Ghost Tours, Seances, and Funeral Reenactments at the Merchant's House Museum

Photo by Hal Hirshorn.

Photo by Hal Hirshorn.

The Merchant's House, where I am a volunteer, continues its annual tradition of exhibiting nineteenth-century mourning customs, as well as celebrating the ghosts that make it "Manhattan's most haunted house," according to the New York Times. 

In addition to the mourning exhibition that runs through the end of October, there will be ghost tours, a lecture on paranormal investigation, a seance, and a funeral reenactment. During this last event, I will be reprising my role as Gertrude Tredwell, the youngest Tredwell daughter.

For more information and for tickets, please visit the Merchant's House website. Also, check out Scott Stiffler's "At Merchant’s House, the dead are still touring" featured in the Villager this week! 

Seabury Tredwell's Funeral Reenactment in The New York Times

Roberta Belulovich (left) and I (right) as we begin the procession from the Merchant's House Museum.  (Michael Nagle for  Observer )

Roberta Belulovich (left) and I (right) as we begin the procession from the Merchant's House Museum. (Michael Nagle for Observer)

Last Sunday's funeral reenactment at the Merchant's House Museum has caught New York's attention. As has become my annual Halloween tradition, I donned nineteenth-century mourning and reprised my role as Gertrude Tredwell, the youngest daughter of the family that once lived at 29 East Fourth Street. Joined by Roberta Belulovich, who plays Gertrude's mother, Eliza Tredwell, and Carl Raymond, who served as the Revered Samuel Cooke, we recreated the 1865 funeral of Seabury Tredwell, patriarch of the Tredwell family. The event began with a service in the parlors and processed through the streets of the Bowery to New York's Marble Cemetery. 

As in previous years, the event was sold out, but this year, nearly everyone in the audience wore period or period-inspired clothing. This made the funeral procession a sight to behold, and as a result, it's been featured in the Observer and The New York Times!

In "Merchant's House Museum's Annual Funeral Rite Raises the Spectre of . . . Spectres," Kim Velsey begins her article:

The drapes were drawn and the oil lamps burning low when we entered the parlor of the Merchant’s House Museum Sunday afternoon to join the mourners at the funeral of Seabury Tredwell.  

Read the full Observer piece here.

Then, yesterday, the museum community and I were overjoyed to see our event had been featured in a video by famed New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. "Head to Toe Black" discusses New York's continued love of black fashion, beginning with its use as mourning attire in the nineteenth century. Watch "Head to Toe Black" here and share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Ghostly Happenings at the Merchant's House Museum

Merchant's House funeral reenactment, 2014. (Photo by Nathan Swan: http://nathanswan.com/blog/2014/11/27/funeral-reenactment-for-seabury-tredwell)

Merchant's House funeral reenactment, 2014. (Photo by Nathan Swan: http://nathanswan.com/blog/2014/11/27/funeral-reenactment-for-seabury-tredwell)

This weekend, the Merchant's House Museum continues its yearly tradition of offering candlelight ghost tours of the historic nineteenth century home. Eight people died at number 29 East Fourth Street, and some say their spirits still linger here today. In fact, The New York Times has called the Merchant's House Museum "Manhattan's most haunted house." I will be assisting with the ghost tours on Friday and Saturday, the 23rd and 24th. Tours are offered at these times: 

Friday, October 23 & Saturday, October 24
Super Spooky Tour (includes 4th Floor Servants’ Quarters): 6:30, 8 & 9:30 p.m. $35
Spooky Tour: 7, 7:30, 8:30, 9 p.m. $25
MHM Members $15 all times.
Wednesday, October 28; Thursday, October 29; Friday, October 30
Super Spooky Tour (includes 4th Floor Servants’ Quarters): 6:30, 8 & 9:30 p.m. $40
Spooky Tour: 7, 7:30, 8:30, 9 p.m. $30
MHM Members $15 all times.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Additionally, on Sunday, October 25th, I will be reprising the role of Gertrude Tredwell during our annual From Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment and Graveyard Procession. I will be dressed in period mourning, as shown above on the left, as we reenact the 1865 funeral of patriarch Seabury Tredwell. Tickets can be purchased here.

To read more about Victorian mourning and dress, check out my article on LitroNY "Death Brought to Life at the Met."