The Ghosts of Edith Wharton

The Ghosts of Edith Wharton
Born in New York City in 1862, Edith Wharton grew up to be one of the most important female writers of her time. Although she received no formal education, she was self-taught and wrote more than 40 books in her lifetime. She was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her book The Age of Innocence in 1920. At one time, she was the highest paid short-story writer in America.

Wharton claimed to be “inordinately sensitive to forces she could neither see nor escape.” She claimed to have been “haunted by formless horrors” as a child; and, in her younger years she refused to sleep in any room holding a book that contained a ghost story. Although she was fascinated with reading ghost stories, and even wrote several ghost stories, she would “burn such books after reading because it spooked her to know they were in the house at all.”

Wharton designed her estate called “The Mount” in 1902. Located in The Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, Edith and her husband Edward lived at the country house overlooking Laurel Lake from 1902 to 1911 at which time the couple divorced due to his mental illness and dangerous behavior.

In 1942, the estate functioned as a girls’ dormitory for the Foxhollow School. It closed in 1976. After remaining empty for a few years, the mansion was taken over by Shakespeare & Company theater group for a period of time. During these times, there were reports of unexplained noises such as creaking floors, slamming doors and footsteps, odd sensations and encounters with apparitions.

During a performance on the upstairs terrace, one of the performers saw a “completely opaque” man in turn-of-the-century clothes. She heard him say “What is all this commotion?” He then disappeared. The actor recognized him in a picture as a lover of Wharton’s, Morton Fullerton.

In the butler’s pantry of the servants’ area, an actress was talking on the phone with her boyfriend when she heard a loud scream and strangling sound out of nowhere. Her boyfriend heard the noises through the phone.

In Wharton’s husband’s dressing room, the ghosts of a woman reading to a man has been glimpsed.

In an attic bedroom, an actor would often feel someone running fingers through her hair. When she was entertaining a male visitor, doors would slam all around the room.

In a stable building on the property, a workman saw a figure crouching in the eaves of the building watching him work.

The Mount was declared a National Historic Monument in 1971 and is now owned by Edith Wharton Restoration. It is a major attraction in the area.

References and Additional Information:

Ghost Hunters E03 The Mount Edith Wharton Estate:

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