My husband and I visited Wickland Estates one evening when we attended the 2013 Kentucky Music Week in Bardstown during week of June 10th.
We appreciate older homes with historical significance. The spirits were an added incentive to attend. We arrived at 8:00 PM as directed. There were no exterior lights and no directional signs telling us which building or door to begin the tour. The only hint was the slightly ajar door on the Wickland Mansion facing the gravelled driveway.
The tour was limited to 40 people and broken into 2 manageable groups of 20. This was an unusually hot day (for June) and the cooling system was unable to keep up--meaning we sat in a very warm area waiting for the tour to begin.
We were given an informational sheet about how the spirit tours were conceived which contained information about the "mediums"; they explained that they would normally talk about those things and provided the pre-printed information in the interest of time.
However, it really wasn't a tour at all.... We had expected to be shown the home and receive some information about the home's signficance but the focus was all on the "mediums"... how they learned they had this gift and that there were some spirits in the home that could be counted on to speak to the "mediums"--Antoine (who resides in the basement) and Walletta (who stays in the kitchen).
Our evening consisted of a group of 20 people sitting in a damp basement for over an hour holding dowsing rods (or divining rods), asking Yes or No questions and the "medium" telling us what she heard or saw... with her mother interpreting.
There were no epiphanies or especially revealing events.... just a group of people who had had a very busy day becoming very tired as the rods were passed around in the group of 20. One guest finally asked to leave due to health problems from dank/mildewed environments. She was sitting on a hard stool in the kitchen when we arrived there.
My husband and I held the dowsing rods. They did move in our hands but no spirits revealed themselves. (I've read a thing or two about dowsing rods and know they have been used to successfully locate water and such.)
We were taken to the kitchen to speak with the other spirit and were invited to ask about her life. One guest asked why the one in the basement could see into the future (we were told to ask about family and events) but the one in the kitchen could not... but that seemed to be the case.
The kitchen sessions continued with more discussion about how special the "mediums" were including accounts of their speaking to spirits on a Civil War battle field (but not evidence or recordings from that) and an attempt to capture spirit voices on a digital recorder which failed because the wall mounted air conditioning unit in the kitchen was exceptionally loud.
I do not begrudge the $15.00 dollars (x 2) spent as it's going toward the upkeep of this important and historical home. I just wish I knew more about the home now than I know about the "medium's" personal lives.
It was dark when we exited the mansion. There was no exterior lighting so we had to make our way to the car in the dark.
This home is definitely worth seeing and preserving. If you go, be prepared to climb stairs into the home, the second floor and the basement. Take a little flashlight with you to leave at night.
Do NOT go in a large group if you want a personal experience. It was really unpleasant sitting in a dank basement while twenty people passed the dowsing rods around for over an hour and hearing the other group tramping on wooden floorboards just inches over our heads.
Cameras are allowed but frankly we didn't get many pictures as we spent the most time in the basement which was poorly lit. The kitchen is small for a house of this size and there is no place to sit... just lean against a counter. We never got to tour the home or see the upstairs at all.
The "mediums" did little to prepare us what they planned to do--just handed rods to surprised guests AND then explained what they were.
These folks seemed to believe what they were doing but it was clearly not a "polished" presentation. They truly spent more time telling the guests about their personal lives and experiences than the Wickland home or the people who had lived there.
Go early to view the house and grounds on your own if you want to learn something about it because the Spirits tour won't tell you much about the house and its history.
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