Until We Meet Again

by MSO

John Bowman had a life size statue carved of himself kneeling at the door to the mausoleum containing the earthly remains of his wife and two daughters.

Millionaire John Bowman of Cuttingsville, Virginia lost his two daughters at an early age and his wife a year after his last child’s death. In 1880, he built a mausoleum across the road from his mansion, which he called Laurel Glen, to hold their remains. More than 125 sculptors and stonecutters worked for more than a year constructing the mausoleum and sculpting a life size statue of Bowman. He is depicted carrying flowers and kneeling on the stairs in mourning while holding a wreath and a key just outside the door of the mausoleum.

Bowman was convinced that after he died the whole family would be reincarnated together. He passed away in 1891 and was interred with his wife and daughters. In his will a $50,000 trust fund was left to maintain his Laurel Hall mansion and the mausoleum containing not only his own earthly remains, but the remains of his wife and daughters. Additionally the will instructed the house staff of the mansion to prepare dinner every night just in case the Bowman family was hungry after being reincarnated. No one was allowed to stay in the house overnight so they wouldn’t disturb the ghostly residents. This was carried out every night until 1950 until the trust fund was dry. Today the maintenance of the house and cemetery is maintained by The Laurel Glen Cemetery Association and has become a museum.

Visitors to the Bowman home have seen, felt and been involved in some strange incidents. A ghostly apparition of a woman has been seen by many people throughout the house. Visitors who stand on a dark stain at the top of the stairs have told of unpleasant feelings they experience. Children who misbehave in the house will not be tolerated by the ghostly inhabitants. One young visitor who stuck her tongue out at a picture hanging on the wall was chastised when the picture dropped off the wall and hit her.

Read more:

Bowman Mausoleum & Laurel Hall | Flickr

John P. Bowman | Shrewsbury Historical Society


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