Rhode Island was one of the first areas of the British North American colonies to be populated. It was a popular place for people who were escaping the religious persecution of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As such, Rhode Island is a place with rich history and many historical buildings. Of course, where there are historical buildings, there are supposed hauntings.
General Stanton Inn
4115 Old Post Road
Charlestown, RI 02813
The General Stanton Inn was built as a mansion home in 1667, making it nearly 350-years-old. The home became an inn after the American Revolution, as the Stanton family was trying to boost their finances in a post-war economy. According to the General Stanton Inn website, the inn has had several famous guests. Perhaps even George Washington has stopped in.
In 2007, the General Stanton Inn was featured on the Sci-Fi Channel’s show “Ghost Hunters.” As is typical, nothing conclusive of any sort was found. Therefore, there is no proof other than hearsay of the hauntings at the General Stanton Inn. As far as apparitions go, only one of a man has been reported. However, there have been numerous claims that mysterious noises occur there, not to mention spirits touching guests.
657 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Belcourt Castle is one of the famous Newport Mansions. The hunting lodge-style mansion was completed in 1894. It was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Two families have owned the mansion since it was built. The current owners, the Tinneys, have amassed a collection of antiques, which reportedly have led to some horrific haunting activity.
Out of all the haunted houses on this list, Belcourt Castle has the creepiest story. The ballroom of this beautiful mansion has produced a great deal of supposed paranormal activity. There have been claims that visitors sense something behind them when in the ballroom. Objects have reportedly moved or flown through the air. Even more disturbing are physical and mental changes that reportedly take place in the ballroom. Some people claim to feel sick to their stomachs while in the room. Others have reported inexplicable hatred. Two salt chairs that sit in the room are said to be the source of at least some of this activity. There may be one more source.
There are a few suits of armor in the Belcourt Castle ballroom. Visitors and the Tinneys have said that at least one of these suits produces horrible screams that may only occur in the victim’s head. Some stories say that the owner of one of those suits of armor was murdered whilst wearing it. Other haunted happenings are credited to the Belcourt Castle, but these are the most chilling, by far.
Governor William Sprague Mansion
1351 Cranston St.
Cranston, RI 02920
The original owners of the Governor William Sprague Mansion – the Spragues – were a tragic family. Right from the start of their success, they were plagued with misfortune, some of which was clearly self-inflicted. On New Year’s Eve, 1843, Amasa Sprague, father of William Sprague, was beaten to death. He was found near the mansion. It is said that he haunts his former home.
Another, more beautiful, but no less tragic, figure haunts the Sprague Mansion. It is said that a beautiful socialite can be seen admiring herself in the mirror in the home’s ballroom. This woman is presumed to be Kate Chase Sprague. Kate was the wife of Governor William Sprague and the daughter of Secretary of Treasury Salmon Chase.
Kate Chase Sprague was allegedly the victim of spousal abuse from her husband. They eventually divorced and their oldest son committed suicide. Kate died in Washington, D.C., but it is said that she goes to the ballroom to relive her happy, youthful days. Governor Sprague died a much poorer man. His son reportedly blamed him for driving him to suicide.
No tour of haunted homes in Rhode Island would be complete without these historical houses. Visitors may not get to see or feel ghostly presences, but they will be able to enjoy a piece of history. That is the true draw of these “haunted” homes.
Sprague Mansion, retrieved 5/17/11, realhaunts.com/united-states/sprague-mansion
Belcourt Castle, retrieved 5/17/11, hauntedplacesinamerica.com/belcourt-castle
Belcourt Castle History, retrieved 5/17/11, belcourtcastle.com/history.htm
General Stanton Inn, retrieved 5/17/11, hauntedhovel.com/generalstantoninn.html
General Stanton Inn, retrieved 5/17/11, generalstantoninn.com/history.html