Haunted Places in the Lower Hudson Valley


Here in the Hudson Valley, we do haunted right. Looking beyond our obvious mastery of the autumn season, we have a unique handle on things that go bump in the night: it was here in Westchester County that Washington Irving penned his famous The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It's no coincidence that this is where his inspiration struck, so here are a few ghoulish places in the Lower Hudson Valley that you can visit yourself... if you dare.

Bannerman's Castle

Situated in the middle of the Hudson, Bannerman's Castle sits on an island that was considered haunted long before the Dutch settled there in the 1600s. For hundreds of years, ghosts have roamed its spooky shores. One of the more famous stories involves an eighteenth-century ship, the Flying Dutchman, which was overtaken by a storm (or evil Dutch goblins, depending who you ask) and sank just south of the island. Supposedly you can still hear the captain and crew's screams today.

Patriot's Park

Famously known as the (relative) area where Major John Andre was captured during the American Revolution, it's said that his ghost still roams Patriot's Park in Tarrytown, N.Y. today. Some people have reported hearing a horse galloping followed by a man sobbing; others have heard the Major himself reciting a poem he published the day of his capture. Which story is true? There's only one way to find out.

Old Dutch Church & Burying Ground/Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Like all old cemeteries, the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. has too many ghosts wandering its grounds to count. Luckily, the church conducts tours both during the day and at night for maximum spookiness. If you're feeling exceptionally brave, sign up for the Murder & Mayhem tour to hear some real life horror stories. For those of us on the skittish side, stop by weekends in October for the Old Dutch Church Festival where you can share some pumpkin ale with the Headless Horseman and walk across the bridge where he reportedly chased Ichabod Crane.

Sunnyside

The home of Washington Irving in Tarrytown, Sunnyside is owned and operated by Historic Hudson Valley, who puts on a great event during October to celebrate "The Legend Behind the Legend" of Sleepy Hollow. It's fitting that the man who wrote one of the most famous ghost stories of all time apparently haunts his own home, along with his wife and nieces, who are known to tidy up after visitors leave for the day. Legend has it that the Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train also makes an appearance once a year with a ghostly conductor steering it towards Illinois.

Cold Spring Depot

In 1898 at 10:13 p.m., a woman was murdered by her husband in the Cold Spring Depot while waiting for a train. Up until it's removal, anyone found sitting on the bench she died on reportedly felt a cold chill at the time of her death. Though the bench is gone and the station has been re-imagined into a restaurant today, the woman still haunts the building, making her presence known by opening locked doors and turning on lights.

The Old '76 House

Major John Andre was held here in Tappan, N.Y. at the '76 House during the American Revolution for his trial and execution. There have been reports of a British Revolutionary soldier fitting his description haunting the building, as well as other ghosts wandering upstairs. If you go here to eat, ask for Table #2: it's the most paranormal of the bunch and reportedly includes a finicky candle holder that the ghosts just won't leave alone.

Kerry Erlanger is a writer from New York (state not city). She can be found on twitter @hellokerry.