The Haunted Hermitage & The Stone Library Heist

A few years back, the sprinklers were being upgraded in Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. At certain points during that process, the nearly 200-year-old mansion was without a sprinkler system, leaving its original furnishings and the structure itself vulnerable to fire.

Human volunteers were needed to work night shifts in the mansion, alone, to keep an eye out for fire. One of those volunteers was Bryan Gilley. He is now the director of interpretation at the Hermitage, and he joined us this week to describe what he experienced that night – something he still can’t explain.

Listen now:

Gilley also talks about a historical haunting that took place at the Hermitage over two nights in the 1890s, and he describes what visitors to the Hermitage’s ghost tours experience.

In our second segment, Adams National Historical Park curator Kelly Cobble describes the history of the decidedly unhaunted homes of John and Abigail Adams and John Quincy and Louisa Adams, and the hauntingly beautiful Stone Library built by Charles Francis Adams to house his father John Quincy’s 6000-book collection.

We also talk about a prize piece of the collection – the Mendi Bible, gifted to John Quincy Adams by the Mendi people after he successfully represented them before the Supreme Court. Cobble recalls that the Mendi Bible was once stolen, but is now back in their possession.

In our final segment, we dig deeper into the Stone Library heist to steal the Mendi Bible and three other valuable books, and FBI agent David Nadolski’s thrilling case to recover them with a little help from a criminal informant and some kharma.

For more information about Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage visit www.thehermitage.com
For more information about the Adams National Historical Park, visit www.nps.gov/adam

Next week we’re excited to welcome the host of New England Legends, Jeff Belanger to the show!


Listen now:


The Con and the FBI Agent: An Unlikely Alliance by David Nadolski
Google Maps Stone Library “See inside – Nov 2016”
Supreme Court to Steven Spielberg: A Bible Like No Other by Katherien Rivard, National Parks Foundation
Quincy man pleads guilty to theft of four books from Adams Library, The Boston Globe, September 12, 2000
Adams ‘deal’ not ideal for felon by Ellen O’Brien and Doreen Iudica Vigue, The Boston Globe, January 17, 1997
Suspect cited in Adams burglary by Patricia Nealon, The Boston Globe, February 4, 1997
Things Police See: First Hand Accounts Episode 47: FBI Agent Dave Nadolski – Loomis Fargo Heist Sting, April 20, 2020
Careers in Criminal Justice: A Story of Informant Development by David T. Nadolski, Criminal Justice News, Wayne State University, Volume 4, Issue 2, Summer/Fall 2012
Laughter at Film Brings Spielberg Visit, The New York Times, Wednesday, April 13, 1994
The Miseducation of Castlemont High by B.A. Parker, This American Life: 644: Random Acts of History, Act One
Stolen Books Returned to Adams Descendants by Pamela Ferdin, The Washington Post, March 26, 1998



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