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Strange History & Hauntings at Rockcliffe Mansion

Chasing Shadows by Larry WilsonFrom Chasing Shadows by Larry Wilson.

The Rockcliffe Mansion was built in 1900 by wealthy lumber baron John Cruikshank. Cruikshank wanted a house that would showcase the finest woods and furnishings that money could buy. The mansion was built using the finest Walnut, Oak, and Mahogany available at the time. The exterior of the building is of double brick construction. Inside, you will find some of the original furnishings used by the Cruikshank family.

The Cruikshanks consisted of John, his wife, and four daughters. They lived in the mansion along with their butler until the death of John Cruikshank in 1924. After his death, the mansion was left vacant for over 40 years. It was weeks away from being torn down when a local group got together at the last minute, purchased the old mansion, and restored it to original form. Today, tours are conducted at Rockcliffe Mansion and it is also a seasonal bed and breakfast. The mansion is enormous, spanning 13,300 square feet, including nine bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Rockcliffe Mansion is said to be haunted by the Ghost of John Cruikshank, his wife, four children, and their butler. The owner at the time of our investigation claimed that he once saw a 5-foot, 4-inch impression of a figure in the bed sheets in one of the beds. Many guests claim to smell cigar smoke in one of the rooms in which Mark Twain once stayed. Twain gave his last speech in Hannibal in 1902 and stood on the third step of the main staircase as he addressed some three hundred invited guests. There are reports of camera crews that have come there to film and the batteries will go dead and their cameras will malfunction.

On the day of the investigation, Gary and I arrived at the mansion at 2:00pm. Paul arrived a short time later. The plan was for Paul to start conducting interviews and videotaping eyewitness accounts of people who had experienced paranormal activity at the mansion. Paul had also advertised for several people to attend the investigation who were interested in ghosts and hauntings, but had never been on a ghost hunt. The reason for this was so that he could film their candid reactions to any activity that may occur during our investigation. Over forty people applied for the opportunity to attend and Paul selected three of them. They were due to arrive between 5:30 and 6:00pm.

While Paul was busy setting up for the interviews, Gary gave me a quick tour of the mansion. As we were walking around, we were stopped by a young lady who works there. She wanted to let us know that she was leaving but would be back a little before 7:00pm to finish setting up decorations in the basement. From 8:00 until 10:00pm, she was hosting a small bachelorette party for a close friend of hers, and she stressed that they would keep the noise down because she knew we were conducting an investigation. Gary let her know that this would not be a problem as we would investigate the basement after the party was over.

The young lady told us about an experience she had only a few weeks before. She was working in the mansion one evening and was sitting at a desk near the main entrance. “It was raining outside, of course,” she laughed. The doors were locked and she was alone in the mansion. Suddenly, she heard footsteps directly above her. She thought, “You didn’t hear that,” trying to convince herself that she only imagined hearing the noise. Moments later, she heard the footsteps again, and a few minutes after that she heard the footsteps a third time. The third time, she stood up and walked to the foot of the staircase and yelled upstairs, “If you are trying to scare me you are not doing a very good job!” After confronting the noise, it stopped.

Copyright 2014 Black Oak Media, Inc. You do not have permission to copy this post.

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