Tired of the same old haunted houses, corn mazes and Halloween scares? How about a giving yourself a real scare this year? Long Island is a place rich in history and accordingly has its share of folklore, myths and hair-raising urban legends. Whether you believe the stories or not, visiting any of these local haunts is sure to send chills down your spine.
Amityville Horror House
We start this list with a place that most everyone has heard of, including those who do not live on Long Island, the Amityville Horror House. Featured in many books and movies throughout the years, the terror of the Amityville Horror House begins in 1974 when Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed his family in their sleep in that very house. Was it madness or evil spirits that led Ronald DeFeo to murder his family in 1974? George and Kathy Lutz, who bought the place a year later, believed the house was pure evil. The Lutz family, moved into the residence and after just 28 days of living in the house, moved out because of supposed possessions and paranormal occurrences. Many world-renowned ghost hunters and psychic mediums agree, this house is a gateway to another dimension or spirit world.
Country House Restaurant, Route 25A, Stony Brook
Originally built as a farmhouse in 1710, the Country House is haunted by the spirit of a woman named Annette Williamson, who is believed to have been brutally murdered there during the Revolutionary War. Many say they have personally witnessed Annette’s full apparition, that her spirit regularly blows out light bulbs and causes electricity flashes, and that other spirits also dwell on the premises. The location is currently a restaurant where ghost seekers can dine or even attend an annual psychic night!
Fire Island Lighthouse, Fire Island
The original Fire Island lighthouse, standing 74 feet high, was constructed of stone in 1826. It was replaced by the current lighthouse which was built in 1858 by J.T. Morgan. Legend has it that the lighthouse keeper, Nathaniel Smith was living close to the lighthouse while it was being constructed. During that time, his daughter fell ill and medical attention was unable to reach them in time to save her life. The lighthouse is rumored to be haunted by Nathaniel, who committed suicide after the loss of his daughter. Some visitors claim they can hear a man moaning for the loss of his daughter as they ascend the steps to the top of the lighthouse, others claim to hear him walking beside them once they reach the top.
Katie’s of Smithtown
Stop into Katie’s on west Main Street in Smithtown. While you are wetting your whistle, be sure to keep a look out for bartender Charlie Klein who has been serving up scares since the Prohibition era. Patrons and workers have experienced strange phenomena like glasses moving across tables on their own, doors swinging open and toilet lids banging. Some have even reported seeing apparitions floating through walls. Katie’s has been featured in numerous books and websites about hauntings. Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures, and other paranormal-themed TV shows have also filmed episodes on location.
There are many different legends that surround Lake Ronkonkoma, which is Long Island’s largest freshwater lake. One of the most famous legends is about a lovesick Native American princess who killed herself in the waters of Lake Ronkonkoma when her father, the Chief, would not allow her to marry the man that she loved (a white settler). Those who believe her legend claim the ghost of the princess, whose body was never found, is responsible for the high percentage of male drowning victims in the lake. Rumor has it that she takes the life of a male every year either in retaliation for her lost love or to find herself a new soulmate in death. The ghostly princess is said to been seen lurking around the shore line seeking to lure her next victim into the lake.
The Normandie Inn
Originally built as a residence for a Czech baron in the 1920s, the location became a speakeasy during Prohibition and then the Hotel Chateau La Boheme before it became a restaurant. The Normandie Inn located on the corner of Smithtown and Lakeland has been vacant and boarded up since 2004 and is currently on the market. The location is rumored to be haunted by Maria, a woman who was allegedly strangled to death in the upstairs back bedroom. While the Inn operated as a hotel, Maria could be heard walking the hallways and knocking on visitors’ doors. Guests also often reported random cold spots, service bells ringing without explanation and sights of apparitions. One prior owner even a reported footprints once appearing on a just-shampooed rug in a locked bedroom.
Reid Ice Cream Factory
There are actually two paranormal tales associated with Reid’s Ice Cream Factory. The first is about on a young woman who died on the property. There are two versions of this story, and it is unknown if either are true. Both speak of a woman who worked in a nightclub in Bayport during the 1950s. The woman, known as Linda, is said to have met a man and agreed to meet with him after her shift was over. They drove to the abandoned Reid’s Ice Cream Factory and this is where the stories split. In one version the woman ultimately tells the man to stop his advances on her they struggle and he ultimately kills her. In the second version, the couple is unaware they are being watched a stranger approaches and kills the man, and then proceeds to rape and murder Linda. People passing the area claim to see the figure of a woman appear on the property, some also claim of a female sounding crying and screaming.
The other most common paranormal tale is of a young boy who often played on the property. in the 1970’s. The tale states that as he was playing in the building he climbed the old equipment and accidentally fell to his death. Rumor has it that the demolition team had incidents involving doors that would open, close, and lock themselves. Now that the factory is gone, houses sit on property concealing its former identity. People who have been at the site claim to hear the boy playing on the property.
Sagtikos Manor is said to have hosted President George Washington and is also believed to be haunted. According to tales told about the manor, there is an Indian ghost that visits the structure’s loft. According to legend dating back to the 1700’s, an Indian princess who once lived on the main grounds attempted to rescue settlers coming from Fire Island, where a storm had been brewing. She successfully crossed the water in her canoe several times, but never returned from her final trip. Supposedly, on stormy nights the princess and these men can be seen roaming certain parts of Montauk Highway. Today, the Suffolk County-owned property is used for festivals, tours and other community events.
Sweet Hollow Road
Sweet Hollow Road is a winding road through dense woods and hills, a place surrounded by horror and dread and one which is the subject of many spooky legends.
One legend is about a hospital that burnt down while patients were trapped inside sometime during the late 1700’s. Years later another hospital was built on the same location only to tragically burn down again. Legend speaks of a deranged nurse who set the blaze and roams the woods with or without a number of faceless children. Some claim to have seen burning spirits fleeing from the grounds, accompanied by screams.
Another legend tells of the mass suicide—in which several teenagers hung themselves beneath the Northern State Parkway overpass. A shadow figure and glowing ghost-woman known by many as the Lady in White can also reportedly be seen. She is believed by some to be a depressed patient who set the hospital afire, and in doing so, killed herself. Some profess her to be Mary, killed by a car or murdered on the road, who haunts a nearby graveyard.
Many visit Sweet Hollow Road and its overpass to test out the local legend. It is said that visitors who honk their cars’ horns or flash their headlights three times can see the lifeless bodies of the teenagers who committed suicide. Visitors also claim that if you put your car in neutral under the overpass that spirits from children who lost their lives on this road will push your car forward in an attempt to put you out of harm’s reach.