The brick Italianate Victorian mansion that is now the Collinwood Inn was built sometime between 1865 and 1870 for Stephen H. Farnam, a successful business owner, President of the National State Bank, and President of the Glenwood Cemetery Association. He was also one of the organizers and first directors of the Oneida Gas Light Company and served on its board of directors until his death. Stephen H. Farnam, who was for many years a well-known and highly esteemed citizen of Oneida, died in his home on November 17, 1897. According to his obituary, the cause of death was apoplexy. His funeral took place from the Farnam Mansion and his body was interred in Oneida's Glenwood Cemetery, which is known for having some of the grandest and most unusual tombstones in Upstate New York.*
Over the years the mansion has been home to a number of people from many different walks of life. In the early 1900s it was owned by a locally famous woman by the name of Mary Dyer Jackson. An early activist in the women's suffrage movement, she was the first woman to circulate a petition in Central New York for the women's suffrage cause. She also founded the Progress Club in 1889 and became a charter member of the Madison County Historical Society in 1898.*
The next owner of the house was Dr. Robert L. Crockett, who specialized in ailments of the eyes, ears, nose and throat. Dr. Crockett was Mayor of Oneida from 1916-1917 before leaving to serve in World War I. An amateur botanist, the good doctor had a laboratory in the basement of the mansion, and it was there that he suffered a fatal heart attack on May 27, 1946. His widow sold the mansion to Dr. Chancellor Whiting in 1952, who in turn sold it to another doctor ten years later. Dr. William Hummer, the last doctor to own the mansion, died in his bedroom. The cause of death was colon cancer. His death came almost two years after the death of his wife. Her lifeless body was found in one of the small parlors on the mansion's first floor, which is currently used as a bedroom.*
Not surprisingly, some guests of the Collinwood Inn have reported strange unexplained phenomena while staying there, ranging from phantom cats in their rooms to lights turning on and off by themselves. Other people have witnessed apparitions, shadow figures, ghostly voices, and strange sounds and sensations. Many who have experienced these things are convinced that the spirits of those who have died in the Farnam Mansion have never left the house.*
The Shadow Chasers investigated the Farnam Mansion on-behalf of the proprietors Gerri and Brian. While they were curious what the team would actually be able to document they were certain that we would be able to capture something.
While the Farnam Mansion had a very interesting history the team had to approach the site objectively. Gerri and Brian gave a guided tour of the mansion explaining in great detail all of the history that they had uncovered about the site. The unique aspect that we discerned from the proprietors was that while the theme of the mansion had been shifted to emulate the Dark Shadows TV show from the late 1960s, the entirety of the mansion had been painstakingly restored to its relatively original condition with antique furniture.
|Second Floor Hallway Anomaly|
The investigation of the Farnam Mansion started off rather interestingly. As the team split up and set about establishing the baseline data for the site, Josh and Phil remained on the first floor while everyone else proceeded to the basement. Before they could even establish a baseline they witnessed a shadow figure dart along the exterior wall in the front parlor and activate the lamp in the room. When they moved to investigate they heard footsteps and voices coming from the room directly above them on the second floor. Investigating these phenomena confirmed that there was no possible source.
During the investigation on the second floor we caught a light anomaly that darted around the corner of a doorway and footsteps from the attic. While investigating the attic we witnessed shadow figures moving at the periphery of the attic, catching a number orb phenomena.
After meeting with the rest of the team on the second floor, we proceeded to test the ITC equipment and were promptly shocked by the results on the stairs. The PX device responded with highly accurate information regarding a female spirit and the surrounding antiques in the house.
Shifting to investigating the basement we were able to communicate with a spirit through ITC equipment, the spirit was dubbed 'Fred' and gave intelligent responses on the PX and through the voice recorders. After a thirty-minute conversation with the spirit through the electronics we slowly began wrapping up the investigation. It was clear before we even began putting away the equipment that the Farnam Mansion was haunted and the spirits were very happy to communicate.
Working with the Farnam Mansion the Shadow Chasers put together the first ever Night of Shadows to help educate the public about ghost hunting and the history of the site. The night was even more active than the investigation as participants were able to experience the footsteps, phantom voices and shadow apparitions first hand. At midnight the proprietors conducted a Victorian Seance in the front Seance Room with everyone in the room. The activity in the mansion increased to the point of heavy footsteps pacing the halls and even the apparition of a cat appearing.
While the Farnam Mansion, the Collinwood Inn has an extensive amount of activity it's very apparent that the spirits are very friendly and like hanging out with the guests. Since the first investigation, proprietors Gerri and Brian have become very adept investigators and strong affiliates for the team.
*More Evidence Highlights
*Historical Research and text by Collinwood Inn Proprietors Gerri and Brian
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