We have heard of objects being haunted, which is a phenomenon we are researching at the moment along with trigger objects. What happens if the two are combined? A spirit who remains in a property and who also has a great emotional attachment to a particular object or piece of furniture, as opposed to “haunting it.” An item that when touched or used by someone living, invokes paranormal activity? We came across one such occurrence when we were investigating Manhattan.
One of our most interesting and active investigations to date was the 18th century Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York. Home to Sir Roger Morris, war room to George Washington, a tavern and most notably, home to socialite Eliza Jumel. On our private investigation with Chris of Gotham Paranormal (part of the TAPS family) we had many experiences, however one of the most impressive was in relation to former Vice President Aaron Burr.
If you have seen the musical Hamilton, you will know Burr as the man who shot dead Founding Father Alexander Hamilton during a duel. He went on to marry Eliza Jumel following the death of her first husband Stephen after a mysterious accident that carried the label of murder, fingers pointed at Eliza.
Undeterred, the wealthy widow continued on her quest for business success and recognition among New York’s elite. Part of this plan seemed to be a marriage of convenience between Eliza and former Vice President Aaron Burr.
Aaron Burr was substantially older than Eliza and had the stain of the death of Hamilton on his reputation. He also had to endure a trial for treason for which he was acquitted, and had little in the way of personal wealth. Despite this, his previous standing as Vice President, his political connections and place in Manhattan society made Burr a viable match, bringing Eliza a step closer to the acceptance she seemed to crave.
Unfortunately this union was short-lived, as the new Mrs. Burr discovered her husband was frittering away her fortune on frivolous and unsuccessful property speculation as well as engaging in an apparent affair.
Outraged, Eliza threw Aaron Burr out of the house and he was forced to take up residence in a low class boarding house in Staten Island where he suffered a stroke. Burr fought tooth and nail for access to the mansion he believed should be his and he felt he had the right to die in the very bed Stephen Jumel had taken his own final breath in.
In a public demonstration of Eliza’s business acumen and evidence of her tough persona and clever wit, she hired none other than Alexander Hamilton Jnr. as her divorce attorney, son of the man Aaron Burr had shot to death.
In a further twist in favour of Eliza, her estranged husband died on the very day the divorce was to be granted, so Eliza retained the right to call herself widow of Vice President Aaron Burr and kept every cent and acre of the fortune she had built for herself.
We had already been feeling the power and animosity of Aaron Burr in other areas of the house, however the Master Bedroom was going to provide unparalleled activity of a much darker persuasion.
Centred, were the bed and an armchair belonging to Aaron Burr, with the mahogany furniture and dark colours setting the masculine scene within. A bust of Aaron Burr stares condescendingly at those who enter his personal space, situated at the most southerly point of the house.
After some other activity pertaining perhaps to Stephen Jumel, we began to address Aaron Burr directly and the K2s and sensors within the room all went to solid red and held. Deliberate tapping sounds were heard all around us and footsteps sounded on the landing just outside the bedroom door.
Ann stood with her back to the chest of drawers and mirror and felt the distinct sensation of being watched. As she turned, we saw a solid shadow figure walk across the room, gain a more pronounced silhouette as it briefly looked out from the mirror before continuing out of the room and disappearing on the landing. The hairs on the back of our necks stood up as the bust of Aaron Burr glowed an ominous crimson with the light of the K2 reflecting beneath it.
She began a lone vigil sat in the two hundred year old chair belonging to the former Vice President of the United States. Instinctively Ann knew she wasn’t welcome, a female in a man’s domain and a fiery and independent woman at that! We wonder did he sense any similarities between Ann’s traits and those of the woman who was ultimately responsible for his downfall and total humiliation within Manhattan society.
Ann said her feelings became tangible and she physically began to shiver and get goosebumps as the temperature around her dropped rapidly, Chris and Dominic watching in from the landing feeling the sudden chill too. A smell of stale tobacco hovered in the air.
Not one to back away when challenged, it became a paranormal duel of wits, as the apparent ethereal Aaron Burr tried to suppress our fearless investigator and her questions. Clearly Ann sitting in the chair was a step too far for the former Vice President so he continued his intimidation until she finally stood up.
As soon as this happened, the atmosphere lightened and activity ceased. Was the chair the last connection Aaron Burr felt he had to the house that he could call his own? A reminder of a time when he was someone to be reckoned with?
To be sure we will just have to try the experiment again when we return to New York!
All photos by Ann Massey/Irish Paranormal Investigations