Friday, March 11, 2011
Guest Blogger Lisa Shoreland Discusses Biltmore Estate's Haunted History
The Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate is a picture of beauty and opulence: Its 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms feature some of the finest art and architecture, and it rests against the gorgeous backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, N.C. It was built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt as his family’s primary residence. Many decades after its original inhabitants died, they still seem to call it home.
George Vanderbilt built the estate after becoming enamored with the local scenery and climate. Although he set out to build a summer home, he devoted much of his time and resources to the estate, building it to be self-sufficient, with its own livestock and dairy farms, a church, and a forestry school. He and his wife, Edith, welcomed a daughter, Cordelia, during their time at the estate.
In 1914, George died of complications from an appendectomy. Devastated from her husband’s death, Edith took to sitting by the marble fireplace in the library each night and holding conversations with her dear departed. The servants thought the woman was going crazy.
Years later, staff at the Biltmore Estate say that they can still hear the whispered voice of Edith talking to her husband late at night. Some report seeing the two of them together, sitting and laughing by the fireplace.
Others report seeing George himself in the second floor oak sitting room or the Billiard room. He is usually seen sitting or smoking his pipe, but others say they just feel his presence.
Sightings and strange happenings aren’t limited to the house or to George and Edith. Reports of haunted behavior at the Biltmore Estate have been widely varied over the years.
Some employees report hearing strange noises, such as disembodied footsteps, laughter, or screaming. Others say they have felt like they were being watched. Visitors to the Pool Room have also reported strange noises, such as splashing and swimming when no one is present. There have also been tales of a lady wearing black floating just below the water’s surface.
Finally, visitors have often reported seeing the apparition of a headless orange cat running through the estate, especially between the Gardens and the Bass Pond.
Want to see if you can catch any of these strange sightings? There are haunted tours of Biltmore Village and downtown Asheville. Or you can pay to visit the Biltmore Estate during the day and see if you get lucky!
Lisa Shoreland works for http://www.gocollege.com/financial-aid/scholarships/types/academic-scholarships.html . You can learn more about her at this link.