The Catskills are rich in history, especially the haunted kind. We can’t help but feel a slight chill in the air and at times, a pair of eyes watching us while adventuring through this wooded countryside. This year we are thrilled to bring in a historian from the area who will be telling the haunted tales of the Catskills Friday night by the fire from 10PM-11PM. So get cozy, bring a hot beverage, and get ready to hear about the spirits who are watching you throughout the weekend at Babes Ride Out East Coast!
Want to add a quick haunted loop to your weekend to visit Burn Brae Mansion? Read on to download yourself on one of Sullivan County’s most haunted estates.
Burn Brae Mansion was built in 1907 by Margaret Ross MacKenzie Elkin as part of the estate of George Ross MackKenzie, third president of the Singer Sewing Machine company, who made his fortune as confidant and advisor to Isaac Merritt Singer, the company's founder.
Upon George’s death in 1892, with an estate valued at $3.5 million, seven of his children built elaborate summer mansions in Glen Spey. Margaret and her husband Charles Elkin built Burn Brae Mansion as the last family mansion and one of only three still surviving. It is believed that the house was designed by prominent architect Henry J. Hardenberg, who worked on a number of projects for Singer executives.
Burn Brae Mansion has had five owners since the Elkins, and over the years it has served as a boarding house, a tea room during prohibition, and a bed and breakfast. The current owners, Mike and Pat Fraysse, have lovingly restored the character of the home and brought back many of the original elements. They currently operate the house as a bed and breakfast, along with a 12-room motel on the site of the former horse stables.
At least the last two owners – whose combined ownership spans more than four decades – and their guests, have reported unexplained occurrences, such as doors opening and slamming, children’s voices, balls bouncing, and the apparitions of a woman in white, a man in turn of the century clothing, and a more modern man in overalls. Visitors also often report the sounds of animals when no animals are present and the distinct sound of an organ playing, when there is no organ in the house.
More recently, an elderly couple in their 90s, the Hapijs, both died in the house. Guests say that they can still see them from the front yard playing chess by the big window, hear his classical music and smell her daily baking.
On a beautiful night in August, 14 Ghosthunters from SJGR arrived at the Mansion complete with motion sensors, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, and Infrared thermometers, as well as some sensory abilities of their own.Their research uncovered evidence that was off the charts compared to an average investigation. They found 186 positive photos 2 positive videos and 5 motion sensor readings, which were described as well above average. They also picked up 47 EVPs and 32 Positive Anomalous EMF readings, which is extremely high. Almost all of the sensory investigators reported an overwhelming sense of spirit activity accompanied by cold patches, pressure and emotional swings.