Hold your (headless) horses! Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow is far from the only spooky place in Westchester County. Pelham Manor was once named the sixth-most-haunted town in New York, and Pelham town historian Blake Bell believes its ranking should be even higher. Bell has uncovered volumes of chilling Pelham legends, most notably about Bolton Priory (above).
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Priory was built in 1838 for Robert Bolton, a close friend of Washington Irving. In fact, Irving was involved in the design of the house and gardens, supplying yellow bricks from the now-legendary Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow for the date of construction, above the main entrance.
So it’s no surprise that spookiness surrounds the Priory. After Jules Martin, the caretaker and gardener, died in 1963, an old friend claimed he winked at him at the open-casket funeral, and when the friend’s mother was up late a few nights after, she heard Martin’s voice call out to her. Years later, an eerie apparition was spotted in the long, dark hallway near where Martin had lived.
Meanwhile, across from the Priory lies Haunted Cedar Knoll, said to be the site of a deadly battle between two Indian tribes. Here, there have been terrifying tales of headless Indian ghosts dancing in circles while holding their heads, causing one woman to warn, “If you want to see the most awful ghosts you can possibly imagine, wait until the moon is full and hide near Haunted Cedar Knoll.”
If you want to get spooked this Halloween, Pelham might be the place. Just don’t let the stories go to your, a, head.