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John Wilkes Booth’s haunted family home now open to the public

Harpers Ferry, WV has always been a place of history and mystery. It is, after all, the home of the famous John Brown Raid. It also succumbed to two Civil War battles and the largest surrender in US history. It is also home to the family domicile of notorious presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.

For more than 180 years this house has been unavailable to the public. However, that is all about to change when this writer (that is, me) becomes curator for the property in February. On February 1st, 2010 the doors to the so-called “Booth House” will be open for tours and paranormal research. This is a cooperative effort with the local community and the KOA Kampgrounds nearby. Our goal is to preserve and maintain this historic location for the public and future generations. We also hope to learn more about the many stories collected over the years in regard to the home’s reported hauntings

According to information recently uncovered, this home belonged to relatives of John Wilkes Booth and he stayed here when visiting Harpers Ferry. In fact, he stayed here when he came to see the execution of John Brown in nearby Charles Town. After he committed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he planned on making his way back to Harpers Ferry to his wife. Those plans were cut short by a broken ankle, a fire and a bullet.

Over the years, locals have reported many strange things at the Booth House (also called the haunted cottage). Glowing lights from the slave quarters and apparitions passing by the windows when no on was home. Although we know that at least 12 persons past away there, research has yet to uncover how or why. We do know that slaves we kept on the property and were, more than likely, treated very poorly. The cellar gives off a sense of foreboding that makes even me uncomfortable, and I have been to many, many haunted places!

If you are interested in visiting the Haunted Cottage after February 1st, 2010, go to http://www.thehauntedcottage.com and bookmark that site. The exact address will be revealed on February 1st. Feel free to stop by then and explore the grounds, or stay at the local KOA for a haunted overnight. The Grand Opening will be Saturday March 6, 2010. Local bakery, Katie’s Cakery, will be producing a replica of the Booth House for special guests that day.

See you soon!