Hyde Hall has had the reputation of being haunted since the 19th century. Stories about the hauntings have been circulating for many years.
“This had fed the imagination over time,” said Jonathan Maney, Executive Director and CEO. “Whether it be tour guides or workers or guests, they have had experiences here that are difficult to explain.”
Mr. Maney stressed that these experiences are very subjective.
“Some people have seen full-body apparitions; others report auditory events, like parties going on with ice clinking in glasses and people laughing,” he said. “Some of the people working on the restoration throughout the years have experienced their tools being moved around.”
“Some of the public have to turn away when they walk in. These people are super sensitive.”
Mr. Maney has had experiences himself. “I’m reluctant to talk about it because I don’t want to sound foolish, but these are the kind of things people have experienced,” he said. “You go over each experience in your head again and again and question yourself.”
“I was on the tiger maple staircase just outside of the kitchen by the nursery and I saw a young lady in a long dress with a long braid going down the staircase,” he said. “I went to say something to her, thinking she was lost or got away from a tour, and she turned and walked down the staircase. There was a strong stream of light coming in and I could see the cracks on the wall through her.”
“Her image looked like shattering glass. It looked like refracted light; it was beautiful,” Mr. Maney said.
Several weeks later, as they were preparing for a gala, Mr. Maney found another young woman who seemed to be looking for something.
“She said she was there helping with the decorations. She was looking for the lady with the long braid that her friend had seen a few weeks ago and she wanted to find her,” he said. “That gave me confirmation of what I saw.”
There is no science to any of these experiences.
“Most experiences are very tame and peaceful,” Mr Maney said. He explained there are different kinds of ghosts: Some will see you and respond to you, some will speak to you, and some will just look straight ahead. They don’t see you.
They are what Mr. Maney calls a memory.
The ghost tours tell stories about the house.
“We aren’t trying to scare anyone, we don’t leap out from behind doors,” he said. “We tell the stories that have been told for the last 150 years. The stories are about the history of Hyde Hall and the people who have lived here and their lives,” he said.
“Hyde Hall is the only museum that can offer this period lighting,” he said. “Other museums will offer tours in candlelight, but we have much more,” Mr. Maney said.
“There is nothing malevolent here, there’s nothing disturbed here, I love this house at any time of the day. You never feel alone here,” he said.