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GHOST STORIES
AT BEARDSLEE CASTLE

taps crew arrives
THE CREW FROM TAPS (THE ATLANTIC PARANORMAL SOCIETY) ARRIVES AT BEARDSLEE CASTLE TO INVESTIGATE LATE JUNE 2010. WHAT DID THEY FIND? TUNE IN TO GHOSTHUNTERS ON ScyFy

THE SPIRITS OF BEARDSLEE CASTLE
In the mid 1700's, during the French and Indian War, a fortified homestead stood on the property where the Castle is now located. The Mohawk Valley was the central supply point for militia along the northern borders of the colonies. Munitions and powder were stored at the homestead. Late one night a band of Indians crept into the home and made their way into the tunnels where the munitions were stored. Legend has it their torches ignited the powder and the Indians were blown to bits.
Could their spirits, here long before the Castle, still linger here?

Strange Lights In the early 50's, travelers along Route 5, reported seeing a bright yellow or blue light that would rush out at their cars from the trees or chase them down the road. The light was reported as blinding at times, other times seen in the distance floating through the woods. Several fatal accidents occurred along the bend in the road where the light was reported. One surviving woman reported that the light rushed out from the trees and blinded her husband, the driver, who perished in the wreck. Other drivers reported seeing a young child walking along the roadside late at night. In just the past 6 years since the Castle reopened we have had four incidents of cars driving off the road in a perfectly clear, straight stretch less than 1/4 mile long in front of the Castle.
An extension of this legend a story spread of the ghost of Mr. Beardslee walking the grounds holding a lantern with a blue light, searching for a lost child who had either drowned in a pond or pool or had been hit by an oncoming train. Many reported seeing the light of the lantern. A grand-daughter of Pop Christensen has reported seeing the lantern floating on its own behind the building.



Ghosts of the eighties In 1983 the owner of Beardslee Manor decided to find out if there was any truth to the ghost stories... along with over 40 reporters from newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. Norm Gauthier, a ghost hunter from the New Hampshire Institute for Paranormal Research arrived with a car load of equipment to test for ghosts. During the course of the night tape recorders would run for ten minute stretches. Incense was lit to attract the spirits. At the end of the night the tapes were played back and faint voices were heard whispering...some almost playful in nature. Mr. Gauthier's conclusion was that the Manor was definitely haunted and by at least two spirits.

Who are they? Many people have identified a young woman, dressed in white who has been seen on the grounds sitting, walking, or standing by a window. Popular legend has named her 'Abigail" and suggested she was a bride who died the night before her wedding. The origin of this story is unknown although several weddings did take place at the Castle when it was a residence. More than one psychic challenged with identifying the resident spirits have felt the presence of the woman, dressed in a white dress with a high collar and bottom sleeves. One person in particular who was unfamiliar with the property or stories of the past identified this woman further saying that she was fond of fabrics, flowers, and most of all the Castle, and that she remained here because she loved the building. During construction, two people witnessed a very strong smell of ladies perfume in the empty Carriage House
The first owner of the Castle as a restaurant, Pop Christensen, hung himself in the building following a protracted illness. His family then sold off most of the original Beardslee furnishings that were left on the property. Could his spirit haunt the restaurant?
Other stories seem to follow a more sinister line. One night a few staff members were playing with a Oiuja board when the lights suddenly went out and a tremendous force hit one of them in the chest and pushed him across the room. Tales of overturned tables and chairs that were found when the first employees arrived in the morning... silverware flying around the room, bottles and glasses breaking...all sorts of physical activities. Several staff members reported hearing disembodied unintelligible voices all around them floating through the air. Sharp whispers of someone's name...as if from a fellow staff member. Three employees were chased from the building late one night by a thunderous scream or howl that seemed to come from all around them at once. Music was sometimes heard coming from the second floor. More recently staff members have heard the sound of a lady singing on the second floor, sounds of doors opening and closing, footsteps across the main floor hall are heard from below in the bar after everyone has left the dining rooms, and even sounds of keys jingling. A former staff member who had moved to Florida was back in the area and decided to take some pictures to show his friends what the Castle looked like. When he returned to Florida and had the roll developed the form of a shadowy figure with an expression of dismay was plainly visible covering the entire frame. No one has been able to explain the unusual appearance in the photo. More recently a couple traveling past the castle were horrified when a young lady stepped out into the road. The car struck the woman according to the couple and witnesses in a car traveling the opposite direction. The police were called and although all three parties checked along the road in the area of the accident, there was no woman to be found and no marks on the car.

Strange Feelings...In 1984 the cathedral ceiling that had been open to the second floor was closed off and some of the activity seemed to subside. Still the main evidence for haunting was something that no one could see, hear, or feel. The strongest evidence was that the place felt haunted. Once the staff had finished cleaning at the end of the night and had gone downstairs nobody would dare to go back upstairs alone. Certain rooms and places were regarded as more haunted than others and newcomers could identify these as easily as a long-time staff member. A psychic who was consulted in New York City, many miles away, was able to pinpoint much of the activity to areas where water was present... as well as identify the water problems that plagued the building for years, possibly indicating that spirits dwell in the water...a belief held by native Americans. One of these spots became fairly well known for stopping watches and keeping cameras from functioning... the same spot where the mysterious ghost photograph was later taken.

We have spoken to many former staff members who had stopped in at the burned out Castle after the 1989 fire. Although the building was unlocked and wide open, they all felt that something would not permit them to enter. Indeed one strong theory is that the ghosts were abused by the storytelling and ghosthunting. Perhaps the spirits had something to do with the fire as an attempt to drive out the restaurateurs. Strangely enough when the flames were finally out, the entire kitchen both upstairs and down was destroyed without burning a single square foot of the original structure.
We leave it to you to explore the Castle and judge for yourself whether it 'feels' haunted. Perhaps you'll have an experience of a ghostly nature too. One thing is certain, Augustus Beardslee's Castle is a beautiful and compelling building that has a powerful, true sense of place. Unique, captivating and mysterious as well, we are honored to share the Castle with our guests, from this dimension and any other.

 

 





The Indian Connection Indian activity was heavy through the Mohawk Valley in pre-colonial times. The same waterfalls that Guy Beardslee harnessed for electric power were held in awe as a symbol of the Great Spirit on Earth by the local Mohawks. A major camp in use over a period of almost 400 years was located just a few hundred yards to our east, along a knoll that overlooks the Mohawk. The spot can be seen just as you cross the East Creek bridge heading east on the right side of the road. Some psychic researchers point to the Indians as a source for restless psychic energy at the Castle and throughout the Mohawk Valley.
Another possible source of Indian presence was brought about by Guy Beardslee himself. After graduating West Point, Guy Beardslee was commissioned in the Army and assigned to Fort Niobrara in Nebraska where the army was setting outposts to take over land from the Sioux. Whether Mr. Beardslee ever saw battle with the Sioux is unknown. However he did return to East Creek with at least three full Sioux war bonnets and a collection of tomahawks, knives, and other ceremonial artifacts. Sioux war artifacts are held sacred and their mere presence in a building could have profound effects, especially if they had been taken in battle. All of the Indian artifacts were destroyed when the building burned in 1919.

 


  The Mausoleum In the mid sixties the ghost stories peaked as the Beardslee Family Mausoleum at the edge of Beardslee City cemetery became a popular late night party spot for young people. Partygoers reported seeing strange lights at the Mausoleum as well as hearing voices. The stories turned to tragedy when a few individuals broke into the Beardslee crypt and desecrated the graves. A Little Falls resident was later arrested and the skull of Augustus Beardslee was found in his closet. The mausoleum still exists far back in the woods among a stand of 200 foot tall virgin pine trees. Beer cans from the sixties are still scattered here and there as if untouched by time. The pines open around the crypt to leave it in sunlight most of the day and although rarely visited anymore, no weeds grow in the path that leads to the entrance. We were sent a photograph that had been taken at the crypt by a Syracuse police officer. A strange rainbow appears at the side of the photo that does not follow the regular pattern of colors of the spectrum. The police crime lab was unable to explain the appearance of the colors in the photo.


  Beardslee Castle was featured in a segment of "Haunted History" on the history Channel in October of 1999. The show explores historical sites with documented ghostly activity. On his initial visit to the Castle, the producer of the show was given a copy of a Ghost picture taken in the Dungeon (above). After documenting and producing shows at haunted locations throughout the country he had been given many, many such pictures but stated that the picture here was the "best he'd ever seen... bar none". ...

TAPS visits the Castle



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