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The Heilbron Mansion

Rose Tree Road, Media, PA

The Story: This is the story (legend) of the house. For a long time this is all that was known about the place. Research has revealed some conflicting records that call into question some parts of the story. See the Updatefor more details.

It has been said that there was never anything but bad luck and sorrow in this house. The back part of the house (pictured below) is said to be built on the foundation of an older house. The older house was said to have been built by a family named Murchinson and a few years after it was built, it caught on fire in the middle of the night. Seven of the family members perished in the fire. They were believed to have been buried in a family crypt, which was said to be located up on a hill which can be seen from the house. It used to be under a big slab of rock just beyond a wooden gate, near a big oak tree.

The mansion written about in the book "Night Stalks the Mansion" was "rebuilt" in 1837 by a man named Joseph Edwards. It was said to have been used a station on the Underground Railroad. Runaway slaves were kept in the house in a secret room located under the kitchen. By 1864, it was inhabited by a Dr. Edwards, his wife, and their daughter named Margaret Edwards. In 1864 the daughter was raped and murdered under a large maple tree next to the house. The murderer was the coachman, Elisha Culbert. Some accounts refer to him as a farmhand, some say he was a slave. He apparently had come to the front door of the house and lured her outside by saying her pony was sick. The other servants lynched the guilty man when they found the body of the girl dumped in the creek.

Her mother was devastated by the incident. She began spending most of her time in the library, her daughter's favorite room.

Some of the shelves in the library

One day she left the library, climbed the stairs to the top floor, and hanged herself out the big window in front.

This is the big window on the third floor

Her spirit still walks the route she took to her suicide. Footsteps, sounding like a woman wearing heeled slippers or mules, come from the library, ascend the front stairs, and continue on to the third floor where they abruptly stop. The spirit of the murderer also walks the property, but his path takes him from the coachhouse to the front door. Neither of these spirits has ever been seen ,just heard.

The remains of the coachhouse

In one resident's account, Night Stalks the Mansion, they made a deal with the spirit that she could have the library, when this deal was violated by a guest of the family, the spirit apparently caused a falling book to sound like a huge explosion. I witnessed this phenomenon myself during a visit to the abandoned mansion

The first time I visited the mansion, I was 16 years old. I was with a group of friends, and we thought it would be a kick to check out the place. As soon as we entered the foyer, I began feeling apprehensive. We walked into the library and back into the foyer. My friends wanted to go upstairs, but I was staying put. I watched them ascend into the darkness, leaving me alone by the front door. Their conversations and exclamations echoed in the big empty house, creating an even eerier atmosphere.

Suddenly, I heard a tremendous crash. It sounded as if someone had dropped a truckload of aluminum cans onto the roof of the house and let them roll all over. I dashed out the front door, off the porch, and hit the ground running. My friends were not far behind. We were all too spooked to return that night, but we did return early the next morning.

In the light of day, the house didn't seem so intimidating. I went all the way up to the third floor, and even into the basement. (I found no evidence of any secret room in the basement, by the way) We could find nothing that would have made that crashing noise. There were papers and other debris, as well as what appeared to be the remains of a fire in the middle of the living room floor, and one single aluminum can rolling around on the third floor.

Stairs to the third floor

When I re-read the book, I was struck by the similarity between what we had experienced and what the guest of the author's experienced in the house. Somehow, that spirit was able to amplify sound. I have never experienced this phenomenon since, nor have I read any accounts of other spirits causing similar phenomena. It was, and remains, a mystery!

Front view of house

Unfortunately, this house burned down in 1987. Another house was rebuilt on the foundation of the old house.

The house is located in Middletown Township, Delaware County, on Rose Tree Rd. Brief Update on the House

Read More About the Heilbron Mansion in Brandywine Valley Ghosts

Buy it now and get an autographed copy for just $12.99!

Night Stalks the Mansion has been REPRINTED!

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