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Victorian Manor Tea House Haunting  (The Elliott Alumni House)

Located at 204 N. Olive, Orange, California 92866, formerly the Victorian Manor Tea House - “Following a $400,000 restoration by Chapman University, the home now serves as Chapman (Elliott) Alumni House.  See current photos, details and a video of the house CLICK HERE.  More information on the Chapman University restoration CLICK HERE.

 

History

The town of Orange began as a farming community, although it took several years of trial and error for the settlers to discover the most successful crops. The first crops were grain such as barley, oats, wheat corn and rye. Many of the farmers then planted grape vines, primarily for raisins. Grapes were a major product until the 1886 blight that killed thousands of vines in Orange and surrounding communities. The settlers also tried growing tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples and guavas, but without much success.


In 1873, the farmers began planting orange groves. The City of Orange was incorporated in 1888. However, Orange dates back to 1869 when Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, both lawyers, accepted a 1,385 acres of land from the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana as legal fees. Soon thereafter, the men laid out a one square mile town with ten-acre farm lots surrounding a forty acre central town site. The center of the town site became known as the Plaza, which has become the symbol of the community. Today the Plaza and the original town site contain numerous historic buildings.


This Queen Anne Victorian home was built by William D. Granger and his wife Ella P. about 1904. To date, we know that the Grangers had at least one child, a daughter named Grace who was listed as being a student in 1907. Granger helped open the First National Bank of Orange in the town plaza, becoming its first president from 1905-1924; the bank is still operating today. The former residence and boarding house and lastly tearoom, now sits vacant. The former owner Carol Cox purchased the home with her husband Jim and after months of renovation and restoration, opened for business.


Hauntspitality

Visitors got more than high tea in the beautifully restored Victorian; they got high spirits. According to former owners, Jim and Carol Cox and Peggy Stahler, vice-president of the Orange County Society for Paranormal Research (OCSPR), there are spirits a plenty in this Victorian house. Paige Austin in her recent article about the Victorian Manor Tea Room states, "Rumors of ghosts and hauntings have long circulated in Old Towne, but now members of OCSPR have set out in search of proof."


In March of 2001, Stahler led about 30 members on a fact finding investigation of the old house. Each individual was responsible for recording their impressions of the spirited clientele. The preliminary findings produced the following results:


* Thirteen people reported the presence of children's spirits. Several individuals sensed a youth girl with curly, blonde hair and a little boy who enjoys relocating sliverware to get attention.

* Eight people reported sensing an elderly woman with dark, graying hair as well as a younger woman wearing her wedding dress who enjoys following people around and making sure nothing is out of place.

* Two members reported witnessing a young girl who enjoys visiting the house with her aunt Cora.

* A few individuals reportedly contacted a young boy named Erin.

* The sad presence of a spirit named Emilie, who reportedly committed suicide after the loss of her child, was detected.

* A Maryann Thomas associated with the date 1926, was perceived.

* A Confederate Civil War veteran named either Lou, Gregory, or Gerald, who came to Orange and fell in love with a woman named Wanda Olberg, also roams the building.

* Two women named Hedda and Amber were also sensed by some members.

* Two members reported encountering a specter of a man who accidentally fell to his death down the stairs.


A visiting psychic who dropped by for a spot of tea, remarked matter-of-factly that there were numerous spirits residing in the house. A guest who came by for tea ended up talking to one of the spirits, not knowing that the person was a ghost. Only afterward when she described the woman in period clothing did everyone come to realize that the "other" person, who came for tea, was from the other side.

During the evening of Friday, September 28, 2001, The International Paranormal Research Organization (IPRO) conducted a paranormal investigation at the former Granger home. With the help of OCSPR including four psychics (Pat Bryan, Ginnie McGovern, Michael Kouri and Peggy Stahler), the communication circle (as its called by the society), spent four hours in contact with numerous entities including a former Granger Nanny named "Rosalie," and elderly lady named "Donna," a child named "Matthew," another child, a woman named "Aunt Cora" who frequents the building as a "guest ghost, " a woman named Emilie who fell from the second story balcony while pregnant, a man who called himself "Earl;" W.D. Granger; W.D. Granger's son; D.C. Pixley a friend of the Granger's; a banker friend of W.D. Granger who gave his name as 'Mr. Utt," and several other spirits unrelated to the house including a woman who said she died during the September 11th bombing of the World Trade Center and two boys who died in a recent car crash. The activity in the house was filmed and a tape recorder monitored the entire event. IPRO conducted several more investigations from 2003-2005, and each time, more paranormal investigative data is obtained.


"Hauntspitality" information on this page was taken from excerpts of "California Ghosts" written by our good friends authors Rob and Anne Wlodarski .

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