Oct 26, 2012

A Perfectly Ghoulish Night

Every year, our city hosts a Ghost Tour through the city. I've always wanted to take it, and decided to do it this year. I was worried as the Trolley Company has new owners, but it was a total hoot and just plain fun to be in a trolley full of people out to have a good time and hear ghost stories! We began our night at one of our cities "haunted" mansions. Living in an old city (settled in the 1600's by the Dutch) has its merits when it comes to historical legend! Ten Broeck Mansion is one of my favorite homes in the city and I should make a point of revisiting in the daytime! Being there at night was quite fun- we only walked the outside grounds and gathered for our story telling- hoping that the Lady in White might make an appearance in the upper window (she didn't) or that the purple Orb seen on a previous night would return (it didn't, sadly!). Not to say that we weren't in for a surprise as we returned through the dark, kind of creepy grape arbour!
We continued to the Anglican Church (met by the "man in the bloody shirt") and listened to local history and the ghosts connected to this particular site. Next up- again a favorite of mine- the NYS Capitol Building. First off, the building is magnificent and I had already known of the most famous ghosts to walk through its halls- the most famous being Samuel Abbott a night guard who died in the great fire of 1911. Our evening's host, Sally, told us the story behind the Secret Demon of the Western Staircase (the great staircase is made of limestone with elaborate carvings and a stone carver who was dismissed returned one night and hid a carving of a devil's face within the staircase). This is one of the highlights of the daytime walking tours- and it has been a long time since I've done that tour as well. Another thing for the list!

On to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and its own set of ghost stories. I love this church. My two eldest children were Baptized there, and it has undergone a marvelous restoration and looks majestic once again. I learned that there are several Bishops buried within the Cathedral. I was surprised, but guess I shouldn't be. I loved the story of the priest who would pilfer mass donations and then go have a night of good eats at Jack's Restaurant down the hill! 

We drove past the Kenmore Hotel where Legs Diamond  took his mistress to dance and "hold court" while his long suffering wife sat at home, and then on to the boarding house on Dove Street where he met his demise in a hail of bullets. Nothing like a good gangster story- or the involvement of the notorious Albany Political Machine!

We then traveled to the north end of the city (my old neighborhood!) where we disembarked to learn of the apparitions that haunt Graceland Cemetery. 

(Just an aside here- I was a bit worried about my reaction to this stop as this is where my husband is buried, but upon our arrival there was a "cemetery party" going on and it was right at our burial location! I couldn't help but smile and think to myself "oh, sure! you're having a party and didn't think to invite me?" It took the edge off being there!)

As we traveled back towards the river and our starting point, we stopped at what is now the central offices for the state university. It is in the former (and very grand) D&H building. And we were regaled with tales of Abraham Lincoln's connections with Albany and his mourning train as it pulled through the city after his assassination. In particular I loved the story of the one year anniversary of the mourning train. It seems that that night- one year later- the tracks glowed a bright blue, a train pulled in backwards and time stopped! Fact or Fiction?? You decide. 
All in all it was a night of fun with a nice group of young and old- who appreciated the stories, the ghouls and most of all the tales from beyond! If you have a chance to take a ghost tour near you do it- you won't be sorry!  In the meantime, here is a little side show tour for you to enjoy:

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Monica said...

So this sounds awesome (Abe Lincoln!) but I think I would be a complete freaked-out weenie doing this at night!

Noel said...

What fun! One can tell you are a scrapbooker - love what you do with Smilebox! Ten Broeck is also on our list of favorite CapDist historic places. So glad you had a good time!

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