Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Madame Sherri's Castle - West Chesterfield, New Hampshire

In the 1920s, Madame Antoinette Sherri was a French costume designer who catered to the actors and actresses in New York City.  She moved there from France with her husband in 1911.  Madame Sherri also did a little Vaudeville acting, dancing, and singing on the side.  During the summers she would visit with an actor friend who spent his summers in West Chesterfield, New Hampshire.  She liked the area so much that after her friend passed away, in 1927 she built a chateau style mansion in the area and would host very large extravagant parties of which most of the guests were the rich and elite from New York City.  The mansion had a grand stairway made of stone that led to a large red door which served as the entrance.  Local residents referred to her chateau as Madame Sherri's Castle.


Madame Sherri was a famous costume designer from New York who summered at her chateau near West Chesterfield, New Hampshire which today is known as Madame Sherri's Castle
The grand staircase leading to the entrance of Madame Sherri's chateau when it was intact

Madame Sherri became known to the locals in West Chesterfield as quite an eccentric. She was known to cruise around town in her cream colored Packard touring convertible wearing nothing but a fur coat.  When she was wearing clothes, she wore some of her extravagant costumes that she designed.  Besides the lavish parties that she would throw in the mansion, she lived in a much smaller cottage near the place.  That home was later discovered to be packed full of boxes and such, leaving very little room for living space.  There always seemed to be a entourage of young french beauties that was in her company which led some to believe she used the castle as a brothel.



Madame Sherri in one of her extravagant costumes


Madame Sherri's Packard touring car that she cruised around town in wearing nothing but a fur coat

As Madame Sherri grew older and had a harder time getting around she moved to a nursing home in Brattleboro, Vermont.  Over the years her castle sat empty and had been looted and vandalized several times.  In 1962 the castle burned to the ground.  Madame Sherri made arrangements to have the grounds and castle remains sold.  On the day the sale was finalized, Madame Sherri passed away.  Many believe that this meant her spirit was tied to the castle and remains there to this day.



The ruins of the grand stair case to Madame Sherri's castle today

Today, the castle ruins remain in what is now the Madame Sherri Forest near West Chesterfield, New Hampshire.  The stone foundation, fireplace and grand stairway entrance are still intact.  Many visitors to what remains of Madame Sherri's castle claim that they heard the sounds of a grand party emanating from the ruins with music playing, guests chattering and having a good time.  Others say they have seen the Madame Sherri's apparition ascending the grand staircase in one of her extravagant dresses.

The grand stair case where the ghost of Madam Sherri has been seen ascending
The stonework and foundation of Madame Sherri's castle are all that remains


The Madame Sherri Forest is a 488 acre preserve open to the public and can be found near West Chesterfield, New Hampshire on Gulf Road just off the Vermont border.


The ruins of Madam Sherri's chateau today

9 comments:

  1. I was recently at Madame Sherri's forest/castle and had an interesting experience. I went there to take some photography of the castle stairs that I had seen posted on Facebook and found it to be very intriguing. As I was wandering around the "ruins" I went into the foundation of the castle. It was slightly chilly as it should be being partly underground and the day was a bit chilly as well. However, I stood facing a hole in the foundation ceiling that I had seen from above and I just had a sense of a presence. I closed my eyes and in my mind just said to Madame Sherri that I was there to try to capture through my photographs the beauty that she created there and I hoped she didn't mind. As I stood quietly with my eyes closed I sensed she was standing to my right. Then it became ice cold around me. I felt so strongly that she was there that I reached out to my right just knowing that I could touch her. As I did that my friend who was with me was standing behind me but outside of the foundation. She said for me not to move. So I stood there with my arm reaching to my right. What my friend told me later when I exited the foundation was that she could see a shimmer, like the heat shimmer off a hot road in the summer...she saw that the minute I reached out to my right side and it was as if it was an outline of me touching someone. I then felt I needed to take some pics looking into the foundation from the outside. As I did I kept noticing there was something in the bottom left of my camera lens. I took out my lens cleaning cloth and cleaned my lens...attempted photos again. This happened repeatedly...with me cleaning my lens about 5 times. My friend laughed and said it wasn't anything to do with my lens. I just kept saying it must be a spot on my lens so kept cleaning. When I got home and downloaded my photos it was very odd. I had been using both my cameras all day while there. The camera that I kept seeing something on I had used frequently. In pics before and after the foundation pictures there was nothing on my lens. The ones looking into the foundation at first appeared like a half orb at the bottom left side of my lens but as I viewed the pics there appeared to be a mist coming from the foundation up to my lens culminating into the half orb. I do a lot of photography, sell my work, work digitally with photographs etc. and I cannot explain what happened with just those pictures. I have been told I am a "sensitive" and I have an uncanny "intuition"...I did sense someone there and that is why I reached out so I can only assume she was reaching back...at least I like to think so. It is an awesome place to visit, the hiking trails are great as is Indian Pond. The natural flora/fauna is fantastic as well. I was able to capture burgandy trillium, trout lilies and there were white, yellow and lavender violets (I hear a fav of Madame Sherri) around the foundation as well as on the trails. Definitely worth visiting and hiking if you are so inclined. I am headed back again for sure. I am hoping to take a model with me to walk the stairway and would love to do a photo shoot with her in period clothing. Enjoy if you go. C. Dikeman, Massachusetts. 4/12

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    1. Are you able to post one of the pics you took?

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  2. Kate, this may help you out... http://www.newhampshire.com/article/99999999/NEWHAMPSHIRE0307/110509923/0/NEWHAMPSHIRE0305

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  3. To get to Madame Sherri's forest, take Route 9 west to Chesterfield. When the wide green spans of the Chesterfield bridge to Vermont come into view, take a left at the Riverside Grocery plaza, which puts you onto Mountain Road. An immediate left puts you onto Gulf Road. Go for just a little more than two miles; Madame Sherri's Forest is on the right.

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  4. awesome place, I grew up in Brattleboro,Vt and in Spofford, NH. went there quite often,but never had that experience, I did however have a similar experience at my home in Surry, NH. with the camera and my deceased parents.

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  5. I would just like to warn anyone visiting there, we were robbed while we were at the castle, one vehicle window smashed, my stuff was stolen, and when I went to Chesterfield police, he's attitude was, he didn't care, and said that place gets hit weekly which a chuckle was coming from his mouth, so be warned
    kelly joyce

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  6. I believe that if one goes to the Castle looking for trouble they will find it. If one goes in the spirit of good faith, even Sherri would not touch you. Same goes to anywhere anyone goes. Sherri would be pleased to see so many people enjoying her place, as if the party is still going. Parties that only are captured by great photography of what it is.

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  7. This is so weird. I was there just today with my husband and two small children. I was in the same place attempting to take photos looking into the foundation and kept seeing orbs through the viewer. I have taken photos that later showed orbs but I have never seen orbs will trying to take photos. I too felt the atmosphere there was different.

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