Top: The Carman-White House.
Samuel Carman was a wealthy landowner in Head of the Harbor, New York in the 19th century. Following the death of his wife in 1888, his unmarried daughters built on Moriches road, a two story house in the Victorian style, in the same neighborhood as the other Carmans of the area. Sarah died in 1896 and Julia in 1909.
Eventually the widow of Stanford White, one of the most celebrated architects of his day, began acquiring properties which was once part of the Carman estate, including the house built by Carman’s daughters. His widow, Bessie lived at Box Hill, the home she had shared with Mr. White, along with their son Lawrence Grant. Lawrence had a large family, and the children and constant noise and activity, it seems wore on Bessie, and soon she was looking to escape to a more quiet surroundings. Lawrence remodeled the house which once belonged to the Carmans which is a short distance down the road from Boxwood, and Bessie moved in, where she lived out the rest of her days as the house was continually transformed to adapt to her deteriorating condition, as well as Lawrence’s wife Laura Chandler, who moved in following his death.
Bessie’s grandson Larry eventually became custodian of the house, along with his wife Janice, a medical writer with master’s degrees in archaeology and anthropology. After moving in they began to experience unusual sounds – voices which seemed to be coming from the old kitchen, in the area where the kitchen table must have once set, which after the modifications to the house, would be where the dining room is now. According to Janice, the voices sounded like two old ladies talking in the next room, as though through wall, though the voices seemed to be emanating from very close by.
They also reported hearing a person walking upstairs with a cane, coming from areas that had been closed off, as though someone was knocking on the old doorways.
Janice eventually became convinced that the banging was related to a portrait of Lawrence White, which hung in the dining room. She stashed the portrait in an unused closet, and that stopped the banging, though the footsteps continued, clearly and distinct, as well as the sounds of a cane.
After some time, a relative requested the portrait, and Janice went to the closet to retrieve it. She found the glass and frame smashed, though it hadn’t fallen, nor had anything fallen upon it. She had it repaired and sent it to the relative, and at that, all the supernatural sounds in the house ceased.
All except one.
One day, while working and wearing headphones, Janice clearly heard a voice telling her to run upstairs. Unnerved, she did so, to find her baby choking and turning blue. She dislodged the obstruction, and the baby lived, and that it did she credits to the unknown voice.
It’s impossible in situations like this to say whose voice she heard. Perhaps it was one of the White widows, Bessie or Laura. Perhaps it was one of the Carman spinsters. When it comes to ghosts, perhaps we never know the truth, at least not in this lifetime. The truth about life after death comes to us all however, in our own time.
Information for this story was taken from Head of the Harbor, A Journey Through Time. by Barbara F. Van Liew, Village Historian