We’ve all heard of haunted places and haunted houses but the Baker Mansion packs a new kind of weird! The tale of the haunted wedding dress begins sometime in the mid-1800’s…
So what’s the story behind this haunted bridal dress?
Now a county museum, the popular Baker Mansion was once a happy home; built by Elias Baker himself back in 1849 after he had bought a fizzling ironwork furnace in 1836 in partnership with his cousin, Rolland Diller.
The duo later turned the business into a success but Elias bought his cousin out in 1844 to become the sole owner and one of the richest men in Blair County.
In fact, he did so well that he could afford to hire the most distinguished architect in Baltimore at the time; parting with a whopping $15, 000 for the Greek-revival architectural design which was prevalent with the affluent of the time.
The contractor was Robert Cary Long Jr. for those who know a thing or two about America’s history of pioneering learned professionals.
Elias also went all out with the interior; Italian decorative marble for the fireplace, handcrafted furniture shipped in from Belgium and outstanding exterior decorative ironwork that could only be the work of a true master.
The Elias family had it all and they were really living the life!
And now we jump to the all-important question…how did this fairy tale life suddenly go south for the Elias’ family?
Forbidden Love in Paradise…
Remember the saying that money doesn’t buy happiness? Well, this became very apparent to Elias a few years later when his daughter Anna got engaged to a low-class iron worker at her father’s factory.
Although Anna’s mother Hetty was okay with the union, Elias could not stomach giving his daughter’s hand in marriage to a nobody.
And thus, the saga of the wedding dress from hell began.
Anna was beside herself with joy and eagerly looking forward to settling down with her lover. She went out shopping and got the best that money could buy, and this included a wedding dress fit for a goddess.
Too bad she never got to wear it and this was the genesis of Anna’s misery.
Her father’s overbearing decision to stop the wedding left Anna a sad broken woman and she vowed never to get married. That’s exactly what she did until her death as an old spinster in 1914.
So how did the wedding dress end up in Anna’s former bedroom at the Baker Mansion which is now the Blair County Historical Museum?
Do you know how Bellwood town got its name?
It was named after Edward Bell, another high-rolling businessman who also had a daughter, Elizabeth Dysart.
Now, Elizabeth was also getting married and she was not going to let Anna have peace of mind either…
To add salt to injury, Elizabeth went ahead and got the wedding dress that Anna had chosen for her wedding and made sure Anna felt the pinch by openly taunting her for never getting married in the beautiful dress…or getting married at all.
People say that this might be the reason why Anna’s spirit sometimes gets angry and bangs on the glass display where the dress is presently on display.
It seems like she took all that bitterness to her grave.
The Ghostly Museum Curators…
It wasn’t until 1922 that the Baker Mansion was opened for public tours as the Blair County Historical Society Museum.
The museum also houses a few historical exhibits from the Civil War and some from early railroad transportation in addition to Anna’s wedding dress.
After some time, people also started noticing funny things happening around the building with some claiming to see ghosts walking all over the place.
Several investigations by ghost hunters have been carried out and the Historical Society once set up cameras in front of the wedding dress to find out why it moves on its own, or why the glass display is sometimes shaken hard almost to a point of shattering the look-through glass on the wooden display case.
Some reports also say that the display has been rocked almost off its hinges on numerous occasions by an unseen entity that everyone has come to conclude must be Anna’s ghost.
And she’s not the only Baker in the house…
Her brother David who perished in a boating accident is also said to haunt the cold room at the building’s basement where his body had been kept before his burial.
Another ghost is that of Hetty which appears as a lady dressed in a black dress.
Elias himself is known to haunt the dining room while another one of Anna’s brothers, Sylvester, likes banging on floors and causing a ruckus.
More strange noises come in the form of footsteps, and a music box that goes off at sporadic times without anyone’s intervention.
Fans of paranormal activities continue to swarm the County Historical Museum hoping to catch any exciting ghostly activity and see whether Anna will one day reclaim her haunted wedding dress and take it with her to the other side…
…where we all hope she’ll finally have a happy ending to her fairy tale love story.