It has 22 rooms and is 10,000 square feet surrounded by trees and a wrought iron fence. It’s a seemingly strange location for a mansion of such elegance.
But that may not be the only strange thing about it.
Margaret Prescott, founder of Corpus Christi Spook Central, and her son, Monty Prescott, led two paranormal investigations in the mansion on Friday the 13th with 20 ghost seekers in each of the two investigations.
“For one, I’m a huge history buff, and I love history, and the first time we investigated the mansion, it was very interesting.” Margaret explained about the return trip to Berclair. “There was a lot of footsteps and voices.
“At one point when we were doing the investigation, there was a party going on downstairs. We could hear the piano playing, people laughing and having a good time.
“When we came down the back stairs, there was nothing.”
Five sisters lived in the mansion after it’s completion and, after the final sister died, it was willed to a niece, who refused to live in it.
For 30 years, it sat tucked away in Berclair, boarded up and abandoned. After the niece’s death, she stated in her will that she wanted the furniture sold and the mansion destroyed.
But after a court ruling, the mansion remained, and the Beeville Art Association took it over and restored it to it’s current splendor.
Though the spirits that are said to reside throughout the halls and rooms of the mansion are said to be peaceful, why would such a place be haunted in the first place?
“You have the history of the five sisters that resided here at one time.” Margaret said. “I do believe that at, one time there, was a male that they had here in the home that had served in the war, because we hear his name repeatedly.
“But you also have to keep in mind that it can’t only just be the house, it could also be the land as well.”
The mother-and-son team celebrated their eight-year anniversary as paranormal investigators July 4 and have hundreds of investigations under their belt.
They’ve been everywhere from Arizona to Louisiana chasing spirits and collecting evidence.
Margaret said, “It’s good to be skeptical. Everyone needs to be skeptical, including myself.
“Once I conduct an investigation and I have evidence that is leftover that I cannot explain, that puts doubt in your mind of maybe there really is something there.”
Monty added, “We basically just put the evidence out there and let people judge for themselves.
“Is it paranormal? Is it something we can’t recreate? Something we can’t debunk? So, we put it out there and let them be the judge of what it possibly is.”
And the evening’s investigation was left up to the guests for the most part, which added to the excitement of the experience.
About the event, Monty explained, “Once the group comes in, we’ll walk them through the hot spots throughout the mansion so they kind of know what they’re walking into and what kind of questions to ask and what kind of investigating to do.”
And, from room to room, once the flashlights dim and the group settles, things begin to get creepy.
Strange sounds echo down from the attic. Noises creep in from the hallways. Stairs creek. People jump.
One woman gasped that she had just been touched lightly on the shoulder.
Strange smells enter the rooms following the guests.
Margaret mentioned that, while wearing perfume or cologne to the investigations is strongly discouraged, please remember to wear deodorant.
Patricia and daughter Jasmine Flores drove from Corpus Christi to attend the event, their first paranormal investigation.
And what was the duo expecting to see on their first investigation?
“We’ll find out,” Patricia said. “I’ve had experiences before at estate sales and, so far, I don’t feel anything yet, but I’m hoping to feel something once I go inside.”
The mother and daughter team will be using this as a primer for their October trip to Jefferson City, where they’ll investigate the Pride House, an old haunted bed and breakfast.
Another first timer, Heidi McFadden, giggled with excitement.
McFadden said, “When I took the tour before, they would say how one of the sisters would be up in the window, so I don’t know.
“I’m excited. I hope there is something. I’m looking forward to it.”
Even a married couple, celebrating their 10-year anniversary, attended the event in hopes of getting a little spooked.
Husband Jay Harvey said, “I’ve been in the mansion before they fixed it up, back when it was still abandoned.
“One of the caretakers out here took me through it and, when you walk in to certain rooms of the house, you get a weird feeling, almost like you’re not alone.”
But, within the mansion walls, each experience is surely one to cherish, even if you don’t see dead people or one of the sisters waving goodbye from one of the attic windows.
“It’s one heck of a good show. It’s a lot of fun,” Margaret said.
“Doing this and allowing the public to come in and use some of our equipment to investigate the paranormal gives them the opportunity to actually be a paranormal investigator.”
For more information on Corpus Christi Spook Central visit www.ccspookcentral.com
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.