Location: The Belasco House is six miles from the tiny community of Caribou Falls, Maine at the end of a gravel road off Highway 16, twenty miles north of Madison near the Carrabassett River. It is private property and trespassers are not welcome.
Description: The Belasco House is a massive Gothic Romanesque edifice replete with stone turrets, gargoyles and faces decorated across the roof. Resembling a British castle, the interior is splendidly furnished with fine fixtures, baroque carvings and erotic sexual artwork and carvings. At least forty rooms fill the spacious mansion, including a grand hall that features an indoor chapel once dedicated to damnation, an indoor swimming room and steam room. The massive stronghold circles around an enclosed garden courtyard overlooked by the upstairs bedrooms.
Ghostly Manifestations: Nicknamed “the Mount Everest of Haunted Houses,” the Belasco House is one of the most imposing structures ever dedicated to the madness and venal desires of one man. Three investigations have been conducted in the halls of this enormous edifice devoted to sin, and yet, the structure still stands as if it still abounds with secrets. One investigator found the interior structure to be so oppressive and cold that he dubbed it “Hell House” based on the carnal activities once enacted in its walls.
The best conductive investigation occurred between Late October to Late December of 1940 under the auspices of Professor Gerald Finley from Oxford University. The phenomenon recorded included the full range of visual, acoustic and auditory manifestations plus psychokinetic phenomenon (poltergeist activity). One researcher blatantly stated it was as if there was an invisible war going on to which he was an invisible witness.
Professor Edward Rand recorded in his log that he felt he was always being watched, but he also attributed it to the huge size of the house and the sensory deprivation atmosphere created in parts of the house from the boarded up windows and the massive echo affect in the residence. Flitting shadows that he likened to that of “a crowd of people hurrying to get out of the way” he theorized were caused by shadows reflected and carried by light over several feet down long corridors. In the poolroom, he saw a figure lurking in shadow that he thought was one of the other researchers watching him although it refused to respond when he called on it. He attempted to confront it, but it just melted into the darkness.
Sounds of whispering were recorded from empty rooms and were recorded on one occasion. Analysis concluded that it was possibly anywhere from thirteen to fifteen people mumbling incoherently at once. There were no words to the sound, just nonsensical murmurings. The sound sometimes followed the researchers from room to room and down corridors, but if anyone tried to follow them, they’d drift off until they were gone all together.
Doors also locked inexplicably even seconds behind the researchers and doors that were locked sometimes drifted open. Dr. Anton Graham was recording ambient noises across the upstairs corridor to lock in on a humming when one door slammed shut next to him. The reverb through his gear practically deafened him.
Graham was once called from the main foyer to come to the chapel, but when he arrived, no one was in sight. His notebook recorded that the temperature of the room became cold enough that he could see his breath, but he never could decide if he had actually heard it, or if he had been drawn to the change in temperature.
The house also proved to be an ordeal for young Ben Fischer. The house was supposed to be a test of his psychic awareness under the watchful eye of medium Grace Lauter, but he never felt alone. He answered once he felt there was a strange woman who was following him around and lurking around him at night, offering her nude body to him, but she always smelled like a dead corpse near him.
Grace Lauter also reported a few details of her own. She remarked that she always noticed odd extra figures lurking behind her whenever she looked into a mirror. In fact, she once told Professor Rand that she never felt completely alone in her room upstairs. One night, the old antique phone in her room began ringing as is her habit she went to answer it. There was no one on it for a while as she asked who it was and then she finally heard the voice of a young girl asking for permission to sleep with her. Grace later wrote in her testimony of events that the child’s voice was so unearthly that it could only have echoed from beyond the grave.
Finley and Rand also pursued the sound of a child crying toward the direction of the chapel and another time there was the faraway tunes of a organ or harpsichord being played and there wasn’t even one in the entire house. Dr. Graham and Ben were in the wine cellar once talking about Christmas coming up and they heard heavy tramping noises from the floor over their heads. They even remarked on the dust being unsettled as it wafted down on to their heads, but when they went up to see what was going on, they found no one in sight. Everyone was in the dining room as the caterers had delivered dinner to the house.
All the written testimonies stopped between December 13 and December 18. One last observation by Dr. Gerald Finley remarked that he thought there was at least one or two other people lurking in the closed off parts of the house. The front door was nailed shut one morning and later Dr. Graham was fatally injured when a heavy piece of sculpture toppled over and paralyzed him from the waist down. Grace became tipsy on some wine and tried to fly by jumping off the balcony. She died on impact as young Ben watched.
As an adult, Ben was an owlish bookish person, but he refused to ever have another thing to do with the Belasco house again. After his death in 1989, however, it became revealed that he had actually been strong-armed coerced by parapsychologist Lionel Barrett to return for one last 1970 visit to the house, if but to serve as a guide to a psychic Spiritualist named Florence Tanner. Their stay at the house was for Christmas week, and much of the activity then experienced mirrored past two investigations with shadowy presences, odd voices and slight poltergeist activity. Tanner’s desire was to send the trapped spirits into the afterlife, but Barrett wanted to test a theory that the house was charged with energy that caused the perceptions being seen and felt. Furthermore, he believed that energy could be counter-acted by an equal force of energy and dispersed, but several hours after “cleaning the house,” Barrett’s equipment started once again detecting light in the invisible spectrum with an electro-magnetic signature from somewhere within the Belasco House.
History: Emeric Belasco was born in 1879, the illegitimate son of an American munitions maker named Myron Sandler and Noelle Belasco, a British actress. He was described as a melancholic young man given into malicious acts. He reportedly hung a cat to see if it would revive for the second of its nine lives and when it didn’t, he chopped the cat into pieces and flung the pieces out the window. His mother nicknamed him “Evil Emeric.”
At ten and a half, Emeric committed incest with his younger sister. She was sent to a hospital for two months and he was sent to a private school where homosexual teachers mentally and physically abused him. One teacher was invited to Emeric’s home for a week, and at the end, the teacher went home and hung himself.
Belasco meanwhile grew from a tiny child into a huge figure of a man within a few years. He became known as “The Roaring Giant.”
Emeric later inherited several thousand pounds from his mother and half a million from his father. He built the house in Caribou Falls in 1919 largely on the inheritance left by his mother. He started throwing lavish parties, which were innocent at first, with himself as the epitome of a perfect host. In late 1928 to early 1929, he began caving into his degradation. He began candid and open discussions upon sexuality and vices and started having orgies dedicated to decadence. Fine dining turned to gluttony, drinking became drunkenness. Drug addition soon mounted. His own sister died on a heroin overdose in his presence after serving as his mistress for several years behind his wife’s back. He married two more times and had a son, Daniel Myron Belasco born in November 4, 1903. He mysteriously vanished sometime in the 1920s.
In one party that started in June 1928 and ending the winter of the following year, Belasco degraded physically and mentally as he encouraged his guests to give into any perversion possible limited only by the imagination. He conducted contests for the most incredibly vile ideas. He began importing hunchbacks, dwarves, hermaphrodites and every conceivable grotesque to mingle with his guests or indulge them. Every vice including sadism, brutality, bestiality, mutilation, sodomy, necrophilia, cannibalism, perversion, murder, vampirism and even drug addiction occurred as Belasco walked the house observing the carnage of his guests. The servants left in disgust and the guests had to tend, forage and clean up for themselves. Fights occurred as guests fought for food. Thirteen female guests became pregnant. As an epidemic of influenza hit the house, Belasco had the house sealed and bound his guests to the house. No longer being maintained, the generator conked out and guests were left to darkness. A version of a Roman circus was held as a virgin was fed to a tiger and watched by drug-addicted doctors in fascination. Everyone but Belasco had been reduced to the level of animals - rarely bathing, eating and drinking everything, wearing torn and soiled clothing and killing each other for the essentials of food, water, liquor, drugs, sex, blood and even the taste of human flesh. Everyone was cannibalistic by then. Belasco walked distantly among them dressed in black and observing and enjoying the hell he’d created.
In the spring of 1929, relatives of the guests were finally able to break in and found everyone dead from one cause or another. Emeric Belasco was not among them.
It was the local police and state authorities that started the suspicions that the house was haunted as they scoured the house for a trace of Belasco. A 1931 paranormal investigation on site ended suspiciously. All four investigators were found dead of one reason or another. Rational logic and thinking surmised that a still living Emeric Belasco had returned to the house and had killed them.
A second investigation was not started until 1940. Staying in the same rooms as the bodies were found in, the paranormal explorers recorded a deluge of weird events geared specifically for their weaknesses and preferences. Medium Grace Lauter jumped off a balcony to her death and shattered her legs, Physicist Dr. Anton Graham crawled out of the house to die from a stroke, Head of the Chemistry Department at Oxford Professor Edmund Rand became paralyzed in an accident and Psychic investigator Professor Gerald Finley was crippled in an accident and committed to an asylum. Sole survivor, thirteen-year-old psychic prodigy Benjamin Franklin Fischer, was found naked on the front step in the fetal position. He refused to have anything to do with the house for thirty years until he finally agreed to accompany Dr. Lionel Barrett and Spiritualist Medium Florence Tanner into the house in 1970. Tanner was killed when a huge crucifix in the chapel collapsed and Barrett fell victim to an exploding piece of equipment. His body was found dragged twenty feet from the explosion and impaled under a fallen chandelier.
Sometime in 1985, the aging and deserted estate was auctioned off to New England socialite Donna Madeline Troy as a summer home, but she instead began living in the mansion full time. A relative of American philanthropist, J.P. Reason, the widowed matriarch and former actress lives in partial seclusion visited constantly by family and paranormal researchers, but she is always the cordial hostess. Her public opinion is that the house is no longer haunted, but her daughter, Sara, verifies that paranormal activity is still occurring.
Identity of Ghosts: "Emeric Belasco, and only Emeric Belasco..." According to Fischer, all reports of multiple surviving consciousnesses in the house were conjurations by Belasco’s spirit using the massive battery of psychic, emotional and negative energy imbedded in the house. Belasco House is reputedly the only one with this sort of occurrence with the possible exception of Vannacutt Sanitarium and Rose Red. Belasco’s mummified body was eventually found during the 1970 investigation in a secret room beyond the chapel, but who left it there and why has yet to be revealed. His adult son’s desiccated remains were found chained to a wall in a bricked-off room in the basement. Rumors are that Belasco had entombed his son up in the house in order to teach him the essence of evil or merely to cut the young man out of his life entirely.
Comments: The Legend of Hell House (1973) - Based on the novel by Richard Matheson. Hauntings loosely based on Franklin Castle (Tiedemann House) in Cleveland, Ohio and Waverly Hills Sanitarium near Louisville, Kentucky.