U.S. president hopeful's haunted barn

By John Howard and Richard SmithRESIDENTS are amazed that an historic barn that once stood at a haunted farmhouse in their village is now a $4.9million retreat for U.

By John Howard and Richard Smith

RESIDENTS are amazed that an historic barn that once stood at a haunted farmhouse in their village is now a $4.9million retreat for U.S. presidential candidate, John Kerry.

The barn, which stood for 500 years on a farm in Elmsett, near Hadleigh, is now in the Rocky Mountains after being sold in 1987 for £45,500.

It is understood to have been sold to John Heinz III, the late husband of Teresa Heinz Kerry, now the wife of the Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate.


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The barn was the setting of a family tragedy in which a father and son hanged themselves from its rafters after apparently being driven to insanity.

The suicides of William and John Bull in the 19th century cast such a shadow over Rookery Farm that even it was said to be haunted by their ghosts.

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It is believed the barn was sold to Sussex-based company Heritage Oak Buildings, dismantled timber by timber and kept in storage until 1987, when a brochure from its New York agent was sent to an architect working for John Heinz III, the wealthy Pennsylvanian senator.

The barn was sold before the farm's present occupants, Julie and Andrew Hunn, moved there in 1992 from another property in Elmsett.

Mrs Hunn, a legal secretary, said yesterday: "I think the link with the election is fascinating, to think that the barn has gone all those thousands of miles.

"There are a few foundation bricks left here and a gap where the barn was. People in the village are quite interested in it and apparently the farm is haunted.

"I have felt a presence two or three times and historically it is supposed to be the most haunted house in Elmsett, but I would not go that far."

Janet Cooper, Elmsett village historian, added: "This is causing quite a stir. It's a village tradition that goes back quite a long way that Rookery Farm was haunted. There's usually a grain of truth in these stories.

"There was meant to have been a number of sightings around the barn in the last century, but there hasn't been any recently.

"The family were very tragic and it is extraordinary to think that the barn is now a possible president's hideaway. The barn has been sold for nearly 20 years and no-one was interested at the time."

Rookery Farm itself is said to date back to 1485, seven years before Columbus discovered America.

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