The Haunting Conference House

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Built in 1680, the Billop House in Tottenville, Staten Island (or Conference House, as it came to be known) was the site of the failed peace attempt of 1776. It was here that John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge met with Admiral Richard Howe who (along with his brother William) commanded British forces in America during the first years of the American Revolution.

The British were already in control of the westernmost portion of Long Island (later becoming Brooklyn), but the Howes were sympathetic to American grievances and offered to end the war and avoid further bloodshed. However, the British would only accept an unconditional peace on their own terms whereas the Americans would only accept unconditional independence. The peace endeavor failed and the American Revolution officially started.

The Conference House played no other role in history but for its long history of reported hauntings. A child who once lived there used to converse with the ghost of a British soldier, describing the apparition with keen accuracy. On dark nights, a woman could be seen signaling to someone or something by a window; she is famous for a “cold spot” that has been studied by paranormal experts. The ghost is believed to be the servant of Christopher Billup, a Tory who, convinced that the girl was about to betray him into the hands of the Colonists, murdered her.

The house was abandoned in 1895 and wouldn’t reopen until 1937. Vincent and Maureen Malone lived in the house in the 1970s and reported poltergeist-like activity: flashing lights, moving objects, a “cool breeze” that left Maureen feeling “violated.”

My wife and I have visited the Conference House on several occasions. Even I, skeptic that I am, do admit that there’s an eerie ambiance to the place; a feeling that “something” is just WAITING to be encountered there.

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2 comments on “The Haunting Conference House

  1. MJT says:

    You may be pleasantly (?) surprised. But I agree: the history is indeed fascinating.

  2. andave_ya says:

    Cool! Now that is a place I would supremely love to visit. Not because of the ghosts but because of the HISTORY!

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