Explore the Haunted Places of the Great Northern Catskills
Mysterious, and by many accounts, haunted, these Catskill destinations are full of things that go bump in the night.
A historic 1730 farmhouse in Leeds, New York, Salisbury Manor has rich history and is known for its colonial era architecture. However, the manor is also known for an event much more sinister: the murder of a young servant named Anna Dorothea Swarts, whose life ended on the manor's grounds in 1755.
The records show that young Anna worked for the owner of the manor, William Salisbury. Salisbury, a known tyrant who treated his staff terribly. One night, tired of enduring the abuse, Anna tried to escape. Salisbury gave chase and caught her. He tied her to the back of horse, and dragged her back to the farm, ripping her body to shreds along the way. William Salisbury was found guilty of the murder of Anna, but he bribed the judge to suspend his sentence until he turned 99. Shortly after the trial, citizens of Leeds claimed to see her ghost sitting on the wall outside of the Salisbury Manor, making this a true haunted house. Others saw a huge ghost-horse riding by the manor, now thought to be haunted, and could hear the galloping hooves of the horse and the screams of Anna.
Please note: Salisbury Manor is privately owned and is not open to the public!
No ghosts here—just faded impressions and abandoned buildings left behind when this zoo closed in 2006. Founded by Roland Lindemann in 1933, the farm was created to house 28 species of deer. The Old Catskill Game Farm became the first privately owned zoo in the Unites States, and a renowned Catskills attraction. Visitors walked 3.5 miles of pathways among 100 buildings on 150 acres to observe—and often hand-feed—more than 2,000 animals. Giraffes, pygmy hippos, rhinos, wild horses, kangaroos, and many more called this place home.
Ben and Cathy Ballone bought the Old Game Farm after it closed, and now welcome guests on arranged visits to tour abandoned pens, kiosks, offices, and animal areas once known by monikers such as Giraffe House, Big Cat area, and the African exhibit—an area still hemmed by empty moats. Four campsites and the Long Neck Inn that lay tucked into surrounding forests offer a unique Catskills lodging experience within the vacant zoo, while photographer Matthew Christopher hosts a workshop on the grounds each year. Have a "haunting" experience in a key piece of Catskills history at the Old Game Farm.
Now known as the Captain's Inn Point Lookout, the Point Lookout Inn has a rich history that is much darker than its modern and cheery appearance. It is believed that many years ago a couple checked in to room 12 of Point Lookout, and only one person left. It is recorded that the man who checked into the hotel that fateful night murdered the woman he was with in that very room. In the years that followed, many guests noticed strange things happening in room 12, such as flickering lights, foul odors, and voices. Still wondering about the validity of the tale? A team of paranormal investigators visited Room 12 and brought with them two cadaver dogs. They went right to the corner of the haunted hotel room where the murder was thought to have happened and reacted as they would to indicate death.
Visit the modern-day Captain's Inn Point Lookout on your next adventure to the Great Northern Catskills.
In August of 1813, a young and popular daughter of a prominent business man went missing in the town of Athens, located in Greene County, NY. The entire town set out to find missing Sally Hamilton. Three days later, her body was found under a bridge in a creek less than 500 feet away from the place she went missing. This creek is now known as "Murderers' Creek" and it has been storied that she was discovered mutilated and with a broken skull. Since the murder, the creek has been thought to be haunted by the spirit of young Sally Hamilton. What's more frightening than thinking of a specter rising from a misty morning on the water?
Check out boat rentals in nearby Catskill and Athens and plan your haunted paddle through Murderers' Creek. The creek can be found in Athens, about 1.5 miles beyond the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
Open every weekend in October, Massacre Mansion welcomes the truly bold to test their bravery against the haunted souls of the Gothic graveyard, the ghouls and ghosties of the Victorian manor, and the path to Extreme Darkness.