The Haunted Rockwood Mansion

I visited several interesting places in Delaware  recently, one of which was the Rockwood Mansion. The Rockwood Mansion in Wilmington is thought by many to be the most haunted house museum in all of Delaware. A wealthy merchant banker named Joseph Shipley (1795–1867) built the mansion in the 1850s. Shipley’s great nephew Edward Bringhurst Jr. acquired the estate in 1891. The property remained in the family until being gifted to New Castle County in 1973. The mansion underwent a major renovation project and was eventually opened to the public. Located within the 72-acre Rockwood Park, the Gothic Revival mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Rockwood Mansion. Photo by author.

Obviously, there is a long history behind Rockwood, and today it is said to be haunted by several entities—entities who lived in the home while they were alive. One of the spirits haunting the home is that of Mary Bringhurst who is very particular about her room; she does not like for visitors to enter, and it is considered to be the most haunted room in the home. According to psychics who have visited the mansion, there is a strong presence that can be felt in Mary’s bedroom. There are accounts in which people have fallen ill and even passed out upon entering the room. Mary’s presence can also be felt in a room on the main floor that she occupied after becoming too frail to navigate the stairs any longer.

Eddie, the son of Edward Bringhurst Jr., is thought to be another entity that haunts the home. Paranormal activity has been reported coming from Eddie’s bedroom. Laughter and giggling—from a child—has been reported around the stairs.

The ruins of Eddie’s playhouse are still standing on the property; Eddie’s presence has been observed there.

The ruins of Eddie’s playhouse. Photo by author.

There are other ghosts in Rockwood: a man in a red smoking jacket haunts the home; the man has a ghostly canine companion; a woman with a “halo” of cold air wanders around. Then there are the “typical” things that accompany hauntings: there are cold spots throughout the home; of course, there are strange sounds that cannot be explained; sudden smells from nowhere are reported—particularly the smell of lilac. This phenomenon—strange smells without a source—is something I observed firsthand at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado during a paranormal tour. The ballroom, located in a building adjacent to the hotel, inexplicably filled with the smell of perfume while I was there. Thought by many to be the scent of Mrs. Stanley’s perfume, the sudden, ghostly smell is a regular occurrence in the ballroom.

Other phenomena take place at Rockwood that go above and beyond what is often associated with typical hauntings. The most eerie of which is the “Vortex of Souls.” The vortex is a mist that has been spotted above the home. At times, faces are observed inside of the mist.

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