The rich and sometimes violent history of a young America left an indelible mark on the state of New York, from its bloody battlefields to the Native Americans who originally populated the area. Some say many of these ghosts remain earthbound in Upstate New York, all the way to the historic capitol building in Albany. If you're brave enough, you can explore these spooky destinations, by foot or by boat, to see for yourself which tales are true and what apparitions still linger.
In 1911 the capitol building of New York caught fire, killing Samuel Abbott, a night watchman. Rumor has it he still performs his duties, only these days as a ghost. Albany's capital building (ogs.state.ny.us) opens it doors each October to host the Capitol Haunting Tour, which introduces fearless volunteers to the tale of the dearly departed watchman, in addition to the "secret demon" that is said to haunt the Great Western Staircase. The three-hour tour is free, but reservations are required.
Another annual ghost tour in upstate New York is held in Saratoga, hosted by Saratoga Arts (saratoga-arts.org.) The tour historically has been held each Wednesday evening in October, but in 2011 Saratoga Arts partnered with author and historian Mason Winfield (masonwinfield.com) for 90-minute tours three times a week. Historians guide you through the town, giving you insight into its history and all the ghosts who linger there. This includes Native American ghosts and a Revolutionary War hero who lingers at the Old Bryan Inn.
Explore Fort Ticonderoga in Schroon Lake during its annual ghost hunter's weekend. This haunted battlefield has been featured on the TV program "Ghost Hunters." You'll stay at the Schroon Lake Bed and Breakfast (schroonbb.com,) which offers afternoon refreshments, a hearty breakfast to start your day and a spooky welcoming gift for your arrival. During the Friday or Saturday night tour, you'll see parts of the fort that are not open to the general public.
Search for ghosts in the Finger Lakes region on foot with the Candlelight Ghost Walk by Historic Palmyra (historicpalmyrany.com.) These tours are held weekly for groups of four or more, to track down the haunted history of Palmyra, New York, courtesy of the Wm. Phelps General Store and Palmyra Historical Museum. Maybe you too will hear a hushed whisper, see a ghostly apparition or perhaps even be chased by a cat that isn't there.
If you dare, cast off on the Seneca Lake Ghost Tour on the "Rose Lummis." Search for ghosts along the haunted Erie Canal with the appropriately named Spirit Diggers (nationalparanormalinvestigators.ning.com) for a spooky cruise that is not for the faint of heart. Search for the Lady in White when you get a closeup view of Belhurst Castle, and learn why she has chosen to stay forever in her lakeside fortress. Keep a weather eye on the murky black water to see if you can spy the mysterious creature that lurks underneath. These tours begin in May and last all the way to Halloween.
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