Phelps Mansion was a three-story dwelling built in Stratford, CT by Captain George Dowell in 1826. Dowell sold the property to Dr. Eliakim Phelps in 1849. Phelps was a Presbyterian minister from Philadelphia with a penchant for the mysterious and unknown. He became very caught up in the hype of the Spiritualist Movement and started to hold sťances at the house. On March 4, 1850, Phelps and a friend were discussing the Spiritualist Movement and then decided to hold a sťance--just the two of them. Aside from a few unexplainable knocks and raps, it seemed as if though the sťance had failed to contact anyone from "the other side". On the morning of March 10, 1850, the Phelps family went to mass. Upon returning to the mansion, they discovered the previously locked front door wide open, with a black cloth draped over it, as if to suggest mourning. After going inside, they discovered that their home had been ransacked. Upon entering the dining room, they saw a female apparation laid out on the dinner table, as if on display for a wake. Then she vanished before their very eyes. Some think the woman was the ghost of Goody Bassett, an alleged witch hanged on that very property in 1661--the third to be hanged in New England. Phelps summoned the police, who found that no valuables had been taken, there was no sign of a forced entry, and no intruders were in the house. This day became known as the "Stratford Knockings". Over the course of the next few weeks, the poltergeist activity continued. Strange knockings were heard all over the house, objects moved around on their own, silverwear was found bent or broken, the children were slapped by unseen hands, and the family even found their clothing stuffed into lifelike positions. One day while investigators were on guard, thirty stuffed clothing figures were created by unseen hands at inhuman speed and somehow teleported through the house while nobody was watching. These events happened repeatedly. Anyone that visited the mansion would walk out completely convinced that the activity was real. Some believed the poltergeist had a connection with Phelps' children. When the children were sent to a boarding school, the activity greatly reduced. A theory concerning poltergeist activity is that it is often associated with prepubescent children; remove the children and you eliminate the problem. Dr. Phelps moved his family back to Philadelphia in the fall of 1850. Upon returning to the mansion in the summer of 1851, the activity had completely ceased and they lived the rest of their lives without ever experiencing it again. In 1947, the mansion was turned into a convalescent home and the poltergeist activity was reawakened. Staff members would hear whispering when no one else was around, as well as witness heavy doors swing open and slam shut without any visible assistance. These incidents occurred regularly until the convalescent home was shut down in 1968. The mansion was abandoned after this. In 1971, police responding to a report of vandalism chased a young girl to the third floor of the mansion. Strangely enough, the police never found the girl; she disappeared without a trace.
Unfortunately, Phelps Mansion cannot be visited today because it was demolished in 1972. The property of 1738 Elm Street in Stratford was made into a parking lot and all paranormal activity on the property has presumably ceased.