Ghost Tours/Hunts at Rockwood Manor Feb 17, 2017 5:30:00 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Feb 17, 2017 5:30:00 GMT -5
Ghost Tours/Hunts at Rockwood Manor
When you think of Delaware’s most famous mansions, the grand DuPont estates come to mind – ornate Winterthur, sprawling Nemours and historic Hagley. However, the DuPont family wasn’t the only one establishing enormous estates in Delaware at the time. In the early 1850s, Joseph Shipley, a Wilmington Banker, hired one of the world’s most famous architects to construct his home and moved his entire family – gardener, housekeeper, horses, dogs and all– to Wilmington from Liverpool, England. The stunning Rockwood Mansion began with several buildings on a sprawling 70+ acres of land.
Following the banker’s death, his great nephew, Edward Bringhurst Jr., took over the property and moved his wife and three young children into Rockwood in 1892. The Bringhurst’s eldest daughter, Bessie, took it upon herself to decorate the mansion elaborately – and most of her designs and décor are evident to this day, and much Joseph Shipley’s original English furniture is still in the house. Stepping into Rockwood is like stepping into the 1890s!
The manor has been preserved and restored by various groups since the 1970s.
After several generations of Shipley family members enjoyed the house, the mansion was transferred to a non-profit for preservation. In 1973, New Castle County was received the land and buildings and 25 years later, the county took on a massive restoration project, with the new “old” Rockwood’s being opened to the public in the early 2000s. Currently, Rockwood Mansion Park includes the mansion, conservatory, Porter's Lodge, gardener's cottage, barn and carriage house.
Rockwood Park is open to the public daily and you can wander the walking trails from dawn to dusk. Tours of Rockwood Mansion are held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the hour, Wednesday through Saturday, and on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. If you’re bringing a large group (more than six people), call (320) 761-4340, to reserve your spot.
However, the best way to tour Rockwood is by taking one of its famous, creepy, ghost tours. The Rockwood Manor ghosts are so creepy they’ve been featured on several TV shows and news programs, including My Ghost Story, on the season finale of Ghost Hunters, and several local paranormal programs. The mansion is rumored to be haunted by former residents – including a man in a red smoking jacket, his trusty canine companion, a young child (believed to be Eddie, the young son of Edward Bringhurst Jr.), and a woman who wanders about chilling those she approaches to the bone. Unexplained sounds are also common in the old house.
Eddie's ghost still haunts the remains of his once glamorous playhouse.
The creepiest part of Rockwood Mansion to me is the ruins of Eddie’s playhouse on the grounds. When Ghost Hunters explored the site, they found plenty of evidence that playful Eddie still roams his former home. If you’re a skeptic, the Rockwood Mansion ghost tour will make a believer of you.
Rockwood offers three “ghost” options: (1) The Ghosts of Rockwood Mansion, the family friendly standard ghost tour is one to which you can bring your camera and be prepared for some creepy stories as you tour the spooky old estate. (2) The Ghost Tour Adventures, will take you into the attic and basement – arguably the scariest parts of the manor house. Oftentimes, a psychic or medium joins the group. This is an intense tour, and you must wear comfortable walking shoes and bring your own flashlight. This one is recommended for teenagers and adults only. (3) If you're really brave, you might want to sign up for the intense Overnight Ghost Investigation. You can bring your own ghost-hunting equipment and should be familiar with the basics of paranormal investigations. Depending on what you encounter in the house, you may also be allowed to wander the grounds in the dark and explore the other structures on the 72-acre estate. Are you brave enough to spend the night at a haunted mansion?
Rockwood Park is just as haunted as world-famous Fort Delaware, but the fact it’s a little more hidden and less well-known makes it even creepier to me.
For upcoming ghost events: www.nccde.org/675/Events-Programs
Source: Kim Magaraci, OnlyInYourState, February 8, 2017.