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Clifton Revisited

A ghost story isn’t truly complete unless you get the experiences from all the people who have ever lived there, something which is nearly impossible. Therefore, it pleases us no end when we get a report from the current inhabitants of one of the places we write about in ISOMG. Recently, I received an email from Courtney, one of Clifton’s current owners, with an update to the haunting of this very historic house:

Clifton_2011I have to say, reading the account of Clifton’s ghost was wholly reassuring…we have been experiencing ‘ghostly activity’ on a regular basis since moving in almost 8 years ago and it is nice to confirm that we aren’t the first!  Like the Bullards before me, I find the presence of Others in Clifton to be warm and welcoming, albeit perhaps a bit moody – I’ve been locked out of my own house more times then I care to admit!  Further, when we were renovating the house the workers here had quite a time managing the interference of our spirits – machines were turned on and off, keys and tools were moved several times a day, and one worker flatly refused to work on our porch after being pushed by an invisible hand.  However, on the whole it has taken on the feeling of an extra family member rather than a bother, and I loved reading your account.  Thanks so much for including our house in the book…

You can read the original blog post on Clifton or the full story in ISOMG.


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Clifton, one of Montgomery County’s oldest structures having been built around 1742, is also home to one of it’s longest recorded ghosts. Stories of Aunt Betsy date to before the Civil War. The story of the house and its hauntings are legendary in the Sandy Spring area, where Clifton is located.

Dorothy took these photographs of the coffin door at Clifton. A coffin door is a small door sometimes found in older homes. Supposedly, they were used to bring the coffin in and out of a house for the wake so the body did not have to pass through the passage the living used. I have some questions about the validity of this claim because this door, and many of the others you find on the internet, seem to me to be too narrow to fit a coffin if it were to be passed straight into the house. Also, to have a door used for such a narrow purpose seems impractical to me. However, in the 18th and 19th century, death was more a part of every day life and perhaps such a door would get more use. Has anyone else heard of coffin doors? What do you think?

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Filed under Ednor, Sandy Spring