Poplar Hill Mansion is considered Salisbury’s most haunted house. There are supposedly at least five or six permanent spirits in the house including the spirits of two little girls, an enslaved woman, an enslaved man, and the Doctor and possibly Mrs. Huston. All of the spirits derive from the Huston period.
According to local legend, an enslaved woman named Sara “19 years old, unmarried, and without child” perished in flames wearing a long, full skirt in the second floor rear bedroom, the nursery. Scorch marks may still be found on the wood floor surrounding the fireplace.
The two little girls are believed to be two of the four Huston Daughters, most likely Sally (Sarah), who never married and lived her entire life at the Mansion and Elizabeth. There is no evidence that any children ever died in the house. So why are the spirits of children in the house? A psychic has told staff that spirits often return to a happy time in their lives, so it is plausible that the girls reverted back to their childhood which was their happy time.
The enslaved man is believed to be the spirit of Sam. On the 1828 inventory of the Doctor, Sam is listed as a 60 year old enslaved man. As an older person, Sam would have been the caretaker of the house. This spirit resides in the basement of the house and is both curious and shy about new people entering into the house.
Some people believe they have seen the figure of a man standing on the main steps of the house holding what appears to be a bag. From the description, we can ascertain that this would be the spirit of Doctor Huston holding his medical bag.
Most recently, it is believed that Mrs. Sarah Huston (the Doctor’s wife) has started to make herself known to visitors in the house. Mrs. Huston would have overseen the day-to-day operations of the household and people have sensed that there is a presence of a stern (not angry) woman in the house and that she is watching everyone very carefully.
Staff has also been informed that the Mansion is also a portal from the spirit realm. Several curators have reported hearing what sounds like a sonic boom that seems to emanate from the Dining Room. This is what is known as a rapport and is what occurs when the “door” opens. There have been several transient spirits over the years coming through the Mansion before they leave and make their way to a different destination.
It should be pointed out, that there is a positive energy in the house. There is nothing malicious about the spirits who dwell at Poplar Hill. The spirits are a part of our history and add to the wonderful atmosphere at the Mansion.