The Ghosts of Bramwell and Bluefield

Last updated: September 21, 2021

Halloween is almost here, so let the creepy stuff begin! Travel to Bramwell, home of Victorian mansions and a few ghostly residents, then journey to Bluefield for even more hauntings!


In Bramwell, the Gilded Age still glitters. Enormous Victorian mansions line the narrow streets. Boxwood shrubs peer behind iron fences. Copper roofs and stained-glass windows appear like something from an illustrated children’s book.

Bramwell is a gem by anyone’s standards. And if you’re into ghosts, the town seems ideal. Surely a few ghosts live in such a historic place, right?

Bramwell Mayor Louise “Lou” Stoker would agree. She’s heard several accounts from locals concerning the spirit of Jairus Collins, one of the original coal barons. He died in 1932, leaving behind an attractive yellow vernacular-style mansion. It stood empty for decades.

“But one time, a woman was walking in the street with her daughter and happened to look up,” Stoker says. “She saw a man standing in one of the windows. He was wearing a hat and suit. It looked just like Mr. Collins.”

Hearing her mother’s exclamation, the daughter looked up, too. She also saw the ghostly figure.

Stoker recently talked with the woman, who confirmed her story.

“Oh, yes, I saw him myself,” the witness asserted.

The story gets stranger.

A lady recently bought the Collins House. She heard the rumors but didn’t mind too much.
Old homes make noises, anyway. Besides, she’s not easily rattled— a good thing, because Stoker had an interesting conversation with her in late September.

“She sometimes hears heavy breathing,” the mayor relates. “A man’s.”

The new homeowner also had a close encounter last month. She told Stoker that, while sitting on the side of her bed, she felt a sudden weight beside her— followed by heavy breathing.

“It didn’t bother her,” laughs Stoker. “She just said, ‘Jairus, stop it!’”

Bramwell Ghost Walk

Would you like to meet Mr. Jairus Collins yourself? Come to the Bramwell Ghost Walk on Oct. 28. “Spirits” from town are known to attend the family-friendly event. But— as with any haunting— you can’t tell who might appear!

Still, this much is certain: a guided walk along Victorian streets, enriched with costumed characters and stories. It’s more fun than scary. A costume contest, live music and candy add to the excitement.

Tickets are $10 if you buy them now or $15 at the door. The Bramwell Ghost Walk event lasts from 5-11:30 p.m.


With its atmospheric blend of Edwardian architecture and modern rail yards, “Nature’s Air- Conditioned City” straddles past and present. But unless you’re really sensitive, other places might escape your notice— places where the past is always present.

The Ramsay School

The 33,000-square foot brick building dates back to 1926. It’s more imposing than attractive, but the old school does have one claim to fame: Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.” More doors exist on 7 levels than anywhere else.

The Ramsay School is just old enough to warrant a few ghosts. But do spirits roam the halls? Doors sometimes slam at night, when no one should be inside. A few locals have even heard voices emanating from within.

What do you think? Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, drive by the Ramsay School for a look. It’s an eccentric building by anyone’s standards. And who knows— you might see something.

Beaver High School

It’s been closed for years. But at this Bluefield school, class is still in session. At least, that’s what many locals believe.

Beaver High School certainly tickles the imagination. It resembles a brick castle, complete with crenellated towers and soaring walls. Inside, there’s an Art Deco-style auditorium with a recessed ceiling. The school also has an emergency evacuation slide. Hidden high on the fourth floor, it twists you to safety— if you’re up for a pitch-black ride.

But is it haunted? Some construction workers have heard odd sounds— sounds that can’t be explained. Crewmen have even unplugged equipment, just to check. The noises continue, often echoing from the gym and circling the upper railing.
What do you think is going on at the school? It’s definitely a mystery.

Happy Halloween!

What’s your favorite Mercer County ghost story?