By Thomas D'Agostino
Those who grew up in the 1960s watching soap operas might recognize the outside of Seaview Terrace, as it was used for exterior shots in the Gothic horror television soap opera “Dark Shadows.” The 40,000-square-foot mansion is also known as the Carey Mansion in honor of its present owners and has an interesting and mysterious history. When the house was originally built in Washington DC, it took up a whole city block but in 1907, liquor millionaire Edson Bradley decided to move his mansion to Newport, Rhode Island.
It was completely dissembled and relocated to the existing Seaview Terrace in Newport along the Cliff Walk. The event was recounted in Ripley's “Believe it or Not.” The process of moving the mansion took two years. It later became an all-girls school. From 1966 to 1971, the outside of the mansion was used as the scenery for the Collins home in “Dark Shadows.” Every afternoon, viewers could get an eerie glimpse of the Gothic manse as it made several cameos during each episode. A portrait of the main character in the show, Barnabas Collins, still hangs over one of the fireplaces for guests to view.
It is now said to be one of the most haunted places in Rhode Island, with several ghosts in residence. The most prominent spirit said to haunt the property is the original owner’s wife, Mrs. Bradley.
She loved her home in life and has no desire to leave it in death. She is often seen playing her favorite Estey organ. She was first witnessed at the keys of her instrument shortly after her death and has not stopped since. Unexplained phenomena take place after dark when anyone left in the building during this time may experience door handles jiggling or spirit voices echoing through the halls. Phantom footsteps shuffle about the giant edifice and strange noises emanate from the chambers. Dark shadows are often seen moving about the rooms and visitors hear the disembodied footsteps moving around them as they wander about the great mansion. No one is sure who the rest of the ghosts are. Some may be the spirits of the girls that once called the mansion their home. Maybe the remnants of those who found solace inside the massive walls of the estate. The size of the building would indicate that several ghosts comfortably reside within its walls as the noises can be heard at times simultaneously throughout the mansion.
The property, as previously stated, is presently owned by the Carey family, who enjoy their ghosts and their privacy. The mansion is not open for private tours but can be viewed from the street. Despite being the fifth largest mansion in Newport, it still is a massive structure that houses several ghosts and a lot of history. Not being able to tour it may not be so much fun but hopefully this little article will prompt you to at least read more about the manse that houses dark shadows of many forms.