Ferris Mansion is a striking Queen Anne style building in Rawlings, Wyoming, occupying an impressive 8,000 square feet. It was originally intended as the residence of prominent Wyoming businessman George Ferris, who in the 1870s was a member of the House of Representatives and of the Territorial Legislative Assembly.
In 1899, construction work began on the mansion for George Ferris and his wife Julia. By then, George had mainly made his fortune as the sole owner of the Ferris-Haggarty mine, in the Grand Encampment copper mining district. But in 1900, before the house was finished, George was killed in a tragic accident when he was thrown from a runaway carriage near his own mine.
Work on Ferris Mansion continued, and the house was completed in 1903. Julia Ferris lived there until her death in 1931, aged 76. She and George had seven children together, but having already suffered the loss of her husband, Julia was soon to endure further family tragedy. Three years after George’s death, her youngest son Cecil was accidentally shot and killed by his older brother, while playing with a gun that went off unexpectedly.
Two of her other children also died – Edna aged ten, and Delia May aged one. After that, Julia was disinclined to complete many of the touches she and George had planned; so the house she had once loved remained unfinished until after she died.
In the 1940s, Ferris Mansion was converted into apartments; but after a time the whole building fell into disrepair. It was bought by David and Janice Lubbers in 1978, who carried out extensive renovations, including returning the house to a single residence. In 1982, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Then in 1986, the Lubbers was granted a licence for Wyoming’s very first bed and breakfast, which they continued running until 1997.
Ghosts at the Ferris Mansion
The house changed hands many times after that, though it remained a bed and breakfast until 2010. But for many years it was considered one of the most haunted places in the state of Wyoming, with claims of paranormal activity dating back several decades.
As far back as the 1940s, workmen converting the mansion into apartments claimed to have witnessed apparitions and other unexplained activity. According to reports, some days the men were driven out of the house in terror; one report even alleges that two of the men died in mysterious circumstances while on the site.
Other later claims of hauntings at Ferris Mansion came from families living in the apartments. It is widely believed that these ghostly sightings are probably associated with Julia Ferris and her children. Full-bodied apparitions have been witnessed on more than one occasion, including the forms of two young boys – one of whom is believed to be young Cecil Ferris.
Another reported sighting is a woman wearing a long white Victorian nightgown, believed to be Julia Ferris. The ghostly figure has been seen in many different rooms throughout the house, but particularly in the kitchen, where she is thought still to be absorbed in household tasks as she cares for her family.
Many residents and visitors have reported unexplained electrical problems, with lights around the house frequently flickering, or even turning on and off. Whispering voices are sometimes heard where no one is there, and footsteps or knocking sounds have been heard along corridors and in empty rooms. Shadows have been seen in front of a room where someone is believed to have died, but these shadows have no source.
Paranormal Investigations at Ferris Mansion
Paranormal investigators have visited Ferris Mansion on more than one occasion. An apparition image has been caught on camera, and voices have been registered on sound recorders, including the voice of a woman thought to be Julia Ferris. In a recorded conversation, the woman was asked which room was her favourite. She replied that it was the green room; investigators later discovered that this was once Julia’s bedroom.
For many years, this large and impressive mansion has captured the imagination of many, both for its history and for its alleged hauntings. But rather than being a deterrent, these ghostly reports are what attracted visitors, and kept the bed and breakfast business thriving for so long. The Mansion is now for sale – if you want a peek at one of the United States most haunted houses, visit here.