Blennerhassett Island – History

Blennerhassett Island

Lubeck, WV, 26101

 

A secluded and historic island situated on the Ohio River right in the middle of Ohio and West Virginia, Blennerhassett Island is currently a state park including a single roadway and only a limited amount of docks. This island connects the two states via the Blennerhassett Island Bridge and is still host to the historical Palladian Mansion owned by Herman Blennerhassett. Even though the original mansion was burnt down, a perfect replica was constructed on the same foundation and the building can still be toured to this day. Much like the time and lifestyle of the 1800’s, the island and the mansion were strewn with slaves who served the Blennerhassett family. Unfortunately for all of those living here, illness also was commonplace, and both the family and their slaves had children who succumbed to deadly diseases, leaving those lost souls to wonder the island for all eternity.

 

 

The Past 

Even before the Blennerhasset family emigrated from Ireland, the island was home to Native Americans who were rumored to utilize the grounds for burial sites. Burial mounds and Native American artifacts have been dug up and retrieved from the area proving that at least these natives used the land, if not made it their home.

Harman Belnnerhassett, along with his wife Margaret, made their way to the area from their native island of Ireland in late 1789. This wealthy couple was in need of a fresh start away from their former personal indignities and prosecution. After they had established a prosperous plantation, in 1800, the young family with a child on the way constructed a mansion based on George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

 

 

Beginning their life in the mansion was not the easiest as they lost their child to an undocumented illness. In the coming years, they also lost their home to the former Vice President Aaron Burr as he pursued a militarized expansion to the American southwest in 1805. This expansion was rumored to be a cover up for a treasonous conspiracy to create a new country separate from the young nation. During this conflict, the Blennerhassett’s mansion was burnt down in 1811 and the family fled in the island in fear of them be persecuted as traitors.

After the mansion was burnt and the scandal of a proclamation of rebellion, the island was left to time and Mother Nature. It was essentially abandoned until Margaret passed away and the family returned to the island to bury her nearby.

 

 

In the early 1980’s, a replica of the mansion was constructed on the former foundation and is currently open to the public for tours allowing both locals and tourists alike to appreciate the former beauty that once overlooked the once booming and bustling island.

 

 

Paranormal Experiences

 Many guests to the island have reported strange experiences to tour guides and local law enforcement. There have been multiple accounts of people asking the tour guides if there are others dressed in historic Native American garb as they spotted groups of what appeared to be Indians walking through the woods. Some have even gone so far to follow them in hopes of seeing a historical camp only to have these natives disappear into the tree line.

 

 

Desperate and eerie hymns have been called into the local police as some believed teenagers or a small homeless population took to a party ground or new home on the abandoned island. Upon review and combing the island for unauthorized visitors, no one has ever been tracked down to these sounds. The location of these songs is seemingly traced to where the former Blennerhassett slave houses once stood. Some believe that these sounds are none other than those of the slaves who perished and even those who worked and lived the majority of their lives here.

On some moonlit nights, an older woman dressed in a long flowing white dress has been spotted wondering and around the mansion’s property and even has been heard crying. Local legend tells that this is the specter of Margaret Blennerhassett, returning to her once gorgeous home that she was ripped away from and weeping for her child who passed on much too young.

 

There have been two separate groupings of sightings in the mansion and the island. Inside the mansion, a little girl has been spotted running the halls and giggling. This entity has only been experienced by younger children and simply reported to nearby adults and the tour guides. The other paranormal activity is typically only experienced by older visitors. These adults have experienced footsteps, treading lightly as if a child is running in the halls. They have also seen objects in the mansion like doors and chairs move on their own with no worldly explanation.

 

 

Whether these other worldly experiences have been playing on a loop brought by the sadness and tragic past or if there is a more intelligent entity here is to be seen. But what can be agreed upon by visitors and employees alike is that there is definitely something going on in the mansion and on the island that is out of this world and possibly drawing on energy of the living to tell their long lost stories.

 

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