Ghosts?! Where? Delaware!

Delaware is even smaller than Maryland, so you may be asking what could possibly be here that's scary except for the high level of monochromatic citizens. Along the coast, you will come across spirits who are more than willing to make their presence known. There are even a few battlefields and forts that are still active, so to speak. So, take a gander at The First State you should not underestimate.

Addy Sea
addy sea

Photo Credit: Addy Sea

Visitors will find the Addy Sea Bed & Breakfast right on the beach, among the dunes and tourists. It was built in 1901 by John Addy, a plumber from Pittsburgh, as a summer house for his family and it was the first building in the area to have indoor plumbing and gaslight. Years later, the Addy House #4 (now known as the Addy Sea) had to be moved up closer to the dunes after the coast was pummelled by The Storm of 1927 and Addy House #3 was moved across Ocean View Parkway, which is where it still stands today. All of this was achieved with "man-power and mule-power and logs" (Addy Sea). During the Great Depression, the house provided room and board for church groups, presumably to generate supplemental income. One of the ghosts who still remain at the Addy Sea in Room 11 is an original employee, Paul Delaney.
It may be just a coincidence there are 13 rooms at the Addy Sea, but there are at least three of those 13 that have extra paranormal amenities. There is, of course, Paul the eternal Handyman of the Addy Sea in Room 11; he is regularly seen in the room, so you know he takes his job seriously. The antique clawfoot bathtub in Room 1 has been reported multiple times to have shook and apparently it was John Addy's personal bathtub. If you're a music lover, be sure to request Room 6 as it seems to be haunted by an organist. Throughout the bed and breakfast, guests will regularly hear someone with a perfumey smell running in the hallways. There are even reports of hearing the footsteps of Kurty Addy, one of the original owners, who fell off the roof and died.

Woodburn Mansion

Photo Credit: Visit Delaware

It was only in 1965 that the Woodburn Mansion was bought by the state to serve as the official residence of the Governor of Delaware. Before that, it was the home to politicians, doctors and wealthy landowners of Delaware. It was built at the end of the 18th century by Charles Hillyard in the popular Georgian style of the time and when it was bought in 1965, funds were made available to restore the house to its former prestige. It didn't take long for residents and visitors to notice paranormal activity in the mansion. In the early 1820's, the then current owner Dr. M.W. Bates hosted a preacher who, while walking down the stairs to breakfast, passed a man in colonial clothes. He thought nothing of the man until he suggested they wait for him to come down for breakfast. The Bates's had no idea who he was talking about until the preacher described the man he passed by; it was the lady of the house's father who had passed long ago.
When you approach Woodburn Mansion, you will notice the tall trees that dot the landscape and then not think about them again once you're inside the mansion....unless you happen to see the apparition of a Southern slave raider hanging from the boughs of one of the poplars. He wasn't lynched by the people who lived in Woodburn Mansion, which at this time was part of the Underground Railroad. He attempted to hide among the trees when the raiders were chased off by the owner, Dan Cowgill, and then try to kidnap the former slaves again. Unfortunately for him, he slipped and was caught in a knot on the tree and strangled to death, alone. He appears to be the only nefarious ghost in the mansion, though having a spirit drink all of the wine in the house is pretty dastardly, too. There have been reports of hearing disembodied footsteps in the dining room, as well as men in what appears to be Revolutionary War uniforms throughout the house. The last ghost at Woodburn Mansion is that of a little girl in a red checkered dress seen splashing in the fountains and once crashing the inauguration of a newly elected Governor.

Fort Delaware
fort delaware

Photo Credit: Visit Delaware

Fort Delaware sits on Pea Patch Island, between the states of Delaware and New Jersey in the Delaware River. The island was deeded to the U.S. government in 1813 and the fort was completed in 1859. Fort Delaware was meant to protect the ports of Wilmington, DE, and Philadelphia, PA, from foreign invaders, but it also served as a Union prison during the Civil War. It estimated to have held 12,595 Confederate prisoners of war at one point due to battles like Gettysburg and Vicksburg, but there were also Northern traitors, deserters and pirates. Out of the nearly 33,000 prisoners held at Fort Delaware during its history, it is estimated as many as 2,700 died there due to maltreatment and a smallpox outbreak. The victims were transported off the island and dropped in a mass grave in New Jersey. Like Alcatraz Island, the surrounding waters around Fort Delaware served as another barrier to escape attempts. Despite being an active fort for nearly a century, Fort Delaware never saw any actual combat of any kind, which makes the phantom cannon fire heard by investigators even stranger. In 1951, the island was returned to the state of Delaware and turned into a park.
Most of the entities seen at Fort Delaware appear to be former prisoners from the Civil War era. Visitors have heard moaning, groaning and the sounds of chain against stone down in the dungeons. Confederate soldiers have been caught on camera many times, still unable to escape their eternal prison, though some continue to try. Confederate soldiers have also been seen fleeing along the parade grounds in an apparent escape attempt. According to research done by a then-University of Delaware undergraduate student, there were numerous successful escapes from Fort Delaware, particularly during the warmer months; therefore, the escape re-enactments may be the remnants of survivors' guilt. Allegedly, a former POW promised his captors he would never attempt an escape in exchange for more comfortable accomodations; however, shockingly, when he DID attempt to escape, he was put in solitary confinement. He later fell ill as many unfortunate prisoners did at Fort Delaware and died in Richmond, VA. He is sometimes seen in his final cell with a great beard in his gray uniform.

Rockwood Park & Museum

Photo Credit: Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Rockwood Mansion was built from 1851-1854 as a retirement home for Joseph Shipley, a merchant banker and Wilmington native. The mansion was inspired by Shipley's country home, Wyncote, in England, where he accrued much of his fortune. Once Joseph died in 1891, Rockwood fell to his great-nephew Edward Bringhurst, Jr. and today you can see the Bringhurst family influence alongside furniture Joseph Shipley brought back from England.
At least one member of the Bringhurst family is rumored to still reside at Rockwood Mansion, but there are many other entities seen on the property. Eddie Bringhurst is thought to be the spirit of the young child running around and giggling by his old room, as well as his old playhouse, which is still partially standing. A man in a red smoking jacket has also been seen in the mansion, along with his spirited spaniel, followed by disembodied voices and footsteps. You may also feel cold spots while strolling through the mansion, but maybe that's just the female entity that can be noticed by her decidedly icy aura.

Bellevue Hall

Photo Credit: McFadden Catering

This mansion has outlived many owners with their own vision of what their estate should be. The structure you see today was first built by Hanson Robinson, who had profited from the wool business, in 1855, and named it Woolton Hall; however, when he built it, it was styled after a classic gothic castle that rivaled the Addams Family mansion. After Robinson died circa 1871, C.R. Griggs, a shipping businessman, took ownership of the estate and added a carriage house in 1870, filling it with his antique carriages. In 1883, William duPont, Sr., purchased the estate, along with surrounding tracts of land on which he built more barns and stables. In 1928, his son William, Jr., inherited Woolton Hall and began remodeling the Hall into a replica of Montpelier, the former home of President James Madision, and renamed it Bellevue Hall. He presumably did this because Montpelier was the home in which he grew up.
Today, the entirety of the grounds is now a state park and while you can tour the mansion, it is the upper floors not open to the public that are considered the most haunted. On the second and third floors, doors will slam on their own, chairs slide without any help from the living and visitors will regularly hear disembodied screams and laughter. The electricity can be especially touchy on the upper floors...or is that the spirits having a little fun?

John Dickinson Plantation

Photo Credit: History Matters

Built in 1739 by Samuel Dickinson, a wealthy tobacco farmer, this historic home is best known as being the former residence of his son, John Dickinson. John is one of the founding fathers of the United States, a member of the Continental Congress that wrote the Declaration of Independance and nicknamed the "Penman of the Revolution," as he was instrumental in garnering support for the revolution against Great Britain. It did suffer some damage during a British raid in 1781 and was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1804. When he died in 1808, the house passed into the possession of his daughter and stayed in the Dickinson family into the 20th century. After various families resided in the home, it eventually fell into the hands of the State of Delaware.
John Dickinson spent his childhood in this house and briefly during his adulthood, but it appears he's making up for lost time in his afterlife. Visitors to the home and museum have heard "strange" noises coming from the former study, including what suspiciously sounds like pen on parchment. It's believed he is still writing his patriotic prose while also walking along the property. A man, who is believed to be Dickinson, has been heard on EVP's, and though no one lives in the home anymore, the bedsheets are found rumpled in the afternoons as if someone had recently taken a nap. There are also orbs seen on the property, odd sounds heard through the hallways and seemingly random cold spots.

Amstel House Museum
amstel house

Photo Credit: Amstel House

Though built in the early 1730's, the property that the Amstel House sits has history going back almost a century. The brick house you see today was built by Dr. John Finney in the early Georgian style and is the only surviving building of that style still standing in New Castle today. The Finney Family maintained ownership of the house up until the the end of the 18th century when it became the home of Governor Nicholas Van Dyke. The house is stewarded by the New Castle Historical Society because several signers of the Declaration of Independence stayed in the house, it was previously home of the seventh Governor of Delaware and George Washington attended a wedding here.
The Amstel House maintained its position has a home for Delaware's prominent families throughout the centuries and it's believed some of them have never left their high station. Literally. There appears to be a lot of activity on the third floor where doors and windows open and close seemingly by themselves. Objects will also move across the floors and through the air. The spirits who haunt the Amstel House are also believed to be behind the hauntings at John Finney's son's, David, house across the street since the two houses were connected by an underground tunnel in the past.

The Brick Hotel
brick hotel

Photo Credit:

So named for the fact that it is one of the few remainining brick structures in the state with said bricks being fired in a local Georgetown kiln, The Brick Hotel has history going all the way before the Civil War. When it was first built in 1836, it was known as The Union Hotel, which replaced a public house that was previously on the premises and apparently had a rough reputation. For a time, The Brick Hotel functioned as the county court house while the new court house was being built, and later it hosted Georgetown's post office. You might first believe The Brick Hotel functioned as a military hospital during the Civil War; however, it actually was a favorite hangout for Union supporters. During the Civil War, the Eagle Hotel, a hot spot for Southern sympathizers, was located opposite of The Brick Hotel, which meant there were a fair amount of fights in the central circle of town. Throughout the years, The Brick Hotel also operated as a sort of club for the Delaware Bar and then in the mid 1900's, it was bought and remodeled by the Wilmington Trust Company.
If you happen to take photographs inside the hotel, there is a fair chance you will capture orbs on film, but this could just as easily be dust or light effects. However, some paranormal investigators have also caught EVP's, some of which are actually responses to questions or behavior of the living. There are also numerous reports of doors opening and closing on their own, as well as paintings apparently moving of their own volition. During other investigations, there are also been recorded cold spots and reports of shadowy figures in the hallways. One spirit has been contacted by the current owners of the hotel, with the help of a medium, who appears to be female and could possibly have come from the hotel's early days as a public house. There's no need to be scared, though. She is reportedly a "friendly ghost." According to the owners' reports on their website, guests have had run-ins with two ghosts who apparently "turning the shower on at midnight, relocating something in the room or in the building, turning lights off or at least causing them to go in a blinking frenzy…"

Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant
dead presidents

Photo Credit: Only In Your State

When you walk into the Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant, you'll notice all of the pictures, correspondence, and maps from all the presidents past and maybe that will be enough explanation as to why patrons and staff say this jumping pub is haunted. The history itself isn't full of murder and mayhem. The pub is actually made up of two former residences that were built in 1806, and like most private homes, it was eventually sold off and a series of businesses took up ownership. To add a little bit of intrigue to the pub's story, in the basement of the Dead Presidents Pub and Restaurant, an old family chapel was found, along with a carving of Jesus that is still on the premises where the booo-ze is now kept.
It's believed a reason why the Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant is haunted is because bodies were laid out for viewing in the family chapel (Newman, 58, 2011); however, the prevailing theory is one former patron is behind the paranormal shenanigans, before this business was the Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant. His name is "Lemonade" Mullery and in the 1960's he allegedly slipped in a puddle of urine in the men's bathroom, fell and died. "Lemonade" Mullery had a propensity for throwing things in jest at staff in the pub and he was apparently never thrown out because of this. It just so happens the spirit who haunts the pub also throws dishes at the staff, which is then followed by disembodied cackling or a stifled chuckle. The glasses will also rattle for no reason and dominoes in the game area have been seen floating. This wasted wraith has also been heard giggling around the stairs and bathrooms.

Long Cemetery
long cemetery

Photo Credit: Find a Grave

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at Long Cemetery.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Click on the Gh-gh-gh-ghost to Return From Whence You Came!