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The 5 Most Notorious Ghosts, Haunts and Urban Legends in Utica

With history in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York stretching back beyond the French and Indian Wars, our area is home to some notorious haunted locations. We’ve been exploring them with the help of the NY Shadowchasers. Here are the most thought provoking.


The bloody battle at Oriskany during the American Revolution cost the Americans 350 lives compared to just 65 Redcoats who perished during the British ambush attack. Among the rebel dead was General Nicholas Herkimer. Today the Oriskany Battlefield Monument stands tall over a serene field off of Route 69. The first CNY location on our list you wouldn’t want to be in after dark.



Old Main at the Utica Psychiatric Center was once on the vanguard in the treatment of mental health in the United States. Opened in 1843, the Main Building at the Utica State Hospital was the state’s first public mental health facility and the country as a whole. Among the inventions at Old Main was the Utica Crib, a confining cage used to subdue patients. The treatments, and perhaps torments, of thousands of souls who have passed through the building have surely leeched into the cold stone walls. The building, today looming over Court Street in West Utica stands shuttered and unused-a testament to a bygone era.



The hills west of Remsen are another hotbed of the paranormal in Central New York. Situated in the town of Steuben is the grave of Revolutionary War general Baron Von Steuben. On the way to the Baron’s resting place is the Starr Hill Road cemetery. It’s home to one of the creepiest urban legends in the area: the rocking chair. There is a solitary rocking chair in the cemetery. Is it part of a memorial? A resting place for the sexton? Legend has it that death becomes those who dare rock in that chair.



The Erie Canal brought prosperity to Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Rome and Utica in the mid 1800s. The waterway routed the commerce of Great Lakes shipping through the heart of the Empire State and south to New York City via the Hudson. The untold story of the canal is of the men who perished along the towpaths, and in the hotels and flophouses of the route.



Beardslee Castle near Little Falls reigns as the most notorious haunted location in Central New York. Unexplained apparitions, noises and temperature shifts that mark hauntings are all present at this bar and restaurant. The TAPS crew from ‘Ghost Hunters’ even paid a visit to Beardslee.


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