GHOSTS AT THE PHYSICK ESTATE
Cape May is reputedly one of America’s most haunted towns, and nowhere else is this reputation so well-earned as at the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s original haunted house.
For years, MAC’s staffers had felt they were not alone in the house, but it was not until psychic medium Craig McManus began his investigations into the town’s paranormal activities that those who were not regular members of the MAC staff were identified.
McManus, who has written three books about Cape May’s hauntings and has documented spirit activity at dozens of the town’s quaint B&B inns and hotel properties, has spent a great deal of time at the Physick house and has identified several of its residents.
Most prominent among them is Dr. Physick’s Aunt Emilie, who has great energy and a vibrant smile, according to McManus.
“This is a ghost who knows everything that is going on in her home,” McManus wrote. He also explained that, after her death, Emilie had stayed on to watch over the house, which had fallen into disrepair before its restoration began in 1970.
Dr. Physick’s mother, Frances Ralston, is no longer in the house, according to McManus, but the strong presence she exerted in her lifetime is still felt as “residual energy,” especially in her bedroom on the second floor, the paranormal hot spot of the home.
Another resident is Isabelle, or Bella, Mrs. Ralston’s invalid younger sister, who died in 1883, shortly after the family moved into the mansion.
Among the unique spirits that McManus has reported are several of Dr. Physick’s dogs. He encountered several in the house on his first visit, and one romping through the gardens on a later visit. Apparently, there is some disturbance when the dogs are about, because they were never allowed in the house by Mrs. Ralston. Aunt Emilie, however, had a softer spot for Dr. Physick’s canine companions, and prepared their dinners in the estate’s kitchen, and would let them in the house when Mrs. Ralston was absent.
The estate’s Carriage House also has its resident spirit, which has been heard by several of the MAC staff whose offices are on the building’s second floor. McManus said this could be one of the servants, possibly a groomsman or driver.
One of MAC’s most popular ghost tours is Midnight at the Physick Estate, where McManus leads a group of 25 people through the house to commune with its spirit residents.
“Cape May’s original haunted house never disappoints,” McManus wrote about a recent tour. “It was one of the best haunting experiences I have had in my career!
“There are very few real haunted mansions of this caliber that are open to the public,” he wrote in his book. “If you love the paranormal, this is a must visit!”