In part one, we discussed the ghosts and specters that haunted the halls of the Baleroy, however this time we take a look into the key players and characters who dotted the Baleroy Mansion during their lives. We shall also look into what happened to the haunted items and what is going on with the Baleroy Mansion of a today.
I do apologize for the late delay in this episode’s release, I am working hard to make sure something like that does not happen again, especially with a two parter episode. So as a way to apologize, I am posting lots of extra goodies surrounding the Baleroy over on Patreon, with plenty being open for all to view and enjoy. Meanwhile, I’d like to also promote the OctoberPod, a true retro spin on the horror podcast genre.
We’ve gone over a good portion of what you’ll see when looking into the Baleroy Mansion, especially online. Much of it has become synonymous with the stories of spirits and hauntings. As mentioned in part one, there are a lot of things that I came across while researching that I felt needed their own separate section. This episode is not going to focus on the ghosts, not till the end; so if you are new and here for all that, please do go listen to part one first.
This episode is going to discuss the history of those who prominently owned the Baleroy Mansion; being the Easby’s and more particularly their son George. Along with the characters who played a role in George’s life at the mansion during the spike in paranormal activity. Finally, we’re going to wrap up with where many of the alleged haunted objects ended up; along with what happened to the Baleroy Mansion itself after George Meade Easby passed away in 2005. So with that, let’s dive into what I’ve managed to scrounge up.
Disclaimer – All of this is compiled from various sources, but ultimately my own interpretation of the events and history my bleed through. Please do not take all of this as direct fact. I’m also not trying to target anyone within this story, but a few people through it though do seem a bit suspicious upon learning more.
As seen in the first episode of this location, George Easby and his family are essentially the primary focus of the Baleroy Mansion’s history, with George having the longest time spent within the Baleroy Mansion. To give a better perspective of who the Easby’s are, think of the typical image of “old money”, perhaps not the wealthiest part of the family, but still extremely connected with rich roots and and a deep history.
The family’s claim to the Easby Abbey back in the 12th century and the Civil War general George Meade; George Easby’s namesake. The history of the Easby family continues even further, especially within American or Philadelphian history. The family also claims to have connections with at least seven signers of the Declarations of Independence. George’s mother can even track her heritage back to the ship the Welcome; during the 1682 voyage that brought William Penn himself over to the New World and his new territory, Pennsylvania.
George, was born in 1918, being only seven years younger than the Baleroy Mansion itself. We already went through the early death of George’s younger brother Steven in 1931; and years later the passing of his mother and father from old age. This leaves a good portion of the house’s occupancy with the Easby’s, solely with George. So let’s talk about George and his life a bit more, specifically his adulthood.
From there though his career actually was rather colorful. During this time, World War II was in full swing and George was drafted to the Army. He served by helping with air patrols of the Atlantic Coast. Once the war ended, he picked up his creative skills, becoming a cartoonist and taking part in lower-level Hollywood Films. In Philadelphia, he was a popular radio host, and he served 25 years with the U.S State Department as an advisor of the Fine Arts. So he really bounced around a lot, and put some good experience under his belt.
All this time, George was became quite the collector. Probably not too surprising as the Easby family were known for gathering historical items and family heirlooms. George gathered up a lot of fine art, items belonging to his rich family line and several antique cars; it was George who collected several of the supposedly haunted items. Such as Amanda’s Death Chair owned by Napoleon, the grandfather clock that Jefferson seems to be linked to, and a family heirloom that brought an old monk spirit.
George lived alone in the Baleroy Mansion from the year 1969, the year his father passed away, up until December of 2005, when he himself would pass away at the age of 87; due to multiple organ failure, after being in hospice care. He now rests in Laurel Hill Cemetery, here in Philadelphia. George’s health, especially in his later years is something I do want to touch on in a moment. But really that’s most of the major things you need to know.
George was known as an overly friendly individual; like that cool neighbor who hands out the best candy on Halloween, or has the best holiday lights set up in Winter. Although this guy has a legit haunted house and would offer guided tours from time to time. These tours are no longer offered, the house is now privately owned. You were able to schedule in advance back during the turn of the century.
So let’s talk about George’s health, as it was sort of strange towards his final years and I personally don’t really know how much this is in direct correlation to all of the ghost sightings; especially the later ones. George Easby for the most part lived a pretty healthy life, he was in the Army, travelled a lot and was an extremely active individual, but during his last few years, this sort of activity began to die down. This is noted by Dr. Paul Moock, who was George’s acting physician during these years.
Dr. Moock stated that he noticed a change in Meade’s mental status within the year 2000, these sort of reports continued for four more years in which he believed Meade’s had developed dementia during his elder years. In October of 2001, a letter by a neurologist named Dr. Laurence Smith, seemed to support these theories as he had also submitted suspicion that Meade had actually developed chronic dementia. Again though, I am unclear on how specific this condition was, when it really began to kick in and how much of it really affected George’s life.
There are some more interesting events that occurred in relation to this potential condition and George’s later years, but they are not entirely related to the pace of this episode. I will say, definitely look into it, as it is far more interesting than I originally thought. I posted resources over on Patreon for everyone to go and look over. It’s a public document but I’ll be linking it there for easier access, this document is from the Court Of Common Pleas Of Philadelphia, Orphans’ Court Division, in relation to an appeal focused in on the Estate of George Gordon Meade Easby and his final Will and Testament. Again, not related to our episode, but a good read if you want to learn more of George, and the life spent within the Baleroy Mansion.
So with ghost sightings, I want to take a step back and look at them from a new perspective. As stated times before, nearly all the major claims and sightings come from George or those close to him. Asides from George, you have his father; who claimed on his deathbed to his son, that he was also fully aware of the spirits within Baleroy’s Halls; more specifically he even claimed to have seen his wife’s spirit on occasion. Others involved, were close friends of George, or those who worked for George at the Baleroy.
On occasion during tours of the Baleroy Mansion, groups would report odd events. Such as cold spots, negative feelings or potential sightings of the ectoplasmic mist in the Blue Room. I would not write these as reliable reports, many times these tour members are there for that type of attraction; all the while George or the person guiding the tour is providing commentary and setting the mood.
I want to transition into another person related to George and several of the reports that came from the Baleroy. Judith Richarson Haimes, the Psychic that George brought into the Baleroy Mansion to host several seances and soon became friendly with.
So backstory on Judith, she was a local Psychic Medium; offering readings of people’s auras, past life regressions, communicating with the departed and even readings of people’s future. She worked within and surrounding Philadelphia, having some prominent work even as far down down Newark, Delaware; but it was her connection with George Easby and the Baleroy Mansion that really got her name out there. With her time spent in the Baleroy, Judith helped host three individual Seances. In addition, some personal readings and general spirit communication.
During one of these Seances, Judith witnessed a man moving down the stairs. From her description Meade recognized the man as his uncle, who had died within the house some years earlier. [Although I’ve only noticed this additional death within the house as being mentioned within the book Haunted Houses U.S.A.
During another, there was a skeptical reporter who decided to join in on the rite; this is when suddenly, a voice claiming to be that of the poet John Milton began to speak through Judy. Telling of a letter that the reporter had received from the governor of Rhode Island. The reporter claimed he could feel Milton trying to take over his body. That night a skeptic left the house a believer.
As mentioned in the first part of this topic, Judith is also primarily responsible for nearly all communication with George’s late mother, Henrietta. We mentioned with Judith’s help, George found several items and hidden family heirlooms.
The final seance Judith held in the house was both the shortest and strangest of them all. While channeling the spirits, Judith had such a violent reaction that she actually ended up losing consciousness. If not for the others who participated, Judith would have fallen face first into the candles they were utilizing; they carried her from the Baleroy Mansion. After which, Judith’s doctor warned her from entering the Baleroy Mansion again. She took this seriously, she never stepped foot into the home again.
Whether Judith’s claim as a psychic is true, is hard to prove; especially without having met and interacted with her directly. She was however the center of the rather infamous case, Judith Haimes v. Temple University Hospital, focused on a medical malpractice complaint on Judith’s part against the hospital, which resulted in her inability to work. Not directly related to the Baleroy and Judith’s validity. However it brings up some sources and potential witnessed to support Judith’s claims.
If you’d like to learn the more history of what happened with this case, resource links will be below. One has a fabulous timeline of each event and helps clarify the misinterpretations that occured with the media.
But with this case, comes witnesses and testimonies as Judith had to clarify her abilities as her form of income. Until now, we’ve only discussed Judith’s abilities through closed door sessions and seances with people who are open to activity. However, several of the witnesses during the case were active police officers who interacted with Judith for her assistance. The next few paragraphs are quoted directly from these witness statements.
“..The first witness was Lieutenant Fritzinger, who testified that he had brought pictures of a homicide victim and eight to 10 suspects to plaintiff’s [referring to Judith] office. Plaintiff was able to tell Fritzinger about the victim’s lifestyle, age and family. Plaintiff then provided a detailed description of the manner of the victim’s death, identified a photograph of the murderer and advised Fritzinger that the murderer had an extensive criminal record and had previously committed a similar crime..”
“..Fritzinger visited plaintiff a second time. At this meeting, plaintiff advised Fritzinger that his wife and father should seek medical attention. Fritzinger convinced his father, who was approximately 73 years old, to visit a doctor. The doctor discovered that Fritzinger’s father suffered from emphysema and high blood pressure. Mary Fritzinger, the wife of Lt. Fritzinger, testified that she sought medical attention at the suggestion of plaintiff. She first consulted a gynecologist, who performed a urine test that revealed a minor urinary tract infection. Over the next two weeks she began feeling tired and consulted her family physician, who prescribed medication. Her condition worsened and shortly thereafter she was admitted to the hospital for removal of a kidney..”
“..Special Agent McCormack testified that he sought plaintiff’s advice in solving five to seven homicide cases. On these occasions, plaintiff provided McCormack with information that corroborated information his office had already obtained. The information later proved to be 80 or 90 percent accurate..”
“..Special Agent Raymond H. Schellhammer testified that he sought plaintiff’s help in finding a missing woman. After viewing a picture of the woman and articles of her clothing, plaintiff supplied Schellhammer with background information concerning the victim, her husband and the husband’s mistress, and further reported that the husband had fled to Florida. The husband subsequently returned to the area. Plaintiff went to visit him at his store and then plaintiff told the police that the husband had killed his wife and buried her body near his store. Later, the husband was charged with homicide. Prior to the trial, he confessed to the crime and where his wife’s body had been buried.”
“..Several years later, in 1978, Schellhammer managed to contact plaintiff in Florida; and asked for her assistance in finding the body of a police officer who had disappeared after a drowning accident. Plaintiff initially refused to help Schellhammer, explaining that she developed pain when she performed her psychic activities. She nonetheless agreed to perform a reading and later described the boating accident to Schellhammer; including the area where the officer’s body was found. The body subsequently came to the surface in the area pinpointed by plaintiff..”
There are a few witnesses that testified, through the trial some were not credible. While others such as Lt. Fritzinger, did not disclose the identity of the source; which provided the initial information that ran against Judith’s own information, leading his testimony to not hold too much ground; at least within Court that is. I could honestly though go through Judith’s history for a good portion of it’s own episode. The most important part to pull away was her witness testimonies on her abilities, and her time in the Baleroy.
I personally was a bit skeptical early on; however upon learning more refined details on the trial and Judith’s work, I’ve now settled nicely along the middle ground. Like mentioned earlier, I can’t really take a side on Judith’s abilities, unless I were to personally have a reading. To clarify, for anyone who may have researched or have heard of Judith. Please realize that there is some small misinformation about her “losing her psychic abilities due to a CAT scan”; she never lost her abilities. Rather it became so difficult to concentrate due to the malpractice incident, that she was unable to work. However, Judith Haimes seems to still be holding readings. Since 2009, down in ClearWater Florida, it’s not too far, I honestly really could get a reading done.
So here’s the portion of the episode that I’m sure most of you have been waiting for; this being what happened to the Baleroy within the last several years. What happened to the supposed haunted items that made the Baleroy so infamous?
Most if not all of the furniture and antiques would eventually sold off at auction after Easby’s death in 2005. It seems that most of the spirits haunting them went with them. Some of the items have also been donated to certain museums and foundations; while others found a new home with the State Department. After George Meade Easby’s death, everything became property of Robert Yrigoyen, who was the commonwealth companion to Easby. This is the only way the two were able to get married to one another. During this time same-sex couples and marriage were not too, legal..
Robert came late into George’s life and to be honest, I’m not too on board with their relationship. To me it just feels as though it was a bit too one sided. Obviously I wouldn’t know without being apart of it nor being in close proximity. This hesitation mainly comes from that additional document that was mentioned earlier in the episode. Titled, COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION Estate of George Gordon Meade Easby, Deceased; it focuses on whether or not George in his final years had suffered from some form of mental weakness. This was sparked after several revisions to his Will that placed Robert as the sole proprietor of the Estate.
As I stated just now, the unique items were ultimately split apart and sent to several locations. Many being sold at auction to liquidize the Easby Estate. I can not locate any specifics, but updates shall be posted via social media for you all.
Finally, I would like to apply some support to the sightings and claims of the Baleroy. I have been a bit skepticism when it came to my research, in an attempt to remain impartial. This last segment is meant to cover those last few bases.
In the first episode, Steven’s ghost was spotted during construction on the property in recent years. These contractors were David Beltz and Eddie Robinson respectfully. The two men claimed to have heard unexplained footsteps and voices while working on the home; and to place the cherry on top, they spotted the figure of a boy on the main staircase, at a time in which no one should have been within the home, let alone a child.
Beltz says the following, “..It drifted by the window…then all of a sudden there was this cold vibration…”
Furthermore, those who lived around the Baleroy also have their own accounts, one being a nearby neighbor, named Cassandra Meyer. Cassandra claimed while in the drawing-room, she witnessed the portrait of Easby’s great-grandmother Elizabeth Polkney morph before her.
Cassandra says the following, “..There was a misty haze over the face, which slowly changed to that of a man..”
As for the house today, the current owners are unknown. The most recent owners we are able to date come from 2015. The rest of this research comes from Billy Penn, a small News site under WHYY’s umbrella, written by Kevin Feeley. The link will be within the show resources.
The family who moved into the home were named Valinises. They purchased the Baleroy directly from Robert Yrigoyen in 2012 and moved in that same year. Mr. Valinis was not the biggest believer when it came to spirits. Despite being fully aware of the home’s history, Valinis doesn’t pay the story’s much mind. Although he is quick to admit that the house is prone to “old-home” sounds. That said, it doesn’t mean all the spirits within the Baleroy have moved on.
Valinis’ wife and friends, have claimed to see a young boy, similar to sightings of Steven roaming the property. While talking in the living room, their guests had the sudden urge to turn toward the dining room. They claimed to witness a young boy walking around, but both the Valinis kids were in bed for hours. At one point, Mrs. Valinis claimed she saw the reflection of a young blond boy in a mirror. Only for there to be no one present as she turned around.
Furthermore, reports of a nonexistent car is heard coming up the driveway; this spectral car has only heard, not sighted. However the distinct sound of the vehicle moving up along the driveway pops up from time to time. It is also very hard to keep plants alive, blackouts would also often times occur, very much at random. The motion-sensor alarm in the foyer goes off at night despite nobody being downstairs.
The final two in fact, have attracted the police, who obviously have to inspect the odd events. This sort of visit become so frequent, that during blackout moments, the police report would often read “ghosts”.
The Valinis do not believe that the remaining spirits, if they are actually present, are actual malevolent. They see the Baleroy as home, despite this, they still did have the location blessed by a Catholic Priest. Just a small little fun fact to help wrap us up; as there is nothing else to really learn from the Baleroy. I would love to continue my research. But I think across these two episodes, we managed to mention nearly all the key points of this incredible location.
My Neighbors Chestnut Hill Mansion Is Probably Haunt
General George Meade
Judith Richardson Haimes
Spirited Welcome Vol-42-no-18
Haimes v. Temple University Hospital
Haunted Houses U.S.A. By Dolores Riccio, Joan Bingham
Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis By William Haltom & Michael McCann
Haunted History Season 01 Episode 12
Episode 25 – The Baleroy Mansion | Where Its At Today. Produced by Shane Cummings; Audio Editing & Research by Shane Cummings. Intro & Outro music “Creepy Regrets” by AnMo.