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Eerie tales of haunted happenings and sinister scares are at the crux of many urban legends and lore in Albany County and the surrounding area. From famous buildings, to lively cemeteries, to historic parks, these places are filled with spine-chilling stories of rumored spirits. Scroll on to read a few spooky ghost stories about places in Albany County and beyond where things go bump in the night!
Cohoes Music Hall
The historic Cohoes Music Hall was established in 1874 and is the fourth oldest music hall operating in the United States. Over the years, there have been many tales of ghostly sightings at the landmark venue. The playful spirit of vaudeville star Eva Tanguay is rumored to be the Cohoes Music Hall's resident ghost. At age 12, Eva performed at the Hall in Little Lord Fauntleroy. She grew up to be the "Lady Gaga" of her time with an electric personality and elaborate costumes. Her ghost plays tricks on the performers and staff, and has made herself known through EVP recordings. To ward off her meddling tricks, many performers who come through the venue today leave her a small tribute before taking the stage.
Learn more about the haunted history of Cohoes Musical Hall, now operated by Playhouse Stage Company, at this link.
Albany Rural Cemetery
From glowing orbs, to floating old-fashioned pajamas, local lore has it that the historic grounds of Albany Rural Cemetery are haunted. In 1869, a Troy newspaper reported about a mysterious ghostly figure wandering around Consecration Lake. The lake was drained later on, but the spine-chilling story remains. In the early 1900s, an out-of-control horse was tragically killed by colliding with a monument. The horse was buried on the grounds. Rumor has it that brave visitors might still hear a phantom horse galloping the down the cemetery roads today.
New York State Capitol
Many urban legends and famous hauntings are connected to the historic New York State Capitol Building. In 1911, a blazing fire swept throughout the State Library, the Million Dollar Staircase, and the fourth floor. After the flames were subdued, the body of nightwatchman Samuel Abbott was found in a fourth floor corridor. As time has gone on, there have been many reports of mysterious sounds such as jangling keys and locking doors. These strange occurrences, among others, are often attributed to spirit of the nightwatchman continuing his nightly rounds.
This is just one of the many spooky stories surrounding the NYS Capitol Building. To learn more, dive into the three-part Virtual Visit: Hauntings.
Bonus: During the late 1800s, construction foreman Cormac McWilliams was tragically killed in a fall from scaffolding in the Assembly Chamber. Over the years, unearthly sounds and paranormal apparitions have been reported from that room. Many believe that Cormac might just be the spirit behind them. His final resting place is the historic St. Agnes Cemetery.
Washington Park is an urban oasis within the city of Albany, dating back to the 1870s. Before transforming into the picturesque park we know it as today, Washington Park was the final resting place for thousands. It was a cemetery! Over ten thousand people were buried on this land as it was public property. Eventually as downtown Albany became overcrowded, the Albany elite began to move uptown towards this area. It was decided that the land would be better used as park, so thousands of bodies were reinterred to Albany Rural Cemetery and other locations. Washington Park has a creepy past, so it could be possible that a ghost, or two, haunt Albany's beloved park.
New York State Education Building
The New York State Education Building is at the heart of an infamous Albany urban legend. It is said that during construction of the grandiose building in the early 1900s, an Italian stone mason named Jason was was working in the basement. He tragically stumbled and fell into the space where his fellow stoneworkers were pouring concrete. The foreman, allegedly an Irishman who was displeased by Jason's carelessness, uttered the ominous phrase, "Keep pouring." Over the years, Jason has become one of the most famous ghosts in Albany. Employees working in the building have nicknamed the basement, "The Dungeon" and Jason is at the center of many eerie occurrences.
Embark on a paranormal adventure with a quick drive to Grapevine Farms in Schoharie County. Housed in a restored 1850's farmhouse, visitors might sense a supernatural presence among the gift shop, bistro and wine cellar. The original owner, David Hiltz, and his wife are buried on the premises. Spooky apparitions and unusual sounds have been reported, so it is suspected that their spirits may still roam the farmhouse's halls. Hear an eerie giggle? It might just be one of the Hiltz children, who tragically died of the flu, playing in the halls.