Hudson Valley, NY (October 2013)—Strange lights through the trees, smoky figures at dusk, and the creaking of floor boards when no one else is home. Throughout the hills of the Hudson Valley during the month of October, there are ghost stories that will give you more than just the shivers. Apparitions and extra terrestrials have visited the valley for centuries, revealing themselves at will, and not just on Halloween. Come meet them, but wear your running shoes just in case.
Your journey begins when you board the wagon at Headless Horseman Hayrides in Ulster Park. The dark woods seem to close in as you approach the bare limbed fruit orchards and moonlit ponds where the beings of the night lie in wait. If you’re not scared to death by the ride, visit Glutton’s Slaughter House, Nightshade Greenhouse, and Dr. Dark’s Black Spider Sideshow. Spooks also inhabit the graveyard and Dr. Demento’s Laboratory at the Brewster Yard Haunt. What appears to be a seemingly normal neighborhood will send chills up your spine when you meet the cast of characters assembled there to take you through the dark and gloaming.
From normal neighborhood to paranormal village, the unassuming hamlet of Pine Bush appears to be an all-American hometown by day even though it’s known as the UFO Capitol of the East Coast. ET’s and flying saucers inhabit storefronts and shop owners are only too glad to tell you about alien activity nearby. The eerie glow of lights winking from the woods, mysterious bright lines and shapes hovering in the inky night sky, no matter where you park in the dark, sightings and signs of extraterrestrials and strange happenings have been reported here continuously for decades. As if the UFO Capitol isn’t eerie enough, visit the Hauntings Tour within New York State’s Capitol building in Albany. The night watchman killed in the Capitol fire of 1911 wanders the halls, as do some of our former U.S. Presidents. Hidden doorways, blacked out skylights, fireplaces used for secret meetings, there are more than a few surprises that surround the law makers of our state!
Ethereal visitors are always interesting, and so is the crazy family at Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities. Stay close to the servants who take you through the dimly lit mansion at Lyndhurst, the historic Gothic castle in Tarrytown. Grinning wickedly, they’ll graciously introduce you to the son who only plays dirges, the miserly father who is still counting his pound of flesh, and a whacky aunt whose crystal ball has a short-circuit to the netherworld. Are those fingers in the finger bowls? Whatever you do, don’t go into the basement! Then come meet two hundred years of the Livingstons, owners of the legendary great estate Clermont in Germantown. The Legends by Candlelight Ghost Tours weave you in and around its mysterious old rooms and shadowy grounds, introducing you to pirates, separated lovers, and spunky servants who give life to some of the Livingston family’s most unusual tales. Most bone chilling of all, the stories are all true! The Knickerbocker Mansion in Schaghticoke is hosting a little get together on October 25th and 26th to introduce you to their family. Brave the dark and go to Knick at Night for not only the ghastly ghostly tales of the residents from centuries past, but also for a “souper supper” to warm your soul even as the stories give you the shivers.
Season’s screamings emanate from many large houses throughout the valley, and particularly from Massacre Mansion in East Durham. Best not to look over your shoulder as you walk quickly through the gothic cemetery overseen by “Crazy Joe” the gravedigger and his ghouls. If you’re brave enough to continue, enter the old Victorian house and wend your way through the hidden passageways to see the recently uncovered experiments of Dr. Angus Fear. And then…all is EXTREME DARKNESS where you’ll find some terrifying secrets. Travel to Wappingers Falls for the shocking scenes and sounds along the haunted trail leading to Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion. Don’t get too friendly, though, with your psychopath guide. He may be looking for a few test subjects to feed the voracious house where murders have been common through the centuries. Try to resist the demonic forces held captive in the dwelling that scientists believe is alive. You do want to get home that night.
Be very wary this season when you come to the Hudson Valley. The spirits have been swirling through the hamlets, mansions, and cemeteries here for hundreds of years. They’ll delight you while they scare you to death at some of the most scenic spots on the East Coast. Make no mistake, we’re about to become your favorite haunt.
Find more fun things to do at www.followthehudsonriver.com. Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc. is the 10-county region designated by I LOVE NEW YORK to promote tourism for the area. Counties include Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester. Regional information can be obtained from the county tourism offices, or call 845-615-3860.
- Headless Horseman Hayrides, Ulster Park. 845 339-2666, www.headlesshorseman.com
- Brewster Yard Haunt, Brewster. website
- UFO Capitol of the East Coast, Pine Bush.
- NYS Capitol Hauntings Tour, Albany. 518-473-7582, website
- Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities, Tarrytown. 914-631-4481, www.lyndhurst.org
- Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown. 518-537-4240, www.friendsofclermont.org
- Knick at Night, Schaghticoke. 518-664-1700, www.knickmansion.com
- Massacre Mansion, East Durham. 518-239-4019, www.massacremansion.com
- Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion, Wappingers Falls. 845-297-BATT, www.thehauntedmansion.com