Delaware Attractions February 08, 2017
This Forgotten Mansion Is One Of The Most Haunted Places in Delaware
When you think of Delaware’s most famous mansions, the grand DuPont estates come to mind – ornate Winterthur, sprawling Nemours and historic Hagley. However, the DuPont family were not the only ones building enormous estates in Delaware at the time. IN the early 1850s, Joseph Shipley, a Wilmington Banker, hired one of the world’s most famous architects to build his home and moved his entire family – dogs, horses and even his gardener and housekeeper – to Wilmington from Liverpool, England. The stunning Rockwood Mansion started off with several buildings on a sprawling 70+ acres of land.
The Rockwood Manor was passed down to Joseph Shipley's family.
After the Banker's death, his great nephew Edward Bringhurst Jr, took over the property. He moved his wife and three young children into Rockwood in 1892. The Bringhurst's eldest daughter, Bessie, took it upon herself to decorate the mansion is elaborate fashion - and most of her design decisions remain to this day. Much of Joseph Shipley's original English funiture still occupies the house as well. Stepping into Rockwood is like stepping back into the 1890s!
The manor has been preserved and restored by various groups since the 1970s.
After several generations of Shipley's family enjoyed the home, it was left to a non-profit to preserve. In 1973, New Castle County was gifted the land and mansion. 25 years later, the county took on a massive restoration project, with the new "old" Rockwood opening up to the public in the early 2000s. Currently, Rockwood Mansion Park includes the Mansion, Conservatory, Porter's Lodge, Gardener's Cottage, Barn and Carriage House.
Rockwood Park itself is open to the public daily.
You can wander the walking trails from dawn to dusk. Tours of Rockwood Mansion are held from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM on the hour Wednesday through Saturday, and on Sundays from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM. If you're bringing a large group (more than 6 people), call ahead to reserve your spot at (302) 761-4340.
However, the best way to tour Rockwood is through one of their famous, creepy, ghost tours.
The Rockwood Manor ghosts are so creepy that they've been featured on TV several times - on the show "My Ghost Story", on the season finale of Ghost Hunters, and on several local paranormal programs. The mansion is rumored to be haunted by former residents - including a man in a red smoking jacket, his trusty canine companion, a young child (presumed to be Eddie, the son of Edward Bringhurst Jr), and a woman that wanders around with a halo of chilly air as she approaches guests. Unexplained sounds are common as well in the old home.
Eddie's ghost still haunts the remains of his once glamorous playhouse.
The creepiest part of a Rockwood Mansion tour, to me, is seeing the ruins of Eddie's playhouse still on the grounds. When Ghost Hunters explored the mansion, they found plenty of evidence that playful Eddie still roams his former home:
If you're not convinced, the Rockwood Mansion ghost tours will make a believer out of you.
The Mansion offers three different options - the family friendly, standard ghost tour. Bring your camera and prepare for some creepy stories as you tour the creaky old estate. The second option, a Ghost Tour Adventure, will take you into the attic and basement - arguably the scariest areas of the mansion. Oftentimes, a psychic or medium joins the group. This is an intense tour, and you must wear comfortable exploring shoes and bring your own flashlight. This one is recommended for teenagers and adults only.
brave, you might want to sign up for the intense Overnight Investigation. You can bring your own ghost hunting equipment and should at least be familiar with paranomal investigations. Depending on what you encounter in the house, you may also get to wander the grounds in the dark, too, and explore the other structures on the 72 acre estate. Are you brave enough to spend the night at a haunted mansion?
Click to see upcoming Ghost Tour dates
, or call Rockwood Park at (302) 761-4343.
Rockwood Park is just as haunted as the
world-famous Fort Delaware, but the fact that it’s a little more hidden and less well-known makes it even creepier to me. Are you brave enough to visit the park, or stay overnight to investigate some ghosts?
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