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Haunted Woolworth mansion goes up for auction for $7M after featuring in Taylor Swift’s music video

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A ‘haunted’ New York mansion that featured in Taylor Swift’s Blank Space music video and comes complete with its very own clock tower is now headed to auction – at a discounted price.

The historic property, which was once owned by entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth, is located in Long Island and will be available to bid on later this month.

Having failed to sell for its initial asking price of $19.95 million, the sprawling house will now go up on the block, with bids starting at $7 million – meaning that it could well prove an impressive real estate bargain for one lucky buyer. 

Known as Winfield Hall – but also sometimes called Woolworth Mansion – it was designed by famous architect C. P. H. Gilbert. The property was built in 1917 for Woolworth, founder of the original US-based Woolworth store, who also worked with the architect on the design and construction of the famous Woolworth Building in New York City.

Own a piece of history: The iconic Woolworth mansion in Long Island, New York, is going up for auction on July 12, with a starting bid of $7 million - having previously been put up for sale with an asking price of $19.95 million

Own a piece of history: The iconic Woolworth mansion in Long Island, New York, is going up for auction on July 12, with a starting bid of $7 million – having previously been put up for sale with an asking price of $19.95 million 

Proceed with caution: The sprawling estate is one of the few remaining privately-owned estates from the Gilded Age, however it has also been the subject of much paranormal speculation

Proceed with caution: The sprawling estate is one of the few remaining privately-owned estates from the Gilded Age, however it has also been the subject of much paranormal speculation 

Spacious: Construction on the property - which boasts a clock tower building-turned-11-car garage (pictured), began in 1916 and was completed one year later, having been designed by famed architect C. P. H. Gilbert

Spacious: Construction on the property – which boasts a clock tower building-turned-11-car garage (pictured), began in 1916 and was completed one year later, having been designed by famed architect C. P. H. Gilbert

Unique: Many of the estate's original architecture remains, including plenty of marble statues and buildings that are located throughout the 16.4-acre property and grounds

Unique: Many of the estate’s original architecture remains, including plenty of marble statues and buildings that are located throughout the 16.4-acre property and grounds  

Claim to fame: When it was first built, the mansion, which boasts 56 rooms, including 12 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms, was said to have been the biggest home in the whole US

Claim to fame: When it was first built, the mansion, which boasts 56 rooms, including 12 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms, was said to have been the biggest home in the whole US 

When it was first built, the mansion was said to be the largest home in the whole of the US, and while it no longer holds that title, it still boasts an impressive array of rooms, amenities, and unique interior touches. 

The impressive 32,000 sq ft building has a total of 56 rooms, including 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms and 16 fireplaces.

There is also a butterfly marble staircase that would have cost approximately $2 million when it was first built.

History and property buffs will also be thrilled by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rescue a Gilded Age Mansion, one of a number of properties in the United States built by the wealthiest families between 1870 and the early 1900s.

Included in the sale is 16.4 acres of grounds including sweeping lawns with classical-style features.

There is also a 15,000 sq ft clock tower building with enough space to store 11 cars, which has previously been used as staff residences and office space. 

However, for for many music fans, the space is likely most easily recognized for having featured in Taylor Swift’s MTV award-winning music video. 

Familiar? The property earned further notoriety in 2014 when it featured in Swift's Blank Space music video

Familiar? The property earned further notoriety in 2014 when it featured in Swift’s Blank Space music video 

Spot the difference! The popstar filmed several scenes in the mansion, making full use of the property's stunning interior

Spot the difference! The popstar filmed several scenes in the mansion, making full use of the property’s stunning interior 

Cheers! One scene saw Taylor enjoying a feast in the mansion's dining room, where she set up a lengthy table filled with food

Cheers! One scene saw Taylor enjoying a feast in the mansion’s dining room, where she set up a lengthy table filled with food

Film set: This front entryway was also used in the filming of the music video

Film set: This front entryway was also used in the filming of the music video 

Upset: The popstar recorded a particularly emotional moment in the marble-filled space, leaning against one of the mansion's many fireplaces while she sobbed on the floor

Upset: The popstar recorded a particularly emotional moment in the marble-filled space, leaning against one of the mansion’s many fireplaces while she sobbed on the floor 

Strike a pose: It is also thought that this scene was shot in the mansion, although images of this area have not been released ahead of the July 12 auction

Strike a pose: It is also thought that this scene was shot in the mansion, although images of this area have not been released ahead of the July 12 auction 

In the video, the star can be seen living in an opulent mansion and playing house with model Sean O’Pry.

The fairytale building formed the backdrop for several scenes, including Swift’s dining room featuring an enormous chandelier, wood-paneled ceiling and white marble fireplace.

The mansion also featured in a scene where Swift and O’Pry slow danced in black tie.

A separate shot showed Swift singing with tear-stained cheeks in a leopard dress next to an ornate fireplace.

As well as being used as a home and music video set, Winfield Hall also served as a modelling and airline stewardess school for young women in the 1960s.   

But though the property was most recently used as the set of a glamorous music video, it has a much darker history, having been the subject of decades of rumors about paranormal activity and ghost sightings.  

It has long been speculated the the sprawling mansion is ‘haunted’ by the spirit of Woolworth’s late daughter, Edna, who committed suicide on May 2, 1917, shortly after the property’s build was completed. 

Luxurious: When the property was built, no expense was spared, and this butterfly marble staircase is said to have cost a staggering $2 million when it was first installed

Luxurious: When the property was built, no expense was spared, and this butterfly marble staircase is said to have cost a staggering $2 million when it was first installed 

Retro: There are several wood-paneled rooms in the property, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Woolworth's daughter Edna, who is believed to have killed herself in the home in May 1917

Retro: There are several wood-paneled rooms in the property, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Woolworth’s daughter Edna, who is believed to have killed herself in the home in May 1917 

Going, going, gone: The home was most recently owned by Martin T. Carey, brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, who bought the property in 1978. He died in June 2020, and the mansion is now being auctioned as part of his estate

Going, going, gone: The home was most recently owned by Martin T. Carey, brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, who bought the property in 1978. He died in June 2020, and the mansion is now being auctioned as part of his estate 

Rooms on rooms: The mansion boasts 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces

Rooms on rooms: The mansion boasts 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces

Rooms on rooms: The mansion boasts 12 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, and 16 fireplaces 

Mysterious: The property was seriously damaged by a fire that ripped through several of its rooms in 2015 - in an eerily similar accident to the one that destroyed Woolworth's previous home

Mysterious: The property was seriously damaged by a fire that ripped through several of its rooms in 2015 – in an eerily similar accident to the one that destroyed Woolworth’s previous home  

Potential: Auction house Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co is offering potential bidders a 'once in a lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate an existing Golden Age mansion', which is one of the 'few remaining privately owned estate homes of this era'

Potential: Auction house Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co is offering potential bidders a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate an existing Golden Age mansion’, which is one of the ‘few remaining privately owned estate homes of this era’

Special: The home's ornate interior makes it a particularly intriguing property for anyone with an interest in architecture

Special: The home's ornate interior makes it a particularly intriguing property for anyone with an interest in architecture

Special: The home’s ornate interior makes it a particularly intriguing property for anyone with an interest in architecture

It is claimed she took her own life at New York City’s Plaza Hotel, though many believe the never-unlocked ‘Marie Antoinette’ room in the mansion was in fact the place of Edna’s death, while her father was hosting a party.

Shortly before the incident, a crack appeared in the marble family crest above the fireplace – and there has long been speculation that it was caused by a bolt of lightning, which struck the house and left a representation of her face, according to Newsday

‘Furthermore, one of the most frequently told tales concerning the Woolworth mansion holds that a bolt of lightning struck the house the day before her passing, cracking a representation of Edna’s face in a family crest carved into a stone mantel – an event considered a supernatural omen of her unexpected demise,’ the publication reported in 2018. 

Noises have been heard, ‘spirit sightings’ have been reported, and visitors claimed they heard a woman crying in the Marie Antoinette room. 

It has also been alleged that Woolworth had ‘an obsession with the occult’ and that he incorporated several mythical symbols into the interior design of the property. 

‘Speculation that F.W. Woolworth had an obsession with the occult and that he had mystic symbols placed within the interior design is also part of the legends that have been attached to the house, as well as reports of hidden rooms and tunnels woven throughout the structure,’ Newsday claimed.   

Looking back: Woolworth, who made his fortune by founding a chain of 'five-and-dime' stores, commissioned the property after his former home burned to the ground. It is pictured in 1920, three years after its completion

Looking back: Woolworth, who made his fortune by founding a chain of ‘five-and-dime’ stores, commissioned the property after his former home burned to the ground. It is pictured in 1920, three years after its completion

Remaining true: Much of the original architecture remains in the mansion, including the many fireplaces and the ornate marble interiors

Remaining true: Much of the original architecture remains in the mansion, including the many fireplaces and the ornate marble interiors

Remaining true: Much of the original architecture remains in the mansion, including the many fireplaces and the ornate marble interiors

Plenty of room! The grounds also feature several different structures, including several archways, which are said to have been inspired by Woolworth's fascination with Napoleon

Plenty of room! The grounds also feature several different structures, including several archways, which are said to have been inspired by Woolworth’s fascination with Napoleon  

Famous: The property was designed by the same architect who worked with Woolworth (pictured) on the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building, which was listed as the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930

on the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building (pictured), which was listed as the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930

Famous: The property was designed by the same architect who worked with Woolworth (left) on the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building (right), which was listed as the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930

Then, in January 2015, the lavish home was gutted by a mysterious fire that ripped through several rooms in the property in an eerily similar blaze to the one that destroyed Woolworth’s first home – prompting him to begin work on Winfield Hall.  

The blaze, which erupted at around 11am in a first-floor bedroom, caused millions of dollars worth of damage. However, the mansion has since been returned to its former glory and is now set to be auctioned off on July 12 by Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. 

According to the real estate auction site, the property is part of the estate of its late owner Martin T. Carey, brother of former New York Governor Hugh Carey, who bought the mansion in 1978. He passed away in June 2020. 

Although the auction listing for the property offers potential bidders a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to rehabilitate an existing Golden Age mansion’, which is one of the ‘few remaining privately owned estate homes of this era’, it has also been suggested that the estate could easily be ‘repurposed’ or ‘subdivided’ by any buyer looking to turn it into a more profitable property. 

The property, although certainly impressive, is not the most famous building to bear the Woolworth name. 

That honor goes to the Woolworth Building, the towering skyscraper that was also designed by C. P. H. Gilbert – the same man who created the entrepreneur’s mansion. 

When the 792-foot skyscraper was completed in 1913, it was given the title of tallest building in the world, an honor that it held until 1930. 

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Johann van Graan non-committal on prospect of Conor Murray return

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Johann van Graan was somewhat less than adamant that Conor Murray will make his seasonal re-appearance in their United Rugby Championship (URC) fifth round match away to the Ospreys next Saturday night, which is just two weeks out from the first of Ireland’s November test series, with the All Blacks to follow a week later.

“He might possibly be involved next week,” said the Munster head coach after their latest act of escapology to beat Connacht 20-18 at Thomond Park on Saturday night.

Might possibly?

“We’ll see how the week goes. We’ve taken our time with his recovery, so if he comes through the week then we’ll make a call at the back end of the week whether we’re going to select him or not.”

Van Graan assured us that Murray is not injured.

“No, he’s good. He had non-23 training on Friday so really looking forward to getting him involved.”

Van Graan wore the smile of a relieved man after Connacht had pushed them to the wire with a clever, fired-up all-round display in a spicy derby, during which the lead changed hands five times.

“I think if you look at the table, it’s three Irish teams at the top. Connacht are always such a big team in the interpros and you’ve got to give credit to them. Last season they beat all three of the Irish teams away.

“That’s why the players and the coaches and the supporters, and everybody involved loves an interpro, because that’s what you get. It’s not a classic but for the purist it’s a battle.

“That’s what the game is about and that’s why Irish rugby is in such a good place because they have got four top teams and some very good players across the four teams. That was a grind from our side, and proud of the way we finished that with that try and the conversion,” he said in reference to Diarmuid Barron’s 78th minute try and Joey Carbery’s nerveless conversion.

His counterpart, Andy Friend, was left with immense pride in his team’s performance mixed with acute frustration at their infuriating inconsistency and key mistakes, not least at restart receptions, but also the key decisions that went against his team.

Most notable of these was the failure by TMO Brian MacNeice and referee Chris Busby to spot that Tadhg Beirne was clearly in front of the ball before hacking on Rory Scannell’s crosskick in the build-up to Chris Cloete’s 39th minute try.

“I’ve got to be careful here,” he said when asked if he felt Connacht don’t receive a fair rub of the green from officials. “I’ve been here three and a bit years, mate, and if it’s a 50-50 I rarely see it going our way.

“I know that, but listen we’ve got to keep pushing our limits and making sure that we’re trying to be as squeaky clean as we can with things. I’m just…. to me, that try and the missed offside there – that’s inexcusable. Whether it’s Connacht or somebody else, I don’t know, it’s just inexcusable.”

To compound his frustrations, nor does the URC have channels to go through.

“We don’t have a referees’ manager, so I’m assuming that URC will be looking at that and hopefully something happens to the TMO that missed it. But it doesn’t help us, mate.”

Putting his own team’s errors into perspective, Friend highlighted their lineout pressure, strike plays, kicking and defence.

“On the whole the majority was really good, there’ll always be elements we need to work on. Otherwise we’d be out of a job.”

With next Saturday’s home game against Ulster at the Aviva in mind, Friend said: “What we will use is that we know we’re a good football side.

“We’ve just pushed a good Munster team who haven’t looked like losing a game this year and have played some really good rugby.

“We’ve turned up at their home field, where we beat them last season, knowing full well there was going to be a kick-back and we pushed them all the way to their limits.

“So, we know we’re a good football side. Our blip last week (against the Dragons) was a blip. We just have to make sure we never drop to that again and we keep our standards high.”

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Irish man (24) who drowned in swimming pool in Marbella is named

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A 24-year-old man who drowned in a swimming pool near Marbella in Spain has been named locally in Co Clare as Irish Defence Forces member Gerard McMahon.

Authorities responded to a distress call at 10.25am on Friday. The alarm was raised by friends who found Mr McMahon lifeless in the pool.

Spanish authorities are treating the death of the holiday maker as a “tragic accident”.

Mr McMahon lived in the Killaloe area of Co Clare. Local priest Fr Jerry O’Brien confirmed he had met the family of the young man and expressed his sympathy on behalf of the community.

Ogonnelloe GAA posted a tribute to Mr McMahon who was well known and liked in the community.

“It is with profound shock and sadness that we learned today of the sudden passing of our young member and friend, Gerard McMahon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Pat and Carmel, his sister Bríd, and all the McMahon family at this extremely difficult time.”

The club Facebook page posted a picture of Mr McMahon from 2016 when he and his team mates won the Division 3 League.

Scarriff Hurling also paid tribute to Mr McMahon who played for them at juvenile level. “Always with pride, great skill and giving all to the team and club.”

Meanwhile, local Fine Gael councillor Joe Cooney said the family of the young man were in the thoughts and prayers of the community.

Mr McMahon was a Private in the First Infantry Battalion in Renmore Barracks in Galway. St Patrick’s Garrison Church posted a message on Facebook asking for prayers for Mr McMahon and for his “family and comrades”.

A postmortem was expected to take place over the weekend at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Malaga.

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VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Don’t waste energy switching

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For years, Money Mail has urged readers to regularly switch energy supplier.

It wasn’t the most glamorous money-saving tip, but sticking with your existing provider meant you were almost certainly overpaying. 

And the return on this straightforward, mundane chore was lucrative, with households saving hundreds of pounds a year. But for now, you should forget all that.

The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices. And the market remains incredibly volatile, with experts struggling to predict what will happen over the coming months.

Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch  providers

Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch  providers   

This means suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, are just not able to offer competitive fixed deals.

Some comparison websites are still running an energy switching service, but there are only a handful of tariffs listed. 

And, as we reported last week, some would cost the average household almost £3,000 a year.

So for now, your best course of action is to stay put.

If you are coming to the end of a fixed deal, roll onto your supplier’s standard variable tariff. 

These default deals are protected by the energy watchdog’s price cap — £1,277 a year for the average gas and electricity user — until April 2022. And there are no exit fees, so you are free to switch away the moment better deals return.

For those who signed up to ultra‑cheap deals a year or two ago, there is no getting away from the fact that your bills are going to rise. 

But locking into a new fixed deal now could mean you’re hit with even higher energy costs over the cold winter months.

To avoid adding to any confusion, Money Mail has temporarily removed all energy tariffs from our Best Buys tables. 

But rest assured, we are tracking the market closely and will update you as soon as something changes.

Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can't offer competitive fixed deals

Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can’t offer competitive fixed deals

Tip top!

While on the topic of rising bills, a big thank you to everyone for their top energy-saving tips after I publicly scolded my husband, Chris, last week.

Money Mail reader Molly Clark suggests leaving the oven open after cooking so not to waste the heat, using candles for softer lighting and ditching the dishwasher in favour of a good old-fashioned washing-up bowl. 

Another reader, Robert, goes a step further and washes his dishes with cold water. 

A small squirt from a 29p bottle of diluted white vinegar along with a dash of washing-up liquid on a little green fabric scouring cloth used in circular motions will ensure they are squeaky-clean, he assures me.

But I was most taken by Julie Priest’s suggestion of a fridge alarm that will go off when the door is left open.

Amazon has one with a ‘repeated siren’ mode — and if that doesn’t teach Chris to close it, I don’t know what will.

But at £21.99, I might stick to nagging for now.

Keep those tips coming!

Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix's Squid Game)

Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix’s Squid Game)

Need for Netflix

It’s fascinating to see how our spending priorities have changed since the pandemic.

Take the popular streaming service Netflix. Once a luxury, a monthly subscription is now considered essential, according to a report by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association published yesterday. 

One pensioner commented that their partner’s quality of life would just not be the same without it.

Another man from Wales said that he had not realised how important dining out was for ’emotional well-being’.

But as the cost of living soars, experts fear people could cut back on pension saving. With many already failing to put aside enough for the lifestyle they want in retirement, this could prove disastrous.

So if you have spare cash leftover at the end of the month, consider using it to give your future self a better life.

It could be me…

Inspired by a colleague, I bought my first ever EuroMillions lottery ticket last Friday. It was a rollover with a juicy £174million jackpot, and I was feeling lucky.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. But what fun I had daydreaming about what I’d do with such a windfall. 

And since no one scooped the prize money, I figured there was no harm in having one more go in last night’s record £184million draw. Who knows, I could be a multi-millionaire by the time you read this.

v.bischoff@dailymail.co.uk

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