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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2002

Features

This old houseís haunted?

New owner relates on spirits in residence


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

The first thing Michelle Factor said when asked about ghosts was "Thereís Melissa, a little girl."

But that comes later.

First, understand Factorís large house in Hailey was built in 1915. All four floors have been closed off for several years, still full of furniture, bedding, dishesóand spirits, she said.

Once the Ellsworth Inn, this now privately owned house on South Third Avenue in Hailey may be haunted, or it may be just occupied by many spirits. You decide. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Factor moved in after she had a vision about the house last spring. And she moved to Idaho from Los Angeles in Julyóthough sheíd never been here beforeóand bought it practically on the spot.

Something drew her here. And something is keeping her here.

"Thereís quite a few things going on here Ö but Iím not going to say itís haunted."

Haunted implies evil to some degree and Factor has never felt that. When she was in the large living room, Factor felt people looking into the windows...

A woman Factor referred to as Mrs. Fox, who had lived in the house as a youngster dropped some clues. Her father had been a doctor andóbecause there was nowhere else in Hailey big enoughófunerals also were held in the living room of the house.

Since the room, though commodious by Hailey standards at the time, wasnít large enough to accommodate everyone Mrs. Fox said people often stood outside during the funerals.

Factor also had feelings when she went down the stairs into the basement. She sensed someone had fallen and a child died.

Since she bought the house and has set about restoring it, Factor has met many people in Hailey who remember the house when it was a private home and when it was the Ellsworth Inn, including Tim Ellsworth of Boise who grew up there.

When she mentioned the basement stairs to him, Ellsworth revealed that his mother had fallen down the stairs and had had a miscarriage.

"Since then I blessed it, and now I donít have that feeling," she said. Factor is an artist and a spiritual healer, a fortunate profession under the circumstances.

"Iíve been feeling stuff from day one. I hear menís voices, echoing, it wakes me up. I feel like theyíre right there, clanging metal." Eventually, she decided it was the spirits of the many miners who once lived and worked in the valley.

Another time, early in the morning, "I woke up and a woman was standing over me. She had round glasses and wavy, gray hair done in a bun. I was startled and she was startled and then disappeared. I havenít seen her around since." On the third floor, she said, both she and her painter felt the change in one of the rooms. "It was ice cold compared to the other rooms. I felt there was a girl between 3 to 5 or maybe younger because of how she tugged on our clothing." Factor was taping the room before painting it and every time she put the roll of tape down it rolled away.

"So, I put it down flat and moved it closer to me and itíd be sliding across the room again. It happened at least six times in one day. I kind of laughed, I talked to her and told her Iím going to make the room pretty, what color do you want it? Red. I didnít want it red, but itís now the red room, and itís nice."

Her son has noticed activity in his room as well, feeling pushed out of bed on several occasions. Finally Factor, though not frightened, decided to lock her room at night. She thought it would send a message, "You canít enter, itís my space."

But itís not just human spirits she feels. One night her cats woke her up, one crawling under the covers while the other howled in fright, hair on end and tail erect. "I felt a dog around here, then I heard a Labrador died in a well 12 years ago."

But Factor is not easily scared. Instead she revels in the houseís energy. "Iíve been making pies, I donít know who made pies in this house." She now feels compelled to whip-up creations in her big country style kitchen.

"I love this house, and I know this house loves me," Factor said. She plans on opening the normally closed front gates on Halloween for trick or treaters.

Unless, of course, they open on their own.

 

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.