Real
Ghost Stories

My families 'haunted' heirlooms

I've been here in GP for quite a while, but I've never shared a real personal story yet. So here goes...it's about time, I know! [^]

Some background:
I am named after my great-great grandfather, Captain Daniel Tyler of the historically famous Vanderbilt Fleet. Captain Tyler retired from his maritime service after being one of the captains of (one of two such sister ship apparently) the Vanderbilt families personal yacht ships on NY's Hudson river. Previous to that he was the skipper of some of the Vanderbilt sidewheel steamers carrying both passengers & cargo. Before that even...he was crewing schooners & sailing ships in England...apparently being part of the lucerative opium trade with China at the time. As family folklore holds, his particluar yacht of the Vanderbilts was commisioned by the Navy during the civil war for use as a hospital ship...it was after the war that he retired. Unfortunetly, I can't find any Navel records to prove that his yacht was commisioned.
He later moved from New Jersey to settle in Flint Michigan upon retiring. The land was granted by bankers involved with the Vanderbilts and a large mansion house was constructed from some money saved...and with the sale of the team of oxen that helped him make the move of his possesions possible. At the time that the house was built, it was out-of-town with nothing but farmland around it...but now the address is located in a particularly bad part of town.

Artifact #1
A china tea service set that originally came from China that was obtained on one his many apparent trips there. The tea set was custom glazed and once featured the likeness (like an old photo) of him & his wife glazed into the tea cups.
The set is blank now...As the story goes, after his wife passed away her face on the tea cups faded leaving just his likeness- and after he died, his face also faded from them as well. So now it is just an ordinary looking very old china tea set.

Artifact #2
An antique mantle clock that apparently always traveled with him on the ships. The clock is very old, and also very worn...the gears & springs are too worn to work properly. The clock is said to have never been wound in about 100 years or so. Growing up, the clock was always on the shelf in the living room. The odd thing was...it would sometimes start up and run for an hour or two before stopping again- all the chimes included. Quite un-nerving to have an old clock begin 'ticking' again out of the blue and have the chimes go off in the middle of the night on occasion. Spooky!

Artifact #3
The ensign flag off of the hospital ship after one of the battles. This is an original handspun wool flag...complete with cannon-ball holes & bullet holes. Legend has it that during this particular battle that the flag was flown, a cannon ball tore across the deck and took off his kneecap...then continued across the deck to kill his dog. Good thing he was on a hospital ship, I guess. He did not loose his leg, but walked with a severe limp afterwards. Not that the flag is haunted, but no museum wants any part of it in any way for display. It is currently being preserved sandwiched between 2 panes of glass and in storage.

My family has several heirlooms from this era, including personal correspondance with President Lincoln and a newspaper still in the wrapper (it's like new...not even discolored) announcing Lincolns assasination, and antique furniture from the yacht. Oh...and the whalebone scrimshaw domino set & ornate table given to him by the merchants and stage theatre actors in Flint welcoming him to the city.

More later...
T.S.

Les Bergers d'Arcadie
Par ce signe tu le vaincras!
Terribilis Est Locus Iste!