Get Spooked this Fall at the Top Five Haunted Places in the Capital Region
Haunted Places in Albany & the Capital Region
Paranormal Places in your Backyard
Summer is fading. All Hallow’s Eve is nearly upon us. It means different things for everyone, but even those who celebrate this “spirit night” admit that the jack-o-lanterns aren’t the spookiest things out there. Put away the Ouija boards, candles, and pentagrams—it doesn’t take a much effort as you might think to access this spiritual world, especially in the Capital Region. Here are the most haunted places to investigate in and around Albany & the Capital Region.
1. Forest Park Cemetery in Brunswick
A cemetery is generally a good place to start when searching for spirits of the deceased. Among paranormal researchers and enthusiasts, Forest Park, or sometimes Pinewoods Cemetery is regarded as a main attraction. The Forest Park Cemetery is rumored to contain one of the Seven Gates of Hell, but specialists insist this claim is false. Still, paranormal activity in any cemetery is bound to be hair-raising. The cemetery’s last burial was in 2004, but it’s now abandoned and completely closed. With vandalism and headless statues, the place used to be the picture of eerie graveyards, however, without express permission, visitors are considered trespassers. A more accessible alternative is Vale Cemetery in Schenectady, founded in 1857, where you might see statues crying blood or apparitions, and hear strange noises. The tombstones are in good condition, so the site is worth a visit.
2. The New York State Capitol Building in Albany
The Capitol Building is the setting of many legends. From the curse laid by the intricate stone carvers to the mystery of Samuel Abbott, the night watchman who fell victim to a fire in the building, each story has its own set of haunting experiences. At the Capitol, take time to examine the stonework, especially the alleged demon-face across from room 174. Listen for the jingling of Abbott’s keys in the library hallway where he died. You can investigate the curse during the haunted tour opportunities that take place throughout the month of October.
3. The Homestead Asylum in Barkersville
My sister swears by the hauntings in old tuberculosis clinics, and the Saratoga County Homestead is no exception. From 1914 to 1960, this building was used to treat TB patients and was reopened as an infirmary in 1961. Rumored to still be occupied by spirits of the dead patients, this sanitarium is now off-limits without permission. It is no longer used due to its degradation and exposed asbestos. There are many other hospitals like this around, however. The Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie was built using infirmary buildings and is said to have strange presences. Out west, Lodi and Perrysburg both have paranormal connections to tuberculosis victims.
4. Yates Elementary in Schenectady
No list of haunted places is complete without ghost children creating mischief in a haunted school. At Yates, students report seeing children enter a mysterious locked door with a hidden staircase. Legend says the abandoned classroom was behind the door, but when a teacher was informed and investigated, no children were ever found that had entered the room. The room, according to the stories, was used to teach disabled students and was locked to keep them from leaving. Other stories mention ghosts in the bathroom and strange children’s laughter on the grounds.
5. Loudon Cottage in Loudonville
This cottage was a summer home to Clara Harris, the woman who sat alongside President Abraham Lincoln when he was assassinated. According to the tale, Harris and her fiancée, Henry Reed Rathbone, attended Ford’s Theater with Mrs. Lincoln. After shooting the President, John Wilkes Booth slashed Rathbone (who attempted to save Lincoln) with a knife. His blood covered Harris’ white satin dress. She stored it in the closet, unable to part with it, until one day she saw a ghostly likeness of the President staring at the closet doors from a rocking chair. He vanished at midnight. Her husband’s mental health deteriorated as he supposedly blamed himself for the President’s murder. Fast-forward to December 25, 1883: Rathbone, now married to Harris, shot her and failed at his suicide attempt. He was committed to an asylum. The legend lived on. The most recent sighting of the looming former President was around 1900, when Governor Gardiner of Massachusetts was counseled by Lincoln in the cottage. Former town historian Jean Olton chronicled the sightings in the book The Town of Colonie: A Pictorial History.
Experience your own story by visiting one or all of these places (with the right permission) or ask around about paranormal researchers to give yourself a jump this season. One of my co-workers just went on a ghost hunt the other day and related the story to me, so it’s safe to say that paranormal activity is accessible. You don’t have to wait for Halloween to get these thrills.
–Kate Smith is a Contributor to The Free George.
The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.