Ghosts of the Bedford Inn

Posted on February 11, 2011

I was in Cape May to host several events on the weekend prior to Halloween of 2010. As with other years, I stayed in one of Cape May’s delightful Bed & Breakfasts. The deciding factor of course was that the place was haunted. Last year I chose the Bedford Inn on Stockton Street. It is a few doors down from another famous haunt in town, the Sea Holly. In the years when the Sea Holly was a B&B, I had heard various stories from guests staying at the Bedford that phantom footsteps could be heard traipsing along the long hallways at night. Trying to get any information out of the previous owner was a challenge and yielded little information about any paranormal happenings.  I could sense “something” from the street, but not enough to draw any sort of psychic conclusions. It is very difficult to read ghosts from the outside of a structure looking in. Most often a psychic needs to be in point blank range to understand the ghost behind a haunting. Whereas Spirits from Heaven tend to “broadcast” their messages, ghosts seem to keep all of their personal info close to the vest. The ghosts of the Bedford were tight-lipped to say the least.

Years have passed since I first caught wind of something paranormal happening at the Bedford. Since those early days on Stockton Street, the Bedford has changed hands. My friends Archie and Stephanie Kirk currently own this delightful B&B. While the Kirk’s other property, the Linda Lee, is a better known haunt, the Bedford has been slowly moving into my psychic radar. Each time I stay at the Bedford, I run a cassette tape recorder and attempt to capture ghost voices on tape (EVPs).  On several occasions, I had a good bit of luck in capturing the voices of a few talkative ghosts.

One night as I was staying in one of my favorite rooms, I sensed something moving about on the other side of the room near a rocker. It was not a psychic sensation, it was an actual noise of someone bumping into the chair and desk. Because many old houses make noises, I waited to hear if the noise repeated itself. Many “ghosts” turn out to be nothing more than a banging loose shutter or animals running around the roof. This noise however stopped as quickly as it had started. I also noticed, on inspection, the rocking chair was now in a different position from where I had last used it. With a cassette recorder standing by on my night table, I quickly switched it to record and started asking questions.

I sensed a ghost—it was a middle-aged woman. I asked for a name. Several sounds are heard. Few can be distinguished as anything more than random noises. Then—as if to answer all my questions at once—a woman’s voice says, “I’m here.” It felt like she had been waiting and watching, deciding if she would play my game of “get the ghost on tape.” Sometimes ghosts must get really tired of our constant paranormal probing, whether it be by way of psychic eavesdropping or ghost investigators shoving electronic gadgets in their auras. This ghost seemed tired, but was kind enough to let me know she was there.

Listen for yourself. Here is the EVP where she answers my question, “Is anyone in the room with me?”

She responds, “I’m here.” I’m here

Here is the same EVP looped and enhanced a bit more. Bedford Inn I’m here (looped)

During that same weekend in Cape May, I ran several more recording sessions. In the same third floor room, I was able to pickup a male voice on tape. One interesting thing about ghosts is this: even without physical bodies, they seem to retain their gender in the afterlife. Do souls have a gender? The next voice on the tape was definitely male. I posed the question, “Is there anyone here with us?” The response was, “Rebecca.” Listen for yourself.

Male voice at the Bedford Inn responding with the name Rebecca. Rebecca

Here is the same EVP looped several times. Rebecca (looped)

Searching through the history of the Bedford that the Kirk’s have in their possession, I could not find a reference to a Rebecca. The Inn had several owners since it was first built, but not a mention of a Rebecca.

Here is a brief history from the Inn’s website:

“In 1870, Joseph French Page, a wealthy stockbroker from Philadelphia, bought 801 Stockton Ave. and the land that the Bedford Inn now sits upon.

In 1883, while renovations were being done at 801 Stockton Ave, he had 805 and 807 Stockton Ave (Bedford Inn) built for the use of his many children and their families.  It was built as a double side-by-side home, called in those days a “Mother-Daughter” house.  The style chosen was Victorian Italianate, a symmetrical building covered by a nearly flat roof, a low-pitched center gable with an oculus (round) window, and large double brackets supporting a deep overhanging cornice.

The original section of the house was three stories tall but only two rooms deep and had large open front porches on both the first and second floors.  The interiors had corniced ceilings, large and elegant halls, heaters, modern open stairways to the third story and double parlors.  Kitchens were convenient and supplied with everything needed to the culinary department, including hot and cold water throughout, with patented water-closets and bath-rooms.  At approximately the turn of the century a two-story addition was constructed which greatly increased the size of the building and the number of rooms.

The Page family enjoyed many summers on Stockton Avenue until the home passed to Annie Page, wife of Edward D. Page, in 1921.  Annie Page sold both sides of the house to unrelated parties in July of 1922.  In the following years the building suffered under the brief tenures of many different owners on both sides of the building.  In 1966 two couples from Indiana learned of Cape May because of the Coast Guard Base.  Mr. and Mrs. Ford and Mr. and Mrs. Bedsworth joined forces to buy the entire building and run it as a summertime business.  They combined their names and Bedford Inn was born.”

For the last couple of years I have been wondering who the man and woman were who haunt the Bedford. Physical manifestations at this B&B are seldom, at least very few have been reported to me. I have heard people mention hearing phantom footsteps, which is odd because the entire B&B is carpeted, stairs and all. I personally would sense things about the house, here and there—both male and female presences. Could these two ghosts have been servants of the house? Old census records did not show any servants named Rebecca. Lots of Marys, but no Rebeccas. Were they guests who had died in Cape May? Possible, since many people died while summering in town. The mystery continued. Up and down the twin staircases I would go—not a clue as to the ghosts’ identities.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, on the weekend of October 22-23,  I will be staying at the Bedford. Since many people come to Cape May to attend my Halloween events (done the weekend before Halloween), I thought I would play guest host at tea, and at breakfast at the Bedford. I will be discussing ghosts and hauntings at the Bedford and in Cape May.

Many of the B&Bs in Cape May ask me to spend an October weekend with them to entertain their guests and enlighten them on the subject of ghosts. The problem is, I am usually too busy to be able to do much more than my planned events. This year, I decided to break out and have some fun. Of course, I would not spend my big weekend in Cape May at any old inn. The place must be haunted to qualify.

This brings me back to the whole reason for writing this story. I had never really written anything about the Bedford because the data was inconclusive and paranormal activity was light. The EVPs here were the most important pieces of paranormal evidence, but I could not match them to any historical figures from the inn. With some ghost investigations, the identities of the ghosts remain a mystery. Since I was staying at the Bedford for my big October weekend, I decided to dig a little deeper in search of the ghostly couple. As you can see in the history of the Bedford above, there was no one named Rebecca. So, being the history buff I am, I started to lay out a Page family tree.

Joseph French Page was a quite well to do lawyer from Philadelphia. He and his wife built the Bedford as an overflow for their children and grandchildren to come. Joseph Page died in 1896 and eventually the house passed to his daughter-in-law, Annie, who sold the house out of the family in 1922. I was just about to start digging into the next string of owners to find a Rebecca, when a branch of the Page family tree started shaking and calling my attention. Joseph’s son Charles Henry Page, a wealthy broker who also lived in Philadelphia, was married to a woman named Rebecca. They had an infant daughter, Mary Gibson Page, who died very young. I could not ascertain what happened to Rebecca, but I did find out what happened to Charles.

According to the New York Times, Charles H. Page was in his Philadelphia brokerage office on the warm summer afternoon of July 28, 1892 when a disgruntled customer, who had lost money in the market, entered the office and opened fire on Page, striking him twice and killing him. At the time, his father and brothers were away in Europe and New York on business and his wife Rebecca and child were at the summer home—in Cape May.

You can read the entire New York Times article in their archives here.

The pieces of this paranormal puzzle finally began to fall into place. Cut down in his prime, at the age of 34, with a wife and child far away in Cape May, the Spirit of Charles Henry Page may have tried to find his wife and child. It is thought that ghosts will travel distances to try to get home. In this case, I think the ghost of Charles Page left in search of his wife, knowing she was in Cape May, perhaps arriving at the Bedford long after she had departed to return to Philadelphia for his funeral. The EVP above is a man saying something about “Rebecca.” The deep has somewhat of a deep, lonely tone to it. Could this be the ghost of Charles H. Page, still patiently waiting for his wife to return to their summer home?

There continue to be questions unanswered here. Did Page’s wife and child return to Cape May to summer? Who is the woman who told me, “I’m here?” I will certainly try to communicate with the ghosts once again, now that I have more specific information. Sometimes knowing a ghost’s true identity can get them to communicate. It is similar to someone in a crowd calling your name. It gets your attention.

Is Charles H. Page haunting his family’s old beach house? Is he still waiting for his wife Rebecca? What happened to Rebecca Page? Could she be there in Spirit as well? Only time, and a few more EVPs or clues will solve this slowly unraveling mystery.

To read more about the Bedford Inn go to the Bedford’s website here.

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