John McPherson

Mount Pleasant     Philadelphia


2002.06.18 17:49
Mount Pleasant (and a room of ill-repute)
One of the 88 Houses of Ill-Repute uploaded to day at Quondam is Mount Pleasant, a very fine Georgian Country Estate in what is today Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. In preparing this webpage I did a web search on Mount Pleasant to see if there were any interesting facts for inclusion with the Quondam presentation. As it happens, John McPherson, the first owner of Mount Pleasant (1760), was known for having only one arm, and that a one-armed ghost is sometimes seen at Mount Pleasant. I've been at Mount Pleasant a few times myself, obviously to take pictures recently (1998), but also as a student because we once had a project, a house for a scholar, whose site was just beyond Mount Pleasant's formal garden in the back. While the gardens are 'pleasant', I kind of remember that there was also something creepy about the place. If memory serves me correctly (and here I'm going back to Spring 1977), either I or someone else in the class saw a man in the gazebo which led from the garden to the project site, and then the man, who looked like a bum (and there often are bums that live in Fairmount Park), seemed to disappear, or at least he was very quickly gone. I'm now remembering that it was me that saw this man. I was alone doing 'site analysis', and when I noticed the man was gone, I went to see where he went, and there was no trace of the man. I can even kind of remember his face--he was looking right at me when I noticed him. And now if memory serves me correctly, I noticed that the gazebo was no longer there in 1998.
At the 'ghost' website there was also a story about a room within the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For those that do not know, the PMA has a quite impressive collection of period rooms, and apparently in one of the Elizabethan rooms a German woman/visitor was slapped in the face while no one else was in the room. She reported this the a security guard, and the 'slap' was verified by a security video tape. Although the video tape verification sounds dubious, as I don't remember seeing security cameras throughout the museum, the story in general somewhat coincides with another story about a specific Elizabethan room within the museum. In the book Triumph On Fairmount is the story that the founding director of the museum, Fiske Kimball, when he gave a tour of the period rooms, would refer to one of the Elizabethan rooms as "where Queen Elizabeth I was conceived"--apparently the walls of the room came from the house where King Henry VIII used to 'meet' Anne Boleyn.
So, is Anna Boleyn today a slap-happy ghost in Philadelphia? Or, is Henry VIII perhaps reenacting some rough sex? Or, is QEI demonstrating some pre-natal dislike of Germans? Or is all this a too weird wavelength???




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