Haunted Houses Page 1
Yellow fever ravaged Wilmington in 1862, claiming 654 victims. The corpses were stacked along South Fourth Street, right around where Dr. Albert Baldwin built his house across the street from St. James Church and next door to the Temple of Israel, the state's first synagogue. Around the turn of the century Baldwin ran a dental practice in the stately Queen Anne style residence.
When the house changed hands in the mid-20th century, the new occupants found teeth placed all around the house, on the mantel, the staircase, the kitchen counter, a bedroom dresser. Glenn and Laurie Kaiser bought the house in 1990 and sat down to have a little chat with Emma Baldwin, just to get to know each other.
She must have liked them. After that Laurie found a dime on the upstairs bathroom sink dated 1966, the year Glenn and Laurie were married. She found two dimes in her sewing basket, one under the television set, and a stack of dimes on the porch railing. Dimes started turning up in guests' luggage, often discovered after they'd gone home and were unpacking. During a trip to London Laurie realized Emma must have come along when she found a dime on top of her closed suitcase—and she herself was carrying no American currency. The dimes are always heads up, and always with their shine rubbed off.
A family on the ghost tour discovered two dimes on the brick walkway in front of the house. The dates on the dimes were the years their two boys were born.
In 1861 Dr. John Bellamy built the grandest house in town, a 22-room, 10,000-square-foot Italianate/Greek Revival style with a three-story portico, 14 Corinthian columns and a rooftop belvedere that commanded a panoramic view of the city. In 1862 the family moved out, not because of the Civil War but because of the yellow fever epidemic. They returned in 1865 after Union troops had occupied the house.
The last Bellamy died in 1946 and the house stood vacant for nearly 30 years. Preservation North Carolina began renovations in 1972, and in that same year an arsonist nearly burned the house to the ground. It is currently remodeled to its former splendor, with slave quarters and a carriage house to the rear, and is now open for daily public tours.
In 1990 a film crew was wrapping up a shoot and started looking through old boxes and stacks of paper stored in the library. They heard the front door slam shut and heavy footsteps coming down the hall. Then the library door flew open and a cold blast of air rushed in, blowing paper in every direction. The men ran out of the house, the front door slammed behind them, and a pounding that sounded like fists against the door rattled the windows.
Ellen Bellamy was 94 years old when she died here, and she'd been in the habit of lying in bed and reading the newspaper. Black ink residue was on her hands when she turned off the wall sconce and over time this dark stain built up on the wall. No matter how many times her room is painted, those smudge marks reappear near the wall sconce.
Her wheelchair moves itself from one room to another, and wedding guests have claimed it has followed them around. Ellen Bellamy is likely to be one of the many ghostly apparitions that are glimpsed through the windows of the mansion at night, while others seem to be the children looking out from the upper floors or from the belvedere. A gray-haired couple sometimes stands in the sable glass of the third floor, the man in a military uniform and the woman in a flared antebellum gown.
Terms: Wilmington Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses Page 1
Wilmington Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses Page 1