Last Night’s Adventures at Gov. Warner Mansion in Farmington Hills, Michigan
I had a blast last night, 10-12-12, at “Ghost Walk 2012.” This was the first time I’d ever been inside Gov. Warner Mansion. I wish I’d been able to take more pics, but I didn’t want to be rude as it was a guided tour about the mourning customs during the Victorian period and there were lots of people waiting to get in. It was dark inside, so the ones I did take didn’t come out the greatest anyway. I’ll have to come back for a visit, soon. So pretty! I found two links that show the house in the daylight, HERE and HERE.
Volunteers were dressed in mourning clothes and played the parts of the family that once lived inside this beautiful, Victorian home. They’d let us inside once the group ahead of us had finished their visit in the front parlor, about nine or ten to a group, and we went from room to room inside the historic mansion. I think there were about 8 rooms total, plus the hallways and kitchen. We didn’t get to see the third floor.
Each “family member” would tell their story, and explain the significance of features in the room, such as why all the mirrors and only some of the pictures were covered: to keep the spirits from taking away souls of the living.
Their costumes were lovely! I learned a few things, like the practice some women had of wearing long sleeves that would cover up their hands. They doubled as emergency handkerchiefs. You wouldn’t want anyone to see you crying!
Those poor women! They’d be in mourning for two years, but people died so often and so early, that they’d have to keep starting over with each new death. I guess it was common to be in mourning for ten years and more. Oh! And the blacking that was used on their clothing, was toxic…so that also caused deaths and sickness. While I adore researching this time period, and I own furniture and such from this time period as well, I’m glad I wasn’t born back then. I don’t think I would have survived long.
My favorite bit of learned info was the history of why we always serve food after a funeral I had NO idea that this is a practice as old as time itself and has its roots in cannibalism. Gross!!! There’s a great link about it HERE. It’s the link that was on my funeral biscuit wrapper that was given out, after the tour.
In a nutshell, let’s say “Caveman Doug” died. He was a great guy! He did a nice job hunting down critters for his family. We all loved “Doug.” In order to honor Doug, and absorb some of his great qualities, we’ll all enjoy eating a bit of Doug for our last meal with him. Mmmm…Doug! But, over the centuries and such, we as a society became more…refined. We still wanted the best qualities of dear old Doug, without turning him into the main course. Eating leg of Doug became…frowned upon. Go figure! Instead, we used bread to represent the “body of Doug.” Hmmm…Do you see any connections with the Christian practice of taking Communion? This wasn’t mentioned during the tour, but it was one of those “WHOA!!!!” clarity moments for me when I made the connection. One of those audible click sort of things as I practically grew up in the Christian church. I can be a tad irreverent at times, but I think the history of why “The Body” is represented with bread is absolutely fascinating History is fun!
Anyways, so Doug’s body would be washed and prepared for the hereafter, and the ladies of the house would allow their leavened bread to rise on the “body of Doug,” in order to “absorb” Doug’s fine qualities. Yum! “Doug essence bread,” without actually EATING Doug! See? Refined!
Step forward in history again, and we no longer display our dearly beloved in the front room for weeks at a time. We have have funeral homes! “Doug bread” evolved into simply making cookies and biscuits…without his essence, and from there, it evolved into having a nice luncheon back at the the church or local restaurant. 🙂
*There were other stories told, and “Doug” is from my imagination, not the nice folks at Gov. Warner Mansion.
Refreshments were served after the tour: apple cider, hot coffee, hot chocolate, donuts, and fresh apples from the cider mill. There was a fire pit for warming up. They had a woman who did a bit of story telling. Loved that! She was fantastic. I did not participate in the psychic reading on the side porch, so I can’t comment on how that went.
As far as I’m concerned, my future hasn’t been written yet. I don’t think a stranger can tell me more about myself than a friend could. I know she was there purely for entertainment purposes, but I think there are more effective ways of getting insight…but that’s just me. I’ve never gone to a physic before, so I have NO idea what that experience would be like.
I’m supposed to be going on a lantern-lit cemetery tour tonight. It’s been sprinkling outside all day so I hope it doesn’t get cancelled. I’m not made of sugar or salt. I won’t melt. I know how to dress for the weather. I’ve been looking forward to this tour for almost a month, but we’ll see what happens.
Have a great day!
*One last pic, this quilt top was hung up in the Master Bedroom. I love the detail!!!