The Haunted Catskills: Plus Fun Halloween Events (Catskills Blog)
The Catskills’ Most Haunted Places
Halloween Events in the Catskills & Ulster County
It’s Halloween in the Catskill/Ulster area and this is one of the spookiest places in the country during the month of October. The traditional setting of fires to ward off ghosts has now evolved into dressing up like ghosts and evil spirits to blend in and not be noticed. But Halloween isn’t just about dressing up anymore. Let’s explore the scary things in our area that might have gone unnoticed.
Hauntings tend to go hand in hand with old places and old houses are especially popular among the ghoulish spirit community. Huguenot Street in New Paltz is one of the oldest streets in America and has its own creepy vibe after dark. The Street, as us locals call it, is open every day of the year as it’s a public street but it somehow gets darker during October, even during the daytime. After you’ve heard the disturbing tales like ‘The Death Coach’ and ‘Mr. Grimm’ (supposedly true), you’ll drive down Huguenot Street with your windows up, your doors locked, and 911 on speed dial. Haunted Huguenot Street has events all throughout Halloween weekend with the promise of new terrifying tales to make you sleep with the light on.
The Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, NY is “a gracious old-style inn nestled in the Shawangunk Mountains.” It has long been the site for paranormal activity with paranormal investigator Bill Muncey saying “Just because you rent a room does not necessarily mean you’ll end up sleeping here.” This hotel has 35 rooms, a secret basement room, and a former bordello. People have reported to have heard children laughing, objects moving, doors opening and closing, and unexplained piano music. The Shanley Hotel has creepy events throughout the year. The hotel is open for guests on non-event dates. Before you visit, make sure to get the hairs on the back of your next trimmed.
The Old Ulster County Jail is really not that old but there have been reports of strange happenings from both guards and prisoners. Built in 1971, (I thought only old places were haunted) the jail was abandoned in 2007 when a new Ulster County Jail was built. There have been reports of inmates being murdered by other inmates which would explain why ghosts might be lurking in the shadows. The Old Ulster County Jail is so haunted, that SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” brought an investigative team onsite. The Ghost Hunters heard footsteps, strange voices and conversations, cell doors opening and closing, and one investigator (shocking enough the attractive female blond wearing a revealing tank top) reported being grabbed and touched three times.
If you’re not into the real ghosts, there are plenty of pretend events that feel real enough that you might need a change of underwear. The Headless Horseman Hayrides & Haunted Houses (try to say that five times fast) in Ulster Park is considered the #1 Haunted Attraction in the USA by Haunt Magazine and the #1 Hayride in America by American Airlines Magazine. There are six haunted houses, a one mile long hayride, and “a labyrinth style corn maze” (or is that maize). This year’s attractions include Hell’s Cavern, Evil Reaping, Lunar Motel, and Glutton’s Slaughterhouse so it seems like a family event; make sure to bring young children along with you. I’m kidding of course. Being a grown man of the male persuasion, I thought I would be able to take on any real threat but these ‘actors’ are so convincing, they scared the bejesus out of me. THHH&HH is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Halloween and, of course, on Monday, October 31st.
There are several zombie walks throughout the area and I don’t mean on Main Street in (editor, insert the name of a popular town in Ulster) on a Monday morning before people have had their coffee. The Village of Saugerties is having its second annual zombie pub crawl on October 22nd at 7pm along Main and Partition Streets. Many businesses along the crawl route will remain open to take part in the event. Bring your zombie best to roam the streets of Saugerties in search of brains.
Not to be outdone, Kingston is having its own zombie walk (shouldn’t it be the zombie shuffle?) although it was very difficult to get any information on the event. It is supposedly taking place on October 29th at 9pm by the Old Dutch Church Graveyard. The Church has its own hobgoblin story and being built on a graveyard itself, the ODCG is as good a place as any to begin a zombie walk.
For zombie walks, remember that zombie rules apply: 1) moan like you’ve skipped dinner, 2) drag one leg behind you and only wear one shoe, 3) put on torn clothes like teenagers leaving Abercrombie & Fitch, 4) drool, 5) have a spaced out look like it’s 45 minutes into a Hillary Clinton speech. This should be easy to do if you’ve ever worked an 80 hour week and you remember what you felt like arriving home at 10pm that Friday night.
I’ll be practicing my ‘zombie’ by watching Shaun of the Dead and the “Thriller” video. And I think the Zombie Shuffle would be the great name for a dance. Happy Halloween!!!
–Craig Sarich is a Contributor to The Free George.
The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.
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