Averill Stand in Wilmington is one such place. In fact, if you Google Averill Stand, “haunted” is one of the first results you’ll see. Its current owners, Bob Pelosi and Jim Follet, are the fifth family to own the house since it was built in 1787. “It’s reported to be the oldest home in Wilmington that is still in its original location,” says Pelosi.
The house was built by the Averill family and was subsequently owned by the Brown family, the Boos family, and the Durkin family. Though Pelosi and Follet bought the house nearly 20 years ago, some of its former inhabitants, it would seem, may still be there.
Pelosi says that although he has personally only had a couple of odd experiences in the house, friends, family, and other visitors have reported a number of events that may inspire goosebumps.
Pelosi says there are four potential ethereal beings on the home’s property. The first, a woman who has been reported to be wearing old-fashioned clothing, has been seen in the kitchen and dining area.
“There may have been a woman who died in childbirth in the house,” says Pelosi. “The theory is that this is her.” According to handwritten records of the Averill family found at the Pettee Memorial Library, Stephen Averill’s wife Sarah died a few months after the birth of her daughter in 1835.
Upstairs, there’s a bedroom where guests have frequently lost earrings. “In that one room in particular, several people have commented, ‘There’s something going on here,’” says Pelosi. “The theory is that she’s a young adolescent girl who may have died in the house and is fixated with earrings.”
The missing earrings have curiously turned up on the kitchen counter. Other spooky occurrences support conjectures of presences, including a doorbell that rang itself for a while. “This I experienced myself,” says Pelosi. “That damn thing would go off all on its own with no one at the door.”
Eventually, fed up, Pelosi disconnected the doorbell, dismantling it completely, lest it ring itself despite being disconnected. “I took it apart so there was nothing left to ring,” he says.
Adding to the intrigue, Pelosi and Follet’s former dogs would often bark as though there was someone walking around on the property.
Though their current dogs don’t do the same, Pelosi says the supposition is that the dogs may have been barking at Mrs. Brown, the wife of Martin Brown.
“The theory is that she’s going back and forth between here and the White House,” says Pelosi. “The Browns lived in this house while they built the White House and then owned the two simultaneously. Our understanding is that Mrs. Brown went back and forth between the two.”
The fourth possible spirit lingering in the home is an older man wearing farm clothes. Pelosi says there’s a hypothesis about him, too: He may be sticking around because of his horse. A few years back, Pelosi was doing work under the home’s front porch, which the Browns put on in 1921, when he found the remains of a horse.
“There was an old Vermont farm tradition when their horse died, the owners of a farmhouse would bury their horse in the dooryard of the house,” says Pelosi. “Sure enough, I found the remains of a horse underneath the porch. I was digging and first I found bones, then a stirrup, then a horseshoe. I kept digging and there was an entire dead horse. It has to have been put there before the porch was built 1921.”
Pelosi left the bones where they were. He also didn’t disturb a hand-forged horseshoe he found in the attic, which he thinks may have been placed there as part of an old superstition that called for a placing a horseshoe on the highest beam of a house once it was built.
“This is a house where there is clearly a tradition of superstitions,” says Pelosi. “My guess is that they put that there when they built this house in 1787. I looked and said, ‘That’s interesting,’ and left it right where it was. If it’s been there this long, I don’t need to disturb it.”
Though he entertains the theories, Pelosi says he hasn’t made a judgment call on whether or not he thinks there are truly ghosts in the house.
“I’m not going to speculate,” says Pelosi. “But there certainly is an active and discoverable history that is with artifacts that have remained in the house since it was built.”