Homeowner to Turn 'Haunted' Mansion Into Scary Attraction

NICOLE PELLETIERE

A New Jersey man is determined to give Massachusetts residents the spooks with his purchase of a creepy mansion that dates back a century.

Robert Conti, 40, of Manalapan, New Jersey, told ABC News he purchased the so-called S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion in July 2015.

The Victorian home in Gardner, Massachusetts, was built in 1875 by Sylvester Knowlton Pierce, the wealthy owner of a furniture company.

"I didn't really come into this believing in ghosts, but the minute I walked into this house, I was overwhelmed and had to excuse myself and get a piece of candy because I thought I was going to pass out," Contin said, laughing. "But maybe that was just me psyching myself out."

He added: "The one crazy thing about it is how people have fallen in love with it so quickly. It's like it belongs to the community and not to me."

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Conti is a periodontist and runs a traveling haunted circus as a side business. He has had dreams of owning a freestanding haunted house since he was 18, he said.

A friend sent Conti's wife a listing last year for the S.K. Pierce Mansion. The home is said to have had paranormal activity because of spine-chilling events that occurred when the residence was turned into a boarding house: particularly, the death of Finnish immigrant Eino Saari, who perished from a fire in the master bedroom in 1963. The ghost of S.K. Pierce is also said to be lurking about.

Conti said he has obtained copies of death certificates and medical reports that detail the circumstances.

"Guests have experienced everything from voices, chanting, full body apparitions, moving furniture, screens flying off windows, slamming doors, the sounds of footsteps on the stairs and halls, sudden temperature changes, foul odors, shadow people, and an ominous lions roar which can shake the house, which many believe is the former Mr. Pierce imposing his displeasure with the current state of the home and its residents," the mansion's website explains. "Others have felt the pressure of hands actually pushing them. One visitor felt that a presence was attempting to push her down the steps while another was almost forced out of a third floor window."

It continues: "Paranormal experts have said that the entities in this mansion are the "most advanced" they have ever seen, as they are capable of harnessing electrical energy and converting that power into the ability to move large objects and impose their will physically on their current surroundings."

The mansion boasts nearly 7,000 square feet, a grand staircase, a study, dining room, kitchen and a ladies parlor. It was once featured on the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures.”

Upon seeing photos of the house online, Conti was immediately enamored by it' old-world beauty and bought the property before even seeing it in person.

"I said, 'Wow, that's pretty much what I envisioned in my head,'" Conti recalled. "We love it. It's always been quite a project going on, but we're not changing anything. The floor plans are pretty much staying the same. It's a restoration rather than a renovation.

Conti is restoring the house and plans on opening historical ghost tours to the public next year. He hopes to build a high-end, animatronic exhibit in the basement of the home, as well as a separate area that'll be open for visitors to possibly stay overnight.

Read more about the mansion on Zillow.