while he was sleeping, only to awake the next day with visible bruises in the shape of fingers. George remained convinced that this experience was the result of Amanda’s anger. This sort of anger and malevolence comes to a point, as Amanda’s spirit and the chair, is supposedly the cause of four deaths.
The death that sparked this theory was that of an employee and close friend of George, Paul Kimmers. A man who worked for the Easby estate for years, but not a believer in the supernatural. This was until Judith Haimes, the psychic from earlier, came into the picture and began to visit the home. Paul was taking Judith on a tour, on behalf of George, going through some of the house’s history. This is when he first spotted the blue mist, as it descended from the front stairs within the home. The mist never reached them, but Paul was visibly upset by the encounter.
Several weeks after the ordeal, Judith, would receive a call from Paul, who once again seemed to be upset. He began to detail how Amanda’s spirit had followed him home from the Baleroy Mansion. During the day of the sighting, he was driving home and spotted Amanda through the rearview mirror of his car. She sat in his backseat, disappearing once he turned around. Paul began to see her everywhere, within his home, standing amongst crowds out in public. She would even stand over his bed and wake him up throughout the night whenever he’d fall asleep.
A month went by like this, and Paul had become physically and mentally degratted. He had clearly lost weight, was barely sleeping and had become extremely depressed and detached from the world. One day George passed by the Blue Room and noticed George was slumped up within the antique chair. Paul seemed to be having an unpleasant dream, however George didn’t disturb him as Paul had been lacking good rest. Two days later, Paul would pass away. George blamed Amanda for the death of his friend, claiming that she had overtime whittled him down until his passing. It was after this, that George realized three other individuals had suddenly passed away after interacting with the chair.
The other accounts are not as detailed as Paul Kimmers’, but George was adamant the chair was to blame. A caretaker, who had sat in the chair and immediately slumped over, a few hours later she passed away. One of George’s cousins, name unknown, was another victim of the chair. Again there aren’t many details relating to these stories like there is with Kimmers. This specific encounter resulted due to the cousin simply bumping into the chair, not sitting within it.
Now earlier mentioned, George claimed three others, asides from Paul Kimmers, died after interacting with the chair. However, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society can only corroborate three of these deaths as having occurred. Whether this is due to the chair, don’t know, at the least we do know these three deaths did happen. Regardless of the reasons, these sudden deaths landed this chair a new title, the “Death Chair”.
Amanda almost did have another victim, a man by the name of Lloyd Gross. Lloyd, a freelance reporter who had befriended George, during a visit to the home, witnessed the infamous blue mist. During this trip, his tape recorder was tossed from his grasp, causing the skeptic to seek for an explanation. Later that same night, Lloyd returned to the home, to help out and attend a charity event within the Baleroy Mansion. As the event wrapped up, he and George would be strolling down the driveway leading to Lloyd’s car, this is when Lloyd would suddenly feel something smack him from behind and immediately asked George why he did that; but George was just as confused and claimed that he had not touched Lloyd at all.
Not too long after, later in the night, George received a call from a verbally upset Lloyd. Lloyd claims that as he arrived home, he witnessed the same blue haze moving about from the front room windows. Upset by this, apparently Lloyd called out the spirit and essentially shooed it away; this would be the end of Lloyd’s relation to Amanda, as she seemed to ignore him afterwards.
Asides from enticing people to sit within her chair, Amanda also seems to be responsible for all things obnoxious that occurred throughout the Baleroy Mansion. Causing the room’s temperature to drop drastically, or open and close doors with a violent force. Due to the supposed deaths related to sitting within the chair, George would drape a cloth and rope it off; so that no one else would fall victim to the spirit’s rage.
This actually wraps up most if not all of the ghostly encounters relating to the home, or at the very least at this stage in the home’s history. George remained firm that the mansion housed all these spirits, all the way until his death in 2005. After his death, no extended family claimed the property and eventually it was sold off. This became the second stage of the home’s history, which shall become part two.
So in the second part of this topic, we shall primarily focus on George and his life. The history of the home a bit more, some of the other living characters during this period. What has happened with the mansion since George Easby’s passing in 2005. We’ll be seeing what part of the Baleroy Mansion’s history is true and what is George’s own reality. These spirits may be nowadays and what has happened with the residents of the location within recent years.
Chestnut Hill’s Baleroy Mansion’s Many Ghost Stories
Creepy Haunted Items – HubPages
The Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories, by Mark Nesbitt and Patty A. Wilson
Haunted Philadelphia, by Darcy Oordt
What Are You Afraid Of Podcast
Episode 24 – The Baleroy Mansion | Most Haunted House in America. Produced by Shane Cummings; Audio Editing & Research by Shane Cummings. Intro & Outro music “Creepy Regrets” by AnMo.