The Hayes Mansion has been working well for us the past couple of years for our holiday meetup, so why not go back again? It's a fine venue for BAGH and what a great place to celebrate when it's all dressed up for the holidays. Lunch includes an excellent all-you-can-eat buffet with non-alcoholic beverages. For those who RSVP in advance, their cost is $30.00. If anyone prefers to pay cash, it will be $35.00 at the door.
Each BAGH member, which means joining the Meetup.com group, will receive a ticket for our door prize raffle. We'll be showcasing some of the prizes on the BAGH Facebook page, including a ghostie baking set valued at $72. Additional or raffle tickets to non-members will be $1 each.
SOME HISTORY & PARANORMAL BACKGROUND OF HAYES MANSION
For those unfamiliar with this historic complex, it starts with Mary Folsom Hayes Chenowyth. She was working as a schoolteacher when she felt the call to spiritual insight and work as a faith healer. Afterward, a man had been deeply cut by a saw and after she passed her hands over him, he quickly healed. Her first husband, Anson Hayes, was a widower, a cousin of President Rutherford B. Hayes and an affluent farmer. Mary and Anson had three sons, Everis Anson, Jay Orley and Charles Carroll. The youngest died as a toddler. The elder sons built their fortune in the iron mines of Wisconsin, after their mother used her intuition to help them find the rich veins of ore. The Hayes family emigrated to San Jose from Wisconsin after the death of Mary's husband.
Life for the Hayes family had its mixed blessings. They established a successful farming business, which is still operating today as Sunsweet. Her sons purchased two of the local newspapers, the San Jose Herald in 1900 and San Jose Mercury in 1901. The papers were then combined into the Mercury Herald. Everis went into politics and served seven terms in Congress. Mary married Thomas Chenowyth, a lawyer, sixteen years after the death of her first husband. Despite being 21 years older than him, he died first a couple of years later. The original Queen Anne mansion the Hayeses lived in burned down in 1899. When they rebuilt their home, it was designed as sort of a triplex. One "unit" for Mary and the two for each her sons and their growing families. Unfortunately, Mary died in 1905 shortly before the house was completed.
The first time BAGH visited the Hayes Mansion in March 2016 with a special guest, Ron Bartholow, who resided there during his youth back in the late 1970s. Late on a hot afternoon, he and another resident were preparing for an evening out with the TV on while Arsenio Hall was interviewing Sylvia Browne. All of the doors and windows were open for ventilation. Then Browne said something that triggered the door to slam shut on its own. Ron insisted there were no drafts at the time. When he tried to duplicate the vigor of the noise, he found the door very heavy and hard to slam. When he later met Browne, she said she believed two spirits reside on the premises, including Mary Chenowyth. This was later confirmed when Psychic Medium Mariah did a gallery reading for our 2016 holiday meetup.
A couple of odd things also happened as Ron gave us a tour of the house. As our group was following Ron up the stairs to the second story, those who were on the stairs noticed the lights lit on their own when he started talking and immediately turned off when he stopped. After he showed us the restored vault door he once found buried on the grounds, he turned to close it after the last person left, only to find it shutting on its own.
I hope everyone can make it for our holiday celebration!