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Real Haunted House

Belcourt Castle

Newport, Rhode Island
By Shannon Reinbold-Gee

Belcourt Castle is a large Louis XIII style estate that hosts regular ghost tours and candlelight mystery tours–and with good reason. Belcourt Castle, the sixty-room summer cottage of Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, has a reputation for being one haunted destination that does not disappoint. Construction started on the estate in 1891 and continually employed three hundred skilled craftsmen for three full years.

Oliver intended to use Belcourt to display his collections of armor, medieval manuscripts, stained glass and numerous things related to his love of horses.

In 1895 the house was officially opened with a grand ball, its hostess was Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt, the wife of Oliver’s best friend and business partner. Perhaps her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt, should have suspected something was amiss. Whether he suspected his best friend and his wife of any indiscretion or shared emotion is a bit of a mystery. Regardless, after having three children, Alva divorced William and married Oliver.

The two traveled extensively, collecting as they went, until Oliver died in 1908. The next year Alva redesigned the first floor of Belcourt. Some have speculated that Oliver would have disapproved because he loved the place exactly as it was. Alva’s attention then shifted and she became active in the women’s movement and a great supporter of the arts. Traveling frequently, Alva let Belcourt fall into a state of mild disrepair. She died in 1933.

Belcourt does not necessarily seem to be haunted by its owners or any members of the large staff that worked there for decades. Rather, it seems Belcourt is haunted because of some of the antiques in its collection. Furnished with art and trappings from more than 30 different countries, Belcourt has a lovely Gothic ballroom featuring haunted chairs. Some visitors have reported feeling chills race up and down their spine while standing near the chairs, others have reported strange sensations of energy moving across their hands. Supposedly if you try to sit in one of the haunted chairs you’ll feel resistance, while trying to take a seat in the other may just get you tossed out of it.

There is also a screaming suit of armor in the Gothic ballroom. The original owner of the armor was killed by a spear entering the visor’s eye slit. People claim the owner’s screams can still sometimes be heard around the time he died in March.

A carving of a monk is also supposedly haunted by its ghostly counterpart—so keep your eyes open. Cameras are not generally allowed in the castle, but a few people who sneaked photos (at risk of having their camera taken and being kicked out of the tour, so don’t do it) claim they have proof of orbs in several rooms.

Belcourt Castle is certainly worth a visit, many have said their guides were well-educated and that there is simply too much to see and learn about in a single visit. Whether you’re interested in the ghosts, the antiques, the history or the architecture, Belcourt seems to have something for everyone.

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David says:

January 31, 2012, 3:06 pm

I was on the same tour as the last person who wrote…I don’t mean to interfere but they were told it wasn’t appropriate for children under the age of eight and were given this disclaimer and also told as usual that if the children did not behave they would be asked to leave with no refund. The wife was not rudely interrupted at all, she was asked nicely to keep her children under control then was when she didn’t comply she chose to leave and she was the rude one.
The woman in mention they so judged was the owner of the castle if they had been paying attention and she is no hustler. The tour does not seem to hold the attention span of small children who seem enamored more with the parent then the tour. It is clear the kids that left didn’t want to go on the tour to begin with. My question ….is I don’t think this woman even asked for a refund because I believe she would have been refunded her money no problem. She clearly was difficult to please it apparent.

Avoid Belcourt ….no avoid wives who don’t have the patience. It is called divorce. He went on the tour he could have left like anyone, it is hypocritical of this person to give a review but all our entitled to an opinion and mine is: Belcourt….is a beautiful place.

Timmy S says:

June 26, 2012, 6:23 am

Wowzers, i went to this haunted house with my sister and it was one of the creepiest days of my life. My mom makes me take metamucil because I have problems with my bowels but that day I forgot so I was a bit constipated but when I sat on one of the chairs oh boy. I had to sprint to the bathroom and I spent more time in the bathroom rinsing my leg than I care to recall. It was just a weird tingly feeling. No actual apparitions but what a scary place, I tell you!

Steve says:

December 14, 2013, 8:57 pm

Donald tinny was my 2nd. cousin, his family bought Belcourt when I was five, I visited the house many times while growing up and lived and worked there as an adult. I know every inch of the house, even found an unknown room one day. I guarantee it is and never was haunted. All of that ghost stuff and much more was a hoax.

The Rising Storm says:

May 9, 2014, 2:53 pm

Sounds like something on Doctor Who!❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤😏

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