(photo: Sam Jamgochian)

Biltmore Estate: unfathomably huge, vastly gorgeous, dangerously humid, and home to those who had long since passed.

The Estate was more than a house to owner George Vanderbilt; it was a constant work of passion and was opened in 1895. It was home to many joyous days, from dances and social gatherings, to brilliant dinners, and even to the birth of George and Edith’s daughter, Cornelia.

In 1914, George passed away from complications after an appendectomy. Taking the news hard, Edith was said to hold full conversations with George, even long after he had gone.

Today, countless people have reported numerous hauntings over the years. They include:
– Most reported is the presence of George himself – many people report seeing him reading, smoking, or sitting in the library, and sometimes in the 2nd floor Oak Sitting Room.
– Hearing sounds of conversation and laughter (assumed to be Edith and George) by the marble fireplace
– Footsteps walking around the home
– Laughter and running around the pool area. People have also reported hearing people swimming and splashing in the pool. Others claim to have seen a dark figure under the water’s surface, back when the pool was allowed to be filled.
– Seeing a young woman in a period outfit in one of the basement rooms
– Sounds of Edith crying from her bedroom
– Strangely enough, one of the most popular sightings is a headless orange cat running throughout the estate

I decided to go to the Biltmore trip Wednesday to see for myself. I did no research of anything until after I went  there, and compared my experiences to those of other people. Though I can’t say I saw George himself, I did find something.

I’m pretty sensitive to paranormal happenings, believe it or not. I get sudden, shooting headaches, feel dizzy, lightheaded and sick, and start to feel really irritated, among other things. My body tends to react physically before emotionally to it. Walking down one of the halls, I started getting the headache and felt dizzy, only  to look up and realize I was nearing the library. I stayed in there longer, closely looking around, and the more intense my feelings got. So, I quickly left, and started feeling better. The feeling came back in Edith’s room, and definitely near the pool, where I completely spaced out and almost fell down the stairs. Once I left the creepier rooms, I’d feel fine. The library was definitely the worst feeling though – I didn’t think I’d actually make it through the rest of the house.

I’ve read that a lot of rooms are closed off because of weird happenings. Employees aren’t allowed to disclose information, and photos aren’t allowed to be taken.
I really do believe something’s going on there, regardless of what other people think. There’s a very obvious “feel” of something inhuman. I plan to go back some time, hopefully with connections, and look around it more. I definitely recommend anybody going there – ghosts or not, it’s a gorgeous home. A great deal of rooms and the 4th floor are closed off, but enough of it is open to be astounded at. It’s extremely humid and sticky during the summer, and probably more crowded during the Winter (Christmas at Biltmore), but in between, it’s definitely worth the trip. From there, you can make your own decision.

~ Sam Jamgochian

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