With Long Island being as heavily populated as it is, it makes sense that it is full of different urban legends and ghost stories. I feel like it is almost a Long Island teenage right of passage to explore some supposedly haunted abandoned building or section of the woods. From Camp Hero in Montauk to the Kings Park Psych Center and everywhere in between, most people my age have a story or two to tell.
A great example of Long Island ghost stories can be found in Kerriann Flanagan Brosky's book Historic Haunts of Long Island: Ghosts and Legends from the Gold Coast to Montauk Point. I have been to a few of the places she talks about in her book, and even work at one of them (the Rogers Mansion). If you are looking for a fun read delving into all things spooky with a good splash of historical facts, this would be a great one to pick up. Which you can do in our gift shop at the Rogers Mansion.
But from revisiting this book recently I thought it would be nice to end this month's blog postings with trying to gather ghost stories from people that I know. Below are three stories from friends of mine who have had their own weird occurrences. If you have had any of your own please tell us about them in the comments below!
James, 28 - Bayport, NY
My dad bought a house on Long Island in 2000. The previous owner was a widow. The
house she sold him was filled with strange architecture and interior designs. There were outdoor shingles on the inside room of an upstairs bedroom, a red hallway carpet and a closet with dead bugs everywhere that eventually became a bathroom. The staircase led downstairs and should have landed by the front door but turned and fed you out at a right angle into the wall near the door. The main floor had Roman columns, weird chandeliers and flooring that was very unsettling. The door to the basement had about thirty various knots on it that were tied and labeled. Down through that door led you to the basement which opened more as you got to the bottom. It had odd tiles on the floor with no seeming intent to place them there. There was a fake trap door, a fake furnace and very real gothic style doors that had cutouts and face cages on them about head height. My dad eventually completely reinvented this recipe for a haunted mansion and made it a beautiful place to raise a family.
Fast forward to when I was about ten. One of the upstairs bedrooms is mine and I would stare at the red light on the light switch that controlled the attic light. The entrance to the attic was in my closet and the red light meant that the attic light was off. So even in the middle of the night, the red attic light was on, always looking at me. One night, I fell asleep and had one of the nightmares that I would get often in this house. Every light was blaring in my room and I was awake in my bed and couldn’t move or talk. The red light was strong in the dream. The neighbor next door was looking at me through the bedroom window and screaming in a high pitched voice about his bloody fingers and the monster he was creating. A Frankenstein monster. He had blood everywhere and was performing surgery on dead corpses. It was so real and freaked me out so much that I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. It was so real but eventually I found a way to get in a few hours of sleep.
Fast forward again about a decade or so. I was having dinner with my family and company. We were all laughing at how creepy the house used to be compared to the warm and friendly glow of the current environment that took over a decade to cultivate and now felt so welcoming and safe. Warm lighting, hardwood floors, modern interior designing, you wouldn’t even know it was that same house anymore. I was having fun and decided to share the time I had such a silly nightmare ten years ago. I was getting into it and when I said “Yeah, so the neighbor was then creating some sort of, um - “ My younger brother, who was about 11 at the time, and had taken the room after me, said, “Oh yeah, a Frankenstein monster!” My heart sank and my skin went cold. I asked him how he knew that and he said, “I had that same dream in that room.” He said it like he would say he finished his homework or did all of his chores. We all sort of stumbled and then brushed passed it in conversation and moved on to another topic but I could not forget that my brother had the same nightmare as me when he was in that room too. Did I leave a psychic imprint or did someone else? Or was there something more sinister or even (if horror movies have taught me anything) potentially benevolent at play here? I didn’t, and never will, truly know. All I know is that my brother and I both had the same nightmare one night, ten years apart, and it was so vivid that it stuck with us both. He doesn’t remember it anymore and I probably wouldn’t either if it wasn’t for that interaction. It still creeps me out to this day and I know I’ll never have a good answer for what happened. I try not to think about it.
Trevor, 28 - Patchogue, NY
I grew up in a quiet suburb on the South Shore of LI. My childhood home is about 100 yards from a relatively large elementary school. When I was young, my younger sister and I would have “sleep overs” where we would set up little forts and campout in each other’s rooms on weekends. I have many distinct memories of waking up during these nights and seeing a young girl camping out with us. She always appeared the same way. Short black hair, a red turtleneck sweater, and a frighteningly white complexion. Over the years I have chalked these sightings up to exhaustion, bad dreams, or sleep paralysis. Last October I approached my younger sister, who is now 26, and told her that some friends and I were exchanging ghost stories for Halloween. Before I could figure out exactly how I was going to phrase what I wanted to ask her, she replied “Are you going to tell them about the girl?”.
Kaitlyn, 27 - Miller Place, NY
Driving around with no destination was one of my friends’ and my favorite things to do when we were bored- and on this night it just so happened that the woods behind the local cemetery ended up being our final stop. We had heard that the woods were once the grounds of a vacation home that Marilyn Monroe had owned when she was married to Arthur Miller and as many other bored Long Island kids had done before (and definitely after) us, hearing the stories was not enough. We needed to see the creepy gardens and old cement foundation first hand. That night was picture perfect weather to go searching for anything spooky. The air had that really crisp smell that fall brings, there was not a cloud in the sky, and every now and then a gust of wind would come and bring some stray leaves with it.
As the crew of people piled out of the cars in the parking lot I realized that I was the youngest one in our group of misfits. I had been in these woods a handful of times before but it was always during day time. If I said that I was not at least a little uneasy, I would be lying. Attempting to shake off the start of what felt like a pit of the gut stomach ache, we walked through the cemetery and began walking onto the path in the woods.
Everything was looking pretty typical as far as abandoned houses go. Little make shift huts that homeless people had tried to make a home, crunched up beer cans and cigarette butts, old ripped up furniture that had somehow made it back there. My nerves had started to go away as I thought, “Huh. We’ve been in here for a half hour already and everything looks as to be expected. No signs of casper or any of his other friends.”
As our group continued on we started developing a pattern of walking for a bit and then stopping to look at something, point out a vulgar graffiti drawing, or most importantly to light another cigarette. After about an hour of venturing further into the trees, we all decided it was time to take a break. Some stood stationary, some went to go take pictures but I found a tree stump to sit on and take a breather. I plopped myself down sitting indian style on my new makeshift chair and somehow instantly zoned out. Almost immediately it looked like little bits of water or mist were coming out of the brush. They started to all float together to form what is best described as the Heath Ledger advertisement poster for the Dark Knight.
What had formed in front of me looked like a tall male wearing a pin stripe suit, trench coat and fedora hat holding a brief case next to him. He had no facial features but had two black holes for eyes and a long “why so serious?” smile. Thinking that I was day dreaming I started to continuously blink in an attempt to get rid of my new found friend. The figure then started waving at me almost knowing that I had been trying to get rid of him and his wave was a sign he wasn’t going anywhere. As quickly as it seemed to have happened, I felt like I was stuck with this man for hours and it was never going to end. Some part of me knew that whatever he was, he was not just trying to give a friendly hello. I was so infatuated with him that I didn’t realize two of my friends shaking my shoulders trying to get my attention for a good 2 minutes. I had tried to explain to them what I had seen but they swore up and down that the only thing that was there were the oak trees in front of me.
We got back to the parking lot in double time speed and even then I could not get what I had seen out of my head. Why me? Was I going insane and had imagined it? How had NO ONE else seen him but me? As we sat in a friends backyard after, we all just chalked it up to me being the youngest in the group and whatever I saw thinking it was funny to mess with me. For about 2 years after I saw the trench coat man in various familiar places. My bedroom, the backseat of my car, on a subway, and the deck in my backyard were just some of the few places he decided to make an appearance. Seeing my joker-esqe friend weirdly became something that I became used to and nothing more than a wave or head tilt was all I ever got out of him. But just as quickly as I got used to seeing him, he disappeared. Saying that I had a business man ghost following me became a running joke in my group of friends. I guess I’ll never know what he was trying to sell me.