A Triad-area landmark known as the strangest house in the world is getting some attention from paranormal experts.
Officials from the Southern Paranormal and Anomaly Research Society plan to conduct an investigation to see if the creaks and moans of the more than 100-year-old Korners Folly home are those of age - or something more.
Officials say the home has always been surrounded by an air of mystery.
"People say, well, it was vacant for 30 years, people over time have remembered it when it was boarded up. They've heard strange sounds, maybe when they went by," Bruce Frankel, executive director of the Korners Folly Foundation, said. "People have interesting minds in how they look at something and because it's not a traditional-type house, I think even more so."
But SPARS hopes to settle the many active imaginations. The society plans to investigate the house in the next week.
"SPARS comes into a property under the assumption that it is not haunted, and what we try to do is prove or disprove a haunting. We try to figure out natural explanations of any supposed paranormal phenomena," Deonna Kelli Sayed, an investigator-in-training from SPARS, said.
And she says they use science to figure it out.
"We'll have a thermal imaging camera, which gives us heat signatures and cold signatures." Sayed said. "We will use digital audio to hear if there are any noises or disembodied voices that we can't hear with our human ears."
Paranormal experts say one of the things that makes this house so unique is that 90 percent of it is filled with original furniture, something that's important during their investigation.
"There are some theories in the paranormal community that whatever is there, whether it's spirits or entities or energies, may attach themselves to objects," Sayed said.
And whether it's really a ghost or a tricky mind, Sayed said by the end of the investigation, they hope to have definitive answers.
"We are just trying to find ways to understand things that perhaps we don't yet understand," she said.
SPARS is affiliated with The Atlantic Paranormal Society, made famous by the Sci-Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters.
History of Korner's Folly
Korner's Folly, dubbed "The Strangest House in the World," has long amused visitors who gape at its fanciful Victorian rooms and showy furniture. Starting next month, the historic home in Kernersville hosts a year-long set of activities to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Festivities include a community party with barbecue and masquerade costume ball on April 2, and an ice cream social on June 25.
The eccentric Victorian structure was born when a dapper interior designer named Jule Korner broke ground on what he intended to be a showplace home. His unconventional design rose in the sky at a snail's pace, and reportedly caused a local to remark, "That will surely be Korner's folly." Jule overheard the crack and delightedly named his house thus, even setting an ornate nameplate out front. When Korner's Folly was "finished" in 1880, Jule continued to vigorously revamp it.
The house's original design featured three floors, but because Jule placed steps, up or down, at most doorways, the house has seven staggered levels. Ceiling heights for the Folly's 22 rooms range from six on up to 25 feet.
Jule's ad hoc approach included transforming stables into a sewing room/library and turning the drive-through carriageway into a dining room. Shortly before his marriage to Polly Alice Masten, he renovated rooms for family life, converting storage spaces into children's playrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows visible from rooms below.
On the front porch, the words "Witches Corner" are playfully inscribed into the tile, arranged to appear as throw rugs. Inside, intricately carved moldings frame the ceilings, with other decorative flourishes in abundance such as silk damask panels, maiden statues and painted frescoes. Jule was afraid of fire and only permitted cigars in a tiled "smoker" room.
One window there is about three feet high,while the other extends upward and is shared by a room upstairs. Neither window opens. The master bedroom includes grand furniture Jule designed, such as his S-shaped conversation chair. It's a three seater, with room for a chaperone. Many of Jule's inventive pieces were so massive they could not fit through doors and were constructed in the room. Jule also included whimsical "courting corners" where guests could sneak smooches behind silk curtains.
In keeping with its experimental spirit, Korner's Folly boasts the first little private theater in the United States, located in soaring attic space. Like Jule, his well-traveled wife (who went by "Alice") loved the arts. The Folly's theater got its start when a local girl came back from Boston hoping to give an elocution recital, only to be denied use of all community meeting places. In that time, play-acting was considered sinful. Alice decided to present her at the Folly.
Korner died feeling that his work-in-progress was unfinished. Later, the house fell into neglect and eventually Preservation North Carolina oversaw the establishment of Korner's Folly Foundation, which owns it now. "There are no two rooms alike:' says Connie Martin, the foundation's executive director. "People are amazed at its insight and ingenuity." Today, the plays live on at the Folly every fall, staged by the Kernersville Little Theatre, along with family puppet shows per formed every fourth Saturday. And just like its original owner, the house still causes talk.
"There are no two rooms alike. People are amazed at its insight and ingenuity. " -Connie Martin, Executive Director Preservation North Carolina