NEW YORK — It seems the Morris-Jumel Mansion is finally ready to share its secrets.
Museum Coordinator Meg Lynch is taking me on a ghost tour with an electromagnetic field (EMF) meter that measures electric currents.
Ghost hunters say the charge signals paranormal activity. And many believe the meters go off here because Manhattan’s oldest surviving house is haunted.
“We’ve got an interesting history of ghost stories that date back as far as the early 1800s,” says Lynch. “Some staff have heard disembodied voices, some have seen shadow figures.”
This mansion, once home to Eliza Jumel and husband Aaron Burr, was also General Washington’s headquarters in 1776. And it seemed saying names like George Washington made the meter go off.
Inspired by the popularity of ghost hunting, the museum is now inviting visitors for paranormal programs, including candlelight ghost tours with an EMF or “ghost meter,” as they’ve also come to be known.
As we entered Aaron Burr’s room, Lynch tells me the museum’s popularity has skyrocketed because of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” that brought to life the founding fathers. Hamilton, Burr, Washington and other historical figures all walked these halls. In fact, the mansion houses the room where it happened — where Lin Manuel-Miranda wrote the song “The Room Where it Happens.”
“Miranda wrote parts of ‘Hamilton’ sitting in this very chair,” said Lynch. And when she said it, the meter went off again!
It’s true some scientists have been skeptical about the use of EMF meters in detecting ghosts, but the stories are hard to ignore and to explain, including a story of school kids in 1964 approaching the entrance of the museum and being yelled at from a woman inside, but the museum was empty.
And when they got inside and saw a painting of Eliza they all stopped and said “Ah! That’s her,” and the story made it into the newspaper.
I don’t know if the Morris-Jumel Mansion is in fact haunted. I do know that the meter went off a lot, it is spooky in here, and I do think I heard Eliza Jumel calling my name.
For more spooky details, head here.