Location: Whipstaff is a small estate located on a small bluff, adjacent by a worn wagon path up to a wooded hilltop north of Friendship, Maine where it overlooks the Atlantic coast. It is easily seen from Route 131 winding along the coast, but it is only reached by Pullman Lane on the north side of town.
Description: Friendship is a picturesque New England fishing village and tourist town with numerous two-hundred year old structures; among them, Whipstaff is an interesting eclectic and artistic architectural structure with round windows, curved corners, turrets and circular pitched roofs. In fact, there are few straight lines or square shapes in the house, which was said to have been built by shipbuilders. The interior has the appearance of melted wax frozen in place with whorled ceilings and arched hallways with elliptical ceilings, giving the sensation of living underwater. Fishlike faces exude from odd places, like banisters and furnishings. The structure is vaguely Romanesque with numerous statuaries and concrete sculptures of birds and fish on the front veranda around a circular stone gazebo, now choked with weeds and brush. The front foyer enters into a grand hall beneath a grand balcony and two staircases beneath a crystal chandelier. There are reportedly twenty bedrooms in varying condition in the mansion and a secret passageway deep into a cavern under the house. The décor is Old English while some parts of the house have fallen into disrepair.
Ghostly Manifestations: Whipstaff is one of those spooky houses which one often barely notices
while zooming down the freeway interstate. When one does notice it, many wonder of the
house is deserted or even perhaps haunted. Since the Forties, everyone in the tiny
of Friendship believed the house was haunted and as a matter of fact, many
people have shared
stories of things they claimed have heard or seen. For several generations,
there hasn’t been a father or mother who didn’t claim on venturing out to
the old house on a dare.
Halloween newspapers going back to 1949 have
described a paranormal textbook’s worth of material with new stories being
created or adapted at least once every few months. Individuals have seen
flitting shapes of white objects passing in the darkened windows. Several
witnesses ranging from eight to nineteen have described seeing a ghostly young
boy sitting forlornly on the front steps who vanishes when people approach.
Several college students in 1958 trespassing in the house heard raucous screams
of laughter from the upstairs. These howls have been heard as far away as town
where even the most skeptical believe it’s just the wind passing through the
“It’s haunted.” One local figure
testifies. Preferring to keep his identity secret, he has kept his story to
himself for several years. “I was driving past the house up towards Rockport
when I saw this young boy dart out in front of my truck and I swerved to miss
him. I was all over the road and ended up blowing my tire in the process. I
jumped out to yell at him, but he was gone. Could have been a normal boy, I
reckon. He could have taken off while I was getting my bearings. Anyhow, I was
crouching down like this pulling off the spare when I heard a sound like someone
slapping their hands down on the hood of the car. I heard someone say as clear
as I’m talking to you, ‘Need help with that, Mac?’ I looked up, and there
was no one there. Well, night was rolling in and I was all alone so I jumped in
the car and drove a few miles up the road. I was about as far as the crossroads
up there when I had to stop and tighten my lug nuts.”
Other motorists have seen the boy darting
across the road. One local officer saw a boy locked up in side the gate
surrounding the property. He stopped, parked and walked up to help him out, but
watched in stunned and nervous silence as the
boy just vanished before him.
“It wasn’t like he ran away.” The
officer said in a newspaper article. “He just sort of turned transparent until
he was gone altogether like those guys beaming up on Star Trek.”
The Friendship Historical Society has kept a
journal on the Whipstaff’s history and encourages anyone with ghost stories to
share them. Appearances of the boy go back several years. Several of the stories
run nearly the same. The young boy always looks desperately forlorn until
someone tries to help him. The shrieks and laughter always erupt as someone gets
too far near or even inside the house. One enterprising would-be
ghost-hunter down from Collinsport up north was actually escorted inside on
a tour of the house by a person who claimed to be the caretaker. They went
through the house talking about the house’s history and the possible existence
of life after death and he left. He then realized he’d left his camera in an
upstairs bedroom and came back to get it. The camera was still where he’d left
it, but the so-called caretaker was no where in sight. In fact, for over thirty
years, there never has been a caretaker.
Former psychologist, Dr.
James Harvey now owns Whipstaff and runs the Harvey Paranormal Research
Society from within the house. His daughter, Kat (short for Kathleen), has seen
the young boy running through the house, but now he’s happy and smiling.
He’s moved things, laughed from empty rooms and generally made his presence
“Sometimes I’ll be doing my homework and
I’ll hear this knocking sound or watch something in the room move across a
shelf.” She replies. “I’ll say, ‘No,
“He’s happy now to have guests.” She continues.
Since then, Kat has blossomed into a beautiful young woman and a talented aspiring interior decorator, having imparted her creativity to restoring as much of Whipstaff as possible. She believes Casper's ghost is still in the house, shadowing her like an infatuated young boy staying to the shadows. In June 2002, she recalls passing through the upstairs hall past one of the unused bedrooms and having an experience. There are twelve bedrooms in the mansion and three are not used, considered sacred out of respect to the ghosts here. One of these bedrooms has a window that always stays open, no matter how often they close it.
"The room is kept locked, sometimes
blocked with a piece of furniture." Kat adds. "I was passing the threshold
of that room and felt a burst of cold energy pass through me and out of my body.
It knocked the breath out of me and I felt slightly levitated for the moment.
There are cold drafts in Whipstaff, but not like this one. It felt like someone
had passed through my body."
“There are four other ghosts here.” Dr.
Harvey admits. “Three of them are three very raucous gentlemen who like to
play games and get into mischief doing poltergeist phenomenon. One of them gets
very upset when we try closing that one bedroom window in the back hall and keeps opening it back
up. I think it’s because one of them emits a very noxious odor.” He jokes.
“A few hours after I moved in I smelled a horrible stench as if there was a
body in the wall. Scents always occur when someone has died on the property.”
“The fourth is an ethereal blonde woman in a
dark dress.” He continues. “She’s very beautiful, but she seems confused.
The first time I saw her, I was coming down the steps and she was staring at me
from near the front door. She looked as if she was angry I was in her house. I
have to admit; I’m a bit more afraid of her than I am of the others.”
History: Whipstaff was built somewhere between 1810 and 1840 on the base of a
former lighthouse lost in a storm in 1808 which explains part of the circular
lay-out of the structure. The identity of her architect is unknown, but it is
believed a member of the McFadden family was responsible for the strict and
elliptical design of the house. His family lived in the house until 1846 when it
passed out of their hands. Jeremiah Theodore (J.T.) McFadden was a rather
eccentric inventor who became a recluse when his wife died. After his son,
Casper, died, he became even more eccentric and started conducting experiments with
Ouija boards and tarot cards to try and contact the spirits of the dead.
After his death, the house sat empty until it
fell into the lap of relatives of McFadden’s wife. Living in
Harvey lives in the mansion to the present, using it as a base for the Harvey Paranormal Research Society.
Identity of Ghosts: No
one knows who first connected Casper McFadden as the boy haunting the house, but
it was Kat who first starting using it. The ghost’s response to the name seems
to be proof of his identity. The three men are believed to be
Investigations: Dr. Harvey has been revealing a lot of the private files of J.T. McFadden stored in the recesses of the house. Known locally as an inventor, he seems to have also been fixated on finding proof of life after death following the loss of his son, according to the files and creations in the bowels of the house. He dabbled in lenses to detect ghosts and tried exploring the connections between paranormal energy and the electro-magnetic spectrum, some of his secrets possibly shared or better adapted by Cyrus Zorba. According to McFadden, the human body resonated with a certain energy level that departed the body after it stopped functioning or had died, and that this energy continued to exist as an field of energy retaining human memories long after death but was prone to remain attracted to similar energy levels imbedded by it in the environment ("place memories") around it. This human energy retained thought and memories and could assimilate into a human shape but was actually gaseous in form. Furthermore, he reasoned, this energy possibly retained a sort of DNA signature to its former body, and with enough of the right cellular make-up, it could be restored to life. None of these claims have been treated as rational in light of McFadden's eventual psychiatric breakdown. Harvey, however, has kept a journal of the Whipstaff hauntings, gauging them on frequency and location, and realizing they were more active during the winter months. Still working at some level as a psychologist, he has traveled to over twenty locations and given lectures on supporting research into parapsychology.
Colonel Archibald Crittendon from "Hogan's Heroes"