As the nights lengthen toward winter’s chill and dark, we humans tend to take a little more interest than usual in the Other Side. Some say that those inhabiting the Other Side may, at this time of year, take a more than usual interest in us. The veil thins and we can catch glimpses, inexplicable sights and sounds with no clear place in daylight logic. How haunted is the Hudson Valley? Well, if you’re looking for a place where the veil between the worlds seems especially porous, look no further. Four (recorded, anyway) centuries of love, life, death and drama have left us with a rich abundance of restless spooks.
How abundant? Well, our history-rich region is allegedly so haunted that there’s a house on the market in Nyack right now
for which the seller is legally required to disclose the possible presence of Revolutionary-era poltergeists. So you can crunch the numbers there.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that a visit to, let’s say, Bannerman’s Island or the Goshen Historic Track will reliably include a brush with wraiths of the departed or even a glimpse of an orb. There’s no guarantee of that anywhere, of course—but there are certain places that seem to be especially favored with spectral activity and vibes. Want to up the odds of a ghostly encounter in your favor? Here are some handy haunt-hunting options. (With the exception of the Haunted Rondout Boat Ride, these are available year-round.)
Ghosts and Boats
The vast and powerful waters of the river itself have claimed a multitude of souls and concealed a multitude of sins over the centuries. The good folk of the Hudson River Maritime Museum know the best spooktales and invite you to a spirited telling of them, to be followed by a nighttime Haunted Rondout Boat Ride
to the lighthouse where the ghosts hang out. The stories and tour will be presented on the weekend of October 25-27 and on October 31 and November 1; there’s a 4 pm tour each day that’s billed as less-scary and advisable for the youngest paranormal explorers in your group.
Dead and Breakfast
The Haunted Shanley Hotel
in Napanoch is, of all the fascinating things, a blend of respected vacation destination (Thomas Edison and Eleanor Roosevelt stayed here), speakeasy and bordello, now operating as a historic B&B. A great many people have had unusual experiences at the Shanley and are firmly convinced that some of the family and guests of yore have never checked out. They’re holding their Second Annual Halloween Event on October 31, but you can book a room during a scheduled Public Ghost Hunt or organize a private one for yourself and your crew.
High Tech Haunt Hunting
Based in Newburgh, Hudson Valley Ghost Tour
will bring all the cool pro tech—ghost meters, infrared thermometer guns to measure eerie temperature changes, infrared cameras and ultrasensitive recorders — and take you along on a two-hour paranormal investigation full of spooky stories, ghost hunting education and arcane Hudson Valley history. There are tantalizing photos and audio files from past tours on their website. “Always getting orbs on second floor. When the psychic came, she said it was Chuck looking for his brother AJ.” reads the caption on one photo.
Fancy (and Frightening) Nights with Fanny
Located in Wappingers Falls, Miss Fanny’s Victorian Party House
was the lifelong residence of Fanny Van Wyck Boos, a Poughkeepsie Day School teacher who loved the arts, flew her own plane, threw legendary barn parties. The house was willed to the town and ultimately sold, but the current occupant, realizing she was apparently not alone, has decorated with antiques and “a touch of the macabre.” You can sign up to participate in a paranormal investigation, book a private or group psychic reading, or organize a party there and hope some of the spirits — there are said to be children, a man, and a woman who may be Fanny herself—decide to crash.
For even more spooky Halloween Events, check out our list of 2019 Halloween Attractions.