Is the historic Shelburne Farms estate haunted? Are there ghosts walking the halls of the Shelburne Farms Inn?
There are local rumors that the Inn itself may indeed be haunted
This snippet from Robert Egger’s blog post on June 12, 2006, certainly sounds similar to other stories that abound:
“…here we were talking about keeping it local and supporting small farms and the Vanderbilt’s built this “farm” after they bought out something like 30 small farms. Irony sure is interesting, isn’t it??? Here we are singing the praises of small, and we spent the entire week in the equivalent of a 1890’s giant agri-business.”
“But the wild card of the week was the ghost that occupied my room!!!!! Now…many folks feign interest or even seek out haunted rooms. NOT ME….and I’ve got to tell you that when I learned that mine was indeed one of the two rooms that featured “other-world” additives it took all of my concentration to NOT whimper like a child and call out for my Momma. You could sure make a case that I heard the hangers in my closet rustle, or saw the blinds in my bathroom move ONLY because it was suggested, but I wasn’t about to wait around to see, or not be seen again.”
After contacting Robert, here is what he had to say to summarize the experience:
“Well….I could never tell whether it was my hyper-active imagination, but I could swear that I heard noises from the closet, including hangers moving….and I also swear I saw a window blind move, like it was being pulled. I actually left the room modestly spooked….no pun intended.”
I spoke with a few people in Shelburne village about ghosts or haunted places at Shelburne Farms. It seems to be a topic that many would prefer to avoid or simply aren’t aware of.
But one intriguing conversation with a local Shelburne business owner, unearthed this little gem:
“It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if there weren’t a lot of ghosts and haunted areas on the grounds. I heard some things about the way the land was acquired. It didn’t all happen in such a nice way, as most people believe. There is even some talk of the Inn being built over graves. Not sure if it’s a fact, but I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of white-washing going on, even to this day”
Another highly respected Shelburne business person also confirmed a haunting at the Shelburne Farms Inn. “I know someone who was a chef at the Inn and there are definitely ghosts there…at least 3 of them, for certain”
When asked how I could confirm that or find out more, I was pointed towards the town offices and Shelburne Historical Society. Even though I had good connections at both places, neither yielded much information.
Are there ghosts of children playing at the Inn?
One highly trusted ghost authority mentioned that he had heard that the hired help at the Inn were sworn to secrecy in regards to any paranormal activity at the Inn. As a matter of fact, the rumor is that they have internal meetings about any such sightings that are NOT to be mentioned to the public. Yet, inquiring minds want to know!
Allegedly, ghost children have been scene playing ball in the hallway, at night by front desk clerks.
An inquiry at the Shelburne Farms gift shop, regarding ghosts at the Inn or at the “Brick House“, resulted in a terse reply of “NO, certainly not. We don’t have any of that kind of nonsense here.” Yet, the rumors remain.
It would seem that ghosts are something that Shelburne Farms would prefer to distance themselves from.
In their defense, a “haunted inn” is probably something they would prefer not to be associated with. From a business perspective, it’s probably a wise strategy. It’s doubtful that the Inn’s management are interested in attracting “ghost hunters” and Scooby Doo/Mystery Van types, preferring a bit “less enthusiastic” clientele instead.
I asked about the location of the old cemetery on the grounds of Shelburne Farms, but the person at the gift shop said it was private and the public was not allowed there. Fortunately, as I was walking out of the gift shop, a stranger pulled me aside and showed me a map. She pointed out where the cemetery was and said that people can indeed visit if they wish. The day was very cold and windy, so I put it off for another time and came back the following week.
When I drove in and checked at the gate, the attendant let me pass without an issue. He even confirmed directions to the cemetery and suggested that I drive all the way to it rather than park and walk, because of the cold wind. When I arrived at the cemetery, I was surprised to see that it was larger than I envisioned. Curiously, the Webb family graves were sectioned off from the rest of the cemetery.
Recent update on 11/2/2021, posted by Missy Howard on the Haunted Vermont? Ghosts, Myths, Folklore and Legends Facebook group:
This article is an ongoing work in progress. We’d love to add more stories of folklore, ghosts or fascinating historical info about Shelburne Farms to this post. If anyone has any stories or info, please let us know.
Below is a photo gallery of the Shelburne Farms Cemetery
Photo gallery of the Webb family section of the cemetery
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