You are viewing va_ghost

hoops hallow

kittyn_moon in va_ghost

Haunting in Shenandoah Valley, near Luray

In 1840 a two story house was built west of luray on route 684 by a
Mr. George Keyser. The huge house was located on the property where a
John Wesley Bell was murdered by his slaves, north of "Lorelei
Estates" in the 1800's. At the time any deceased slaves were just
buried in the woods with no proper burial or marking.
It was on February 14th, 1842 that John Wesley Bell, a prominent
farmer, was brutally murderednear this house by his slaves. According
to local records, the slaves, Martin and Captain, were cutting bushes
along a branch about 250 yards from the Bell house when their master
came where they were working. While he was talking to Captain, Martin
attacked his master from the rear, breaking his skull by a blow with
an ax. They covered their tracks and through Bell's body in the
Shenandoah River. It was reported That Bell had "accidentally" drowned.
Later when Bell's body was recovered Martin and Captain had been
arrested on suspicion and later confessed to the crime, although no
motive was given. The two slaves were later hung. Not long after the
murder of Wesley Bell, his widow, with their only child James Bell,
moved a short distance up the river, locating in a large, brick house
on the west side of the river known as "Green Castle".

The mansion had 13 large rooms and 3 big halls. James Bell, son of
John Wesley Bell, is said to have been a genial young man. He was
well-liked by everyone and he, in turn, liked everybody. He frequently
visited Luray and often spent the night with different families in the
neughborhood. On one occasion when he returned from a visit to Luray,
evidently despondent, he went ot his room on the second floor of the
building. Some time later, his mother heard what she thought was a
shot but thought nothing of it since her son had been in the habit of
shooting crows around the property. When James did not appear for the
evening meal, his mother tried the door and found it locked. She then
thought perhaps he had gone to the home of a neighbor and was not
alarmed. When she still had not heard from him the next day, she
became worried and summoned the neighbors who put a ladder up the
young man's room, where they found him dead with his shotgun by his
side. No reason was given for his suicide.

The farm was also know later as the "Russell Farm", the 'Hanen Farm"
and more famously "The Westenberger House" in the mid 1960's. During
the flood of 1870, Elizabeth Kite, daughter of Noah Kite became
missing. After the flood her body was found in a sycamore tree just
below the Mansion. The Bell family and the Keyser family are related
by marriage. In 1875, 8 farmer eyewitnesses testify to seeing a
"black, hairy arm" reach up and pull 6 year old Abigail Keyser into
the river. Her body was never recovered, and for 8 days after the
incident the river became clogged with clots of dark brown hair, the
color of Abigails, making the water undrinkable. A small childs
tombstone was placed in the Keyser cemetery for the child, but her
body was never layed to rest.

Five years later in 1880, 9 year old Chyanne Keyser is reported
missing from the area and search parties are dispatched. Hours later
Chyanne returns home to her mother, walking by her and not saying a
word. According to her mother Emily, she walked into her bedroom and
shut the door. Emily opened the door to speak to her, only to find the
room empty. The only thing was her teddy bear which she named
"Captain" laying on her bed. Later the search party returned with the
drowned body of Chyanne which they found in the woods near the old
Bell homestead just 3 miles from "Green Castle". People were baffled
at the childs condition. Her body seemed as if she had drowned and
been in the water for months, yet her body was found in the middle of
the woods. She was layed to rest in the Keyser cemetery along with her
teddy bear.
No further accounts were reported of the Keyser family. The Keyser
cemetay is a mystery now. The cemetary is completly grown over but
there is an iron fence around it. Outside the gates is a single stone
with the name Lydia C. Kyser on one side and Mary A. Keyser on another
side and B.F. Keyser on the other side. Mary A. is the mother of B.F.
Keyser and Lydia C. is the wife of B.F. Keyser. No known reason for
why the stone for the three bodies is located outside the family
cemetary.

Around the late 40's a German man by the name of Urban Westenberger
moved to page county and moved into the mansion. He established a farm
named Lorieli Estates. This is where the local legend of today began.

Mr. Westenberger was somewhat of a hermit and he drank rather heavily
most of the time. He was considered a bit eccentric by most of the
locals in the valley. He was a brewer by trade and operated a small
brewery at the mansion. Westenberger saved up money and built a
Mausoleum across the road, and a couple yards up from the house. He
had his parents bodies shipped to the valley and had them stored in
the house until the mausoleum was fully constructed. The mausoleum
wasn't the only thing constructed for his deceased parents. Two clear,
glass like coffins were made for his parents which they layed in until
moved into the mausoleum. Locals always hearing of the weirdness went
to the mansion, looking through it's windows only to see the clear
coffins in the living room with his parents inside.
Often at dusk a very beautiful bell chime that would play music each
evening at the same time. Mr. Westenberger uknown by many locals also
owned the "Mansion Inn" that sat on mainstreet in luray virginia until
it was burned down in 2003. In many photos of the burning, a demonic
face can be seen.
The mausoleum was claimed haunted by many of the locals and was the
center for partying. The beautiful crypt was constently vandalized.
Supposedly the parents bodies were removed from the mausoleum sometime
in the early 70's and That Urban himself returned to live the rest of
his life in Germany. FALSE!!! The Westenberger home burned in the late
70's or early 80's. It was only partially destroyed by the fire, but
the remains were finally torn down and removed by someone sometime
later. The biggest mystery is what happened to him and his parents
bodies? When the house caught fire, he had supposedly already moved
back to Germany, but most of his belongings were still in the house
and Loreili Estates sat not sold to anyone. No one ever spoke of him
and no one ever knew what happened to him. In 1994 a local luray
officer was called along with the local funeral home owner Mr. McGrady
to get a body that was dumped in a ditch by local teenagers. Upon
arriving to the site the body was recognized by McGrady as that of
Westenberger's mother. The body was then buried in a local cemetary
but no one is talking!!! No one knows the wereabouts of the body or
bodies other than the ones from that night.


this is the only thing i have found on it. Please let me know if you know more.

from a post at taps message boad, I need to find the original post for credit.

Comments

(Anonymous)

paranormal stuff

local author. contact e at TallyTales@hotmail.com

(Anonymous)

paranormal stuff

local author. contact me at TallyTales@hotmail.com

(Anonymous)

Green Castle

Looking for more history here as my family has history with this house. Willing to trade info.

Leggs976@yahoo.com

please use Green Castle in subject line

(Anonymous)

Re: Green Castle

alittle late i know alot about this i have lived in page valley eastates since 1963. as a child i use to visit urban westenburger at his home he meet a gay lover and moved to florida and died leaving everything to his lover i remember the body being dug up i am obsessed with the bell murder and his wife rachael as she died 100 years excacly before i was born would love to discuss info or help you in any way i can

(Anonymous)

Re: Green Castle

Hey this is Dori, Is that you Cara or Dawn???

(Anonymous)

Re: Green Castle

hey i went looking for the mausoleum a few times and cant find it can you help me out with directions on how to get to it exactly? thank you!

(Anonymous)

I myself have pictures and video evidence that something at this place is not right. I have clear faces and audio of a woman screaming "OH MY GOD, HELP ME". Place is freaky for sure.

(Anonymous)

Paranormal

I am part of a Paranormal group and we recently did an investigation at the mausoleum and in one of our pictures is an orb with a very visable figure/face in it of what looks like a girl with dark hair a few inches past her shoulders and a white bow in her hair! I was jus wondering if there is a way i could find pictures of the little girls that died there or of the woman that lived there. Please contact me back by email at atpparanormal@yahoo.com. Thanks for your time.

(Anonymous)

Westenberger House

My family moved to Page Valley Estates(Rt. 684) where WESTENBERGER'S house was located in 1967. My grandparents, Doris and Herbert Pates met Mr. Westenberger and came to know him well. As did other families in the area, including the Sottosantis and Liscombs. There was agrape vineyard behind the house running up the field for about a mile until it hit the woods. Across the dirt road was the mausoleum. Urban brought his parents and his sister Anna Westenberger there, but therewas no glass coffin. They were put into marble crypt which was later desecrated by vandals. Anna was buried outside the old Keyser cemetery adjoining. Later in the 80's or 90's some weirdo(s) dug up her body and moved it to the Bluff, a place below Shenandoah River OUtfitters near the river. No one was ever charged. It is true that Mr. Westenberger left the valley, but not to Germany. My grandparents had his address and telephone # for along time. Mr. Westenberger was self-confirmed homosexual and lived out the rest of his days with his lover/ business partner Earl Snell. The liscomb family occupied the mansion for a short time and were taking care of it for the owner. Even then the huge cellar was full of large wine casks and hundreds of bottles of homemade wine made from the vineyard's grapes. These were over time stolen, destroyed or turned to vinegar. When we were children we would go after church to rebuild and repair the mausoleum which was beginning to crumble fom time. After the property was abandoned partygoers, vandals, satanists, curiosity seekers tore up everything. The U.S. Forest Service decided in about1988-89 to raze the entire Westenberger mansion to the ground and take the land for the George Washington National Forest. Also desroyed were some ancient, beautiful weeping willow trees. They used to remind me of weepig, long-haired women mourning the fates of all who had lived there. I really miss going down to that house exploring and eating the chestnuts and grapes. But the mausolem still stands in the dark woods. Be careful if you venture there!



, beautiful weeping willow trees

(Anonymous)

Was there around 1985 and wasnt burned as far as i could see.Walked up front stairs into first floor foyer. large rooms to the right, smaller room on left, hallway straight back. staircase in foyer going up.Over to the right once in house had large track like walkway where you could look down in pit.Was told that thats where relatives where stored in glass.Now for the million dollar question....Do i think the place was haunted? yes. I bet that if the local paper ran a story about the place there would be more stories to hear.

(Anonymous)

My name is Matt Cloude, i am from Luray VA. I wrote this...spending almost a year doing this research!

article online

http://books.google.com/books?id=Qy9IGaa0RswC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=%22luray+inn%22+burned&source=bl&ots=-TUzqe5w8H&sig=IhhU0Xm9C-Av97hTlfcd9jaMLik&hl=en&ei=tG2xTbyOGMu5tgfBv8X3Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22luray%20inn%22%20burned&f=false

This online book by Dan Vaughn, and has tons of info with pictures :)