Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ghosts from the Past at Henry Lloyd Manor

When July 4th rolls around I think it’s especially important to remember our founding fathers and the sacrifices they made for us. Here in Huntington, we have a rich and fascinating history which dates back to 1653, through the Revolutionary War and beyond. One of Huntington’s famous founding families were the Lloyds, whose homesteads still remain in the quiet and bucolic area of Lloyd’s Neck. 

Recently, clairaudient medium and paranormal investigator Joe Giaquinto and I were invited to tour the earlier Lloyd home, the Henry Lloyd Manor house. We were asked if we could do a ghost investigation there, and it does appear that some spirits do abound in the old house.  

Since I consider myself a historian first and a ghost investigator second, we decided to start with its history. Merchant James Lloyd of Boston, purchased the land once occupied by Native American Indians in 1684. James remained in Boston and leased his property, then known as Horse’s Neck, to tenant farmers for several years. By 1711, James’ son Henry Lloyd I inherited the land and established his home on the Neck. It was situated near the harbor on the south shore of what is today known as Lloyd Harbor. It was Henry’s intention to establish a working plantation and build a manor house. He hired both an architect and a contractor to build his home, and before long the Henry Lloyd Manor was built.

The original property contained several outbuildings including a barn, blacksmith shop and house, a school and a dove house. There were also livestock and gardens for raising food. In 1722 and 1732 some additions were made to the original house. Because it was a working farm, slaves were brought in to run the plantation. One of the slaves, Jupiter Hammon, became the first published Black poet in America. He was taught to read and write at the Manor’s school.

When Henry died in 1763, his son Henry Lloyd II acquired the property. Henry was a loyalist, so after the Revolutionary War, his land was confiscated by the new American government. He had no choice but to flee to England. Another family member, John Lloyd II, a patriot, took back the property and continued to use it as a working farm. Eventually non-family members purchased the house and by the beginning of the 20th century, the house and property had fallen into a state of neglect. 

In 1921, Marshall Field and his architect John Russel Pope happened to find the house near Field’s estate and wanted to incorporate it somehow. So after doing some repairs, Henry Lloyd Manor became the gate house to the Marshall Field estate for four decades. Ruth Pruyn Field sold the estate in 1961 to the State of New York which called it “Caumsett.” The Henry Lloyd house was occupied by estate employees until the mid-1960’s. 

Finally, on September 7, 1978, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation granted a contract to the Lloyd Harbor Historical Society “to restore, maintain and operate the Henry Lloyd Manor House.” After many years of hard work, Henry Lloyd Manor was restored back to its 18th century condition, and remains a historical showpiece and museum today. 

Lloyd Harbor Historical Society Trustee Joan McGee took us around the historic home. She, along with some other reliable sources, told us stories they had heard about apparent paranormal activity at the house. Many years ago in late winter, a barking dog and a singing canary was heard when no animals were around. Another woman who came into the Lloyd kitchen saw an actual hand seemingly floating in mid-air and reaching out. She was so frightened that she left the kitchen area immediately. Lights have been known to blink in the meeting room, and colder, heavier air can be felt in one of the bedrooms.  

I left Joe and the others in an upstairs room while I walked around and photographed. I received the image of an orb in a room on the main level. Upon leaving the house, I walked along the path to the front of the house. Twice I turned to look behind me, because I had the distinct feeling that I was being followed, yet no one was there.  

When I went back into the house I caught up with Joe and Joan. They were doing a question/answer session on Joe’s recorder to see if he could pick up any EVP’s, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. When Joe analyzed his recordings later that day, he found an EVP of pots and pans banging for no reason. There was almost a brief rhythm to it. A second EVP picked up the sound of a man’s voice thanking Joe for his respectful comment that spirits can come and go as they please. You can hear, "thank you" at the end of the clip.

It is unknown who the spirits are, but the energy we picked up there was all good and non-aggressive. There are spirits everywhere, so the Henry Lloyd Manor is no exception. Perhaps they like the old home. Maybe it’s the Lloyds or Jupiter Hammond coming back for a visit. Whatever it may be, the Henry Lloyd Manor’s wonderful history and “spirit” remains.