I work on Biltmore Estate, or more specifically Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt between 1889-1895, Biltmore House is America’s largest privately owned home. At least several times a day guests will approach me with a question that is always in the back of minds for anyone visiting Biltmore…are there spirits within the House? Being a clairsensitive (empathy) as well as being able to hear and see spirits, I can honestly say yes, spirits are found throughout the House.
Having been a Biltmore employee for years, each week brings something new and different for me as a psychic. One of my first encounters with spirits on Biltmore Estate was not even in the House. Instead it occurred in a stairwell at the Ticketing Center, also known as the Welcome Center during the Christmas season of 2006. It was around 6:30pm as I was coming from a break. The stairwell we use runs between the 1st and 2nd floor. As I was coming up to the 2nd floor, I clearly heard a woman say “Abigail!” in a strong voice. Turning quickly around, I realized there was no one in the stairwell with me since it is very open. There was nowhere anyone could have hidden without my seeing them from where I stood. I went into the office area and asked the supervisor if there was anyone who worked in the center with the name Abigail. “No” was my answer. I found out about a year later something interesting while talking to someone familiar with the history of the estate. There seems to have been house on the area where the parking area and Welcome Center is today and a woman who lived there was named Abigail.
One of the first experiences with spirits when I began working in Biltmore House occurred in the stable courtyard area. As I was crossing the courtyard early one morning about to enter the shops hallway, I suddenly saw a sleek reddish brown horse that had white sock markings. Its coat seemed to glisten and it appeared to be skittish, doing prancing steps as it emerged from the hallway. What was odd about the horse was I could only see it from mid-belly down to the ground! Sometimes I will be in the stable shops hallway and it gets very noisy from the sound of horses’ shoes echoing around. You see, I hear horses walking on the brick floor of a stable that hasn’t had horses in it for well over half a century.
One afternoon as I was heading through the back hallways of Biltmore House to reach the employee break room, I was passing through the room which is set up as the Staff Dining room on the tour. On the far side of the room I saw a woman in her 40′-50’s sitting in a small straight back chair. She was rocking back and forth crying into the long kitchen apron she wore. She had come into the room to have a quiet moment, having gotten word of the death of a young man who had worked in the house before joining to fight in WWI. Her love and grief for this young man continues to this day as residual energy, replaying like a video caught in a loop.
One of the spirit “hot spots” within Biltmore House is the area between what are the floral departments’ workrooms and the Brown Laundry. Most of the spirit activity I encounter in the basement occurs through here. I once had a chance encounter with Mrs. King who turned out to have been Mr. Vanderbilt’s head housekeeper. As I was passing through the basement hallway one busy afternoon she was going by the floral rooms. Being in her late 40’s to late 50’s, rather short in statue but carrying herself very stiff and erect, she walked quickly by, her hands folded in front of her black taffeta dress. I recall every pleat of her skirt was perfectly ironed. I could hear the material rustle as she passed. I had the feeling of a woman with great responsibilities, always giving the appearance of being very self-assured, yet a woman who was feeling the effects of age and pressures of her job.
Another “psychic hot spot” is the Banquet Hall. There is a mischievous spirit who likes to trip employees on the same spot in front of the organ loft, even though the floor is level and free of any objects. I have lost count how often I’ve been tripped there, as well as many other employees. Just the other day, I encountered a different spirit in the Hall. He was one of the butlers who served in the house when Mr. Vanderbilt was alive. Being rather tall, in his mid 30’s, and dressed in a black tux, white gloves and with what he said was a “boiled” white shirt (a term referring the laundering process of putting whites in boiling water to get them clean), I was almost “run over” by him as he quickly came into the Banquet Hall from the Bachelor Wing hallway. He was carrying a rather large silver tray and heading towards the Butler’s Pantry. I literally did a fast sidestep before realizing he was a spirit! The one feature that I recall best was his shirt which had pearl buttons down the front.
Many lives have been tied to Biltmore Estate over its 115 plus years of ownership by George Vanderbilt and his descendents. These employees laughed, cried, and shared the joys as well as sorrows with each other. They took great pride in their positions within one of America’s more prominent families just as the employees across the estate feel today. I should know. I’ve met many of them…both past and present.