Case File: Beaty Castle
Description: Beaty Castle is a seventeenth century-style Norman castle on 150-acres of woodland off Green Mountain Road behind a row of private homes.
Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey
History: In 1972, Don and Carol Burlingame moved into Beaty Castle after it had stood empty for a while. They began to renovate it. From the start, Carol believed that it could be haunted. They asked Dr. Michaeleen Maher, an amateur parapsychologist, to come investigate it. She told them that there definitely was a presence there. She said that it was friendly and a male. Carol suggested getting rid of him via a seance; however, Dr. Maher insisted that they leave him alone.
Eventually, the Burlingames began to have evidence of a spirit. They heard hammering noises echoing through the hallways and footsteps going up and down the stairs. On one occasion, they planned to go out for a drive. Carol liked to get fresh air in the house, so she left the upstairs casement windows open. While they were out, it started raining. They expected to return to open windows and a wet house. "We came home, and all of the casement windows, which opened from the inside, were closed and latched. There wasn't a drop of rain in the house," she recalls. She believed that the ghost, the castle's creator, Bill Beaty, had closed them and kept the place dry. Friendly, he liked to play with the TV and change channels.
When the Burlingames delved into the castle's history, they met seventy-eight-year-old Eugene Melville, who worked for Bill's wife, Sarah, from 1933 to 1937. He knew it was supposed to be haunted because of a ghostly encounter he had in 1934, three years after Bill's death. He was helping Sarah search for a bracelet that had been lost during a family gathering. Suddenly, they looked up and saw Bill on the balcony: "It was a figure of a man standing there. It didn't stay long for me to examine it very good. It was gone just like that. It was scary. It frightened the daylights out of me. I just never wanted to go on that balcony again. I passed by it, but to get me in there and to stand there...oh, forget it. I wouldn’t go in there," he remarks.
Carol decided to have a conversation with Bill. She told him that he could stay in the castle as long as he doesn't let himself be seen by her. So far, he had kept that promise. In his routine of making himself known, she has observed and seen him moving things. In one story, she remarks, "I was alone in the kitchen. The bread was on the counter and there was no way that it could have fallen off by itself. And when it did fall off, or fly off, it went a considerable distance. So I know that someone had to have moved it. There was no one else there with me at all. No animals, Don wasn't around, there was no way the bread could have fallen off the counter, because it was set square. And that led me to believe that Bill had to be there, saying, 'Hi, I'm here.' There was just no way that that bread could have fallen off the counter by itself."
In 1991, after two decades in the castle, the Burlingames moved away. As far as they know, the ghost of Bill Beaty stayed behind.
Background: In 1923, a wealthy New York advertising executive named Bill Beaty built Beaty (Pharelock) Castle for his wife, Sarah. In 1930, they moved into it with their four children before construction was complete. Sadly, he would never see the completion of his dream. Just one year later, he died of the flu at age forty-five. His castle was not finished for another five years. Sarah never remarried. She raised all four children in the castle, and lived there until 1941.
After that, the castle served as a boy's school for several decades. During that time, students and teachers reported the sound of organ music echoing through the halls. Oddly, no pipe organ was present on the grounds. However, Bill had previously owned one. In 1972, the Burlingames bought it. They have since sold it; the new owners now have started a massive restoration of it.
Investigations: In 1986, the Burlingames invited Dr. Michaeleen Maher, a noted parapsychologist, to visit the castle. She and her assistant conducted a series of tests for paranormal activity. She comments, "Our physical instruments were not able to detect anything unusual, but in this particular case, the sheer volume of the reports adds to the credibility of the case. One of our witnesses in this case, a particularly credible witness, in fact, a professional person of some stature, reported seeing a person who dissipated right in front of his eyes on the driveway. I think the big news here is that humans can act as sensors and we find that we cannot dismiss this evidence as caused by coincidence."
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 19, 1992 episode.
Some sources spell Bill's last name as "Beatty".
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, the Burlingames have since passed away; Don in 2007 and Carol in 2018.
- Bill Beaty on Unsolved.com
- Video about Phareloch Castle aka Bill Beaty's Haunted Mansion
- Beaty Castle/Phareloch Castle Website
- Friendly ghost haunts castle & spooks pets
- If You're Thinking of Living In: Basking Ridge, NJ
- "Haunted" castle in Bernards Township making a comeback
- Myths and Mysteries of New Jersey
- Carol Burlingame's Obituary