Sunnybrae Investigated for Paranormal Activity


sunnybraeBy Bostik Johnson

The Delmarva Historical Haunts preformed a paranormal investigation at Sunnybrae Mansion in Milford on Saturday, March 10, to determine if recent paranormal encounters with guests could be explained. Owners Lynn and Karen McColley have both been told stories from previous guests of unexplainable movements, noises, and encounters with the paranormal.

Lynn and Karen purchased the Sunnybrae Mansion in 2002 and restored the home for functional use. The mansion was built in in 1937 by Edward “Monk” Davis who was a close friend and lobbyist to the DuPont family. The mansion today still features early 20th century amenities such as a barber shop, wine cellar, and a telephone booth. The McColley family filled the mansion with antiques from all over the world with pieces dating back to the 1800’s.

When Mr. McColley purchased the mansion, the previous owner told him that over the years there had been friendly paranormal activities happening at the mansion. The previous owner experienced numerous encounters with the paranormal including unexplained footsteps, opening and closing of doors and windows and his two dogs unexpectedly barking up the stairwell and running away scared as though they were chased away.

“At that time I have never believed in ghosts, but now I do,” Mr. McColley said.

Mr. McColley said that a year and a half ago, a family from Philadelphia called him and to say that they lived at the mansion when they were children. The family of 8 came down to see the mansion and its new restorations. When Mr. McColley was giving the tour to the family, one of the women approached him and told him that on the second floor of the mansion where she would sleep, many nights a ghost would walk out of the wall, walk up to the window, stare for a couple of seconds, and walk back to the wall and vanish.

“I do not have a six sense,” commented Mr. McColley. “…but I have had a few guests who have a six sense, tell me that we have friendly spirits here.”

The McColleys decided to get in contact with Rick Coherd and his crew from Delmarva Historical Haunts to bring some insight about the encounters at the mansion. The Delmarva Historical Haunts is an organization devoted toward finding paranormal activities and preserving historical places. Rick and his team have been together for two years and have experienced paranormal encounters at locations such as the Milford Skating Rink, Smyrna Movie House, Light Ship Overfalls, Cape May Lewes Ferry, Parson Thorne Mansion, and Fort Delaware. Rick and his crew performinvestigations for recreational purposes and to help keep historical places thriving for years.

“My crew and I are always trying to help and give back,” commented Mr. Coherd. “We don’t make any money but we do hold fundraisers to give back to historical associations throughout the state.”

When Rick and his team arrived at Sunnybrae they brought with them DVR cameras units, Electro Magnetic Field Meters (EMF), infrared cameras, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), voice recorders, walkie-talkies, and laser grids.

The team meticulously set up cameras in each room of the mansion that Mrs. McColley said had paranormal activity. Rick then instructed his team to go lights out and take their positions. The team split into groups of two and each took a room to observe, while Rick watched the camera feed downstairs. The groups would shout out words from the time period like “Balderdash” to see if their EMF meters would pick up any sounds from the paranormal. This process is both painstakingly and tedious but the outcomes can be rewarding.

“Watching for the paranormal is like watching corn grow at night,” said Mr. Coherd. “But every once in a while when you feel, hear, or see something, it is an overwhelming feeling.”

Now that the investigation is complete, the Delmarva Haunts Crew must sit through over 72 hours of footage, process time logs, listen to recordings, and review the footage all over again before they can say the mansion is haunted or has any paranormal activity. This process can take over months to achieve as the crew wants to be thorough in their research before they make such a claim.