Haunted Happenings at Local Inns and B&Bs
By Erin Marvin
When I called up Linda Scimandle, part owner of the Charlemont Inn, and asked if she had experienced any "ghostly encounters" during her years of working there, she laughed and replied, "Have you got a few hours?" Seems the Charlemont Inn, which has been offering "repast and rest" to guests since its founder, Ephraim Brown, began providing room and board to weary travelers during the American Revolution, is also popular with visitors from the spiritual realm.
Linda guesses they have at least six ghosts, one of which, whom they have named Elizabeth ("She doesn't seem to mind the name"), is very busy. Linda estimates Elizabeth's age at around 17 or so, and calls her a "brat." Elizabeth has been known to slam doors, stomp around and make lots of other noises, sometimes even launching a coffee cup through the air. However, Linda steadfastly maintains, "They (the ghosts) are all friendly here."
One story Linda shared with me took place a few years ago. Co-owner Charlotte Dewey had gotten up at 4 a.m. to begin work as usual. As she passed by the dining room, she saw that the large, heavy wood-framed mirror that should have been hanging over the sideboard was on the ground. Not only that, it was upside down, and in the reverse position of how it was originally hung on the wall. The mirror itself was shattered, yet the wire that was used to hang it was still intact. The Inn's night watchman claimed that he hadn't heard a sound all night.
It seems the Charlemont Inn isn't the only business in the Berkshires with ghost tales. Wesley Bookstaver, who owns The Morgan House along with his wife, Kim, got up one morning around 3 a.m. for a glass of water (an unusual occurrence in itself). On his way to the kitchen, he heard the faucets go on in the ladies room at full blast. No one else was awake.
This same incident, faucets in the ladies restroom unexplainably turning on by themselves, has happened numerous times since (usually about once a month). Wes and Kim believe that these strange occurrences are directly related to a large picture that they put up in the hallway near the bathroom. Wes and Kim found the picture, a large image of an unknown woman, in the Inn's attic. About a month after they cleaned off the dust and hung it up, the incidents began.
"Now we're afraid to take it down," admits Wes.
The innkeepers of the Wainwright Inn report hearing people singing and seeing lights turn on and off. Alarms in the hallways sometimes go off for no reason, and they've also heard unexplained footsteps in the attic above their living space. Perhaps it's Franklin Pope, a previous resident of the Inn and inventor of the ticker tape and other electrical gadgets. The story goes that Pope electrocuted himself while turning on a light switch in the basement (as an electrical engineer, he should have been more careful).
The Wainwright innkeepers, who make no assumptions as to who or what causes the unexplained noises they hear from time to time, report that "the house feels very peaceful and cozy, and if we do have ghosts, they are happy with our presence and what we are doing with their house."
Although there are no reported sightings or mysterious occurrences at the Kemble Inn, Robyn Allen, who works part time manning the front desk, did say that there is plenty of ghostly activity going on across the street. She and other employees, as well as Kemble Inn guests, have seen the ghostly figure of an old priest and his dog outside Trinity Church. The Berkshires seem to be a popular destination for all walks of life - and the afterlife.