Bellwether House

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During the home's construction in the mid-1870s, Samuel Palmer lost his daughter, Mary, to a tragic accident when she was just 16. At the time of her death, Mary attended boarding school located in the mountains of Georgia. One night she and her friends were out exploring in the woods, and she brushed up against a smoldering log, catching her dress on fire. This accident caused Mary to suffer burns over most of her body, and although Mary lived for a couple of days, she soon passed away from her injuries. Though Mary never lived in the home, she is said to roam the halls, especially stopping in the guestrooms to sit on the edges of beds. One of the guests is said to have even taken a photograph of Mary in room number one. The image shows a young girl in a long white dress, brown ringlet curls, and a white nightcap. Sadly, Samuel Palmer was no stranger to tragedy because two years after Mary's death, her seven-year-old brother John also died tragically. Guests today allege that John’s spirit leaves mysterious pennies around the premises and knocks on doors in the middle of the night. Other ghostly occurrences reported include heavy boot-like footsteps walking down the hallways, doors opening and shutting on their own, and the occasional eerie touch while quietly sitting in the home.

Interestingly, the original owners of the Bellwether House, Samuel Palmer and Henry Dresser, both came from families with a long history of terrible tragedies and ghoulish encounters. Samuel Palmer is a direct descendent of a gentleman named John Briggs who, on February 20, 1673, testified that his nephew Thomas Cornell had killed his own mother, Rebecca. John Briggs claimed that his sister Rebecca came to him at his bedside and stated that she had been murdered. This testimony aided in the conviction and execution of his nephew. This trial is the only time in American history that someone was convicted based on spectral evidence. Samuel Palmer is also related to the infamous Lizzie Borden as she is descended from the daughter of Thomas Cornell.

Henry Dresser has his share of family occult mystique as well. Henry's family were prominent founding members of Salem, Massachusetts, and during the Salem Witch trials of 1692, his family appears on both sides of the frenzy. One of his ancestors, Zachariah Marsh, signed a petition in support of Elizabeth and John Proctor, the first to be accused. But not all his ancestors were so kind to their fellow citizens. Henry's family also traces its roots to Alice Booth and her sister Elizabeth who both testified against Giles Corey. Another direct ancestor of Henry Dresser, John Ruck, was a jury foreman on the trials of Bridget Bishop, Rebecca Nurse, and John Willard, all of whom were executed during the summer of 1692.

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