When you round the corner onto Battleground Road in Lincolnton, North Carolina, it's an impossible vision to miss.
The Roseman estate sits on a historic site as it is down the road from where the Revolutionary War's 1780 Ramsour's Mill Battle took place. Today, it stands regally amid a quaint Lincolnton neighborhood. With a sprawling lawn, Greek style columns and a wide front porch adorned with rocking chairs, the home is a sight to see.
But it didn't always appear so nobly.
With a confirmed history that dates back between 150 to 170 years, the home has seen happy and sorrowful times, decadence and decay, the addition of new family members as well as the departure. Today, the Roseman is cherished by its current homeowners as well as a few "other" residents who call it home.
"The house is named The Roseman, it's named after the Roseman family who built it," Michael Solomon said. "It was built by Andrew and Mary Roseman and their family would live here throughout the years... we named it after the family because we're the first people to live here since the Roseman's did."
When Solomon purchased the Roseman, it was unrecognizable to the estate it is today.
The massive lawn was covered in belongings and the home was in desperate need of a renovation. No one had lived there since the Roseman family in the mid 1990s. When the final family member passed, the home and its belongings were auctioned off. "It was in very, very bad shape," Solomon said. "But the first time I walked into it, I knew it was going to be home and I knew that we could do things with it and I just loved it from the minute we got here."It was love at first sight for Solomon. But there was also another feeling upon his initial step into the home, his intuition."Well, you're walking through a house that was empty and had been empty for quite a while, it's old and has a family history about it and so you have to find your comfort zone," Solomon said. "I can't believe I'm telling this story... I came in and I stood and I said, 'Okay. Any Rosemans that are still here, you're welcome to stay as long as you're right with God and you don't scare me.'"It wasn't long after that that the Roseman's began making themselves known.
Solomon said the first time he heard whispers of "ghosts" was shortly after he purchased the Roseman."It's been interesting since the beginning," Solomon said. He decided to put the home through a massive renovation before moving in himself. While construction workers were witness to multiple quirky experiences (see below), Solomon himself hadn't had any unusual encounters until the near-end of construction when he was alone in the home installing light fixtures."I was upstairs in the bathroom in the corner and I climbed up the ladder, screwed in the little light bulb and as soon as I came down the ladder, I heard a lady's voice," Solomon said. "And she says, 'Hello,' which was really odd because there wasn't a lady in the house."Solomon heard the greeting "clear as day." He described the voice of the 'Hello' as friendly and "sing-songy." As the house wasn't finished yet, Solomon was able to see out all the windows as they hadn't had treatments yet. He wandered through the entire home, checked the doors and outside areas."There was nobody out there," Solomon said. "She kind of did a little sing song on the end of it... I will say that one spooked me a little bit." A neighbor who owned and lived in a house across the street from the Roseman for many years had known the family very well and had grown to know both sisters, Ms. Forny Roseman and Ms. Mary Neil Roseman, who had last resided in the home. Both of the sisters had passed away in the home, at separate times. "He (the neighbor) and Ms. Forny had a friendship," Solomon said. "So he came over one day to just to see what was going on and I didn't tell him what I had heard."
Solomon said he asked if either of the sisters had the tendency to sing-song their words."And he goes, 'Oh yes, Ms. Forny used to love coming over to my house,' and he is standing against the way and he hits it and says, 'And I always knew when I heard the knock-knock, 'Hello' that she wanted me to come out and talk to her,'" Solomon said. "And he did [the hello] perfectly to what I heard."
Before Solomon moved in and had his own introduction to any Roseman family members, they were making themselves well known with a number of construction workers during the home's multi-month renovation.One of the construction workers was predominantly a Spanish speaker who kept to himself. So when he approached Solomon, it came as a surprise."I'm walking through and he does his little nod like he always does and then he goes, 'Mr. Michael, I'm going to ask you a question,' and I was like, 'He speaks!'" Solomon recalled. "He said, 'Do you believe in ghosts?'"Solomon immediately knew something had happened. This man mostly worked alone with his saw in the library/living room area as he re-paneled the walls.
"He said, 'I see them. They go up the stairs and down the stairs and up the stairs and down the stairs... the other day I turned around and here she be,'" Solomon recalled him saying. "And then he goes, 'Ploof! She be gone.' And I asked, are you scared to be in here alone? And he said, 'No. I just want you to know... they're here.'" Within the same month that Solomon was approached by the first construction worker, the plumber had also started working on the home."I think it was the plumber, someone was in here doing some work and there were no lights (installed) but they tried to snap pictures. Well they turned out very yucky, you know because there were no lights and he shot a picture of the staircase," Solomon said. "He shot a picture of the staircase and on the picture of the staircase, there's a full body standing there... and no one was on the staircase when he took it. He was in here by himself."
Solomon said he pondered over the picture many times. "At first, when you see it, you're like, 'Woah! There's somebody on the stairs.' So that was startling enough," Solomon said. "It took me a few days of having the picture to see what else was in there. You start trying to figure out who this is, but then you see this young face, a very young looking face, in the center of the chest area of the full body."
A third encounter occurred in the evening when a gas company worker was running gas lines in the home's cellar. "The house didn't have gas appliances and we wanted them so he had to go down into the cellar of this home, and it's just that... a cellar," Solomon said. "You're going down into the dirt and you're under the house... well, he said he was down in there one night running gas lines, in here by himself because we didn't leave here at that time and he said he heard people talking upstairs."Solomon said the man told him he had heard a full conversation, almost as if they were having a party."He honestly thought that some homeless people had broken into the construction site to basically set up camp for the night because it was empty," Solomon said. "It scared him so bad, he was down in the basement and he turned off the light down there and snuck up the stairs. That door opens into the back hallway and you can see the front and back door from there... so he was going to look for his route of escape because he was a little scared and didn't know who the people were...""But when he got up here, he said nobody was here... the house was empty."
The daily routine for a family friend of Solomon's and Lincolnton native is to drive down Battleground Road, passing by the Roseman estate, on her way to work. As the mother of a young child, she's accustom to him pointing out things from the backseat. But when he continued to notice a woman waving at him from the Roseman, she took note."(The little boy) would say, 'Look Mommy, there's that lady waving at me in Mr. Michael's house,'" Solomon recalled. "She said he did that fairly consistently saying, 'There's that lady waving at me in Mr. Michael's house again,' and there was no lady in the house."One day the two came over to visit Solomon. Coincidentally, Solomon had just received a number of Roseman family photographs. "I started researching the family and I still don't know everything by a long shot but I find out little snippets here and there and so it's a lot of fun," Solomon said. His passion on learning more about the history behind his home led Solomon to show his friend the newly found photographs.
"I was showing them to her on the computer upstairs and he (the little boy) was playing a game on his Mama's phone," Solomon said. "He's four or five years old, so he's halfway paying attention and halfway not. And I flipped to a picture of Ms. Forny Roseman, the same one who sing-songs her words, as soon as I flipped to her picture he goes, 'There's the lady who waves at me.'"
While surprised at the child's response, Solomon decided to test him.
"I moved it to the picture of her sister, Ms. Mary Neil, and I said, 'So this is the lady that waves at you, right?'" Solomon said. "And he goes, 'No. I told you it was the other one.' So we put it back and he was like, 'Yeah, that's her. She waves at me.'"
Since Solomon moved into the home, he says the occurrences go through both busy and quiet times. One of the more "busy" times of the Roseman's interactions appears to be around the holidays.
"As far as things that happened to us, the big thing that sticks out to me is I was having a Christmas party for some folks from my church. They were all gathered in the living room and I was in the kitchen preparing dinner," Solomon said. "Well, they got to talking about the Roseman family because it so happened that one of the ladies who was here, a real sweet lady, she's in her 80s and she happened to have one of the two Roseman sisters as her teacher."
As the conversation continued into memories of the Roseman family, Solomon finished his dinner and called his guests into the dining room. But when he sat at the head of the table with his visitors, he was distracted by an unusual sight: a light reflecting in the room's grandfather clock.
"I realized, it's coming from the fireplace," Solomon said. "I get up from the table and come into the living room and the fireplace is going full blast. It's burning itself as pretty as you please."
This occurred a few years ago, during an unseasonably warm December.
"We certainly didn't need the fireplace on," Solomon said. "None of them knew how to turn it on, nor would they without asking, and I'm the only one here who even knew where the remote was and I had been in the kitchen the whole time."
Solomon thought the timing of the incident was particularly interesting.
"When they left the living room, the fireplace was not on," Solomon said. "By the time we came through and sat on the table, the fireplace was going and the whole conversation had been about the family. So in my mind, I believe they were just kind of letting us know they were here, because I asked everyone at the table, and they were like, 'No! None of us did it.'"
In addition to enjoying a warm fire, Christmas isn't complete without a tree full of ornaments. Both of these are holiday traditions the Roseman's have involved themselves with.
"'They' love to take ornaments off the Christmas tree," Solomon said. "The tree usually stands in the front window and the ornaments have been found all the way across the living room into the dining room."
One sister in particular likes to continually remind Solomon of her presence, particularly during one year's Christmas open house. After researching the Roseman family and learning their belongings had been auctioned off, he was able to buy back a treasured item, Ms. Mary Neil's bed.
"Since we've had [the bed], nobody has slept in it," Solomon said. "But that bed will get indentations in it to the point where we were doing the Christmas open house and two or three of us independently went into that room and said, 'Oh the bed is a mess,' and straightened it up."
Solomon said he and the others who straightened the bed had a conversation after the open house where they realized what had happened.
"She wasn't keeping it straight," Solomon said.
He has also noticed the dining room's corner cabinets being opened when no one is home as well as the tassels from an upstairs bedroom pillow being pulled off and laid horizontally on the bed.
During a visit with a couple friends, including a distant relative of the Roseman's, Solomon said the "clip clop" of footsteps from upstairs was so audible the relative ran out of the house in fright.
"She said, 'I'm not staying here!' and I laughed and said, 'They're your relatives! They've come to see you!' It really freaked her out."
While the Roseman estate may date back between 150 to 170 years old, the oldest confirmation of the home's existence that Solomon has is record of the birth of Mr. Robert Moorman Roseman who was born inside the home in either 1846 or 1847.
"He either stayed here his whole life or moved back here and had his family here... and he died here too," Solomon said. "That's his daughters (the sisters) we keep talking about."
There's record of both Mr. Roseman and the daughter's passing away in the home. Multiple viewings were also held in the home.
"We know the home traces back to 1846, so it's 150 to 170 years old," Solomon said. "Death has visited here more than once in that time."
While Solomon admits he doesn't know everything about the Roseman family, he has enjoyed learning more about their lineage as well as his encounters with them, both those alive and deceased. A Roseman relative recently held a wedding at the home.
"She even said to me, 'It's a shame you know more about my family history than I do,'" Solomon said. "But it's just been something I've been fascinated with."
While both restoring the Roseman estate to it's former beauty, Solomon has also restored a family. When asked if he realizes how he has respected the family, the camera recording the interview suddenly switched off, something that the camera has never done in the many interviews it has recorded.
"Maybe Ms. Roseman turned it off," Solomon said laughing.
As for living with ghosts, it doesn't bother Solomon. It almost feels like their part of his home's charm.
"I want to go on the record saying I am a Christian, I believe in God and I have a great relationship with God. I do believe there are things we do not understand and that God allows things to happen that as humans we're not necessarily supposed to understand. If this was a place that brought them joy when they were alive, I see no reason that God would not allow them to be back around it in the area after their gone."
So when Solomon recently decided to sell the home, it was a difficult decision.
"It's the most connected I've ever been to a property," Solomon said.
The desire for a smaller home with less upkeep eventually won and the home is currently attempting to gain the permissions for it to become a funeral home for the current bidder's business. As for how he feels about leaving the Roseman's behind...
"I have thought that they do bring their own charm to the house, they're going to be missed," Solomon said. "Now the question is, will they come along when we leave? I doubt it because this is their spot. This is where they want to be."