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Bedford's Avenel: Rich history, the White Lady and what may be lurking inside

The Ballard Family (Credit: The Avenel Foundation)
The Ballard Family (Credit: The Avenel Foundation)
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Located in the heart of Bedford, on the street that bares its'll find Historic Avenel.

"The history is just so rich! All the people that have been here," said Irene Catlin, with Historic Avenel.

Avenel was completed in 1838 by William Burwell and his wife, Frances.

The Burwell family was deeply involved in both national and local politics of the time.

"Mrs. Burwell's father and grandfather were the first county clerks here in Bedford. Mr. Burwell's father was the private secretary to Thomas Jefferson," explained Catlin.

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Once Avenel was completed, the Burwells along with their two young daughters, Lettie and Catherine, moved in with France's widowed mother, and her son Edward.

The Burwells then had two more daughters, Fan and Rosa.

Fan died young after contracting Typhoid Fever.

"She had gone to visit her husband while he was out with his troops. She made it back to the house but she did die here," explained Catlin.

Their only son, James, died even younger at only 11 months.

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"It's believed he was either entombed in the attic or buried in the basement, we don't know," said Catlin.

In 1906 the Burwells sold the home to the Ballard family and their six children.

In 1985, the last family to privately own Avenel sold it to what’s now called the Avenel Foundation.

Since that time the foundation has opened up this home to tours, weddings, and special events. However, there's a growing number of people, that say the former owners never really left.

According to the foundation, with the help of paranormal investigators, Avenel has...

"Been able to verify nine. Fan. The White Lady. A woman that has been seen wearing black. We know the child, the 11-month-old child is here. There is a spirit Cat. We have a confederate soldier, and we also have a union soldier. We also identified a German music teacher," said Catlin.

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The German music teacher, according to the Burwell diaries lived with them for five years.

Finally, according to the foundation, they've also identified another man.

"Dressed in a tux, we don't know if he is the butler or the coachman, because both of them would have worn a tux. There is a man here who identifies as Doc, now who Doc is - we don't know. And the 2nd daughter Cate, Cate has been identified and her spirit is still here." said Catlin.

Once a year, on National Ghost Hunting Day, Avenel hosts its annual Paranormal Night.

This is where paranormal groups host a meet and greet, with those looking to find sights and sounds of those since gone.

"Multiple spirits, data, noises. There are all kinds of various entities that live within the house," said Nick Hudson.

Nick Hudson is with Maps Paranormal and he's been on quite a few investigations inside the house.

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We asked him to take us around the home, using tools they say have picked up the unexplained.

Using an EMF reader, which according to Hudson:

"Use them to tell the energy, or temperature will change in the room when a spirit comes in," exclaimed Hudson.

We took the EMF Reader around the house scanning it for any change. The higher the number, the more energy is being omitted.

We started our tour in the Lee Bedroom.

"One of the places the White Lady has been seen," said Hudson.

A slight increase, but nothing too strange. The room we actually had the most activity was this bathroom:

This was originally part of the bedroom of Catherine Burwell.

"That's saying something is in here," said Hudson.

"It looks like there is a gas line or a water line over there, would it trigger this to go off?" I asked.

"No, it would not trigger that to go off," assured Hudson.

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The readers continue to go off, louder and higher.

We moved on through the rest of the house, but no room got a higher reading than what we got in the bathroom. Or any other sign of life.

However, others have not only seen it, but they said they have photos to prove it.

"I don't think I've ever been in this house when something didn't happen," said Catlin.

Avenel says it has received countless pictures from visitors that have captured something in their frames.

Shapes and figures they said can't be definitively explained both inside and outside of the house.

One picture, in particular, is this photo from 2002.

Before digital pictures and digital editing.

According to Avenel, the image of Peggy Ballard Mauphin is burned into this photograph.

Mauphin was the last person to privately live in the home before selling it to the foundation in 1985.

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When she died in 2002, her funeral was held in the house. Her grandson took the photo after the service.

From the flickering lights to the sudden noises.

From the weird pictures to the growing number of personal tales, Hudson said everyone makes up their own minds about what goes on here but would add that:

" We are just trying to broaden their horizons, to the possibility that there are things out there that we can't see, that we can't touch, things we can't explain," said Hudson.

For more information on Avenel or it's foundation click here.

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