Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Turkish Embassy/Everett Estate

Edward Hamlin Everett. Glass Bottle King and fluted bottle cap inventor
If even half the accounts that have trickled out of this place are true, at times it almost seems that spectral wanderers of the Everett home must be just about tripping over one another, playing out their ancient, eerie pursuits in the aetherial background behind the bustling activity of the living.

This was originally the estate of Edward Hamlin Everett, who had it built in 1910. Everett lived in Bennington VT for most of his youth, leaving in 1869 to pursue wealth farther west. He was not disappointed. He gradually purchased up all of the American Bottle Co. - and in the process of trying to cut costs on the glass fires, prospected and became the first person to strike oil in Ohio. In 1886 he married Amy King, the daughter of a Newark aristocrat whose glassworks factory Everett had just acquired.

Along with homes in Newark and Washington (not to forget the chateau in Vevy, Switzerland - times were good for Edward).

Legend has it that, not long after, Amy died, quite unexpectedly - some say freak accident, some suicide, some murder. According to her obituary, however, Amy King Everett died at their Washington home, in March of 1917. She had suffered from a prolonged, unnamed illness and died following a "severe operation."

In 1920, Edward remarried, this time to Grace Burnap, originally from Hopkinton, Mass. Tradition has it that the three daughters he had with Amy never cared for their father's second wife. Two of them had already married and moved before their mother's death, the third not long after - and it's believed they resented the way Everett went on to sire two more children with this new, much younger wife. When Edward died in 1929, the stage was set for a venomous and quite public legal battle.

When the will was unveiled, it bequeathed the bulk of his fortune to Grace, leaving only about one tenth of the family's enormous wealth to his three daughters from his first marriage. The daughters sued, arguing that their father had not been in his right mind when the will was signed and that his second wife, who after all was not much older than the oldest of them, had exercised undue influence on him.

It was at this point that the eldest daughter witnesses a horrific vision while staying in the house. Unsure of how her mother died, one night late, while staying at the house she heard a sound of weeping coming from the sitting room outside her deceased father's bedroom. She thought perhaps it was her step mother and walked the corrider to see what was wrong. When she approached, the turned on a small lamp and in the dim light she saw her mother lying on the floor with the clear indication that she was murdered. She screamed and ran out of the room.

What became dubbed "The Battle of Bennington Millions," or "The Second Battle of Bennington," began. It was the largest and most talked about court case of it's time, launching to fame the lawyer Warren Austin, who went on to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (and they didn't give that job to just any old nut with a moustache, back then). Witnesses included Sen. Arthur Capper of Kansas and Laura Harlan, daughter of former Chief Justice John Harlan. Grace Everett herself was subjected to three continuous days of relentless grilling on the witness stand. As Joseph Citro, the esteemed gothic author, put it, the proceedings "left the magnificent Glass and Bottle Baron of the American Industrial Revolution looking like a pitiable weakling, utterly dominated by his Lady Macbeth of a wife." The court sided with Everett's first daughters, awarding them each about a third of the fortune, with the remaining amount going to Grace and her two daughters.

Some say that great dramas and great sorrows of this sort leave a mark behind in certain places - perhaps a kind of shadow radiating in the poorly understood fabric of the physical universe, a wisp of smoke: In short, they are haunted.

Since then, a steady stream of unexplained disturbances and mysterious figures have been sighted. Security guards whisper about doorknobs turning in empty rooms and doors that close by themselves. On one occasion in 1982, a security guard called him when he could not identify the source of some strange noises. When they finally tracked the sounds to an office on the third floor, they found that the door, which was locked from the outside and had no other entrance, had somehow been blocked from the inside by a heavy desk. In what was once the old carriage house, there've been numerous reports of doors and windows locking and unlocking by themselves and computers that snap on and off suddenly.

One of the most frequently reported phenomena is the appearance of a woman in white, roaming the main house and grounds, thought by some to be the ghost of Edward's first wife.

All in all, the estate is ensconced in history and mystery, a great combination for a full-flavored haunted experiences or a gripping horror novel.

1 comment:

  1. I think this was written three years prior to the writing of this by a guy named Joe Durwin... http://mysterious-hills.blogspot.com/2006/06/ubiquitous-ghosts-of-southern-vermont.html?m=1