tour guide, a young, dark-haired woman in her early twenties,
crossed the wide gallery, her low heels clicking off of the polished
hardwood floor with cadence precise as a metronome. When she reached
the archway that led to the grand staircase, she turned and waited
for the tour to file into the room. It was a large group today,
and the gallery was always the most popular room. After this room,
she could expect several guests to drop off from the tour and
head for the gift shop or even for the parking lot, their curiosity
took a small square microphone from its hook on the wall and waited.
When the group had settled into rows of standing, waiting faces,
she flashed her best smile and began.
to Bauble House," she said, her voice amplified by several
small speakers perfectly concealed throughout the room. "Bauble
House is one of the oldest and best-preserved homes in the New
York region. Our tour today begins in a room we call the gallery.
This large, open space, located conveniently near the front entrance,
kitchen and dining hall, is where the original owners of Bauble
House would entertain visitors with chamber music concerts, poetry
readings, or lively talk, warmed by a fire that would burn in
the large fireplace to your left. In later years, subsequent owners
used the room to display works of fine art, giving the room the
nickname it is known by today."
was all she had to say, unless there were any questions. This
being the gallery, there were always questions. The tour group
stood in a single silence, waiting for someone to work up the
nerve. The tour guide waited with them, the microphone still in
about the ghosts?" someone asked at last.
tour guide refreshed her smile. "The gallery is said to be
haunted by several ghosts, although the historical identities
of many of the spirits are unknown. The ghostly sightings began
in 1788, shortly after the main house was completed. The first
ghost to be seen at Bauble house is described as a tall man in
a long coat, and was nicknamed the Gray Man.
Gray Man, a spirit said to resemble a tall, thin man with a severe
countenance, was routinely seen by the servants of Bauble House.
He is made entirely of shadows, and has burning red coals for
eyes. The visitations soon became so common that many servants
refused to enter the gallery due to the ghost's presence.
by his servant's disobedience, the then-master of the house dragged
a cook into the gallery and beat her with a cane. This violence
seems to have stimulated the Gray Man, who appeared in a pillar
of swirling black fire. The stone fireplace cracked open with
a rumble that shook the house to its foundations, and the room
was instantly flooded with the stench of sulfur and burning flesh.
If you'll look closely, you can see a zigzag line where the chimney
was re-plastered after being rent asunder by supernatural forces.
Screams of inhuman agony poured from the hole where the hearth
had been, and these screams were heard in Putnam County, several
Gray Man glided towards the master of the house, and whispered
into the man's ear. The servant could not hear the words the creature
spoke, but they so unnerved the master of the house that he immediately
took a loaded musket that had fallen from above the fireplace
and shot himself in the mouth.
servant ran from the house and to a neighbor's residence, some
five miles away. Her injuries seemed to bear out her story, and
her terror seemed too real to be a charade. In fact, the servant
suffered from trauma for the rest of her life, convinced that
the Gray Man was stalking her. She died mysteriously in an asylum
the neighbors rushed to investigate the servant's wild tale, they
found the master's body stretched out on the floor. The corpse
had been burned nearly to ash. A local physician stated that temperatures
of over 2,000 degrees are needed to so completely immolate a human
body, yet the man's remains were cool, and the rest of the house
showed no sign of fire. The master's watch, chain and other jewelry
were present on the bodythe ring where the hand would be,
the watch sunk into a depression near the abdomen of the human
shape formed by the in the cooling black ashesand were unaffected
by the fire. These artifacts are on display on the second floor.
The Gray Man is still seen occasionally by staff and visitors
famous ghost of the gallery is The Bloody Nanny, thought to be
the ghost of an Au-Pair who mysteriously disappeared from the
house around 1800, along with her charges, three young children
entrusted in her care. The Bloody Nanny, or 'Bloody Nan', as we
call her, gets her nickname from the way the walls run with blood
in her presence. Although Bloody Nan manifests more completely
than the Gray Man, her features are unrecognizable due to the
thick, half-congealed blood that pours from a long, jagged wound
in her scalp. Several families claim to have left Bauble House
due to Bloody Nan's habit of checking in on their children.
families say that they are awoken by terrified screams, to find
their children's beds and cribs awash in blood that sizzles and
dries to a black scale when exposed to sunlight. There are photographs
of this phenomenon on the second floor. The pictures are kept
beneath a curtain to protect the squeamish, so please use your
best judgment before viewing these disturbing mages. Bloody Nan
is also associated with cries of anguish and despair that are
sometimes heard emanating from a well in the back yard of Bauble
1822, future President of the United States Andrew Jackson spent
the night in Bauble House, in the company of several associates
who had served with him in the War of 1812. Mr. Jackson is said
to have encountered another of the famous Bauble House ghosts,
The Black Dog, during his stay with us. As the name suggests,
the Black Dog is not described as a person at all, but rather
appears as an unusually large hunting dog. Like the Gray Man,
the Black Dog does not appear as a creature of matter, but rather
as an absence of light, a black patch of nothingness marked by
fiendish crimson lights that suggest some hateful, alien intelligence
that burns with madness and hate.
Jackson was said to be sitting in the gallery when the Black Dog
appeared, stepping from empty air and crossing the room with the
quiet click of long nails upon the hardwood floor. The Black Dog
bowed before Jackson, touching its muzzle to the ground as a loud,
powerful voice crackled in the air above the Black Dog's head.
The voice addressed Jackson, saying 'Greetings to you, angel of
misery and agent of death, whose breast holds such burning fires
of hatred as to shame the worst hatred of Hell itself.'
is said to have been so offended by this statement, that he drew
his gun and fired at The Black Dog. The bullet dug up the floor
near where the divan stands today, and you can still see the place
where the boards were replaced. The President's companions, loyal
men all, each stood and drew their own muskets, knives, or cavalry
sabers, ready to do battle with the spectral creature.
happened next is open to speculation, but neighbors say that Bauble
House winked out of existence and was replaced by a ten thousand
foot spire built of gore-smeared human skulls. The well in the
side yard erupted in a fountain of mangled human corpses; some
wailing a litany of tortured prayers while others shouted confessions
of crimes too terrible to contemplate. The nearby Hudson River
began to boil. A rain of frogs, bats, and squid, along with the
corrupted fetuses of goats, pigs and lizards fell from the sky
for a dozen miles in every direction. The phenomenon lasted but
a moment, but many of the asylums and sanitariums in the region
were filled to capacity for years afterwards with people driven
insane by the experience.
Jackson never spoke of the event, but when he emerged from Bauble
House the next morning, his hair had turned pure white from the
shock, giving him the countenance we see today on the twenty-dollar
bill. Andrew Jackson is also said to have encountered another
spirit, the Bell Witch, on a visit to a Tennessee farm in 1819.
The Black Dog is said to appear before national tragedies."
tour guide smiled, and took her thumb from the microphone switch.
The tour group stood in a single silence, their expressions ranging
from shock to a peculiar exhilaration. One older woman near the
front of the group seemed very impatient, as if she had not come
on the tour to hear of ghosts at all.
it for the gallery. If you will please move forward, we will continue
to the second floor."
group had just begun to move, some towards the stairs, others
turning back towards the main entrance (as the tour guide had
expected), when a young man asked "What about the ghost of
Millicent Magadalene, who, before her own mysterious death at
age 12, suffered a blow to the head during a carriage accident
and manifested psychokinetic powers and the ability to speak with
effects began before the young man had even finished speaking.
The gallery grew first dark, then cold, and then contracted, as
if the tour group stood within one trembling lung of a monstrous
animal. A woman screamed, and then collapsed. Simultaneously,
every child younger than 15 began to cry. Outside, hail began
to fall from a clear sky.
episode lasted an instant, and then passed as quickly as it had
begun. Outside, the hail turned to a gentle rain, which soon ended.
The woman who fainted recovered and was helped to her feet. The
children continued to cry, as if already aware that for the next
few weeks their dreams would be haunted by an inexpressible manifestation
of hatred-like some rogue imagining that would kill them, were
it not only a dream.
don't speak that name, here," the tour guide said, her smile
gone. She studied the young man for a moment, a curious expression
on her face. She touched her cheek to indicate that he should
do the same.
young man put his fingers to his face, and they came away wet.
The blood vessels in his right eye had burst, and he was weeping
bloody tears. The left eye was perfectly normal, while the right
hazel pupil looked out from a runny crimson sphere. "There's
a first aid station near the gift shop." The tour guide said.
here," the impatient old woman said, taking a crumpled hanky
from her purse and handing it to the young man. She turned back
to the tour guide. "When do we get to the colonial furniture?"
colonial furniture collection is right upstairs," the tour
guide said, her smile re-igniting as she spoke. "Those of
you who are continuing on the tour, please follow me." She
began to climb the stairs, glad to leave the sound of crying children