Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Haunted Childhood Estate: Chilling Finds


I was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia in an estate that was of historic significance as a field hospital. The wood floors were still stained with blood and the grounds were full of artifacts we kids would dig up with a metal detector and display in mom's showcase. 


The house itself was built around the 1750s, but during the Civil war, it was taken over to be used as a hospital, supposedly being utilized by the North and South at different times. And, the house and the lands around it were very haunted. I wrote about it in my award-winning, 5-star book, Growing Up With Ghosts (LINK).



Here's the house in the 1860s when the Quaker family who owned it moved back in after the war. The government gave them a little over 1000 dollars to rebuild. As you can see, seven women and one man. 

When I was a kid, there was a cannonball in the wall in the basement (where the foundation was above-ground before a porch was added on. The house saw a lot of anguish, as did the vast grounds. 









Interestingly, they are all playing a game with mallets in the same spot that as a kid, I wanted us to play the croquet. Odd how, on a large estate, I chose that spot. 

And, look at the aspen trees- soldiers had carved their names and dates in the bark. 



On the left in the fork, just to the left, you can see "18..." date and on the right too "18..." 

We had a male dark shape in the hallways upstairs that would walk to the end of the hallway into the end bedroom closet. 

It sure looks like this man is missing his left arm. 



The house had a strangely blocked off triangular tiny room within the heart of it. A fireplace was put into the formal dining room that angled, leaving a "space" behind it and the music room and living room walls. 

When I was a kid, we noted the oddity and drilled a hole in the wall and then one in the floor of the hallway upstairs. We held a light to the dining room wall hole and looked through the hole in the floor upstairs to see a small room with what looked like a stool, some newspaper, cloth, and lots of dust. The question became, was this an underground railroad space that the Quaker family fashioned?



Interestingly, 30 years later (1897), another shot was taken looking a lot like the one in the 1860s. I have to wonder if some of those folks were from the earlier pic as that family held the house a long time. 



Five women. As one of them is wearing black and is a wheelchair, I am going to take a stab that she is the woman up above who was with the one-armed man, his future widow 30 years later. 

You can still see the names and dates in the trees from the Civil War soldiers.





In the crook of the tree on the left, you can see the "18..." still! And on the right tree the "18..." also!



There is a bicycle in the background to the right. 


There was something everlasting about the estate where I grew up. People who had lived in the cottages on the property or were visitors there would come back over and over throughout their lifetimes in pilgrimages. It had an amazing energy and the grounds were as haunted as the house - a kind of replay recording loop. It was built atop a spring and originally called The Springfield. And the land was filled with quartz and interesting geology and history. It was not threatening in the least, and often comforting. 

My parents once said, "soldiers died here, children. So, if you see a figure, hear a voice, feel something nearby, be comforted. They were away from their families when they died and they are still walking the halls guarding this family. And, who better than a soldier?"


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