Paranormal Travels, Newport, Rhode Island

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 29th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/5b18zoi0/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Ghosts & Spirits

Belcourt Castle is not for the faint of heart as sightings are a normal occurrence when visitors take the candlelight or the more favored haunted tour through the darkest corners of the property, especially the spooky Gothic Ballroom. Known as the hot spot for apparitions, visitors love seeing the vast collection of artwork, furniture, sculptures, armor, paintings, tapestries, stained glass and the occasional spirit that lights up the room.

Candlelight, Ghost & Museum Tours at the Haunted Belcourt Castle

One of Newport, Rhode Island's most exquisite landmarks is the French Renaissance-style château known to locals as the Belcourt Castle. Many believe it to be the location of paranormal phenomena and events that involves haunted chairs, ghostly armor, apparitions, a statue that has been declared as possessed, and a haunted mirror that is truly baffling as you cannot see your reflection, only moving images that shift back and forth.

Belcourt Castle is not for the faint of heart as sightings are a normal occurrence when visitors take the candlelight or the more favored haunted tour through the darkest corners of the property, especially the spooky Gothic Ballroom. Known as the hot spot for apparitions, visitors love seeing the vast collection of artwork, furniture, sculptures, armor, paintings, tapestries, stained glass and the occasional spirit that lights up the room.

The Castle was designed by Richard Morris Hunt for the wealthy bachelor, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, who inherited a fortune from his father August Belmont. Belcourt Castle was embellished with horses and armor, which was a direct reflection for his love of medieval and renaissance architecture.

Oliver Belmont hired 30 servants at $100.00 per week to take care of the 60 room, 50, 000 square-foot estate and the grounds that displayed mythological sculptural pieces from nymphs and cherubs made from bronze, terra cotta, marble and stone. In 1896 Oliver Belmont married socialite Alva Vanderbilt, wife of his best friend and business partner. Alva Smith, daughter of an Alabama cotton merchant, was educated in France, and married to William Kissam Vanderbilt. The couple had three children before she divorced Vanderbilt in 1895 to marry Oliver Belmont.

The couple traveled extensively until Oliver's death in 1908. Alva then designed a grand mausoleum for her husband in his favorite Gothic style that stands out in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. Against her better judgment, the following year Alva redesigned the entire first floor of Belcourt Castle with the help of architect, John Russell Pope. Many people felt that Oliver would not have approved this drastic renovation as he loved his castle in its entirety just the way he had left it.

Alva grew bored with her life at the castle, and Belcourt soon fell into disrepair as Alva traveled to New York, France, and anywhere else that her heart desired. After her death in 1933, Oliver's brother Perry sold the castle in 1940 to entrepreneur George Waterman who envisioned Belcourt as an auto museum.

Jazz festivals were held at the estate regularly, after the new owners Elaine and Louis Lorillard saw the potential for accommodating over 10,000 guests on the castle grounds. The castle began to steadfastly fall apart at the seams after being uninhabited for approximately two decades. The Tinney family purchased Belcourt in 1956 for $25,000 and immediately began restoring the castle to her original grace and beauty. They later started tours of the castle once she was ready for the public beginning in 1957.

The 60 room museum is filled with mystery, intrigue, spirits, and furnishings from 33 European and Oriental countries. The Gothic ballroom is the prize of the castle with haunted chairs that give you chills running up and down your spine. Armor belonging to a man that died when a spear went through the eye-slot and out the other end can be viewed during the tour, and many claim that he can be heard screaming in and around March, the approximate time of his death.

A huge 50th anniversary party is planned for September 8th, 2007 with festivities that will celebrate the opening of Belcourt Castle to the public as a museum in 1957. Candlelight and haunted ghost tours will be featured activities as well as a few other surprises lurking around various corners.

Belcourt Castle Hours for Guided Tours: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday. Cost: Adults $10.00 and children are $5.00

2 Hour Ghost Tours: Wednesday and Thursday starting at 5 p.m. Cost: $18.00

Candlelight Tours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday starting at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cost: $18.00

Location of Belcourt Castle: 657 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, 02840. Phone: (401) 846-0669

Tags

50Th Anniversary, Apparitions, Armor, Artwork, Ballroom, Cemetery, Death, Divorce, Fortune, Ghosts, Gothic, Jazz Festival, Museum, Paranormal, Phenomena, Spirits, Stained Glass, Tapestry

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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