SEABROOK-WILSON HOUSE

(Bayshore Waterfront Park)(Spy House)

719 Port Monmouth Road, Port Monmouth, NJ

(732) 787-3033

Status: Former Residence; Former Inn/Boarding House; Heritage Property

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History

The original house built here in 1663 by Thomas Whitlock was a one room cabin for him and his family.

The cabin was converted into a 2 story house by it’s second owner Thomas Seabrook – a member of the New Jersey militia. The Seabrook family – who owned the house for 250 years – made many additions to the house over the years.

Until the mid-19th century, the house stood alone surrounded by salt marshes and farmland. In the latter half of that century, as steamboat traffic began to become the norm, Port Monmouth began to grow as a town and port around the house.

By 1900 the house looked very close to what it looks like today.

As tourism began to become a lucrative industry in the 1900’s the house was converted to an inn/boarding house. It was first called the ‘Bayside Manor’ and then ‘The White House’. The house was used for tourists until the late 1950’s.

By 1967 the – then abandoned - house was beginning to show its age and lack of care; a citizen’s group convinced the township to buy the property and house so it wouldn’t be lost to history.

In the 1960’s a caretaker made up a story that the house was used as a tavern during the Revolutionary War and the British were spied on by the American patriots; there is absolutely no historical proof that the house was used as anything except a residence before the 20th century. The story did, however, help interested citizens make sure the house was saved.

This caretaker made up a lot of stories about the property including the pirate in the basement and a lot of ghost stories which puts the entire haunting under question. But every year there are reports of people seeing ghosts so. . .

Until 1998 the Middletown Historical Society operated the house as a historical museum. It was then passed to Monmouth County when it became part of Bayshore Waterfront Park which also preserves the delicate saltmarshes and shoreline.

The house is open to the public from 1-4pm every Sunday April through October.

 

Paranormal Activity

There are no longer ghost tours on site as the County has focused on the history and denies any paranormal activity or ghosts. There are multiple interviews with tour guides who say they are sick of questions about ghosts.

On the other hand, this has been called home 22 or more ghosts and billed as “the most haunted house in America” but most people consider this as just hype.

That being said, there is no shortage of stories of encounters with ghosts at this house.

There are reports of police standing guard at the house all night only to find furniture moved around and – in one case – a hammer smashed through the drywall. The police were on site because of changes made in the house when it should have been empty.

There are a few stories over the years of people who took tours from very knowledgeable guides dressed in 18th or 19th century attire only to find out the house wasn’t open and there were no guides on site that day.

A young boy, who is said to have drowned swimming near the house, is frequently seen staring at people from a second story window. The ghost of the boy’s mother – a woman in white – is also seen both on the property and in the house.

The apparitions of 2 young children – a boy and a girl - have been seen playing the front yard only to fade away before people’s eyes. They have most often been seen after dark which, of course, draws attention to them – in one case it was after midnight in November.

A woman the former tour guides named Abagail – she wears a long black skirt and a red blouse with her hair pulled back - has been seen staring at the window at the endless ocean. She is said to be waiting eternally for her husband who died at sea.

One man had a woman in colonial attire standing next to him throughout the entire tour. When he mentioned this to his friends, they had not seen the woman. When he checked with the tour guide, he was told there was no one in costume on site that day.

There’s also a story of the infamous pirate Captain Morgan torturing people – and hiding treasure – in the house’s basement. His ghost, of course, is said to prowl the basement. This story is, of course, considered to be pure fiction.