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What Tragedies Happened at the Biltmore Estate?

By Molly Weinfurter


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Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina is a gorgeous property that many tourists are drawn to. But like many old structures, it has a lot of history, some of which is spooky and unsettling. So, what tragedies happened at the Biltmore Estate? Did people die on the property? Let’s take a look at all the spooky secrets of this wonderful attraction.

What is the Biltmore Estate?

Biltmore Estate Asheville NC is a 250-room mansion that was built in 1895 and owned by George Vanderbilt. Despite being around for over a century, the structure is still standing strong and looking as beautiful as ever. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Asheville and the largest house in America. You can stay there, tour the facility, or attend some of the many events the property hosts. It’s a one-of-a-kind attraction.

What Tragedies Happened at the Biltmore Estate

Is Biltmore Haunted?

Many people call the Biltmore Estate haunted. That’s because there are a few stories of people dying at the estate, and several guests have claimed to see ghosts during their visit. There isn’t enough information to confirm these rumors, but with so many people making claims of ghost sightings, it’s hard to deny that something spooky is going on. Some people have even recorded videos of unusual events, such as doors slamming on their own.

What Tragedies Happened at the Biltmore Estate?

The Biltmore House is advertised as a gorgeous attraction, but many visitors like to focus on the creepy aspect of it instead. The employees will not discuss anything related to ghosts, but many people have claimed to see and hear strange things while at the hotel. Here are some tragedies and ghost stories related to the Biltmore Estate dark history. 

Biltmore Estate Pool Drowning

The most common haunted area that guests talk about is the pool room. The Biltmore Estate pool is a 70,000-gallon swimming pool that had a heating system and underwater lights, which was ahead of its time. It had ropes along the edges to help people who were in danger. However, the pool didn’t have a filtration system, so the water had to be drained and refilled every few days. 

Most guests who enter the pool room get an eerie feeling. Guests have claimed to feel nauseous or anxious when entering the room and were only able to catch their breath after walking away from the pool. Some claim it’s just the shape of the room and how voices echo, but others think it’s haunted. Some people reported hearing the sound of water splashing even though the pool is empty. Others have claimed to hear laughter coming from the drain. A few guests have even seen an apparition known as “the lady in black” in the room.

It’s possible that these encounters are related to a Biltmore Estate pool death. There are rumors that a child who was a friend of the Biltmore family drowned during a pool party and continues to haunt the room. However, there are no documents proving this death, and the Biltmore Estate employees deny the event.

Biltmore Estate Pool Drowning

George Vanderbilt Death

The estate is said to be haunted by the ghost of George Vanderbilt too. He died tragically in 1914 after an appendectomy. After his death, people claimed they heard his wife Edith talking to his ghost in the estate’s library. Now, people who have gone in the library during tours or to clean the room have added that they felt uneasy upon entering, similar to the eerie feeling of the pool room. Some people even believe they saw Vanderbilt’s ghost reading a book.

Before George passed away, he and Edith almost boarded the Titanic. They had booked tickets for the ship, but they canceled after a friend talked them out of it. 

Young Men Shot Dead

Two boys were killed at the gate of the Biltmore Estate. In 1922, a man named Walter Brooks was guarding the gates when he was instructed to investigate a suspicious vehicle. There were five young men in the car, and they said they were going to “take the place.” While it’s unclear exactly what they meant, Brooks saw that as a threat. He ended up killing two and injuring one while the other two escaped. 

Brooks was charged for killing the boys, but he insists he was just reacting to a threat. He was also punished for being armed during his trial.

The Halloween Room

The “Halloween room” of the estate is a basement that was initially used as storage, but it’s covered in murals on the walls that many guests find creepy. It’s suspected that the room was painted that way for a Halloween event because cats, bats, and other Halloween-related images cover the walls. There are no reported tragedies in that room, but many people get the same bone-chilling feeling they get when entering the pool room or library.

There’s a rumor that the Halloween room is haunted by the apparition of an intoxicated woman wearing a flapper outfit. Workers who thought they were alone in the building have also reported hearing footsteps, voices, and screams. 

The Halloween Room

Headless Orange Cat

In the gardens outside of the Biltmore Estate, guests have claimed to see a headless orange cat wandering around. However, there are no records of a cat ever living with the Vanderbilts, and no one knows how this ghost-like feline lost its head.

How to Visit the Biltmore Estate

You can choose to tour the estate or stay overnight at an on-site room. Admission to the Biltmore Estate varies from $50 to $85 per adult guest. You can check the official website for the current pricing. Kids under 9 are free, and kids 10 to 16 years old get a discount. With admission, you can explore the inside of the estate, see the gardens, and enjoy activities like wine tasting.

If you want to stay overnight at the Biltmore Estates, there’s a hotel, inn, and cottages on-site. The hotel is the least expensive, but the inn has the most amenities. The prices will vary based on which one you choose, but all of them are considered pricey. While staff haven’t confirmed if any of these facilities are haunted, some brave guests have claimed to see ghosts in their rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you intrigued by the tragedies that happened at the Biltmore Estate? If so, you might have more questions about the spooky and elegant facility. Here are some more aspects that visitors commonly wonder about.

Are There Secret Passages at Biltmore

Are There Secret Passages at Biltmore?

Yes, Biltmore Estate is full of hidden passages. These passageways were built so workers could get from one place to another without being seen. They also helped give guests more privacy. There are 250 rooms in the house and dozens of secret passages and hidden rooms. In the billiards room, there is a secret door that goes to the smoking room. The breakfast room also has a door that leads to the butler’s pantry.

Who Owns the Biltmore Estate Today?

The Vanderbilt family hasn’t lived in the structure since the 1950s, so it’s only run as a tourist attraction today. It’s owned by descendants of the Vanderbilts who lived in the estate many years ago.

Plan Your Visit to the Biltmore Estate!

Even though many tragedies happened at the Biltmore Estate, it’s still an incredible place to visit. In fact, many people are intrigued by it because of the Biltmore Estate ghost stories and haunting incidents. So, consider taking a tour of the property to see if you’ll witness anything out of the ordinary. If you’re feeling brave, you can also consider booking a stay at one of the on-site accommodations. While you’re staying there, you can also experience some of the other fun things to do in North Carolina.

About Molly Weinfurter

Molly Weinfurter is a freelance writer and editor that specializes in family, travel, and animal-related topics.

3 thoughts on “What Tragedies Happened at the Biltmore Estate?”

  1. So that people from the town could be employed and have the joy of such a beautiful place, he met his wife AFTER it was built 😊


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