Seaview Terrace, one of Newport, Rhode Island’s historic cliff-side mansions, hit the market in September for $29,900,000. With 43,772 square feet of living space on 7.64 acres, the estate at 197 Ruggles Ave. has an abundance of space for an adventurous buyer — just so long as they don’t mind sharing with a ghost or two.
The property boasts 29 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, 10 fireplaces and an unknown number of spirits haunting its halls. Amy Bruni, ghost hunter, author, podcast host and star of the reality television show “Kindred Spirits,” has visited the mansion multiple times she said in an email, and can confirm the presence of the paranormal.
“I’ve encountered activity in the basement, where something tugged at my hair,” Bruni said. “I’ve also heard voices and footsteps when no one else was present. I also played organ music in the chapel portion which caused a lot of our equipment to react.”
The rumors of the building’s haunted history were likely started by students at Salve Regina University, which leased the property to use as dorms, Bruni said. Though a rumor that someone committed suicide in one of the upstairs bedrooms was proved false, Bruni said, there are plenty of other potential sources of haunting, “including the numerous antiques on site, the fact that an actual old Italian chapel was brought from Italy and rebuilt into the mansion itself and a few documented deaths associated with it,” she said.
Spirits aside, the mansion has a winding history. Built by Edson Bradley in 1907, parts of the home were shipped in-tact from France to Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., where the estate took up more than a whole city block, according to the listing. In 1923, Bradley began moving the home to Newport, shipping pieces via railroad cars, said Lea Savas, a realtor with Hawks and Company, part of Edge Realty RI, the agency listing the property.
Bradley’s time in the home did not last long, however. His wife died in the home in 1929, and he died shortly after, in 1935 in London, according to an archived 2006 article from the D.C.-based news outlet The InTowner. According to the article, the home was passed to Bradley’s daughter, Julia Bradley Shipman, but after she failed to pay taxes it was sold for just $8,000. The home then became a boarding school for girls, until it was bought by Martin Carey in 1974, who updated the home and dubbed it the Carey Mansion.
Under Carey’s ownership, much of the property was leased to Salve Regina until 2009, Savas said. Currently, there is an apartment-style residence on the second floor of the building and just two tenants — a groundskeeper and a tennis coach — occupy the expansive home.
Aside from apparitions, the estate has a number of amenities befitting its grandeur, including an art gallery, a chapel, a ballroom and a 500-seat theater. Outside, the property is home to three tennis courts, where one of the home’s two tenants runs a tennis program, Savas said. The property abuts the Cliff Walk and has an in-ground pool, though the pool has not been used in about 20 years, Savas said.
The home has been getting a lot of attention from fans of the American soap opera “Dark Shadows,” as the facade was used in the show’s opening credits.
“They used the exterior of Seaview Terrace, a photo of it, as the setting of the house in the opening credits to the series,” said Savas. “There are many a ‘Dark Shadows’ super-fan that have been calling.”
As for who is likely to purchase what may be the most haunted house on the market, Savas said it’s still a mystery.
“Initially I thought it’s got to be a museum, someone’s going to preserve it, and now I’m just I’m not sure,” she said. “There are so many different avenues a buyer could take with the property. It’s so unique.”
Whoever the buyer is, they should not be deterred by the home’s haunted history, Bruni said.
“Nothing there is evil. It’s a very classic haunting in a place that has had a lot of energy and people go in and out of its doors,” she said. “I don’t believe any presence there would cause harm, but the new owners should not be surprised if they are regularly chasing mysterious footsteps or sounds in the night, and finding no one there to cause them — living anyway.”
See more photos of the home below: