Milford’s Haunted Buildings

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By Terry Rogers

There are several buildings in Milford that have been in place almost since the town was founded in 1680. Since homes like Parson Thorne and Causey Mansions have housed many Milford families over the years, it would not be unlikely that former inhabitants may remain behind after they have passed on. Several stories exist regarding ghosts in a few of Milford homes and even in a few businesses throughout town.

There have been reports of a man, dressed in late 18th century clothing, who appears in the east window of the dining room of Parson Thorne Mansion. According to a report submitted to the Milford Historical Society, the man comes through the wall after peering through the window briefly. The man wanders around the room, calling out the name “Betty,” before signing dejectedly and disappearing. There are theories that this is the ghost of Parson Sydenham Thorne looking for his widow, Betty. The window overlooks lands which were bequeathed to Mrs. Thorne upon her husband’s death. Paint often peels from the wall under the window and some speculate that it is due to “ghostly vapors.”

Delmarva Historic Haunts conducted a paranormal investigation at Parson Thorne in 2011 and discovered evidence of paranormal activity. In the room above the kitchen, they heard scuffles and feet rubbing against each other. As two of the women walked from the cemetery, there appeared to be a figure move from right to left and go out of frame of the camera the group was using. One of the group tried to follow the figure, but could not see it even though the figure appeared clearly on the camera.

“That is interesting because people who live around here say that the man walks around here quite often,” the late Rick Coherd said on the video posted on the Delmarva Historic Haunts website. Mr. Coherd was the owner of Delmarva Historic Haunts who passed away in 2015.

Sunnybrae Mansion was built in 1937 by Edward “Monk” Davis, a lobbyist and close friend of the duPont family. In 2013, the owners, Lynn and Karen McColley allowed Delmarva Historical Haunts to perform a paranormal investigation at Sunnybrae as well due to stories they heard from the previous owners. Mr. MColley said that the previous owner heard unexplained footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own and his dogs suddenly barking up the stairway before running away frightened as if someone had chased them.

A family from Philadelphia who lived in the mansion when they were children came to visit and see the restorations that had been done since the McColley’s took over. Mr. McColley said that one of the women told him that a ghost would come out of the wall, walk up to the window, stare for a few seconds and then vanish. There is no information on who this ghost may be or who they may be looking for out the window.

One of the oldest homes in Milford, Causey Mansion, also has its share of visiting spirits, according to a local artist who was working in the home.

“While painting at Causey Mansion, I felt someone bumping into my ladder,” Nadia Zychal said. “I looked around and saw Jan outside and Joey was nowhere in sight. I shrugged it off and continued to paint the ceiling. About five minutes later, someone tapped my shoulder. Mind you, I was still on top of the ladder.” Jan Broulik and Joey Phillips are the owners of Causey Mansion which has had many tenants over the years, including Governor Peter Causey and his family. It is possible one of the Causey children may visit the home to cause a little mischief with visitors.

Houses are not the only locations in Milford that could be home to ghosts. The building that now houses Davis, Bowen & Friedel has had reports of ghosts for many years. There have been reports of a young boy appearing to visitors as well as items falling from shelves when it should have been impossible for them to do so. It is believed one of the ghosts was an employee in a business previously housed in the building who passed away.

The building that now houses Etta’s Catering was once the home of Betty Lou’s Restaurant. Owner Betty Lou Schiedenhelm said that strings on their blinds would sometimes be braided in an interesting pattern and even if they unbraided them, someone would braid them back. Behind the building, there is a Civil War graveyard and there are reports that some of the building was built on top of some of the graves. Ms. Schiedenhelm said that the ghosts were friendly and that no one reported being frightened of them.

These are just a few of the buildings throughout the town of Milford with reports of ghosts and visitors from the “other side.” It is unclear why some who pass on remain behind in the homes they left. Some say the “ghost” may have unfinished business with someone that is still on Earth. Another interpretation is that they may have died suddenly so they may actually be unaware they have moved and are still trying to interact with the living. 

Videos of the investigations completed by Delmarva Historic Haunts can be seen on their website at www.delmarvahistorichaunts.com.