BOWMAN HOUSE - LAUREL HALL

(Laurel Glen Mausoleum)

Route 103, Shrewsbury, VT

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History

John P Bowman – who built both the house and the mausoleum – started as a tanning apprentice in Rutland County, Vermont. Once he learned the trade, he moved to New York State and saved his money while working in the tanneries there.

Once he returned to Vermont, he had enough money to both open his own tannery and marry his childhood sweetheart Jennie Gates. In the 1850’s he also opened a tannery in New York and made even more money selling leather to the Union Army during the Civil War.

John and Jennie, unfortunately, had more than their fair share of family tragedy. Their first daughter, Addie, died as an infant from Scarlett Fever in 1854 and then their second daughter, Ella, died in 1879 at age 22 probably from typhoid or cholera. Six months later Jennie herself passed away.

Before Jennie’s death she made plans with her husband to build their dream house. John went ahead with the plans but not before building a family mausoleum in the cemetery across the road. He also upgraded the cemetery itself making it a small copy of the fancy parkland cemeteries in the big cities.

The Bowman House/Laurel Hall was built right across the street from the cemetery and the remains in his family. Bowman, himself, only lasted 10 more years after the house was built before dying himself – in the house in 1891 – probably from stomach cancer.

John left money to keep the house the way it was – even to the point of having family dinner cooked every night – and keep up the cemetery. In 1894 a foundation was created to take over care of the cemetery. In the 1930’s-40’s the fund began to run out of money – due to bad investments – and in 1953 all the furniture had to be sold and the family dinners stopped.

The house was left abandoned, but it was taken care of by the same volunteers who were caring for the cemetery.

The house is now owned by private owners who were looking to turn it into their residence but instead turned it into a museum.

Renovations are currently ongoing; the house will, hopefully, be open to the public at some point in the future.

 

Paranormal Activity

In a very unique level of paranormal activity there is a blood stain on the stairs – thought to be from John Bowman himself when he was dying – that affects the living both in the physical and etheric worlds. People viewing the blood stain get nauseous, dizzy and feel a powerful sense of unease.

The apparitions of John, Jennie, Ella and even baby Addie are seen throughout the house. Paranormal investigators have said the ghosts are very active at night and very curious about the living; they will approach and interact with investigators.

Jennie is the ghost that’s the most active. She is most often seen as a translucent woman that still wanders the home that she never got to live in, doing chores. Her best known story involves a little girl who was behaving very badly on the tour – so badly she was even irritating the other guests – who stuck her tongue out at a portrait on the wall. The portrait immediately fell off the wall and hit the girl in the head.

Disembodied voices are heard and recorded as EVP’s in the house frequently. The phantom cries of Addie are heard as well.

Shadow figures are often seen both in and around the family mausoleum. The disembodied voices of a woman, a man, a young woman and the coos of the baby are also heard here.