History of Stone's Public House
It's creepy here late at night, when the only light sneaks
through the windows from the streetlights outside and the upper floors
creak and settle in for the long night. The faces in the paintings on the
second floor seem to follow you wherever you walk, and John Stone's scowl
can be felt even when you turn your back to his portrait above the tavern fireplace.
Doors seem to open and close at times for no reason. Glasses have been
known to fly off the shelf or shatter to bits without provocation. Both
employees and guests have felt hands on their necks or sensed an unseen
presence behind them. But is it really haunted?
Public House was built in 1834 by John Stone, who called his business the
Railroad House. John was a farmer and a captain in the militia, but he was
also a savvy businessman, owning most of the land in the center of what was
then called Unionville. When he heard that the railroad was to be built
through the center of town (on his own land) he decided to build a hotel
right alongside the tracks. The Railroad House (the property also included
a barn and a cow-yard and later a home for his family) opened on September
20, 1834 , to an enthusiastic crowd of (some say) 300 people.
John operated the Railroad House for less than two years
(though he continued to live on the property), then leasing it to a long
list of innkeepers. John died in 1858, and W.A. Scott bought the business
Over the years the building fell into disrepair and
disrepute. The man credited with helping to return the building to its
former glory is Leonard "Cappy" Fournier, who bought the building
in 1976. Cappy is also the man credited with first exploring the paranormal
side of the building.
a newspaper article in 1984:
Bizarre happenings at John Stone's Inn "began seven
years ago when Fournier bought the old inn" with doors that will not
remain bolted and lights that turn themselves on. A number of psychics
and mystics poured through the 152-year old inn sniffing out spirits after
Fournier went public about strange events at the inn five years ago.
While Fournier said the stories of each expert vary wildly,
they all detected one thing in common. "When I bought them to the
upstairs function room they all felt the strangest feelings in the back
half of that room," he said. "Every single one said the same
thing in that upstairs room. That's what made a believer out of me."
All the psychics perceived more than one spirit, mostly
sullen male phantoms, Fournier said. Last week psychic Lee Sonnenfeld had
the same peculiar sensation. A drunkard named Burt Philips may have died at
the inn during the 1890s, she said. Now, Philips' spirit refuses to leave
the inn because it enjoys the atmosphere there.
the spirit is, assistant manager Butch Adams said he won't be caught dead
at the inn alone at night. One night while finishing floors in the
building, Adams said he became scared, very scared. "For no apparent
reason" a handful of birdseed fell through holes in the ceiling,
rattling to the floor where he was working.
According to Fournier, bartenders are constantly telling
of water taps that turn themselves on, and patrons have reported being
tapped on the shoulder only to turn around and find no one behind them.
Also from 1984, an article about Ralph Bibbo, a
professional hypnotist and founder of ECHO (Education Concerning a Higher
Order), who visited the inn:
After several sessions, Bibbo said he has finally been
able to unearth the ghastly tale that has kept between six and seven
spirits roaming the inn for nearly 140 years.
After speaking to several of the spirits, including a
chambermaid named Sadie, Bibbo said he was told that John Stone
accidentally killed a New York boarder, Michael, after he accused the
visitor of cheating in an upstairs card game that netted him $3,000.
The year was reportedly 1845. Bibbo said six or seven of
the persons who witnessed the murder and helped Stone bury the body in the
basement were bound together in secrecy to the owner ? even in the spirit
world. In one video-taped session in which Stone reluctantly entered the
body of ECHO member Terry Pendleton, Stone angrily told the crowd watching
the session to "get out of here. I want you off my premises!"
Bibbo's theory is so convincing to Fournier that he is allowing Bibbo to
dig up the basement in search of the phantom body. "I know we'll find
a skeleton," Bibbo said. "It may take a couple more sessions to
figure all this out, but we'll find it."