Is The Mount Haunted?
The Mount, author Edith Wharton’s splendid 1902 Lenox property, wasn’t the first great estate built as a diversion from an unhappy marriage, nor will it be the last. But haunted? Apparently there’s sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation by a t.v. show called Ghost Hunters that airs on the Sci-Fi channel tonight, March 25, at 9 p.m.
As a girl, Wharton was inordinately sensitive to “forces” she could neither see nor escape. Even as a married woman in her late twenties, she would not sleep in a room with a book containing a ghost story. In fact, while drawn to the genre, she would burn such books after reading because it spooked her to know they were in the house at all, even if downstairs in the library. Years later, she would draw on these early morbid fears to write ghost stories of her own.
The Whartons divorced in 1911, and the Mount was sold. Over the intervening years, there have been occasional ghost-sightings at the house. During the decades that it served as a dormitory for the Foxhollow School, and later for Shakespeare and Company, residents (teenage girls and actors?—no shortage of imagination there…) reported unexplained noises, odd sensations, and the occasional encounter with a spectral figure dressed in old-fashioned garb.
These old rumors captured the interest of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), which in December sent their lead investigators, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, to The Mount with a Ghost Hunters television crew in tow. They spent several nights in the mansion and outbuildings performing paranormal experiments and collecting data.
Hawes and Wilson will reveal the results of their investigation tonight on the Sci-Fi Channel at 9 p.m. (If you missed it; fear not, on cable t.v. old episodes haunt us for all eternity.) The powers that oversee the historic site seem to have caught ghost fever, as well. For its 2009 season (May - October), The Mount will feature special “Ghost Tours” of the estate, and will host paranormal conferences in partnership with TAPS.