Edgar Allan Poe may be the American writer most closely associated with all things eerie and spooky, but surprisingly, the lovable Mark Twain has a haunted past of his own. The pristinely preserved Gothic mansion in Hartford, Connecticut where Samuel Clemens lived with his family between 1874 and 1891 (and where he wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”) is said to be haunted by ghosts of Twain himself, his daughter Susy who died in 1896 of meningitis, and George Griffin, a freed slave who worked for the family. And if the paranormal activity associated with these spirits wasn’t enough to give you goosebumps, just take a look at the dark, ominous house itself through these haunting photos by Imgur user Reacher that give us a taste of the hair-raising home.
The Mark Twain House is in the Hartford neighborhood of Nook Farm, where the Harriet Beecher Stowe House is also located. Samuel Clemens hired New York architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to build his 25-room mansion in 1873, and in 1881 he brought on Louis C. Tiffany & Co. to decorate the walls and ceilings of the home’s public spaces. Twain later said of it, “To us, our house… had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were of its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.”
But perhaps the whole “house with eyes” thing went a little too far. After the Clemens family sold the house in 1903 (they left in 1891 so Samuel could make money on a speaking tour in Europe, but after Susy died, they thought it would be too painful to ever return to Hartford), it served as a boarding school and library before being turned into a museum dedicated to the author. As far back as the 1960s and ’70s, staff members felt “presences” and strange happenings such as the smell of cigar smoke in the billiards room where Twain wrote; voices like children’s laughter and footsteps; and visions of a woman in a white Victorian nightgown, as well as of an African-American male near where George Griffin’s bedroom had been.
In 2009, Smoking Gun Research Agency (SGRA), the official investigators of “unexplained and unusual occurrences from a scientific and technical approach,” went into the Mark Twain House and reported a great deal of spirit energy. The popular television show “Ghost Hunters” also explored the property twice, where they felt someone breathing on them and saw shadows.
Today, the Mark Twain House takes advantage of its haunted status, offering Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours. They also have more historic and architectural tours for guests who may not want to get acquainted with those from the other side. Learn more about the museum and its tours HERE >>.
[Via Pop Sugar]
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All photos via Imgur user Reacher