Long Island has more than enough haunted tales sure to send a shiver down your spine.
If you want some good, chilling fun steeped in the history of Long Island’s storied past, the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau put together some of the most haunted places on Long Island that you can visit.*
Come and explore, and then decide whether the ghostly legends are true or not.
Stony Brook has a rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War era, when members of George Washington’s Spy Ring risked their lives to secretly gather British secrets and transport them to General Washington. There are several sites you can visit related to this time in history along the Washington Spy Trail. At the Country House Restaurant, the daughter of a former occupant is said to have welcomed British soldiers into the family home during the Revolutionary War. It is said she may have been killed for being a traitor to her Patriot family and neighbors. Visitors say they hear her cries and see light bulbs flicker. Music goes up and down in volume, according to management. While you’re in the Stony Brook area, visit the Three Village Historical Society to learn more about America’s first spy ring. And stay overnight in the Three Village Inn, which has cottages named after each of the spies.
Also related to the Revolutionary War era, Raynham Hall in Oyster Bay is said to be haunted by British major John Andre, hanged for conspiracy during the Revolutionary War. Shortly before his capture he was at Raynham Hall, where he might have been overheard talking about sensitive secrets with British officers occupying the house, including John Simcoe. You see, the home belonged to and was still co-occupied by the Townsend family –Robert Townsend is believed to be one of General Washington’s most trusted ‘Culper’ spies. It is believed that that his daughter, Sally Townsend, haunts the house as well. She received the country’s first Valentine from John Simcoe, the British officer occupying the house, who never spoke with her again after Andre’s arrest. She died in the house, unmarried, still in possession of the letter.
If you want to get a real feel for what life was like a couple hundred years ago, you can visit Old Bethpage Village Restoration. There are several historic structures, but stories have specifically emerged from the Hewlett House, Williams House and the Conklin House. You might see a ghost boy, who was allegedly locked up in one of the houses on the property, or see the mysterious carving of a previous inhabitant’s initials that appeared in the woodwork one day, or see shadowy figures passing by the windows.
Spirits of the Shore
The Fire Island Lighthouse is one of the most scenic locations you can visit on Long Island, overlooking the sparkling Atlantic Ocean with the perennially popular and tourist-y Fire Island National Seashore to the east and Robert Moses State Park to the west. However a century ago, it may have seemed far bleaker and harder to get to. It is believed that a caretaker who once lived here was distraught over the illness and death of his child. The child tragically passed while they waited days for a doctor to show up at the isolated lighthouse. It is said the caretaker sadly hung himself. Allegedly his spirit still roams the lonely rooms, according to Long Island Paranormal Investigators (LIPI).
One of the most enduring stories of a Long Island haunting is at Lake Ronkonkoma. One of the area’s most serene spots for canoeing, it is also home to the ‘Lady of the Lake,’ a young Indian maiden whose true love was slain by a settler. She drowned herself and it is said she haunts the lake to this day.
A Cultural Connection
In the late 1800s there was a murder at the Gateway Playhouse. Employees say they still hear sounds of moaning and see shadows and smoky forms, including a man with a top hat in the sound booth, according to LIPI.
Other public culture sites with alleged haunted tales tied to them are Brookwood Hall, a former orphanage said to be haunted by previous inhabitants, and now serving as an art museum and home of the Islip Arts Council. And the Caleb Smith House in Smithtown, which has a tie-in to the original founding family of Smithtown, and now houses a small natural history museum and historical artifacts. If not haunted, the two houses are at least worthy of a visit for their architectural and cultural attributes. If you’re in Smithtown, be sure to stop by Katie’s of Smithtown, a small bar with too many haunted tales to tell.
Other areas of the Island said to be home to paranormal activity include Jayne’s Hill and Mount Misery in Huntington; several spots in Montauk, including Camp Hero and Montauk Manor, (there are stories about the spirits of Native Americans and settlers there); along with assorted cemeteries, private homes and former medical and psychiatric facilities (former psychiatric facilities, along with a certain house in Amityville, will increase security to keep trespassers away around Halloween).
*NOTE: This list does not include private property or properties where visitors are prohibited to trespass or loiter.
Visit www.discoverlongisland.com/paththroughhistory for more information on Long Island’s rich and colorful history.