Looking for a real-life scare for Halloween? Many Long Islanders swear these haunted spots are for real. From the modern "Amityville Horror" house to a lighthouse, a Revolutionary War home, a psychiatric hospital and a rocky road in West Hills, Long Island has its share of ghostly haunts.
Country House restaurant in Stony Brook is said to be haunted by the spirit of Annette Williamson, a woman some say was brutally murdered during the Revolutionary War, when the now-restaurant was her home.The strange goings-on don't seem to be bad for business; ghost-seeking crowds are attracted to the restaurant, and the eatery even hosts an annual psychic night.
Glen Cove Mansion
When you're not ready to part ways, you're just not ready to part ways and that holds true for the Pratt family, who once owned the Glen Cove Mansion. Said to be lingering around the grounds by visitors and employees are multiple spirits, including that of Mr. and Mrs. Pratt: On several occasions, a smiling old lady sitting in a chair in the corner of a room is present (Mrs. Pratt) as well as a man dressed in a suit (presumably Mr. Pratt). More disturbing, though, is that staffers have supposedly seen and heard various acts of paranormal activity. Take Lana Lamplough, for instance, who one night went running back-and-forth a few times to go shut the shower off that was turned on by itself, or a spirit. Another story comes from a former bartender who claims she saw a woman in a white dress come into the bar after-hours. She told her to leave and suddenly vanished. If that doesn't spook you -- or the rumor that the music changes and computer screens shake -- book a room at this hotel and conference center.
Think Oheka Castle and you instantaneously think of its beauty, but did you know it has a haunted aspect, too? For many years, staff at the castle have reported seeing or hearing ghosts. According to "Historic Haunts of Long Island," by Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, worker Scott Bellando heard someone playing piano so he followed the sound, and the music suddenly stopped. He peeked and no one was there. Another employee, Maryellen Kobrin, said she felt someone tugging her arm, which sent her purse crashing to the floor and scattering its contents. On another occasion, Kobrin reported seeing and feeling the ghost of a black dog brush against her.
Sagtikos Manor in Bay Shore, a historic building said to have hosted President George Washington, is believed to be haunted. According to tales told in "Historic Haunts of Long Island," by Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, there is an Indian ghost that visits the structure's loft, and Nancy Donohue, president of the Sagtikos Manor Historical Society, once heard a doorknob turn on its own. Even spookier, she saw "a shadowy figure of a man in a farmer's hat standing out on the front porch," the book said. According to a legend dating to the 1700s, an Indian princess who once lived on the main grounds attempted to rescue settlers coming from Fire Island, where a storm had been brewing. She successfully crossed the water in her canoe several times, but never returned from her final trip. Supposedly, on stormy nights the princess and these men can be seen roaming certain parts of Montauk Highway. Today, the Suffolk County-owned property is used for festivals, tours and other community events.
This area in West Hills that extends from the intersection of Route 110 and Sweet Hollow Road to Jericho Turnpike got its name because the steep hill and rocky terrain made it difficult for settlers to pass over it with a wagon. According to legend, when early settlers bought the land from Native Americans, they were warned to stay away from Mount Misery because evil spirits were known to haunt the hill. Long Island Paranormal Investigators claim to have found enough evidence at Mount Misery to say it is definitely haunted -- one of the few places on Long Island the group has labeled so definitively. The most compelling evidence for the group is a photograph taken of investigator Dimitri Haritos with an inexplicable illumination on his arm. The photo was taken as Haritos asked that if a spirit were present, it touch his arm. He also reported his arm feeling cold at the time.
The lake has been a place of haunting mystery since the mid-1660s when, according to legend, a lovesick Indian princess killed herself in the waters after her chieftain father forbade her relationship with a white settler. Some legend believers attribute the lake's high percentage of male drowning victims through the centuries to the princess's ghost claiming male lives in retaliation for her unfulfilled love. Other legends have depicted the mile-wide kettle lake as being bottomless or having underground connections to other local waterways since some victims or objects disappearing into the waters would not be found.
Amityville Horror House
Thrust into the spotlight in 1974, when Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered six family members there, the "Amityville Horror" house at 108 Ocean Ave., formerly 112 Ocean Ave., was subsequently purchased by George and Kathleen Lutz, who wrote a book in 1977 about living in the house for what they described as 28 horrifying days. The book's 1979 film adaptation is considered one of the scariest horror films of all time.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center
Kings Park Psychiatric Center, Route 25A, Kings Park, once was home to more than 9,000 mentally ill patients, and believers maintain many of them haunt the remaining grounds. The buildings were shuttered in 1993, and some structures on the property have been demolished. Don't even think about exploring the property; it's heavily patrolled by police who will ticket you for trespassing.
Fire Island Lighthouse
Legend has it that when Lt. J.T. Morgan ran out of materials while constructing the current lighthouse, he used stones from the original structure to save time and money. The lighthouse keeper, Nathaniel Smith, and his family were living nearby during the construction. Smith's daughter became ill during the winter and medical attention took three days to reach her. It was too late. Visitors claim as they ascend the 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse, a man moaning for his lost daughter is heard, and once at the top, they can hear footsteps on the stairs.
Now a museum that's open to the public, Raynham Hall, 20 W. Main St., Oyster Bay, dates to the Revolutionary War, when it was home to Robert Townsend, a spy whose network supplied information to Gen. George Washington. Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, co-author of "Ghosts of Long Island," said that the main hallway of the house has produced great electrical readings and that voices have been captured on audio meters.
Katie's of Smithtown
Making its debut on Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," this bar claims to have poltergeists living in the basement that occasionally come upstairs and take over the whole place. The building itself is on the site of a hotel that burned down on Dec. 5, 1909, and owner Brian Karppinen believes these ghosts are the reason why all owners before him only lasted a few years each before leaving. Karppinen says that although these ghosts can be playful, a "darker element manifests."