Today after my early morning laundry, I visited the famous/infamous Rengstorff Mansion that stands on Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View, California. Last weekend, I decided to do some research on any possible strange places locally, and came across the Pioneer Park and the Rengstorff Mansion. I did not find anything documented about the Park other than the fact that it is built on a Graveyard where most of the Pioneers/early settlers are buried. So next time, you’re there – you might be walking on someone’s grave!
But, my real interest was in the Rengstorff Mansion, the oldest building in Mountain View, which was built by the early settler, Henry Rengstorff. He built the 12 room Victorian Italianate style mansion around 1867 in 164 acres. After reading about the house and the unexplained events that happened there during 1950s-1970s, my curiousity was aroused and I decided to go check it out.
The Mansion lies about 2 miles from Google Headquarters in Mountain View. As one heads North on Shoreline, the road becomes narrow and starts to curve towards left (East). As the office buildings fade away, Shoreline Golf Links area comes in sight. The Mansion lies on the East side where the road dead ends. It is surrounded by trees, winds and silence (especially early in the morning). There is a windmill in the back and picket fence circles around to the right. I had some chills, but mostly due to the eerie environment and the absolute silence that prevailed during the early morning with nothing but the sound of the winds brushing across the old trees.
Given below are the most well-known incidents about the House and the incidents that took place here.
Stories as told by residents of the house
Things seemed to have been fine until after the last descendants of the Rengstorff family left the house in the 1959. At that date, Perry Askam, a famous opera singer and descendant of the Rengstorff family, sold the house to a land development company. For 20 years the house went through a variety of owners and residents. The era between 1959 and 1979 is believed to be time period when the house was most well know for the strange things that occurred within it. Former residents of the house have often been willing to tell their stories.
The following stories were taken from “You are Now Entering Mountain View,” a collection of short writings about Mountain View done by students of Old Mountain View High in 1976. The Rengstorff Mansion chapter was written by Ann Tamaru and Pat Catolico, who interviewed the Crump family, the last residents of the mansion.
~The Crumps said that they often heard the sound of a non existent baby crying at night and the sounds of something walking up and down the house’s narrow staircase.Â During the night the Crumps would be awakened by the sound of a child crying but investigations could never find the source.
~When the Crumps were out, there friends once dropped by, and when they knocked on the empty house’s door, its doorknob turned by itself.
~An old Mexican man used to walk by the house as a short cut to get to the nearby dumps. When the Crumps moved into the house he asked for permission to walk through the property. He also told Mr. Crump the story of a young woman with long dark hair that he often would see staring out of the houses large bay windows.
~At one time, Psychic Sylvia Brown was called in to investigate. She had several psychic impressions of what had happened in the house. One was of a man who had been strangled in a second floor bedroom for his money. Another was of an angry crippled man bound to a wheelchair after loosing one leg in a farming accident, the other crippled with arthritis. Neither of these events could be tied to the house through the stories handed down by the family. Most intriguing is the story of the secret attic room. One day Mr. Crump was putting a hook in a closet, the wall board slipped a bit and a previously covered up stairway was exposed. Mr. Crump removed the loose board and walked up the cobweb filled staircase. At the end of it he found a “secret room” that only had a hospital bed with leather restraint cuffs on it.
Sources of the Stories above:
Photos from my visit: Click here for the Photo collection.