Paranormal Investigation: Johnstown, New York - 2007
- Site Type: Historical Bed & Breakfast
- Location: Johnstown, New York
- Date: May 27, 2007
- Client Status: Specified: Marty Quinn
May 27, 2007, Johnstown, New York ~ The ISIS team investigated The Olde Knox Mansion in Johnstown, a bed and breakfast, after receiving permission from the mansion’s current owner, Marty Quinn. Our team was interested in looking into the reports that the mansion was haunted and Mr. Quinn was gracious enough to allow our team to investigate. A team of seven investigators attended the investigation and was joined by the New Gravity Media film crew, filming for 14 Degrees: A Paranormal Documentary. The documentary is scheduled for release on October 17, 2007 and the ISIS team’s investigation will be presented, along with investigations and interviews conducted with the Long Island Society for Paranormal Research, The Spirit Encounter Research Team, New England Anomalies Research, Berkshire Paranormal, Boston Paranormal Investigators, South Jersey Ghost Research, John Zaffis, Steve Gonslaves, Keith Johnson, and Para Science. For more information on the upcoming film release, visit http://www.14degreesmovie.com/.
Marty Quinn has lived at the Knox Mansion for 14 years and both Mr. Quinn, some of his family members, and guests that have stayed at the Mansion have reported strange activity. The mansion was built by the Knox family, later sold to the Larrabee Family in the 1950s, and, after the death of John Larrabee in 1981; the home was later sold to Mr. Quinn who converted the historic site into a bed and breakfast/museum. Reports of activity include lights going on and off without explanation, fragile items being inexplicably broken, hearing unexplained footsteps, and one guest reported being upstairs and seeing a gentleman with a doctor’s bag when no one was present. Mr. Quinn’s daughter Sara has reported having experiences in the house; as well as her then boyfriend, nicknamed Booner. While upstairs at the location during one instance, both Booner and Mr. Quinn felt as if a presence “walked right through them.” Further, Mr. Quinn’s second daughter Amy has heard voices, and has had the feeling of being watched.
Mr. Quinn reports having blankets pulled off of the bed, and he has heard the back door of the home open and close without explanation. Guests at the mansion have reported seeing a man nearby the stairs in the cellar of the home that is believed to be the former gardener for the Knox’s. Mr. Quinn has also made other reports regarding the unexplained activity in the mansion. On one occasion, while in the Master Suite with his girlfriend, the lights came on without explanation. On several occasions, Mr. Quinn has seen the television turn on and off by itself. Overnight guests at the mansion have felt as if they were touched by an unseen presence and Mr. Quinn asserts “non-believers in the supernatural or in ghosts leave the mansion as believers.”
The Knox Mansion has been described by David Pitkin in New York State Ghosts. Pitkin’s relates that Charles Knox preferred to be called Charley and that he died at the age of 53 in Canada. Pitkin also tells how Rose and Charley Knox would travel and bet horse races together. Pitkin had also interviewed Mr. Quinn, noting the number 13 as being considerably lucky for the Knox’s: and it is further asserted that the home is designed with the number thirteen in mind. There are thirteen tiles in the fireplace, and thirteen steps on the main staircase. Pitkin also reveals in his book the prior owner, Doctor John Larrabee, was a man suffering from cancer that later reportedly shot himself. In addition, Pitkin reports that the sounds of children having been heard in the mansion on occasion when no children are present. The ISIS team has found no concrete evidence at this time supporting a suicide at the location (that is not to say that it didn’t happen, but that we have no other information on the subject at this time).
Mr. Quinn has no mental health issues, and takes no medications for any health condition. He also does not partake of illicit drugs. Raised as a Roman Catholic, after his marriage Mr. Quinn began going to the Dutch Reform Church. To his knowledge, the home has never been previously blessed and no clergy have been involved with the case. Mr. Quinn had interests in the paranormal and the occult before he moved into the location. He has used Tarot Cards, conducts palm readings, and people have attested to his accuracy for conducting such readings. All of the investigators noted during the investigation the Ouija board and Norse Tarot deck at the property. The Ouija board according to Mr. Quinn has been used by guests, but he also reports that he has never had any results with the board. During the investigation, various “props” were noted: in the secret room located off of the attic there was a fake skull and candles within the room, and in the basement was an old square wooden table with several knives, bowls, candles and miscellaneous items.
Lynn Lasher has previously visited the home, and a séance consisting of 13 people was once held in the basement of the location. Activity reported included a hammock, within the basement) swinging by itself, an EMF detector pick up considerable disturbances, and a temperature reading of 13 degrees was pick up in the same location. In addition, Russ Roberts has reported seeing a ghost in the window of the location.
History of the Mansion
The Olde Knox Mansion is a forty-two room Victorian Neoclassic mansion situated in Johnstown, New York with several enormous pillars that sustain the large tiled roof; it was the former home of the Knox family: a prominent family of Johnstown and the makers of Knox Gelatin. The house was at one time called “Rose Hill,” aptly named after the lady of the home. The Knox family moved to Johnstown in 1876. Charles Knox produced the world’s first pre-granulated gelatin in the late 1800s and managed to market the product nationwide. Charles Knox passed away in 1908, and his wife Rose took over the business and the home, originally built in 1898. The mansion was built at a cost of 1.2 million dollars in 1898, an extravagant fee during that time period, and it is currently a bed and breakfast/museum run by Marty Quinn. Rose Knox managed the family business with great success: Knox gelatin is still a product that is still sold and used today.
Rose Knox was born in Mansfield, Ohio on November 18, 1857, and her parents were David and Amanda Markward. The Markward family was upper middle class. According to an 1870 Census, Rose’s father David was reported as having owned an apothecary. Rose was one of three girls. The Markward family moved to Gloversville in the 1870s and Rose later became a glove maker after the move. Rose met Charles at a local barn dance in 1881 and the couple was considerably poor when they married in February of 1883 – Charles had eleven dollars available to him at the time. The couple managed to later rake together a sum of 5000 dollars to start up the Knox Gelatin Company. The company was first established in a wooden factory consisting of four floors, situated near Montgomery Street and the F.J. & G Co. Railroad Tracks.
It wasn’t long before Knox Gelatin was a national product and part of the company’s success belonged to the innovative marketing campaigns used by the Knox’s. The family used a blimp to advertise their Gelatin products and “Lucky 13” promotions, as well as advertising on the side of horse carriages. Mrs. Knox wrote a book called Dainty Desserts for Dainty People, as a way to share special gelatin recipes, a book that has found its way into millions of homes. What’s particularly interesting about the fact that Rose took over the Gelatin business after the death of her husband is the fact that women were not often part of the working world during her time. In fact, after the passing of her husband, Rose sent special announcements to her husband’s clients and customers that her husband had died and that her son Charles would be taking over the business. In truth, Charles was still in school at the time and it was Rose that headed up the company. Always wearing a hat in the office or at home, Rose believed that ladies in business should act like ladies and that all ladies wore hats.
Charles Knox, known as Charley, understood the meaning of hard work. Charles Briggs Knox, the son of Charles M. Knox and Mary E (Briggs) Knox, was one of several children and received his education at the Kelsey’s Boys Academy at Clinton, New York. Knox was at one time, a clerk in a grocery store in Canajoharie. The family then moved to St. Johnstown. When the Knox family moved to St. Johnsville, Charles B. Knox worked with his father, making fifth wheels for carriages. Later, Knox would travel to Texas and was a sheep herder for a short while until someone destroyed his sheep and left him without a way to make an income, Knox served as Texas Ranger and was stationed in the south-western part of the state, in the Rio Grand District. Knox stayed in Texas until 1880 when he returned to Johnstown, New York to assist his father with a flour and feed business. He later became interested in the glove making industry and was hired by James Talcot as a travelling salesman. He was later to become known as an incredible salesman, one of the elite “Big Four” known for their ability to sell knit goods in the United States. After establishing a glue factory in Johnstown, he became interested in the production of gelatin.
Knox was also the Vice-President and Director of the Glen Telephone Company, Director of the People’s Bank, Director of the Farmer’ & Merchants’ Bank of Fort Plain, New York. Knox also owned The Morning Herald of Johnstown and Gloversville and believed that the paper should only publish credible news:
“God grant that this structure may be the ever-enduring home of a newspaper eternally dissatisfied with the mere print of the news, a paper that panders to the prejudice of no clique nor class, a paper whose sole attributes shall ever be truth, courage and independence, and which may ever be a public educator and a tribune of the people."
Charles Knox was quite charitable; in the early 1900s he bought an old Livingston Mansion and gave it to the “Willing Helper” so that it could be utilized as a home for aging women. He donated funds to the public library of Johnstown, and was a trustee of the same, and donated funds to the Young Men’s Christian Association. Knox was also a member of the Colonial Club of Johnstown, the Aldine Club, the Antlers of Amsterdam, the Laurentian of Canada, the Manufacturers’ Association of New York City, and the New York Athletic Club. Knox was a member of the Masons and he belonged to the St. Patrick’s Lodge, No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons, Johnstown Chapter No. 78. Royal Arch Masons, Johnstown council No. 72, R and S. M.; Holy Cross Commandery No. 51, K.T.; of Golversville; and of Cyrus Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., of Albany. In the Scottish rite, he reached the thirty-second degree. Knox was also admitted into the Sons of the American Revolution.
Charles Knox died on June 17, 1908, in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal Canada. He was on his way back from a fishing trip. He was ill for three-year period, and his health finally failed him. Knox is buried in the family mausoleum in Johnstown Cemetery.
The Knox’s had three children, a daughter named Helene, a son Charles M. Knox, and another son James, E. Knox. Helene having passed away in infancy and Charles having died in his adulthood. Our research revealed that Helene Knox is buried in Johnstown Cemetery, in section K, lot 668, outside of the family vault that is located in the same cemetery and in the same section. Helene lived and died in 1895 and little else is known about the child. James continued his education and upon completion, worked for the Knox Company starting in the early 1900s. Although there has been rumors about a fourth, unknown child of the Knox’s, there exists no evidence at this time to confirm such a rumor.
Rose was well known for her belief in a unified family, and a unified working environment. She was also well known for her love of orchids and some have called Rose, “The First Lady of Johnstown.” Rose Knox gave a lot of funds to different organizations in Johnstown. In the early 1900s she gave 3,000 dollars to the YMCA for the swimming pool. Rose also provided donations for the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Sunday School Room and in 1914 Rose Knox donated the church bells that are now in Saint Anthony’s Church in Johnstown. Rose later donated money for the establishment of the Knox Athletic Field: she gave 200,000 dollars to build and equip a field, stadium, and clubhouse. After 1934, every student that graduated from the Knox school was given a Rose from Mrs. Knox when they received their diploma – the tradition continues in the Knox school today. Rose would also provide any brides that she was acquainted with an orchid bouquet for their wedding.
By the late 1940’s, Rose suffered from arthritis, particularly in the leg area. The arthritis became too much to contend with and Rose passed the company onto her son James so that she could remain at home and still serve as Company Chairman. She died September 28, 1950; she was 93 years old.
The first floor of the mansion consists of nine rooms: a foyer, The Gold Room, The Dining Room, The Kitchen, The Billiard Room, The Greenhouse Conservatory, The Library, The Music Room/Parlor, and the Foyer. When the Quinn family first purchased the house, it was completely empty and it has been refurnished with a variety of beautiful antiques purchased from various auctions. The Gold Room has 18K gold scrollwork on the ceiling, a donation from a kind gentleman willing enough to volunteer his time to conduct the work. The dining room has a fireplace with intricate carvings representing the symbol of fertility. Within the billiard room there is a small secret panel among the bookshelves and it appears to be an area where special valuables may have been hidden.
A symbol appears throughout the house, a symbol representing the unity of the Knox Family. The second floor holds a master bedroom, a sunroom off of the master bedroom, the Lilac bedroom, and the Rose Bedrooms, as well as several bathrooms, walk in closets, a gown closet, and storage areas. An elevator from the dining room can be taken directly into the master bedroom and a dumb waiter is located in the sunroom and goes directly into an area just off the kitchen.
The third floor of the mansion is a large attic space: one area is used for storage of Halloween props and other items. Another area is an extra bedroom. Within the extra bedroom there is a three foot high doorway, one that is quite small, that opens up into another large room area: Mr. Quinn refers to the area as a “secret room.”
View a floor plan of the Knox Mansion - PDF Files available:
Knox Mansion First Floor
Knox Mansion Second Floor
Knox Mansion Attic
Other than some interesting false positives, our photos revealed nothing in this case. However, our gallery contains our psychic sketch artist’s renderings that have proven to correlate with the history of the location.
No video footage of paranormal occurrences was captured at the location.
While conducting the EVP session, the New Gravity Media Film crew conducted an EVP session with an experimental faraday cage. The crew did not get any positive EVP samples while using the cage. The ISIS team collected numerous EVPs and they are available in our EVP gallery.
|Location and Time
|Foyer 1:20 pm
||No electronics in the foyer area to explain the reading away.
|Billiard Room, 2:40 pm, in front of the Billiard Rack
||No attributed to mundane causes.
|Gold Room Entrance
||Acoustical Conversion Reading
|Gold Room, near piano
||Acoustical Conversion Reading
|Gold Room 1:30 pm
|Gold Room 1:55 pm
|Dining Room 1:10 pm
|Dining Room 1:14 pm
|Dining Room 12:54 pm
|Dining Room 12:54 pm
|Billiard Room 2:30 pm
|Billiard Room 3:50 pm
|Location and Time
|Gold Room, 12:54 pm
|Gold Room, 12:54 pm
||Increase of 2 percent. Increased to 58 percent and then remained pretty much at the level with insignificant changes.
|Main Entrance 2:29pm
||While the majority of the rooms on the first floor were at 58 percent humidity, after making a full round of the bottom floor, humidity had increased in the main entrance area.
|First entrance in dining room at 1:14 pm
||Dowsing rods move to point toward the fireplace. This happened when approaching the fireplace from both the right and the left.
||Dowsing Rods conducted by Justyn Staley.
|Second floor, second bedroom, 4:25 pm
||Dowsing rods cross nearby the bed in the location.
||Dowsing Rods conducted by Justyn Staley.
|Entering Dining Room 1:30 pm
||Felt the pendulum being pulled toward the inside of the gold room.
||Pendulum readings conducted by Robin Evans.
|Dining Room 1:40 pm
||Robin noted feeling heaviness in her chest – felt the pendulum pulling downward toward the floor.
|Parlor, 3:20 pm, near the piano
||Pendulum begins to swing deosil (clockwise)
|Master Bedroom, 4:25 pm, near gown closet and bathroom
||Pendulum pulled toward the closet and bathroom area while in the hallway between the Master Suite and the Sunroom.
|Attic, 5:10pm, pink spare bedroom.
||Upon entering the room the pendulum pulled toward the small entranceway into the secret room.
Special Notes: Our investigators were permitted to know nothing of the history of the location before the investigation was conducted. Since the library of the location contained displays pertaining to the history of the home, the library was the last room to be explored in the mansion by the ISIS team. By not allowing the investigators to know the history, we ensured that the team would not have preconceived notions based on the history of the site.
Unexplained Occurrences Noted by Investigators
Issues with Equipment
At 1:20 pm, the digital camera stopped working and shut off by itself while photographing the Gold Room of the location. Shortly after 4:50 pm, Sathish reported having difficulty with a different camera in the third bedroom, on the second floor of the location.
In addition, several investigators noted “difficulty breathing” at different points of the investigation. Interesting to note is the fact that our investigators were all in teams of two and not allowed to speak of individual experiences until after the completion of the investigation. All experiences were written down for later examination and notes were not shared. At 1:32 pm, after entering the dining room, Patricia reported difficulty breathing. At 4:14 pm, on the second floor of the location, Justyn reports that “breathing is becoming difficult:” several minutes later the dowsing rods cross nearby the bed in the same room. Robin Evans reported “difficulty breathing near the elevator in the dining room at 2:05 pm.
Several investigators also experienced vertigo when entering certain areas of the home. At 2:10 pm, Patricia entered the Billiard room and became momentarily dizzy and lightheaded. This same feeling was reported in the nearby conservatory at 2:20 pm. At the same time, Dayna, while entering the conservatory felt a momentary loss of balance. Justyn experienced vertigo at 1:08 pm, briefly upon entering the dining room.
Around 5:00 pm Justyn sensed an individual in the upstairs of the location that “used to help ease the pain from a disease.” This is congruent with the idea that a doctor once lived at the location.
Psychic Sketch Artist, Angela Kaufman, while in the dining room of the location, sketched an image of a horse drawn carriage. The image is strikingly similar to a photograph of a horse and carriage used by the Knox family to advertise Knox Gelatin. In addition, Charles Knox, at one time, use to manufacture carriage wheels with his father.
Angela sketched a man (a quick sketch) that looks much like the founder of Johnstown. (This sketch was drawn while on the second floor of the location.)
Angela drew a picture of a man with a cap that looks like man in a picture of the group that originally worked to build the Knox Mansion. (Drawn while in the Billiard Room).
In addition, while in the Billiard Room, Angela made a note that she sensed the area to be some kind of "meeting place" and even went as far as to note that she believed it had to do with the Freemasons. Our research has revealed that Charles B. Knox was a Freemason who had made it to the 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite. Angela sensed and sketched children, a young boy, and older girl, while in the parlor of the location. This corresponds with previous reports of the spirits of children being present in the house.
Other Psychic Experiences
Sathish, one of our investigators felt the presence of an older woman and of children while in the Gold room of the location. Later, Sathish complained of feeling pressure in the back of his head in the billiard room, as did Angela in her later notes.
Sathish reported feeling something unseen grab at his leg while in the Billiard Room. Meanwhile, while on the third floor of the location, Patricia reported a similar feeling, that something unseen had touched her. At 5:20pm Robin Evans, while in the attic, noted that “the door [to] the large attic room was pushed into [my] back – no one [was] behind me and a plug simultaneously fell off the table. According to Robin, the event stopped almost as quickly as it started. Michael Baker, one of the New Gravity Media producers, confirmed this occurrence, telling our team that as he turned the camera toward our investigator, the door stopped moving.
Justyn Staley sensed a death “by heart attack,” which is congruent with the contentions set forth by Mr. David Pitkin in coverage on the Knox mansion history: he argued that Knox died from a heart attack at the age of 53.
While many of our investigators had experiences at the location and psychic impressions were accurate -- proving congruent with accounts reported by other visitors to the mansion and with the current owner’s contentions, and there were notable EMF and temperature readings, there was no photographic evidence or video evidence to present in this case. We have therefore deemed the case inconclusive. This is not to say that the location is not haunted, but it is to say that we don’t have enough scientific evidence to conclude whether or not the location is haunted.
- View our Photo Gallery for paranormal photos associated with this case.
- View our EVP Gallery for Electronic Voice Phenomena captures associated with this case.
The Fulton County Photographic Archive
Special thanks to the New Gravity Media team for the opportunity to participate in 14 Degrees: A Paranormal Documentary.
New Gravity Media
14 Degrees: A Paranormal Documentary
July 16, 2008: Interview with Michael Baker on ISIS Paranormal Radio
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