Ghost Stories of New York State


Title: Ghost Stories of New York State

Writer: Susan Smitten

Publishing House: Folklore Publishing

Date of Publication:  March 1st 2004

Rating: 5 stars

”Whether we accept the possibility of ghosts or reject it, it is clear that our past can haunt our present. Ghosts may be a reminder to make the most of our lives now, striving to live virtuously and generously, so that we can move easily into the next life.”

Virtue is boring, but anyway…

An abandoned warehouse in Long Island has become the domain of a young woman who was brutally assaulted and murdered by (surprise, surprise…) a man. In Poughkeepsie’s Christ Episcopal Church a controversial Bishop watches over his congregation. Proud, feisty and spoiled Eliza reminds visitors to mind their manners in the Morris-Jumel Museum while the Cohoes Music Hall is graced with the spirit of vaudeville legend Eva Tanguay. The astonishing Broadway lights don’t bother Olive who still resides in the New Amsterdam Theatre and Raynham Hall hides a tragic love inside its pretty walls. David Belasco’s presence hasn’t left his 44th Street Broadway theatre that seems to have a penchant for disturbing Shakespearean performances and the sad spirit of Gitty Tredwell who was denied the love of her life is seen in the Old Merchant’s House, one of the most famous brownstones.

Mill Glenn Inn in Lewiston is haunted by a cat (how immensely perfect is this?) and in Bull’s Head Inn, Mrs Stacy does everything in her (supernatural) power to stop you from drinking. Once an anti-alcohol activist always an anti-alcohol activist…Who hasn’t heard of the Dakota, one of Manhattan’s most famous apartment buildings, and who isn’t aware of the legends that surround it? Who has visited it and hasn’t shed bitter tears over the loss of one of the most gifted artists of our world? Naturally, I am referring to the one and only John Lennon. In Greenwich Villages’ One if by Land, Two if by the Sea, the supernatural activity is massive but a painting that has the power to influence the mood of the clientele surely takes the cake. In Staten Island, Martha Mesereau is still trying to leave a candle by the window, waiting and crying for her husband and in the White Horse Tavern, one can still sense the legacy of Dylan Thomas.

In the town of Ashantee, a strange fate lies on the descendants of Herbert and Martha Blow Wadsworth. In Nyack, a haunting case became the origins of the law that makes it illegal to knowingly sell a haunted house in New York State. Friends of the Paranormal will surely have heard of the infamous Fox sisters and the Rochester Rappings from beyond. In Ticonderoga, the fort defended by the Marquis de Montcalm (yes, THAT Marquis) is still echoing with brutal battles and unfortunate fates while USS The Sullivans commemorates the bravery and sacrifice of the family who inspired the legendary Saving Private Ryan.

Whether seen in public (in theatres, museums, inns), or in private residences, in hotels, schools, forts and roads, the spectres of New York State remind us of a land steeped in history, legends and character.