There is a restaurant known as Beardslee Manor, previously known as Beardslee Castle before it caught fire and was restored. It is located on Route 5 between Little Falls and St Johnsville. It is supposed to be haunted.
Later, I received more E-mail that said:
I've found some information on Beardslee Castle in New York. This is the entire entry from a book on haunted houses.
Hauck, Dennis William. The National Directory of Haunted Places: Ghostly abodes, sacred sites, UFO landings, and other supernatural locations. Penguin Books, 1994
"Beardslee Castle. Guy Roosevelt Beardslee built this mansion, a replica of an Irish castle, in 1860. The last Beardslee family member left the manor in the 1940s, and the structure was converted into a restaurant. Since then, dozens of customers and employees have reported all sorts of ghostly manifestations. Balls of light and ghostly figures, some blue and white, others dark green and red, have been observed floating through the rooms. The ghost of former owner Anton Christensen has been seen in the upstairs corner where he committed suicide by hanging himself. The source of a terrifying scream, "a cross between a scream and a howl" that sometimes fills the hallways, has never been found. The shadow of a large man is seen walking on the top floor and off the main lobby. Sometimes his apparition appears as an "X-ray ghost," in which only his skeleton shows up. Flying tableware and napkins have also been observed, as well as chairs that move by themselves.
The origin of some of the disturbances might date back as far as the 1700s, when a French fort stood here. It is said that Indians tunneled under the outpost with barrels of gunpowder to destroy it but were killed when the explosives ignited prematurely. (The Beardslee Castle Restaurant is in Mohawk Valley. It is located seventy-five miles west of Albany, on Highway 5 between St. Johnsville and Little Falls. Phone 315-823-3000)
Later, I received E-Mail that said :
You asked for info about beardslee castle. Most of what you follows is hearsay. The story that goes is that Beardslee is extremely haunted. My sister used to work for the guy (John Dedla, Herkimer, NY) that owned it as a restaurant - Beardslee Manor. He supposedly sold it in the (late 70's/ early 80's) because of the disturbances.
Folklore includes a policeman losing half a limb in the bush looking for midnight disturbances, the ghost of Beardslee's son (who died some sort of violent, young death) haunting the grounds, and many apparition stories.
A group of supernatural-psycho-seekers (I forgot their scientific title) performed some sort of poltergeist searches there and confirmed strong presence.
I heard it was an Irish castle brought over stone-by-stone in the early nineteenth century. I had dinner there before my senior prom - really neat place. I know it half-burned at some time between 1970 and now.
I also received E-Mail that said:
A few years ago, probably 6 or 7, I went out to the castle with some friends. At the time I knew hardly anything about the place. It was in the process of being remodelled by the latest owners. I saw a man, fitting the desciption of the previous owner who had hung himself. Remember I had no previous knowledge of this man's appearance, but was informed after the fact by one of my friends that the desciption fit.
I received E-Mail from the new owner of Beardslee Castle that said:
Any information you have as to "hauntings" are completely erroneous. The true documentation of the history of 'ghosts' at the castle is as follows
THE MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF BEARDSLEE CASTLE
A Fine dining restaurant in scenic upstate New York
123 Old State Road
Little Falls, New York
THE SPIRITS OF BEARDSLEE CASTLE
Any conversation about Beardslee Castle inevitably strays to the topic of ghosts. As the areas most famous haunted landmark the stories are many and varied with numerous spirits and shadowy figures as characters in a never ending tale of mystery. We hope this short summary will clue you in so you can form your opinions about the legends 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 squimishes 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?
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.
LIGHTS, LIGHTS, LIGHTS
Two of the most enduring Beardslee ghost legends appear to have their origins in the early 50's. Travelers along Route 5, in front of the Castle, 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. In one accident a surviving woman reported that the light rushed outfrom 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. At the time of these reports Route 5 passed directly in front of the Castle and over the now closed limestone bridge. In just the past 6 years since the Castle reopened we have had four incidents of cars driving off the road or into the guardrails in a perfectly clear, straight strech less than 1/4 mile long directly in front of the Castle.
Perhaps as an extension of this legend a story spread of the ghost of Mr. Beardslee walking the grounds holding a lantern, sometimes with a blue light, searching for a lost child who had either drowned in a pond or pool or hit by an oncoming train. Many reported seeing the light of the lantern. A granddaughter of Pop Christensen who spent time working at the Caslte reported seeing the lantern floating on its own behind the building.
In the mid sixties the ghost stories peaked as the BeardsleeFamily Mausoleum at the edge of Beardslee City cemetary 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. Jean-Marie Parsons, a woman who had grown up with the Beardslees and owned the land where the mausoleum stands, was devasted by the events and had the bodies reinterred at the Little Falls city cemetary where a bronze marker reproduces the original inscriptions on the stones. The plot next to the Beardslees has remained unsold since 1969. The mausoleum still exists far back in the woods amoung 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.
GJOSTS 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, with reporters present, 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. Short sentences and single words were recorded...some almost playful in nature. Mr. Gauthier's conclusion was that the Manor was definately 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 choked to death the night before her wedding. The origin of this story is unknown. 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...with her hair in a braid or bun. 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 and the grounds. She felt the woman was at peace with the restoration that took place. 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. Mysterious dissembodied voices and forces are involved. 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 arrived in the morning... silverware flying around the room, bottles and glasses breaking...all sorts of physical activities. Several staff members reported hearing dissembodied 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. At least three people left the building and quit their jobs in the middle of a shift, never to return. 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 few months back a former staff member who had moved to Florida was 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 almost the entire frame. No one has been able to explain the unusual appearance in the photo. Most of these types of energies are associated with the supposed native American presence.
In 1984 the cathedral ceiling opening 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 restauranteurs. 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 visit 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 feel priveleged to share the Castle with our guests, from this dimension and any other.
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 our Ghost picture taken in the Dungeon. 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". VHS Copies of the show are available at the Castle for $9.95
For more information about Beardslee Castle, go here:
Beardslee Castle in Little Falls, NY
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On 4-5-10, I received e-mail that said:
This is an awesome building. This is more of a manor an castle though, which follow it by name. I have been in this place many times before it was converted into a restaurant. Very nice, all hardwood floors and a beautiful open staircase to the upstairs. Its really a very gorgeous house with a care takers house about 200 feet away.
Never heard of stories but new the guy that was living in the care takers house for a year or more. Robert Cyr, who owned Green Street Cafe in Herkimer and a Deli on Dodgeville for awhile. He was managing the place for the owner who wanted to turn this into a restaurant. Did not see the potential because of little parking and the difficulty to get to. The drive up to this residence is quite scary. Its probably the only scary thing about the place. Single lane poor shape road the switchbacks up the side of the mountain.
Very beautiful piece of property. Never heard a ghost while I was there... :)
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Pictures courtesy of Chris and Sara Laventure.