“That is the curse of every evil deed, that, propagating still, it brings forth evil.” – Friedrich Von Schiller (1759 – 1805)
Why would the Blennerhassetts be cursed?
For one they really started their married life out on the wrong foot. When Harman Blennerhassett was thirty his brother asked him to pick up his daughter (Harman’s own niece) at boarding school. Not only did Mr. Blennerhassett pick her up, he ran off and married her! This upset everyone they knew. In fact they had to leave England because of their marriage. Then when they came to America, the Blennerhassetts joined forces with Aaron Burr. Many people including President Thomas Jefferson thought they and Burr were trying to take over the country. Finally the island at one time was a burial ground for the Hopewell Indians. Could there have been a curse from the Blennerhassetts building on ancient burial grounds?
Let me tell you some of the strange things that have happened over the years.
Horses certainly don’t like the island. The story is told of Micajah Phillips, a slave who belonged to the Blennerhassetts. It was his job to bring the Blennerhassetts and their guests over to the island on a boat. As they neared the island his horse became more and more agitated. Micajah couldn’t understand it, the horse had always been so gentle. Finally as they reached the shore the horse became so upset it ran from Micajah and hurled itself head long into a tree trunk with such force it broke it’s own neck. To this day they have trouble with horses on the island. For no known reason horses will break loose from the wagons and throw themselves at trees.
If the Blennerhassetts had trouble with the horses it was nothing to the problems they had with their children. Their first daughter Margaret died as an infant and was buried on the island. A terrible rain and flood came covering a good deal of the island. When the waters went back down all traces of the baby’s grave were gone. Years later their oldest son Dominick walked into the woods one day and was never seen again. In the early seventies an archeologist came to spend the night on the island. He camped near the old summer kitchen during the night a lady all dressed in white came towards him. He was so surprised because there were no boats running at that time. She never said a word, but acted as if she were looking for something. Frightened the man ran to his tent and didn’t come out until the morning. People say it was Mrs. Blennerhassett looking for her lost children.
Not every minute of the Blennerhassetts life was sad. There were times when they would have parties and dances. In fact it’s been said that they may not be sure the party is over. Several winters ago the island was closed for the season but the Valley Gem riverboat was still taking dinner cruises on the river around the island. Several people saw a light coming from the attic and the sound of strange dancing music filled the air.
Legal troubles forced the Blennerhassetts to leave their beautiful home just a few years after it was built. It had been especially made so as to resist a house fire. But the curse of the Blennerhassetts clung to the house even after they left. Late one night a mysterious fire started in the Library. It followed the roof until the entire house was destroyed.
Strange things happened to the Blennerhassetts until their deaths and even after. Mr. Blennerhassett had insisted that when he died he was to be buried at night in the dark. He got his wish and then some. For some unknown reason his grave has been paved over and can no longer be seen.
Since the seventies a great deal of work has been done to restore Blennerhassett Island to it’s original state. Even the coffins of Mrs. Blennerhassett and her other son have been brought to the island. Some say they may have brought back the curse with the bodies. There are strange sounds and sighting at the island and things often break or go wrong for no reason at all. Be sure and visit Blennerhassett Island and see for yourself. Just don’t go alone!