BTS: The Truth Behind Blackstone Manor
Sometimes the “characters” in a story are more than just the fictional people. Raven’s home played a major part in Home Base. Known as Blackstone Manor, the creepy Gothic mansion is built into the cliffs along the river that divide Birch Falls from Pine Ridge.
But did you know that Blackstone Manor is based on a real house? Or, more accurately, several houses?
The root source comes from the creepy, run-down Victorian on the hill about a quarter of a mile from the house I grew up in. For many years it sat abandoned, dark gray and gloomy. As a kid, I’d look up and imagine the possibilities. Sometimes I’d even swear I saw someone moving behind the windows. FYI – that house is still there. Someone bought it and fixed it up and for a little while, it looked more like a dollhouse than a spooky haunted mansion. I don’t think the house liked that, though. Last time I drove by (a little over a week ago), it appeared to be reverting back to its previous creepiness.
The part about the being built on cliffs also came from childhood observations. My dad and I used to take day long fishing float trips down the Susquehanna, starting up around the Meshoppen/Mehoopany area and ending up below Tunkhannock. I don’t know if you’ve ever done anything like that, but you have a lot of time to look around and see things from a different perspective. There are homes built right into the mountains overlooking the river, high enough to avoid being swept away by seasonal floods. I’m guessing that the residents, like the Blackstones, didn’t care much for being around other people, either.
And, because I wanted to add a bit of extra drama and flare into the family home, I drew upon my memories of the Harry & Asa Packer mansions in Jim Thorpe, PA (local historical sites). Talk about over the top and beautifully spooky! If you’re into that sort of thing and you’re going to be in the area, I recommend checking them out. They do tours and special events, especially around fall and the holidays.
As for me, well, I’ve always dreamed of having a place like Blackstone. I mean, how cool would it be to live in a house with hidden rooms, secret passages, and a history rich in legend & myth?
Since that’s not likely to happen, I built my own version – in my imagination – and put it into Dylan and Raven’s book so I can visit it anytime I like. I also think that, if I was going to write a Halloween story with the Callaghans & the Connellys, Blackstone Manor would be the perfect place to set it, don’t you? 😏