The Haunted Mansion Project is a project involving a number of writers, artists and paranormal investigators coming together to be inspired by the surroundings of an allegedly haunted house. Rain Graves the lady in charge of organising had felt particularly inspired by an old mansion where she had previously stayed. During her time at the mansion she experienced a number of unusual events and felt that the house was worthy of further investigation and this was the inspiration for the project. The Mansion in question is a beautiful old house with a lot of history and sprawling grounds; and its setting in the middle of a redwood forest, was also perfect for the project. The house is secluded with no one around and no way back to town. The project can be loosely likened to the fictional novels of The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson and Hell House by American novelist Richard Matheson and published in 1971. The big difference is that the Haunted Mansion project is a factual project and has resulted in the book 'The Haunted Mansion Project – Year One' A review of this title can be found here. Due to the success of the first project there may be future projects.
Unlike the Characters in the Hell House novel, the participants did have the advantage that there was a member of staff who remained on-site as opposed to leaving before dark, in addition to the Chef. The mansion in question also hosts retreats for different types of
non-profit groups throughout the year, and as Rain herself explains:
'It seemed like an interesting idea to invite a group of fellow genre writers (horror, sci-fi, fantasy) to stay in the house for a long weekend and write about whatever experiences they had'.
A Paranormal Team were used to research the Haunted Mansion and they were called the ''Ghost Girls. Their investigative leanings were more towards debunking rather than proving things which was ideal for keeping the project grounded.
Rain Graves the organiser believes that the house is haunted and some of the findings from the Ghost Girls (Paranormal Investigators) would tend to suggest that there is certainly something not easily explicable going on.
Rain suggests in her own words that: 'One of the spirits is a crotchety older man, that sometimes bullies the others, and keeps them in line--much like the patriarch of a family would do. He makes them wait their turn in responding on the devices we lay out, and seems to be keeping order. We found this out from the massive amount of EVPs recorded. The bulk of those can be heard at Ghost-Girls.org under the classified location in Mill Valley, CA. I don't know if he is the original owner of the house, or connected to a secondary owner that wound up giving the house back to the first one after a short number of years in the 1950's. I plan to request that he give us time with the others, in whatever order he chooses, so that we may learn more about them this time around. I have no idea if that will work...but my educated guess would be yes. I invite everyone to tune into the blog this September 27-30th to watch and read what the attendees will be experiencing as it happens. They will all have write/edit access to the blog at that time, and it will be fun to follow along.'
The Haunted Mansion Project is a nice example of taking the whole Haunted House theme to the next level. The Book that resulted from the project can be purchased here and a review of the book can be found here. Should this project ever come to be repeated the results will be interesting to see.