Everyone, even distant Eskimo children and Tibetan monks instantly associate “Amityville” with ghosts and horror. The tragic murders of the DeFeo family that took place in the “Amityville-horror-house” were real; but the ghost stories that followed are reported to be hoaxes. The Lutz family, who endured the hauntings during their month-long stay at the house, claimed demons left hoof-prints in snow outside the house, and that ghosts rattled cabinets and doors hard enough to break them. There was no snowfall in Amityville that month, and the new owners, who moved in after the Lutzes fled, claimed the original doors and cabinets were undamaged. There are more imaginative Long Island ghost and paranormal stories that warrant a movie franchise. (Although I did find AMITYVILLE PART TWO to be quite a grabber!) Read about these Long Islanders who go bump in the night!
Popper, the Poltergeist: It’s Seaford, in 1958, and the normally peaceful Herrmann household experiences very bizarre happenings! Various household bottles, from rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover and even holy water start un-corking themselves and begin flying around the house! Even a Nassau County Detective, called in to investigate, was almost hit by a flying world globe. Some claimed Martians were behind this, others claimed demons, others said “a chimney draft”. One neighbor blamed Lilco, the then local lighting company. Popper’s biggest achievement was to overthrow an entire bookcase in the house. Some out-of-state paranormal investigators felt it was telepathic energy from one of Herrmann children. “Popper” messed with the Herrmann house for five weeks before finally stopping.
Yankee Doodle Zombie! Long Island saw it’s share of spies, battle and bloodshed during the Revolutionary War, and some of that era’s ghosts still roam Nassau and Suffolk County! The ghost of Annette Williamson, hanged by the Redcoats as an American spy, roams a Stony Brook inn. A skeptical reporter dining at the inn apparently had a glass of wine magically flung into his face. The ghost of British Major John Andre, who was working with Benedict Arnold to capture American troops, has been haunting Oyster Bay’s Raynham Hall since his 1780 hanging. Another ghost, Sally Townsend, who died an unhappy spinster, supposedly takes up residence in Raynham Hall.
Prospect Park’s Bicycle Demon- Brooklyn’s Prospect Park has always been a cyclist’s haven. Streets around the park have been recently redesigned to accommodate the many cyclists. In 1896, Fort Hamilton resident Anna Rosen, put on her best cycling outfit and peddled into the park. Anna suddenly noticed that cycling alongside her was a skeletal demon; it’s bones clanging loudly! According to The Brooklyn Eagle Newspaper,the phantom rider led the young woman on a ride around the park as if she had no will of her own. She finally made it to the Prospect Park gate and peddled the heck out of there!
Camp Hero- Long Island surely has Area 51 beat for rich paranormal stories! Camp Hero is now a State Park in Montauk, open to everyone. According to many conspiracy theorists, all sorts of crazy secret experiments took place there during and after World War II. Theorists claim scientists dabbled in the effects of LSD, invisibility, time travel and they even helped to teleport an entire battleship. According to legend, sailors were teleported with ship, and wound up being fused with the walls and rivets of the metallic ship. Other rumors state Camp Hero scientists worked alongside space aliens on a secret project. The aliens had no interest in our food, but loved drinking janitorial cleaning products!
Peter Stuyvesant (1592-1672)- was the last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam (New York). He helped shape New York City to what it is today, and in life was one mean, hard-edged, cranky leader. His most famed physical trait was a wooden leg, a result from a war injury. He was buried at what is now St. Marks-In-The-Bowery Churchlocated at 2ndAvenue and East 10thStreet in Manhattan. Even though I said Long Island ghosts, you’ll see why I wanted to include Stuyvesant!
Stuyvesant has been seen walking around long after his death, ringing bells when construction work goes on too near the church, or sometimes, people in the Lower East Side have heard the clip-clop of his wooden leg. Many people, from tourists to the homeless, have seen “Silver Leg” Stuyvesant roaming the sidewalks. The most recent Peter sighting was in 1995, when morning service at St. Marks Church was interrupted by the sounds of somebody doing inventory of a wine cellar! Eyewitnesses claimed to watch a one-legged man in 17thcentury clothing vanish into a wall.
There’s enough Long Island hauntings for dozens of cool ghost films- from a haunted Pizza Hut in Suffolk County to apparitions at the Woolworth Estate. An excellent independent film, LOST SUBURBIA, covers the ghosts of Lake Ronkonkoma, Sweet Hollow Road and the Legend of Mary’s Grave. For further info on Long Island Paranormal Activity, check out Long Island Oddities at www.lioddities.com,and Long Island Paranormal Investigators at www.liparanormalinvestigators.com. Kudos to both groups for great reporting and urging readers wishing to investigate these paranormal hotspots to observe trespassing laws and respect private property.