Haunted or NOT: Do you advertise the Haint?

By
Real Estate Broker Owner with Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

Sherwood-Minton House in Cape Girardeau MOWhile we were taking photos, I even joked about the supposed ghost, referring to the resident Haint or Haints. My associate, a highly-educated, intelligent woman, cast a scornful look at me, "You summons them when you talk about them!"

"Oh, OKAY!"  I said, somewhat sarcastically. "You mean that you believe the stories?"

 

"It's possible," she said as she walked away, dismissing the subject.

Known as the Sherwood-Minton house, the property dates back to 1846, and it has long been rumored to be haunted. Built as a private residence, it has been used as a school, a dorm, a smallpox hospital, a stop on the underground railroad, and a Civil War soldier hospital. It also has sat vacant for long stretches of time on more than one occasion throughout its history.

Now it is on the market following foreclosure. The tenant opted to move out when I offered her cash for keys, not because she had any fear of the house that she loved, but because she had just graduated from college and would be moving in the fall anyway. During the three times I met her, however, she claimed that she had encountered the spirits that inhabit the old house. The tenant had actually been trying to purchase the house in a short sale, though she had become over-whelmed with the numerous repair issues.

After we finished taking photos on the main level, we proceeded upstairs. Part of my chore that day was to take photos of all repair items in the now vacant house, and that was, indeed, a chore. While we were upstairs, a beeping sound started coming from somewhere below us. We looked out windows on all sides, expecting to see a truck or equipment of some sort backing up. Nothing, so we went back downstairs to see if we could find the source. The noise was coming from the timer on the oven, located just feet from where I had earlier been joking about the supposed ghosts.  My associate quickly turned off the timer.

The day the house was listed, another agent called me immediately to say that she had an interested buyer. "It's haunted, you know," she said confidently.

"Yes, I have heard that," I responded, remembering our own experience with the beeper. 

We had not yet installed the electronic lockbox, so I dispatched my associate to put one on the house several days after our first outing. The beep-beep of the timer greeted her once again. This time, she went to the basement and loosened the fuse that controls the oven.

I'm thinking that a ghost who can work an oven timer can also screw in a fuse. What do you think? I, for one, am probably going to be a believer at that point!

More about the Sherwood-Minton listing HERE.

 

UPDATE (HOUSE HAS SOLD): In fact, when the house was listed two years ago, the listing agent used the ghost angle as a marketing tool. It was during that listing that paranormal investigators were brought in to do some testing. Their conclusion, BTW, was that the house does have spirits. The fact that it was October didn't hurt the mystique of such a ruling, and the local newspaper did stories on it.  See two of the stories HERE and HERE. One former owner even held what they called a Community Fair last spring to try to raise money for restoration. A Southeast Missourian story from 1972 is HERE, and another one from 1975 is HERE. Ken Steinhoff did a feature on his webpage, Cape Central High School HEREKatherine Webster presents evidence in her blog that at least one ghost story is untrue HERE

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If you are looking for a foreclosure in Cape Girardeau, Perry, N. Scott, or Bollinger counties, I am the region's most experienced REO agent. As the area's ONLY Fannie Mae direct listing agent, I list more foreclosure properties than any other agent in this MLS. I am among the few local agents approved to both list and sell HUD properties. Give me a call if you are looking for help with the purchase of a foreclosure property.

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Rainmaker
252,355
Liz Lockhart
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

Judi~ In fact, it was on market during October of 2010, and the listing agent did have an open house that weekend. I thought about holding it open this weekend, but the truth is that I am afraid too many "lookers" might show up; and going to the basement, especially, requires caution. Since the supposed tunnel is there, the basement is where many lookers want to go. Unless the basement is shut off, I need a controlled circumstance when the house is being shown. I also want to protect the property as much as possible. I certainly don't want people picking at the brickwork to see how hard or soft it is.

June 07, 2011 10:34 PM
Anonymous #22
Anonymous
Curious

Hi Liz, I was wondering if there are more pics of the inside of the house? I tried looking on house view but I do not show it listed on there either.

September 26, 2011 05:33 PM
Rainmaker
252,355
Liz Lockhart
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

Curious~ The property is sold. You can still find some interior photos, however, if you follow the links in the blog above.

 

More about the Sherwood-Minton listing HERE.

September 26, 2011 05:38 PM
Anonymous #24
Anonymous
Chris Kinder

Hi Liz!

I am absolutely in love with this house and have been for years.  Were it not for my wife refusing to share living space with the ghosts, we would be making an offer.  

I am currently a graduate student in the history department at SEMO.  I graduated with a bs in Historic Preservation and I have done quite a bit of research on the house.  You are fairly accurate in your description of its history, but I did want to correct one thing.  The home was not, nor is their any evidence to suggest, that the home was used as part of the underground railroad.  In fact its builder, Mr. Sherwood was a southern sympathizer.  The gentleman who owned it at the start of the war was actually an ediotor of a southern leaning newspaper.  Neither of these men were interested in hiding runaway slaves, it is merely folklore, just like the hidden tunnel, which is probably where the undergraound railroad story came from.

There is so much history to this home and it deserves to be restored and treasured.  I hope that whoever purchases the home is aware of this.  The ghosts aren't a bad selling point either, I am a firm believer having been involved with several historic homes.

PS:  Did you notice the spur marks on the stairs, they were put there by the soldiers who occupied it during the war...its my favorite feature!

November 01, 2012 12:03 PM
Rainmaker
252,355
Liz Lockhart
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO

Thanks, Chris. The info about underground railroad and the tunnel came from the sources I cited in the post. I have no actual knowledge of either statement; but when I had the house listed, there was a dug-out area in the basement. I do not know whether or not it was a caved-in tunnel, but I do know that water poured out of it during heavy rains (so I'm guessing it goes somewhere). Following one rain, the mostly dry basement had about three feet of water in it.

The house as it exists now is smaller than it was during some of its history, but I believe that what remains is the original structure. The additions (one of which extended over what is now N. Middle) have all been razed.

November 01, 2012 03:59 PM
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Rainmaker
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Liz Lockhart

GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate
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