Ghost Hunters Astor's Beechwood Mansion

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I'm not sure who, if any, of you have watched the program Ghost Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel, but I'm a pretty big fan of it. Tonight's episode caught my attention especially because they went to Colonel John Jacob Astor's Beechwood Mansion in Newport, RI.

Unfortunately, as is typical with this program, they didn't find any substantial evidence of a haunting. However, the tour guide did point out the location where J.J. and Madeleine were wed. He also incorrectly stated that the colonel's body was returned aboard "the cable ship Carpathia."

Oh, and the story of the haunting: someone who worked at the mansion was electrocuted in the basement (which looks like the catacombs, btw) sometime in 1911. However, the only thing remotely ghostly found by the team was a supposed orb which showed up in one of the videos.

Just thought this might be of interest to a few of you.
Hello Paul,

You're the board member whose hobbies include ghost hunting, correct? I remember visiting your Web site a long time ago. While I can't read the article you posted now, I'll have a dig at it when I get home this evening. Thanks.

I was just going to ask if you'd ever seen the program Ghost Hunters, and what your take on it was? I'd like to hear the opinion of another paranormal investigator. While I am a fan, the majority of the program just seems like a waste of film to me, as they generally never find anything substantial. But ah well, I'm not a ghost hunter myself, so...

Paul Lee

Hi Brandon,
Yes, thats me!

Sadly, I don't have Satellite here in the UK, so I haven't seen Ghost Hunters, but it is very good from what I have heard...shame Sky have cancelled the remaining run. Still, its got to be better than "Most Haunted"!

The guys on rave about Ghost Hunters - you might want to have a look at their website...

Best wishes

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This is the first I have heard of Beechwood being haunted. Well, it is good for business I guess. I work at the Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, and bookings tripled when the house made it to the Travel Channel's Creepiest Destinations. Newport's Belcourt Castle on Bellevue gives its own ghost tour in the evenings with owner, Mrs. Tinney (of the Armour meat packing fortune) doing the honors herself. As for orbs- I wish I could figure it out. Visitors at the Borden House get orbs, some single, some traveling, some in pairs over the sites of the murder victims, and numerous orbs at varying heights surround the grave at night, even up into the trees. Any number of psychics, mediums and ghostbusters have set up elaborate voice-activated recorders and magnetic field detectors, with results- so, I wonder about all of this but try to not to dwell on it too much as I have to sleep there late at night! I am not sure I buy the dust speck theory of orb origins as I have seen them show up on digital, video and film under all sorts of conditions -some inside the house in broad daylight. I will be sure to ask the curator at Beechwood for more "sightings" info next week. This is the spot were the unfortuante JJ and Madeleine were wed.
Hey Paul,

I had a look at the orbs article. That was very thought-provoking and well-written! Bad Psychics definitely does give a lot of praise to the program, and I enjoyed the fact that they review each individual episode on their site.

Hey Shelley,

They showed that area of Beechwood in the show. As far as I know, the only ones to have reported the place haunted were a few of the workers, and one woman in particular threatened to quit if things didn't die down. I had no idea you worked at the Borden House! That's awesome. So you stay there at night? I'm sure that creates quite an uneasy feeling in your stomach at times!
That's the Beechwood ballroom-Mrs. Astor's famous 400 could all fit I guess. Sometimes J.J. makes a "live" appearance in the guise of a character actor -and he does a pretty good job of it. He will not, however talk about Titanic as the time period for the character actors is 1896 at the house, and of course pre-sinking! The visitors try to warn "J.J." though, to stay away from deep water! You can also (for a LARGE amount of money) have a Titanic Party at Beechwood and a few passengers, including J.J. will make a guest appearance for your soiree. The wedding ceremony took place in front of the fireplace and Madeleine had her favorite roses all over the ballroom- they were American Beauty- an Edwardian favorite. She plucked one from the hall stand on her way out as a corsage.
Ghosts- well, I don't know. I have never seen anything weird up at the Lizzie house, but I have sure heard plenty and had some goosebumps often enough. After 6 years there, the total terror of sleeping there has passed. I even manage to nap on that fateful sofa with impunity!

Paul Lee

HI Shelley, you can take it from experts at Canon, Kodak, Fuji etc that orbs are nothing more than dust, water drops, and any old crap that floats in front of the lens and is illuminated by flash (even video cameras with night vision). All you need is a source of illumination close to the lens.

As for those orbs that are seen by the naked eye- I'm not too sure. I've met people who have seen such things. But those orbs that are invisible to the eye and only such up on film or digital....just bunkum, I'm afraid.
Im interested in parapsychology and poltergeists..- but that sci fi show looks to be the most staged 'reality show' to come down the pike in a long time....
They were at the Bordon house on this weeks episode, and found nothing- i think they also did the Queen mary .....

Tarn Stephanos
Yeah, they visited the Borden house on last night's episode. The Queen Mary was featured on last week's episode, and during that investigation the team believed they'd captured an invisible force on film turning down the sheets of a bed in one of the cabins. Closer examination, however, yielded evidence to suggest that the camera had been tampered with and the footage staged. That was, obviously, a let-down for investigator and viewer alike.

According to several people employed on the Mary, this was not the first time that paranormal investigators had had tricks played on them while investigating the liner. Apparently, it's quite common.

Oh, and I was able to get a good look at Shelley's infamous nap time sofa! haha
This crew was only in the house for 4 hours and wanted results! Our ghosts seldom perform on demand. Actually this week the "phantom cat" made an appearance in the Borden's bedroom and frightened the guest, who was- a catlover.Oh, that Borden sofa sure gets a workout, but my favorite spot is the bedroom where Mrs. Borden got those famous whacks-I have to sleep there this Saturday, so maybe I'll have something exciting to report Sunday morning! I heard the swimming pool and the propeller shaft on the old Queen may raise a few goosebumps.
Sounds like you'll be in for a great night then, Shelley, haha. Please do let us know if anything unusual happens.

The swimming pool of the Queen Mary does have quite a reputation for being haunted. Many paranormal investigators and psychics believe it may contain some sort of portal that allows those who have crossed over to enter our realm. Pretty trippy, eh? I once watched a web cam for awhile that was positioned directly above the pool. It's one of several 'ghost cams' you can access online. Another is located in the infamous Willard Library.

The TAPS team does seem to be in a hurry to receive results. I've noticed that myself. Only four hours in the Borden House? I figured they stayed somewhere around 10 or 11 hours. Wow.
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