The haunted wedding dress: Story of the "real" Miss Havisham

By : Ayad Attar

"Great Expectations" is one of the best novels written by English novelist Charles Dickens. It turned into a movie more than once, I remember reading it in my adolescence, and at that age, it gave me a deep sense of sadness. For me, because I am someone who adores mysteries, the most attractive thing in the novel was the character of Miss Havisham, the rich old woman abandoned by her groom on the night of her wedding, therefore time is stopped in her mind at that tragic moment, not only in terms of feeling, but in all aspects of her real life, as she kept everything around her just as it was it was on that misfortune wedding night. And our story today speaks also about a woman who lost her lover, in tragic circumstances, like Miss Havisham almost, with the difference that the heroine of our story is a real woman of flesh and blood and not the product of the imagination of a great writer like Dickens, also, it seems that she remained stuck to the past even after her death and departure from this world!.

Baker Mansion

On a grassy green hill stands alone, as if it doesn't belong to this world. Indeed, who sees it at first glance may think it is a Greek temple thousands of years old. But what brought a Greek temple to Pennsylvania?! .. Of course it is not a temple, it is a house.. Or rather a mansion built by a rich man in the middle of the nineteenth century, he wanted it to be something special to boast on his wealthy counterparts. That rich man is Elias Baker, an iron merchant from Blair County.

Elias spent a lot of money on this luxurious mansion that took five years to build. He moved to live there in 1849 with his wife, two sons, and his only daughter Anna. At the height of its glory, the mansion witnessed lavish parties, during which Anna was the focus of all guests. She was beautiful and elegant, the pampered daughter whose father does not spare anything to please her.

She was beautiful and elegant

Many gentlemen wanted to marry Anna, but they were rejected by her father. He wanted a very special marriage for his daughter, perhaps from a high-ranking army officer, an influential senator, a prince, or even a king. Why not? At that time, many wealthy families did not hesitate to pay large sums of money to marry their daughters to members of the European royal families, especially those families who lost their thrones and suffered bankruptcy. They bought the high title and the noble pedigree, wanted their daughters to become princesses and Countesses and Duchesses. But unfortunately for Elias, his daughter's heart was not attracted to any of that, but to a miserable employee in one of his factories, she loved the poor young man and insisted on marrying him despite the anger of her father and his threats, she even secretly bought a beautiful wedding dress to be worn during her wedding to her beloved whom she decided to run away with him. But at the last minute, the father discovered her plan, preventing her from going out and locking her in her room for days, weeks and months. As for her poor lover, the father expelled him from his factory, not only that, but exercised his influence on politicians and police to remove the poor young man from the entire state after threatening to imprisonment and even murder.

After a long time the father allowed his daughter to go out again, but she was no longer as she had been, lost her brilliance, like a withered flower, always sad and silent, something broken inside her forever, especially since she did not receive any news about her lover, the young man was probably convinced that his marriage with her was impossible, so he decided to go ahead with his life, maybe married another woman in a distant city. As for Anna, time has stopped at that moment that her father prevented her from going out and catch up with her lover. She lived in her body in the present, but her mind and heart were still living in the past, just like Miss Havcham!.

Anna refused to marry despite all the attempts and pressures of her father, and remained a lonely spinster for the rest of her life.

Remained a lonely spinster for the rest of her life.

The years passed quickly.. The rich father, the mother, their sons.. Are all died.. In the end, only Anna remained, she became an old woman, sitting alone every evening in that gloomy cold mansion, staring with tired eyes, full of sorrow, to the white wedding dress hanging in the corner of her room, that dress, which she never wore, never touched by her groom's fingers, never dance in it on her wedding night, as every bride does... How painful the memories are when it combined with pain and grief.

Finally, on a gloomy rainy morning in 1914, the servants found Anna dead in her bed, tears in her eyes as she embraced her wedding dress in her hands. With the death of Anna, the mansion was closed, drowned in the dark, deserted on that bleak hill.

Years later, the county government decided to buy the mansion from the heirs and turned it into a museum. The beautiful thing in this museum is that all of its possessions remain intact, furniture, mirrors, paintings, clothes, etc. Anyone enters the museum as if returning to the Victorian era to live its magical atmospheres.

Perhaps the most distinctive room in this museum is Anna's room, which is located on the second floor, and the most attractive consideration of that room is her wedding dress that is kept inside a glass box. And the strangeness of our story lies in this wedding dress, as many of those who visited this museum said that they saw the dress moving inside its glass box! .. Not just a normal movement, but is shaking from one side to another as if it dancing!! . According to museum staff, shaking intensity is more frequent in moonlit nights.

Anna's dress inside the glass box in her room at the mansion

Some of the skeptics searched Anna's room and examined the glass box where the dress was neatly housed, but found no outlet for air or hidden thread that could be the cause of the dress movement. In fact, there was no justification for the dress movement except that the dress is haunted!.

According to some spiritualists, Anna is so attached to the dress that her spirit is tempted to return to the mansion from time to time to wear that dress and dance quietly, like any happy bride on her wedding night. Thing that she has long dreamed in her life.

Today, Anna’s wedding dress is one of the strangest haunting things in the world. We have heard of a haunted house, a haunted car, a haunted ship.. But a haunted wedding dress! This is the strangest thing one can think of when it comes to the Otherworld.



* The above story is translated from Arabic. Original text : here


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