Every area has its ghost stories, and Chestnut Hill is no exception. Even better, Chestnut Hill has one of the most storied houses in America: Baleroy Mansion.
Built in 1911, the stone house located at 111 W. Mermaid Lane, Baleroy contains a treasure trove of antiques, historical artifacts and spooky stories.
According to a pamphlet on Baleroy found in the archives of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, many visitors have seen ectoplasm in parts of the house and experienced the supernatural during numerous séances held in its confines.
George Gordon Meade Easby, who lived in the mansion most of his life, and up until his death in 2005, has said he even experienced the home’s ghosts firsthand.
“It’s a real adventure living in this house,” Easby told Inquirer Magazine in July 9, 1989 interview.
In 1999, he told the same magazine his very own ghost story.
“Easby tells a chilling tale of waking up and feeling someone clutching his arm. When he turned on the light, no one was there,” an Inquirer Magazine article dated April 3, 1999 reported.
Baleroy’s spookiness is so well-documented, in fact, that the Chestnut Hill house has been featured in a number of books compiling haunted houses in the country, including “Haunted Houses, U.S.A” by Dolores Riccio and Joan Bingham, published in 1989.
“The electrical fields in the house attract lightning, and the electricity goes off for no apparent reason. It appears the ghosts of Baleroy enjoy playing with the electricity, just as some children like to play with matches,” the book said in its section under Baleroy Mansion.
“They play with the alarm systems, which have been inexplicably triggered so often the police now list the reason for these happenings on their reports, ‘cause of problem, ghosts.’”
The most infamous part of the house lies in the Blue Room. The room is an 18th Century drawing room, which contains secret compartments and, most notably, a blue chair with a bone-chilling history.
The archives at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society contains stories of at least three deaths, each occurring to someone who had occupied the blue chair within two weeks.
Easby told the authors of “Haunted Houses, U.S.A” that a housekeeper sat in the chair and immediately slumped over. Within hours, she was dead. Easby’s cousin was another alleged victim of the chair, as well as a friend of Easby’s, Paul Kimmens.
Easby was among those who believed that Baleroy was haunted. And maybe, just possibly, there is one more ghost lurking the halls at 111 W. Mermaid Lane.
In an Oct. 25, 1984 article in The Chestnut Hill Local, Easby is quoted, “When I leave here, I’m coming back to haunt them—if they don’t take good care of this place I’m going to be right back there after them.”