My Haunted House II – The Legend Continues…

It’s been decades now, but every Halloween I think about that restaurant, situated in an original  antebellum home on Stage Road.  Thing was, it was haunted.  Yes, you heard it right – a Haunted House – but boy was she beautiful.  A majestic two story brick home, with a huge, two tier porch with white gingerbread detail dating back to the 1800’s.  Old rooted trees, lush lawn; white fences.  The day I saw her, she was dressed for Christmas with wreaths at each window and framed in twinkling white lights.  A vision.  Back then we literally knew nothing about the home and just a fraction of its history.  But thanks to the Internet and the new owners book –  now I can share some of the photos and information I’ve recently uncovered. 

(For more photos check out our FACEBOOK  and INSTAGRAM)

It was by no chance that in 1835, Dr. Nickerson Snead and his wife Betsy Scott-Beatie-Sneed built their dream home on Stage Road, then Old Stage Road, then The Great Road, or The Great Wagon Road, now known as Route 11 or Lee Highway.  That road’s been traversed for ages – long before the Snead Family ever set foot on this land; the Native Americans in the area called it The Great Warrior Path.  Using the area as a trade route in times of peace and a traveling route in times of war.  The tribes called it –  Passawatami – meaning “This is The Place.”   In fact – it was the place for their Fall Festival – or as we celebrate it now – Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos and the Equinox – how appropriate as I pen this tale.

The two story brick masterpiece itself is built on top of the original log cabin, established in the 1700’s by Francis Kincannon.  That limestone foundation has seen hundreds of years of history.  The original two room cabin served as a Fort – known as Fort Kincannon during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War.  When I read this my jaw dropped.  My history is intertwined with a house that was built before our country was founded.  Furthermore, during the Civil War. Dr. Snead’s home served as a field hospital; on account of the 1st and 2nd Battle of Saltville occurred just 8 miles away in 1864.  The cellar doubled as the morgue for a spell.  The less fortunate stored down there until the earth thawed enough to bury the dead.  Coincidentally, just down the road is the Old Glade Springs Cemetery where many a solider and the home owners, Mr. and Mrs. Snead reside to this day. 

The home is said to be haunted by various spirits.  Young children presumed to be Josephine and Douglas Mason both died young in the home.  Josephine from an onslaught of disease and Douglas from a kick to head by a horse, where the little boy died on the back steps waiting for the doctor to arrive.  There are two devious little prankster in the old log rooms, suspected to be two of the 11 slaves which were part of the estate.  But the most famous of them all is Betsy Scott herself, known as the Woman in Blue who is said to walk the corridors and purposely ignore the patrons of the Bed & Breakfast / Restaurant and walk away if ever addressed.  It became a problem.  The complaints were consistent and the real hostess always apologized and explained no one by that description worked there.  Can you imagine if Yelp existed back then?  Or maybe it’s Mrs. Mason, who bought the home from the Sneads and upon her death requested her wake to be held in the salon; and so it was.  She’s been said to be seen looking into her own coffin from time to time.

So here I am, drinking in the history of this house and look back at my own time there and some odd coincidences started to line up.

The first was very distinct as it was a well heated argument between a mother and her teenage daughter… over a video tape recorder – the battery to be exact.  My mom called me furious that I hadn’t charged the battery for the tape recorder before their trip.  I did.  But the machine stopped working as soon as they headed down into the basement.  Mom would recharged the battery – but it still would just drain.  This modern technology was pissing her off and being on the opposite coast I was little help to her.  Frustrated they purchased new batteries and chargers hoping to catch enough video.

Sadly, none of the batteries ever held a charge while in the home. 

I remember the whole house was cold, always cold, even if every fireplace in the joint was blazing.  In particular the Long Room on the second floor which was my dads office never got warm.  I mean, you could see your breath in there.  But we Californias had no idea what was the norm, so there we sat with our mittens.  I’m grateful for that memory because I can still hear my dad’s  laugh that day, when his teacup from the prior morning was frozen solid.

I remember the Red Room.  Situated on the 2nd floor at the heart of the home ; it had its own entrance while still connected to the main house – making it the prefect living quarters while the bustling restaurant downstairs filled the various salons and hallways.

Because of its separate entrance the Red Room was most likely the doctors office and perhaps the operating area; making the little house on the lawn a field office, nurse’s station or the Post Office as Dr. Snead was the Postmaster for three years.  When I came across a photo of the home today, it was of the Red Room and the exact corner and door that I entered years ago. The empty corner of the photo replaced in my memory with our Christmas Tree and the hollow room filled with the people I love.   It’s funny, looking back.  The first time I saw this home it was an enchanting Christmas fairytale and when I see it now it is a Halloween House of Horrors.  Strange how life works out – isn’t it?

I remember my cat sitting on the huge window sill of the Red Room looking out at the white barn next door; two brown horses neighing on the snow patched grass.  I remember the Christmas lights dancing off the ice on the glass.  I remember how tense and terrified my cat was but it didn’t occur to me as to why. I remember seeing the cemetery from the second floor window and the fog clung to each gravestone.   At the time I didn’t know the former residences now resided there – but I’ll never forget that view. 

I stumbled upon this article and the hairs on my neck rose.  Patrons of the restaurant complained about this rude lady dressed in blue, who would blatantly ignored them when addressed.  It reminded me of a conversation with my late father; who was having trouble finding a polite hostess, because they were constantly being complained about and in a small town he was running out of options.  When I read the accounts on this site, well I just got chills again typing this.  Perhaps the complicated employee was the legendary Blue Lady herself, Betsy – the original heiress.

I remember the beautiful dining rooms in the salons, the breathtaking views from each window.   The light hitting the porch as the snow glittered around us.  I remember sledding down the soft bank out back in huge waiter trays.  I remember sitting in the upstairs covered porch and watching the snow fall through the tiny window panes.  If little Douglas haunted that spot, he was quiet that night.  I remember the Christmas breakfast by the fireplace, the hot coco, the gift giving, the love and the ghost hunting…

But what really gets me is the Christmas Eve I spent in that old haunt.  The pending blizzard clearing out the joint; leaving all but me, my folks and good ole’ Billy.  When I met Billy that week, it was said he came with the house, a dedicated worker the owners simply kept on, so my Pop did too.  We didn’t shake hands, he was awkward and hardly kept your stare; a goofy smile, kind and full of energy.  With the whole place to ourselves and nothing to do – Billy took us on a ghost hunt.  We explored each room, up in the attic but not the basement, nothing could get me down there after dark – or at high-noon for that matter.

It’s only at this moment, as I’m reading about the history that I recall those memories in the tiny brick house out front.  How dreadfully cold it was.  How I was wrapped in layers of clothes, scarfs and jackets; while Billy wore just a sweater.  How I was shivering and he was giggling.  How my breath turned into ice before my eyes and his…  his breath didn’t make ice crystals.  All these years later, that moment engraved in my mind, I noticed it then but was too scared with my Dad playing tricks on us to say anything.  But you can’t trick that. 

When I recall that magical Christmas Eve ghost hunt, where we found nary a ghost… but maybe, just maybe…

We were hosted by one. 

After all, many a wayward solider met his untimely end in that old house…

* * *

That mansion has seen a lot in 183 years and I’m grateful that for the time it was ours as it was pure magic.  In today’s harsh political climate, I take solace knowing two immigrants with a dream lived in a home with roots so deep they precede our nations birth.  Two immigrants and their California girl danced in those hallways.  Laughed in those rooms.  Cozied up by those fireplaces.  Us and 183 years of souls.  I would lying if that moment in time didn’t shape the woman I am today – and the foundation as to why I become a Reatlor.  A house is a home, a home to all that love there.

Thank you for taking the time to read my tale.  It is a bittersweet memory I only dare think about on All Hallows Eve.

For photos of this old haunt check out our FACEBOOK  and INSTAGRAM pages.

The following amazing sites are where I gathered the information and photos for this article.

Bibliography

Caudill, Rhonda, L.  The History & The Hauntings of The Nickerson Sneed House: Rhonda L. Caudill, 2017.  Print.

https://www.facebook.com/149408365269387/photos/pb.149408365269387.-2207520000.1447724941./156738294536394/?type=3&theater

https://thenickersonsneadhouse.wordpress.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvSuqdYE3RQ

http://www.marionvaparanormal.com/nshm.html

http://www.ramblingroots.com/RYB-p/e932.htm

http://www.ramblingroots.com/RYB-p/p2756.htm

http://www.ramblingroots.com/RYB-p/p2660.htm

http://www.ramblingroots.com/RYB-p/p6828.htm

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

My Haunted House!

Stay tuned for an update to this tale on Halloween!  Oh and head over to Facebook & Instagram to find out my favorite Haunted House Movies right in time for Halloween!

The following is a true story…

I never really thought twice about it. But this is true; for a short spell in my life, my parents experimented with a restaurant situated in a haunted house decades ago. It was a beautiful brick colonial mansion in Virginia that was converted into a restaurant on the bottom floor with the living area on the second floor.

The house was amazing; it dated back to the Civil War where it was built by a doctor and his family. In the front yard, just to the right of the long driveway was a tiny brick room where the good doctor would greet his Civil War patients, perform surgeries and amputations. To add to the mystic – across the street and down a bit was a Civil War cemetery. Classic.

At the time, the home was registered as a haunted house with the state and it was disclosed. This didn’t faze my parents in the least – my father was an amazing Executive Chef and the opportunity to be a part of this restaurant far exceeded the disclosure.

So they dove right in…

During winter break that year, I came to visit. I hadn’t seen the house prior and I was intrigued that it was haunted. Well, truthfully I was scared to death – but so excited.

It was snowing by the time I got there and for this California girl – I was cold! So the fact that the entire house was freezing didn’t occur to me as haunted! The first couple of days were lovely, the snow covered hills, the horses next door – I was bewitched by the beauty.

Finally, on Christmas Eve, the restaurant was booked solid and I was left to my own devises. As the evening progressed, a huge snowstorm was coming our way when suddenly we found ourselves snowed-in. None of the dinner guests could make it and the only other employee, Billy couldn’t even go home. It was hellish out there. While the view of the cemetery from the second floor balcony scared me stiff. Low fog clung to the gravestones I had read earlier that day. Through the snow it was hard to make anything out. So what were we to do? Well, go ghost hunting of course.

Billy and I started in the attic. He knew stories about the house – or maybe they were tall tales. Nonetheless we were in for a riveting evening. We took the long skinny staircase to the top floor. The wood creaked heavily as we walked up the stairs. We got to a small landing that led to a small door. Billy went first. The door was unlocked and he pushed it – it opened ever so slowly. The room smelled dank and it was freezing up there, my breath fogged before my eyes. Billy hit the nob and tube switch for a light. A tiny blub hanging from the rafters illuminated. It barely lit the corner. The attic was rather empty, there were some old wardrobes and furnishing stored up there under dirty white sheets. Classic horror movie stuff, I was scared. Shaking I couldn’t even take another step in.

Then the light went off.

I SCREAMED bloody murder.

But before I could move – I heard the laughter. A hearty laugh. And some good ole’ knee slapping.

Billy had switched the light off. Haha. Very funny Billy.

We left the attic and worked our way through the salon, the morning room, the entire second floor bedrooms and living rooms, the entire first floor of dinning rooms and bar and then we ventured outside. I wasn’t going in the basement.  Not that night.

Bundled up in parkas, thermals, hats and gloves Billy and I walked across the front lawn towards the tiny brick house.

I pulled on the door. Hard. It wouldn’t budge. Was probably frozen shut. I pulled again. Nothing. So Billy gave it a shot. He pulled and pulled. The door simply creaked. He pulled again and with great effort he finally got the old wooden door open.

We stepped inside this tiny room. It was maybe 10 feet by 10 feet. One tiny window – but no light came through. It too smelled old and moldy. It had a packed dirt floor. There was nothing in there and no electricity. With our flashlights we brightened every corner, our breath playing games with our eyes.

Then the door slammed closed.

This time it wasn’t Billy – he was standing ahead of me.

I shouted – “Oh Hell No!” Turned around and with one solid front kick I blasted that heavy door open and ran. Billy right behind me.

We flew towards the big house and I went straight for the parlor where my dad had the fire going and some hot totties.

He had a silly grin on his face. Sometimes I think he slammed the door.

I was officially done. My young teenage heart couldn’t take anymore. I was just fine watching the snow flurry from my chair in the parlor and I hung up my paranormal investigating badge.

The next morning, the sun was shinning and the snow blanketed the world as far as the eye could see. It was enchanting. Even the tombstones looked pretty again.

I never went back to the doctor’s office, or the cemetery and like hell would I ever venture up the stairs to the attic again. From what I heard after I returned home, Billy never set foot in the office again either.

I tried looking up the old place, but I couldn’t find it. And that’s fine with me. Maybe some stones should be left unturned. I did find one picture of the home…

yswissinn

UPDATE COMING SOON!

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween and if you are ghoulishly curious – here is a link to the Top 10 Haunted Houses

 

 

Don’t Let Buying or Selling be Spooky!

 

 

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.