Even though this is my personal blog, I just wanted to take a few moments to discuss the latest goings-on at the Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, of which I was just elected 1st Vice President of their board of trustees. For starters, I have taken down the paranormal blog I was running about the house because there seems to have been some confusion in town as to the blog being an official website of the house, and not just a hobby for me to keep track of different ghostly occurrences. While I had approval of the board president when I started the blog, I want to make it clear that I was not speaking for the house, just myself and those who were with me in the event that something paranormal occured. The blog has been removed, so from this moment forward, any time I feel like writing about ghosts and the house, it will be here, since it is not affiliated in any way—still, any stories at all will probably be saved for October. I would also like to address the latest city-wide condemnation of the Proprietary House, as only caring about ghosts and not wanting to be bothered with history. This is absolutely, categorically false.
We at William Franklin’s mansion have always put history first, but we have long acknowledged (this coming from many administrations prior to the current one) that with our illustrious history comes ghosts. There is no way around that, unless we want to live in a state of ignorance. We are in a changing time, and the interest stemming from the general public is changing as well. While we have many plans for the coming months for historical events, the October ghost tours (and those on select dates throughout the year, usually led by Jane Doherty) will not ever go away. Why? Because we are a non-profit organization whose existence relies on visitors and when they make donations or pay suggested-donation admission fees. Our most popular events? Ghost tours. Always have been, always will be, with the exception of our annual arrest reenactment in June. More than half the money this house makes annually (at least in the three years I have been involved) comes from just two months: October because of ghost tours, and December because of all the open-houses. You can think deeper to realize even further which one pulls in more money. The very people who have taken it upon themselves to attack us certainly know this, because they used to be involved with the Proprietary House themselves, and of course, never complained about such events when it was them relying on said donations and publicity to keep the house’s head above water, nor did they find anything wrong with inviting the Sci-Fi series Ghost Hunters to film an episode at the house, which brought in far more paranormal visitors and inquiries than my little blog could ever dream of matching.
We try to give people what they want, and it appears that they want a mix of everything, therefore we will not ignore one group just to keep another group happy. We are a team of volunteers who all have jobs elsewhere and are trying our best to put forth the greatest effort we can, and trying to have fun doing it. That should be taken into consideration when launching an attack on a volunteer organization. The politics have to stop—the petty bickering, the mud-slinging, and everything in between. We should all be on the same side here: to protect and serve history, no matter what location we happen to lend our time to. This is something that should be fun and enlightening for all, and over the past year, the terms “fun” and “enjoyment” have been used far too little.
That being said, I have a lot of hope for the new year and the newly elected administration, of which Jeff Huber remains as president. We have a fantastic board of trustees, filled with kind, like-minded individuals who have one major goal above all else: protecting the Proprietary House and making it thrive. I am also very proud to announce the youth movement underway, as we have seen a plethora of not only new members and volunteers, but also those who have actually become association members. One of my hockey players joined up, becoming the youngest member in our history, and comes with me regularly to work and even attend meetings, though he is not old enough to vote yet.
We have many events planned such as a Valentine’s themed tea in February, lectures by local historians in the spring, which will then bring us to June where we will stage the arrest of William Franklin, featuring a new cast and script, which is going to be a lot of fun to be involved in. I have a lot of hopes for this coming year, and nothing but positive thoughts and energy, that I know my fellow trustees and members have too. This is an exciting time for us all, with the house’s 250th anniversary ongoing. It is important for us that we get the message out there, and turn this house from a local gem into a national one. We are on the way, the ride is no doubt going to be a fun one.
All the best,
1st Vice President