Yesterday's Magazette

1 – The Ghosts of Perry, FL

The Ghosts of Perry, Florida


By Madonna Dries Christensen and Christopher James

The gray concrete block three-story house with a rounded tower capped by a conical roof stands like a fortress on a corner in this small town in the Florida Panhandle. The castle owners, Christopher and Leah James, operate a gift and floral shop within Greystone Manor. But Christopher will not go there alone. He’s heard voices when no one else was present, voices that call his name in a taunting manner. Passersby have reported seeing a man’s figure at the window in the tower, or a woman’s face. Ghost hunters who spent time there detected spirits; they recorded voices, and saw unexplained orbs of light. One medium senses that the house is a portal for spirits.

At an online site called HalloweenForum.com, someone revealed that when he was a child in the 1970s, his sister lived in the house, which had been converted to apartments. He heard strange noises, doors opening and closing, floors creaking. He saw nothing unusual, but that was because he buried his head under the covers all night. He never went to the house again.
A person with the screen name Haunted Hacienda wrote that he/she is a Psychic Medium. Although HH has not been to Greystone Manor, from what others wrote HH feels there’s a strong male energy there. HH believes the spirit belongs to someone from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s who was probably wealthy, prominent, had servants, and once owned the property. (The house was built in 1904, but the man could have owned another house there or owned only the land.) HH says he was not well-liked, and when he died he did not have a good transition. The spirit is angry because he is not being shown the attention he once enjoyed. HH describes the man as tall, medium build, dark hair and eyes, small moustache, who walks quickly. He dislikes visitors.
A local woman told Christopher this story. Let’s call her Jane. In the 1960s/70s, the elderly woman who owned Greystone Manor rented rooms, the lowest rate in town. Jane stopped by, and the landlady said she had one room, in the tower. Showing the room, the landlady said, “There’s just one thing.” She indicated two windows, across from one another. “You have to keep those windows open because that’s how the ghosts get in and out.” Jane did not rent the room.
Christopher:
The house, built in 1904, once served as a morgue. When I bought this house (in 2006) I had no idea it was haunted. It didn’t take long to figure it out, though. It started as strange noises and sensations.
There’s a window in the tower that I closed every day and returned to find it open again. I finally gave up on that one. The clock in the kitchen died every day or so. I stopped putting batteries in it because it would cost a fortune to keep it running.

I had a runner rug at the front door that I found rolled up or moved. My Christmas things were pulled from the attic, as if children were playing with them. My fireplaces growl; the water in the bathroom turns on by itself; doors slam for no apparent reason, and people say they see someone standing in the tower window (when none of us are there).
I had a woman wallpapering the “children’s bedroom.” She kept telling me she heard little girls’ voices. I told her it was probably just her imagination. Then she started seeing kids peering at her through a crack in the closet door. This unnerved me. I really got creeped out when she ran from the house screaming. She left all her things in the unfinished bedroom and told me she was leaving, never to return. She swears the children’s voices screamed at her, “Get out of our house.” I still have her belongings; she refuses to come get them for fear they are possessed!
I would love to believe that the house isn’t haunted and that it is just coincidence, but too many things have happened. After all, there were about 20 recorded deaths here in the past. Twelve known ghosts haunt this house. Ten are children who died in a fire in an orphanage in 1870, before this house was built. One of the young ghosts’ names is Sarah. Voices have called her name.
Another identified ghost is a prostitute who was stabbed to death (17 times) in the bathtub. The tub is still in the house. Another possible ghost is a man who hung himself in the tower after discovering his wife’s affair. No contact has been made with this man.
Strange things occur here and I’d be glad to talk to anyone who has questions or information concerning the history of Greystone Manor. Thanks to Shadow Chasers of The Big Bend for confirming paranormal activity here.
Madonna:
Christopher and his family live a block from Greystone Manor in another Victorian mansion, circa 1900. On a sweltering day, Christopher and a friend, Jason, were in the garden erecting a gazebo. Christopher saw a woman walking in the yard. Her hair was piled on top of her head; she wore a long white dress, and carried a basket on her arm. New in town, Christopher said to Jason, “Who’s that woman in my yard?”
Jason looked up and said, “What woman?”
Christopher pointed. “Right over there.” Jason saw no one. Later, standing a few feet apart, they both felt a cold breeze pass between them. A neighbor, who was sitting outside and had earlier complained about the heat, said he did not feel a breeze.

Christopher later learned that a woman who lived in the house long ago had a bountiful garden. She often took a basket and gathered flowers and vegetables to give her neighbors. Christopher is a creative and skilled gardener. His garden in Perry and his previous garden in North Palm Beach have been featured in Florida Gardening magazine; the NPB garden was also featured in Easy Care Landscaping. He believes that his Perry garden flourishes beyond what it should. Might he, or his plants, receive spiritual energy from the woman in white?
Christopher told no one about the woman in the garden, nor about the footsteps heard on the upper floor, nor about what sounded like a cane thumping on the floor. But when his son, Michael, later reported that he saw a woman sitting on the back porch reading, the description fit the woman in the garden.
A guest, who knew nothing about these sightings, wanted to tour the house. As she and Christopher reached the top of the stairs to the second floor, she stopped, and screamed. She said she saw a woman at the other end of the hall. She wore a long white dress and was carrying a basket. The guest left and never returned.
Christopher says the woman in white has not been seen for some time, that perhaps she’s satisfied with the family who lives in her house and has resurrected her garden.
One other incident unhinged Christopher.

Having a lot of energy and not requiring much sleep, he was painting a room at three in the morning. He was alone; Leah was on her way home from their other residence. Suddenly, a green light shot out of the wall, flew around the room like a neon laser, and sunk back into the wall. He thought it was a reflection from outside, or maybe a firefly had come inside. He awakened a friend with a phone call, asking “Are there fireflies around here?” Barely awake, she asked what on earth he was talking about. He explained briefly, hung up and dialed Leah’s cell phone. Badly shaken and in tears, he told Leah what he’d seen and said he wanted to move, he couldn’t take this any longer.

He wondered if this had anything to do with his losing three people close to him in the previous few months. Leah calmed him and said she’d be home in an hour. He waited outside for her. When she arrived, they sat together and she talked him into going back into the room. They sat quietly but nothing happened. Then it did; Leah saw the bouncing light. She convinced Christopher that whatever it was, it would not harm them. They still live there.
Are the Jameses two houses haunted? You decide.
(Christopher offers tours of his garden/home, and Greystone Manor. For details, call 561-379-6194.)

Vol. 37 No. 3 – Yesterday’s Magazette – Fall – 2010

17 Comments »

  1. My grandparents owned the house during the early to mid 70’s and my grandfather began the transformation back from apartments to house. He died there in his chair on the second floor in front of the fireplace. My father took it over after my grandmothers passing (not there)and lived there for several years. I visited often and many odd things happened through the years. We never experienced anything violent but you definately knew you were not alone. Often saw someone walking in your peripheral vision and heard noises, tapping, things would be left one place and found another, etc. Beautiful house though!

    Comment by Chris Swisher — October 19, 2010 @ 9:02 am | Reply

  2. yes who do i need to contact to have a private walk thur to see what i hear and sence?

    Comment by Montana Mitchum — March 27, 2011 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  3. After having SEVERAL visits to Greystone, our group, known at that time of Shadow Chaser’s of the big bend, then branched off in to MAPI (Mobile American Paranormal) we were fortunate enough to have visited the home SEVERAL times… RECORDED ON TAPE, we had done a walk through with someone we thought may be of help to us there, VERY VERY VERY loudly we hear what sounded like a female voice SCREAMING “GET OUT!! GET OUT!!! Many MANY things happened as our investigations continued… By far it is probably one of the MOST active Paranormal homes I’ve seen to date.

    Comment by Sheila — April 20, 2011 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  4. is this the haunted house across from the city park the library and much more? im new and not afrmiliar with things and places around town.

    Comment by Katie — May 4, 2011 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

    • Yes katie it is across from the church and greystone and chris’s home/garden are my absolute favorite places in this city 🙂

      Comment by kellie — August 9, 2011 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

    • YES IT IS

      Comment by adonna — June 5, 2012 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  5. Sadly the house is owned by the bank now.. I looked at it today as a buyer and loved it. No creepy feeling at all, my daughter of 11 years old and easily spooked loved it as well. We were heartbroken that it need so much work, I was up for a construction and reconstruction challenge, however this jem is too rough even for me 😦

    Comment by Michelle — January 20, 2012 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  6. Which bank owns it? I heard it’s going to be torn down and the stones used to build a house out west. I’m a photographer and would like to get inside to photograph it before it’s torn down.

    Comment by Barbara Edwards — June 4, 2012 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  7. I used to play in this house as a child and experienced things on the stairs going to the tower. I heard creaking on the stairs above me while walking up, felt a “cold breeze” pass me and the door at the top of the stairs closed. As it was closing I looked up and saw a faint figure of a woman as the door closed. I had the chillls and slowly backed down the stairs. i really didn’t feel threatened or scared. I talked to my grandmother who knew a woman who lived in the tower and passed. She said the woman remained in that house.

    Comment by Becky — June 5, 2012 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  8. im very interested in the greystone manor and the victorian mansion but this si the only page i get info. on i just need help getting info. and i would love to go in the mansions some day!

    Comment by jasmine — July 15, 2013 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  9. My name is Robin and I lived in Perry more than 30 yrs ago, we lived in a very disturbingly haunted house outside town on hwy 98 north out not far from the hwy partol, one yr when the annual street dance and bed race was going on me and some friends went through your house, no one was living there at the time, but we were drawn to the house for some reason, it was very dark and we went at the way to the top floor and the room that faces the town square was what drew us there, I’m not sure what happened but something did and we took off running but couldn’t seem to find our way out so we ended up climbing out a window and jumped to the ground. It was like a sense of doom and I have been haunted by that night for so long, even though it’s been over 30 yrs I can still see, hear, and feel that night as if it just happened

    Comment by Robin — April 18, 2014 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  10. My name is Bruce, and Christopher and I have been dive buddies since the mid 1990s. In August 2012 I went up to visit him and his family at his home in Perry, and the third night I was there, after working in the garden for a few hours that afternoon, I heard a voice say thank you from just outside my bedroom door, which was open. No one else was on the second floor but me, and there was no TV or other possible explanation. I was simply reading before bed, and I thought perhaps Michael (Christopher’s son) had had a friend over and had shown her the bathroom. After I kidded him about the “girlfriend” the next morning, he said to me impassively, “That was a spook.”

    Comment by Bruce M. Beck — July 26, 2014 @ 10:15 am | Reply

  11. who owns the house now ??

    Comment by Tammy Poppell — October 16, 2014 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  12. My mother and I lived in this house when I was 6 months old. 1962. my mother said the house was full of renters we lived on the bottom floor of the back of the house she said all she heard was coach roaches.. as she quotes BIG ONES. But no ghosts. Or nothing.. out of the ordinary I ask her of this house today she has lived here all her life….

    Comment by Sheila Padgett — November 3, 2014 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  13. robin, the hy patrol station is on 19/27 north which house, is it still there?? hope they don’t tear down the graystone it is a beautiful place ! perry needs to put some money in it make it a museum for the city!

    Comment by martha crowder — November 4, 2014 @ 11:54 am | Reply

  14. See below under Sheila Padgett

    Comment by Sheila Padgett — November 5, 2014 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  15. You know, since 2012 and several trips back to Perry from Lake Worth, I have seen some really strange things there. In October 2012, a couple of weeks before Halloween, after Christopher James asked me to see his haunted house outside his Christmas store, I went back in to some of the darkest rooms in the store and took several pictures, the last of which showed a severed hand holding a carved lit pumpkin–this seemed to be a Halloween greeting of sorts. However, the same night, a group of us went out to Poor Spot Cemetery and after a half hour something started to violently shake the bushes on the tree line on the western edge of the cemetery and five to ten seconds a bright white orb did a fifteen foot rapid-fire zig-zag across the sky, back and forth for several seconds faster than would be humanly possible, even with a flashlight, I told everyone it was time for us to leave; we were clearly not wanted. Christopher’s son, Michael, had experienced something similar in the past. He even told me the first time he was out there that he and a friend had heard tom-tom drums and Indian chants. So I think it must be a protective spirit protecting a burial ground, probably on the west side of the graveyard. I hope to do a cleansing with sage and sweet grass to purify myself and my intentions the next time I go and to recite a Native American prayer for the dead.

    Comment by Bruce M. Beck — February 12, 2015 @ 11:49 am | Reply


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