|Rosewell Plantation, 'The Everything Ghost Hunting Book'|
The Rosewell Ghost
Elizabeth Bissette, a writer, musician, and reluctant psychic, found herself walking through the echoes of a long-gone American family when she visited the Rosewell estate in Gloucester County, Virginia. Constructed in 1725 by Mann Page, Rosewell was the ancestral home of the Page family for more than 100 years. John Page, grandson of the builder, was a schoolmate of Thomas Jefferson.
In 1916, a fire swept through the mansion, gutting it and leaving only a magnificent shell, which remained a haunting testament to eighteenth-century craftsmanship and dreams.Legends and lore associated with the estate were passed down from generation to generation, written in journals or whispered around fireplaces. Supposedly, Mann Page expired in the grand front hall of the mansion, and the bishop of Virginia proclaimed that God had struck him down for his excesses. Another rumor is that Mann died because he was cursed by the spirit of Powhatan for building the mansion on the site of Werewocomoco, the chief’s village.
Tales of hauntings on the Rosewell grounds cover a broad spectrum, from full-body apparitions to moans. Vintage automobiles have even been sighted. It was into this atmosphere that Elizabeth Bissette, a distant relation of the Pages’, turned onto the long plantation road that led to the shell of the mansion.
Parking near the family cemetery, she and a friend wandered the grounds, taking pictures. Nothing untoward happened, except that their car stalled on their way out.
“The next day,” Bissette said, “I started thinking that there was a good chance the photos wouldn’t turn out, because we hadn’t been able to get any light.” She and her friend decided to return at twilight.
“So, we got there,” she continued, “and I’m taking pictures and we’re standing around talking and I swear I saw behind [my companion] a man in colonial dress with his hair back in a ponytail. Young, smiling. He winked at me and put his finger to his lips, pointing to my friend. He looked so real, I thought he was a re-enactor, that maybe they’d had an event there that day and he was messing with me and wanted to play a joke on my friend. That is, until he disappeared.”
Rather than explain the inexplicable to her companion, Bissette replied jokingly that she had just seen Thomas Jefferson and that she wished he had brought his violin.