Westchester may be scary cool, but it’s also just plain scary. In fact, NYC’s backyard has a long and illustrious history when it comes to things that go bump in the night. What follows is a spirited dish of spirits to appease your Halloween palate.
Ghostly moans and crying have eerily echoed throughout this area ever since a July 1937 incident in which a mother and son drowned in Lake Oscaleta. Recent tips and a psychic, however, indicate that the drowning was a deliberate act of murder by the family’s patriarch. Regardless, it’s clear that Jason Voorhees is not the only legendary lake-bound spook haunting Westchester’s waterways.
This one-way road is the Ground Zero of terror. From flesh-eating albino clans and witch covens to cannibalistic serial killer Albert Fish — there’s a reason Buckout Road has been listed as one of the four spookiest roads in the world. It’s so scary, in fact, that an eponymous movie, starring Danny Glover and Colm Feore, brought the bloodcurdling legend of Buckout Road to the big screen.
Among the “authentic experiences” the author’s home offers visitors is a cacophony of otherworldly noises. “I used to work at Sunnyside as a tour guide,” says librarian Patrick Raftery, “and the housekeeper told me she heard voices on the north side of the house.” So we suggest listening extra closely the next time you visit the historic locale.
Established in 1924, the Heathcote Building has been home to many different operations over the centuries. Many believe the location is cursed or jinxed (a 2002 New York Times article agrees). It is the alleged home of the ghost of a murdered working girl, who is often seen on-site. A luxury apartment complex has been built built on the property, so chances are those tenants can expect occasional visits from some unexpected — and very dead — guests. Haunted housewarmings, anyone?
This stone Gothic Revival church near Sunnyside is allegedly haunted by some of its former occupants (which we suppose means they’re also current occupants). One former denizen supposedly matched a photo of a 19th-century pastor’s family member to a female apparition who used to knit from one of the home’s rocking chairs. But the most chilling evidence came in 2000, when a group of men were installing a new organ and saw what they say was the ghost of the church’s first pastor, William McVickar. As one might expect, the hapless workmen fled the spooky scene like proverbial bats out of hell. Do you blame them?
Mr. Frederick Hughes actually won a prize back in 1907 for his account of an otherworldly old man who approached him down a corridor of “strange light,” seeming to float right through a pair of massive rosewood sliding doors that were closed at the time. Upon approaching Hughes — the cane he had appeared to be walking with disappearing into thin air as he raised his diaphanous hand in gesture — the ghost reportedly said: “Too bad! Too bad! The place is cursed! The place is cursed! The trees will die! The trees will die! Betrayed for money! For money! The old home sold!” Now that’s a haughty haunt!
Special thanks to Patrick Raftery of the Westchester Historical Society, Daniel Glauber of the Scarsdale Public Library, and Lewisboro town historian Maureen Koehl.