Belhurst – Haunted Castle of the Finger Lakes
In discussing the topic of haunted locations one of the most cliched and iconic spots for a haunting is that of a castle. The imagery of a European castle silhouetted against a stormy sky brings to mind classic horror stories from Dracula to Frankenstein and not without just cause. In Europe castles are some of the longest standing structures with a bloody history that lends to extensive accounts of paranormal activity.
Haunted castles are not limited to Europe however; there are hundreds of castles throughout the United States with 14 of the most prominent castles in New York. One local haunted castle is Belhurst Castle in Geneva.
Once the site of a Seneca Indian Village in the early 18th century, it became home to the Ontario Glass Company until it was closed and the land divided again. After the land had changed hands several more times Carrie M. Harron purchased the property then known as ‘Otis Grove’ and began construction on Belhurst Castle in 1885. Fifty men worked for more than four years on the mansion during this time one man was killed when he fell from the tower while another went insane putting on the roof. It is just after the completion of the castle the most notable legend takes place.
A beautiful Italian opera singer, who fled from Spain with her lover, came to Belhurst Castle as guests of Mrs. Harron. The story follows that the lady’s husband tracked them to the castle. The lovers fled to the wine cellar and tunnels connecting the wine cellar to the carriage house intending to flee again but the irate husband saw vengeance done as the tunnel collapsed on the guilty pair as soon as they entered it.
Since then, dozens of guests have reported seeing the Ghost of Belhurst Castle, a woman standing silently on the front lawn in the middle of the night. When approached, she disappears with a sighing moan.
While our New York castles may not have the same bloody history as those of their European cousins, the hauntings are just as widespread. A tragic history or even a single tragic event can create an iconic haunting when the building that is haunted is a castle.
Editor- As their website says, somewhat ominously, ‘The Belhurst awaits you.’ Belhurst today features a B&B, spa, restaurant and winery on the estate grounds.
[Contributed by the NY Shadow Chasers]