From former battlefields and cemeteries to mansions and inns, the Hudson Valley is home to a number of reportedly haunted places. Here are 11 haunted spots that are open to visitors.
Fort Montgomery State Historic Site in Montgomery: Perched along the Hudson River, Fort Montgomery was the site of a Revolutionary War battle in 1777. Today, visitors have been known to see figures dressed as soldiers on the 14 acres of empty fields open to exploring.
“People today see [ghosts], and they think they’re re-enactors, like guys in costumes, but they’re not,”paranormal expert Linda Zimmermann said. “People would come into the Visitor’s Center and say, ‘that was a great re-enactor you hired.’ And they would respond, ‘we didn’t, we didn’t hire anybody.’ And they go out, and the person’s gone.” (In this case, this photo is of actual re-enactors.)
The Old '76 House in Tappan: As one of America’s oldest taverns, The Old ‘76 House was also where Major Andre, the co-conspirator in the Benedict Arnold treason case, was imprisoned before he was hanged. So perhaps it’s not surprising that according to Zimmerman, visitors to the restaurant have claimed to see a man with a red British officer’s uniform.
Zimmermann recommends asking for Table No. 2 at The Old '76 House, because “that’s where this particular candle holder moves, and things drop off the table.”
Huguenot Street Historic District in New Paltz: Preserved since the late 19th century, the Huguenot historic district features homes that retain the furnishings and heirloom artifacts of its era. It also seems to have retained the spirits of past residents, too.
According to Zimmermann, "people have seen everything from a headless woman in a brown dress” to “an old colonial guy with an ax over his shoulder."
Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison: Zimmermann said that visitors have claimed to see the ghost of the estate's former owner, Elizabeth Dyckman.
“They see her standing at an arched window at the back of the house,” Zimmermann said about Dyckman's ghost, noting that she is reportedly seen wearing a blue gown and looking out into the distance.
Patchett House in Montgomery: Built as an inn in the 19th century, it became a private residence for the Patchett family in the late 1890s. At some point in its history, it was transformed into a funeral home. Today, it houses The Wallkill River School. “It’s a very photogenic place, but it’s really haunted,” said Zimmermann.
While the benevolent spirit of Emma Patchett has been spotted in the building (such as in the interior room pictured above), the spookiest place in the Patchett House is the basement, where Zimmermann said visitors can see embalming sinks, a relic from the building’s incarnation as a funeral home. When visitors are brought to this area, she said there have “been a few people screaming over the years.”
Smalley Inn in Carmel: Built in the 19th century, Smalley’s Inn has at various times in its history served as a morgue, a saloon and a hotel. “[It’s] one of the most haunted places in the area,” Zimmermann said. Visitors claim to have seen “a little girl that they describe wearing a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ dress" and Civil War-era soldiers, perhaps because there was a temporary morgue in the inn's basement during that era.
Spooky occurrences at Smalley's Inn include ringing phones, lights going on and off, cold spots, and people getting tugged. Today, Smalley's is a restaurant, and the venue really does it up for Halloween with decorations and the like (as seen above).
Lindenwald in Kinderhook: Once owned by former president Martin Van Buren, the estate is reportedly home to an unusual ghost Zimmermann refers to as the “demon Aunt Jemima.” “There was a servant named Aunt Sarah who ruled the kitchen with an iron fist and everyone was terrified of her,” she said. “Even after she died, people claim to see her in the kitchen."
Zimmermann added about Lindenwald's kitchen (pictured above), “I spoke to some of the people who ran the house and they claimed that several times when they go to open up in the morning, they would smell fresh, buttery pancakes cooking.” She said that when she first heard this story, she laughed. "I said, ‘c’mon, ghosts make pancakes?’"
Wilderstein Historic Site in Rhinebeck: The grand estate was once home to Daisy Suckley, the cousin and rumored paramour of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Zimmermann said that “people have smelled the scent of a woman’s perfume -- like old-time perfume. They have heard footsteps and sensed somebody right there with them.”
Another ghost spotted at Wilderstein (such as in the library, pictured above) is a “crooked figure.” “There was a servant who was horseback riding and fell off and broke every bone in her body and died,” Zimmermann said. “So people speculate that she’s one of the ones haunting the place.
Cold Spring Depot: This popular Cold Spring restaurant and former train depot was the site of one of Hudson Valley’s most famous murders. A woman was being abused by her husband, and she ran to the train station and was going to go to her brother’s for safety, and she wanted to catch the 10:15 p.m. [train],” Zimmermann said. “At 10:13 p.m., her husband came in and stabbed her to death on the waiting bench in the waiting room. So she missed living by two minutes."
"People claim that at 10:13 p.m., they see and feel and hear this woman on the spot where she was killed,” Zimmermann said about Cold Spring Depot (whose dining room is pictured above).
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery: Zimmermann said that she recently had someone tell her about ghostly figures of “men, women and children drifting through the cemetery. And not just at night either, but during the day as well.”
“The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery seems to be particularly haunted,” Zimmersaid said. Tours are available at the cemetery at various dates and times through Nov. 24 (a tour group is pictured above).
Bannerman’s Castle on Pollepol Island: The century-old Bannerman’s Castle, located on Pollepol Island in the waters between Beacon and Cold Spring, is thought to be one of the earliest haunted places in the region. “The castle and surrounding land were even considered haunted by the Indians. They would never go there,” Zimmermann said.
In terms of the ghostly sights and sounds at Bannerman's Castle, visitors have “heard the cries of people” from a nearby shipwreck “screaming for help.” They’ve also reportedly heard horses galloping across the island even though there are no horses there.