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John Brown Wax Museum

John Brown Wax Museum paranormal

Photo by: Marianne Donley
Location submitted by: sdonley on 07/28/2017
DBA Approved: Y

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PANICd#: 1879

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The John Brown Wax Museum is three story brick building originally owned by Alexander Kelly for a family home with his wife Ellen and five children.

168 High Street
Harpers Ferry , WV 25425
Phone: 304-535-6342
Open to the public: Yes

Lat: 39.323728
Lon: -77.731243

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 2
Stories: 1
Claims: 18
Evidence: 0
Resources: 3
Retrievals: 7738
Vistor Rating: 0.0
Votes: 0

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

The John Brown Wax Museum is three story brick building originally owned by Alexander Kelly for a family home with his wife Ellen and five children (he was eventually elected to Harpers Ferry council 1851 and 1852). The Conways lived in the house next for seven years. They later sold the house to Murtha and Julia Walsh as a home for them and their nine children. The Walsh's had a general store for dry goods on the first floor. The oldest Walsh child named Sarah died in the house at nineteen suddenly from pneumonia. The home stayed in the Walsh family for many years. The Crum family lived there a short time until the master of the house died and the window sold the house to Ralph Stephenson. Stephenson died in 1958. The house remained vacant until 1959 when it was sold to Dixie Killham.

Kilhman hired Earl Dorfman to create 87 wax figures that would depicts the life and times of John Brown, and the museum opened in 1963.

Kilham owned and operated the museum until 1998, and the executrix of his estate, Anita Brown, purchased the museum. Her son Steve ran the museum until 2010. Ted Staley purchased the museum and owns it until present day.

Added by: sdonley on 07/28/2017 DB#:295
Jefferson County, WV - Sometimes the Dead Speak - Ann Fern pg 111 - 112

National Historical Records Listing

Side hall building. Brick exterior, metal roof, brick and concrete foundation. Three story house with three front bays features a low pitched end gable roof with left side flush chimney and eyebrow windows on the third story. Windows are 6/6 double hung sash. A six-light transom and sidelights surround the right side entrance. Neoclassical square pilasters flank the entry. Brick lintels are arrayed in a soldier course above the windows. Basement entry below street level grade.

Alexander Kelly was the original owner who rented it to an armorer in 1859.

Circa 1850

Added by: sdonley on 07/28/2017 DB#:296


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

Ann Khiel Fern, acting manager of the wax museum, tells show hosts she "cannot be in this building for one more minute."

"Sometimes when I go through to make my checks in the museum, the eyes follow me," Fern says. And just the night before, she claims that:

"I was at the desk working, trying to get some paperwork ready, and I heard knocking... and it got louder and louder and louder. And then I heard the most horrific sound. If you think of someone with long, filthy, dirty fingernails just scraping. ... The next thing I knew, the wallpaper started pulsing as if someone were breathing underneath it. ... I lost it. I ran out. I was absolutely terrified."

A former wax museum volunteer named Melissa tells TV cameras that she, too, refuses to enter the building after seeing the ghost of a little girl running through the hallways.

Added by: sdonley on 09/03/2017 DB#:1301

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
2418 07/28/2017 sdonley Responsive knocks have been reported to be in patterns.
2426 07/28/2017 sdonley Some patrons have reported seeing a cat on the second floor.
2425 07/28/2017 sdonley The security cameras have caught the image of a shadowy figure wearing a long coat and top hat.
2424 07/28/2017 sdonley The exhibits have turned on by themselves.
2423 07/28/2017 sdonley An apparition of a little girl has been reported.
2422 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported hearing a child giggling.
2421 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported hearing the sounds of objects being dropped.
2420 07/28/2017 sdonley The manager reported seeing wallpaper pulsing as if the wall was breathing.
2419 07/28/2017 sdonley The manager has reported hearing the sounds of fingernails scrapping the walls.
2409 07/28/2017 sdonley Sounds have been reported coming from walls.
2417 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported dizziness, nauseousness, and having issues breathing.
2416 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported feelings of negativity or darkness.
2415 07/28/2017 sdonley Strange noises have been reported.
2414 07/28/2017 sdonley Cold spots have been reported.
2413 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported the feeling of not being alone.
2412 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported seeing the Ann Brown wax figure's eyes move.
2411 07/28/2017 sdonley People have reported feelings of oppression.
2410 07/28/2017 sdonley Footsteps have been heard coming down the stairs.

Paranormal Evidence

Paranormal evidence is based on claims that have been reported for this location. There can be several types of evidence; however, we have grouped them based on media type for better organization. Here you will find evidence that are logs, audio, video, or photographic.

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No Evidence Reported Yet!

Additional Resources

This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.

Facebook Page
Added: 07/28/2017 By: sdonley
Facebook page for this location.
Trip Advisor
Added: 07/28/2017 By: sdonley
Trip Advisor page for this location.
Roadside America
Added: 07/28/2017 By: sdonley
Roadside America Page for this location.

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