My favorite time of the year is here again. That’s right, it’s spooky season! Which means haunted houses, ghost tours, hayrides, horror movies, and all that goes with it. It’s no secret that my goal is to visit every stop on the Haunted History Trail of New York, so I’ll be featuring that a lot this month! To start, let’s explore these haunted places in Oswego, New York.
Haunted Oswego Ghost Tour
If you’re a fan of guided ghost tours with stories about the people and places that haunt the area, then you have to book a Haunted Oswego Ghost Tour. Led by retired teacher Colette Astoria, the 90-minute ghost tour will lead you through the streets of downtown Oswego.
The tour will bring you to Old City Hall, where you’ll learn about “Horse”, an ex-con who swore he was haunted by demons every night. You’ll hear about the nurse who was murdered in the nearby hospital – where the doors were locked from the inside. Then there’s the Richardson Bates House, where a little girl waved goodbye to ‘the boy she was playing with’ – though she was the only child in the house.
As the tour continues, be on the lookout for unexplained characters meandering through town.
The Ghosts of Oswego
Some of the ghosts of Oswego are more well known. Like Alvin Bronson. Alvin was the first citizen of Oswego. He lived to be a hearty 98 years old, and was known for sitting on his rocking chair on his front porch. Some people swear it still rocks on its own…
Mr. Wright is another famous character in Oswego’s history. He still haunts his house, having been seen along with a cold chill in the solarium. Now an apartment building, tenants have discovered wooden cells, cages, and a large table in the basement. What was he up to…?
There’s also the ‘Seneca Hill ghost’ – a woman seen running up the hill to her burning house to save her baby trapped inside. And ‘the girl in the glass coffin’ whose family couldn’t afford to bury her, so they kept her in the parlor for 6 months…
Colette has tons of stories to share and is always learning more. She has been running the ghost tours for the past three years, and also leads a food and history tour in the afternoon. (You can also get a discount if you do both!)
Fort Ontario State Historic Site
Perhaps the most famous attraction in Oswego, Fort Ontario Historic Site is a stop on the Haunted History Trail. Throughout its time, hundreds of people, both military and civilian, perished on the grounds. But are some of them still wandering the barracks? Many believe that to be the case.
The current fort, built in 1839, was actually the fourth built on the property. Nicknamed the “Guardian of the Northern Frontier”, Fort Ontario served as battle grounds in both the French and Indian War & the War of 1812. During World War II, the fort served as the only shelter in the United States for refugees.
Fort Ontario is open to visitors from May through October, Wednesday through Saturday. The cost to visit? No higher than $4 per person, with discounts for various demographics. It goes without saying that military (and their guests) get in for free.
In October, paranormal teams occasionally lead ghost tours through the fort. On a previous visit, we were able to explore multiple buildings with equipment for detecting spirits. Although I didn’t experience anything for myself, others have reported seeing multiple ghosts. There’s rumored to be a woman staring out the window of an empty building, a young boy looking for his lost cat, and other unidentified spirits. Some people have even heard music. What will you experience when you visit the fort?
Starr Clark Tin Shop & Museum
I first visited the Starr Clark Tin Shop when I was doing research on the local history of the Underground Railroad. The fact that it’s part of the Haunted History Trail was a bonus! Though with so much history during a period of historic turmoil, it’s not surprising that there are still some spirits lingering.
The city of Oswego and the surrounding suburbs played an important role in the Underground Railroad, as it was the last stop for many fugitive slaves before making their journey north to Canada. Starr Clark and the Mexico community were fierce abolitionists. The tin shop was used as a safe haven, one of many throughout New York.
It wouldn’t be unusual for some of the slaves to have died there, unable to finish their journeys. Visitors to the museum have reported hearing voices and seeing shadows.
The tin shop now stands as a museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad and its history in Mexico, New York. Visitors to the museum today can see the original wooden floors, plank walls, and ceiling beams. Tours of the museum can be made by appointment by calling Jim Hotchkiss at 315-963-7853.
Casey’s Cottage at Mexico Point State Park
Casey’s Cottage has to one of the most unique and unexpected places in New York State. Why? The cottage is themed in medieval style. The owner, Dr. William Casey, spent his summers carving wooden structures and redesigning the cottage as an 11th century manor house. Crazy, right?!
After Dr. Casey died in the late 1970s, visitors have reported object moving on their own, strange shadows, and unusual sounds. Most interesting is the claim that people have seen a young girl standing under a tree she was buried beside. Paranormal teams agree that there is some kind of presence at the cottage. Find out for yourself! The cottage is available to be booked for private events.
Haunted Places in Oswego
With so many unique haunted places in Oswego, you have to add it to your Haunted History bucket list! Which of these sites are you most excited about visiting? And if you experience anything unusual, please let me know. I’d love to hear about it!