Paranormal Adventures: Sleepy Hollow – Home of the Headless Horseman

Location: 540 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY Google MapPhoto Feb 19, 11 48 43 AM.jpgThe town of Sleepy Hollow located on the eastern side of the Hudson River in the State of New York was the inspiration for one of Washington Irving’s most acclaimed short stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published in 1820. Although the story itself is fictional (based off the tale of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off during the American Revolution), the town already had a history of ghost tales, which were bewitching to Irving, giving rise to great American horror fiction.Photo Feb 19, 9 28 37 AM (1).jpgThe most significant site in Sleepy Hollow is the cemetery (originally conceptualized by Irving and Captain Jacob Storm), which was our prime destination. But I must agree with Irving, once we passed the welcome sign, entering from the north, the town immediately takes on a lively but spooky atmosphere. An unusually warm mid-morning sun in the middle of winter seemed to do nothing to stop the trees from noticing us. I swear the trees of Sleepy Hollow have a life of their own. It’s hard to say if they were welcoming us into the town with their long, tumorous hands or if they were warning us to turn back as we drove along. But they weren’t the only creatures of nature who seemed to want to communicate.Photo Feb 19, 8 32 19 AM.jpgOnce we reached the cemetery, birds could be heard coming from every direction. The chattering of crows, finches, and sparrows echoed along the hills and valleys of what should’ve been a place of peace and rest. The screeching and squawking was so loud that it was difficult to stay focused. But, in truth, we rarely saw a bird, only the occasional crow who came to spy on us as we spied on the tombs of the dead. And the tombs were, indeed, worth spying on.Photo Feb 19, 8 40 24 AM.jpgMany notable people are laid to rest in the grassy knolls of Sleepy Hollow cemetery. Surprisingly, Irving’s plot is quite humble among some of the more large and intricately detailed graveyard monuments. I found a few shorter lists of famous people buried at the cemetery, which can be found here and herePhoto Feb 19, 8 53 36 AM (1).jpgBut humble headstones are just as intriguing as expensive ones. Graves dating as far back as the Civil War are overlooked by the statue of a soldier (a Civil War Monument) and an Old Glory (American flag). It should also be mentioned that many stones have been weathered to the point where the dates are no longer visible, but it doesn’t distract from the history of the cemetery. Instead, I think it rather adds to the enticing mystery of the place.Photo Feb 19, 8 46 43 AM (2).jpgAnd let’s not forget, there is a bridge. If you are familiar with Irving’s story, then you would know how Ichabod Crane meets his fate – trying to outrun a headless horseman across a bridge. There are no horses on cemetery grounds and there is certainly no tomb for Ichabod; he’s fictional. But there is an enchanting bridge that crosses the Pocantico River, no doubt maintained by the historic society, and although it’s not the original bridge as depicted in the story,  I appreciate how the design adds to the folklore and legendary atmosphere.Photo Feb 20, 1 10 22 PM.jpgThe cemetery is ever expanding and its open to visitors. But stick to the path. I was tripped up more than a few times when I wandered off giving a few crows among some smirking statues a good laugh.Photo Feb 19, 9 13 39 AM (1).jpg

Photo Feb 19, 9 17 25 AM.jpgLinks: Washington IrvingHeadless Horseman Bridge | Town Website

Coming Soon! A Grim and Charming 5-Part Paranormal Adventure Series Exclusive: West Point, United States Military Academy with original photos even I can’t believe!

corpp book 1.jpgD.P. Joynes is a genre -crossing author hosting fairy tales and folklore and, sometimes, torn love in realms of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror.

“I’m a coconut with maudlin sentimentality.” Connect with me on Facebook  to stay up-to-date on new adventures and investigations or click the follow button to stay engaged with Grim and Charming here on WordPress.

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Paranormal Adventures: A Serial Killer’s Farm House Burned – Lessons in the Ruins

Location: Site has burned down – Goshen, NY Google Map

I won’t lie, this trip scared me. I felt anxious before we even got into the car. This trip reaffirmed that its not ghosts or the dead I’m afraid of, but monsters. Real ones…

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The Nathaniel White farm house, a serial killer’s lair in ruins.

Goshen continues to inspire us, but the charming town was once home to Nathaniel White convicted (through confession) of raping, beating, and murdering six women, including a fourteen-year-old teenager (his girlfriend’s niece) from 1991 thru 1992. Not all of the bodies were found at this site as some where left in other nearby places-abandoned railroad tracks, a lake, a restaurant, and in a victim’s own home.

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Beautiful view of the pond next to the ruins

Nathaniel White now resides in a supermax prison, the Attica Correctional Facility, in New York. He has been sentenced to 150 years imprisonment. Two victim’s bodies were once found slain inside the home and it was abandoned afterward in 1992. A fire in the summer of 2015 left the farm house (pictured) in ruin. There is no report of how the fire started, which remains a mystery. Surrounding the charred home is a serene scene of picturesque farmland with a beautiful pond that is quite charming even in the cold of winter. But the sparkle of white winter snow does nothing to erase the sense of looming dread or the sad memory of young people who were lost here.

The Grim & Charming:

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Top of the ruins under which two women were found beaten and slain

Murderers, especially mass murderers, are the worst of grim; they are reapers. But there are lessons to be learned here from the victims and their families. The first is to trust one’s gut and never give up. When the family of a missing loved one couldn’t find answers from police, the relatives did their own investigation, which led to clues in solving the case and identifying the killer. Also, women should never go home with someone they’ve met at a bar. (Sounds like a no brainer, but it happens all the time!). This is how White snatched some of his victims and how he was later caught. So, women should always use the buddy system, and stay within a group when going out on the town with friends. Lastly, if someone seems creepy, ditch em! Life is meant to be charming. A relative of the slain admitted she had an uneasy feeling about the killer. When we don’t have good feelings about an individual, we should trust our instincts and steer clear of them.

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Be wary of the warning signs. Hunters are not always so.

P.S. If you’re reading this for the second time, you might notice this postscript was not available before. Truth is, I felt it necessary to rewrite this post after it was published several times over. I couldn’t sleep for weeks thinking about the victims whereas their killer resides alive – still eating and breathing. I added “the lessons” in hopes that I would do the victims some justice. Hopefully, we can learn from those who have passed on before us, which is the way it’s meant to be.

Links: Murderpedia | NY Times | Abandoned NY

Coming soon! Haight Mausoleum, Dissection of a Purple Eyed Doll, When the Fog Rolls In, and a Grim and Charming EXCLUSIVE – A 5-Part Series of Paranormal Explorations at the  United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.

More images of a path and pond on the way to a serial killer’s farm house:

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 HELLA.jpgD.P. Joynes is a genre -crossing author hosting fairy tales and folklore and, sometimes, torn teen puppy love in realms of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror.

“I’m a coconut with maudlin sentimentality.” Connect with me on Facebook or Goodreads and don’t forget to hit the follow button to explore more paranormal activity with me, Grim, and Charming.

Paranormal Adventure: The Salesian School of Goshen, NY

Location: Salesian Park, Main Street Goshen, NY 10924 Google Map

When my husband and I went looking for images to use in my 1st ever book trailer for my first novel in the RSH series, Goo of the Gods, we stumbled upon this abandoned school building, which was built in 1931. On that early, foggy morning, I knew it had to be a school because of the exterior pendulum style entrance with a clock nested at the top. The old abandoned structure is surrounded by high fencing, but what was most encouraging is there is little graffiti. Most of the windows are shattered, so you can see clearly into 2nd and 3rd floor ceilings that give the impression of classrooms throughout the structure.

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The building sits center stage in a park that the city has had obvious controversy over. Cleanly painted benches decorate well-kept walkways among crumbling masonry of almost a hundred year old walls. The back of the school overlooks a nicely mowed soccer field with plenty of room for parking. Despite the chill of the early Sunday morning, a handful of villagers walked about the park getting their early morning exercise-some with their canine companions. We stopped to ask a friendly villager about the building who told us that the city wasn’t sure what it was going to do with the old Salesian School.

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I admit I had to look up the term “Salesian” online. It is a generic term referring to a particular group of Roman Catholic priests and missionaries whose work involves enabling impoverished children by providing vocational and technical training through its thousands of schools including colleges across the globe.

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The Grim & Charming:

In 1964, a nine-year-old boy had been reported to have fallen to his death off the third story roof. But what’s spookier is a coroner, who declared in 2003 that the distance from the child’s body to the school wall was too close to suggest a fall. From this story, we are to assume that the child had either been pushed or thrown from atop the building. Of course, there is no concrete supporting evidence in either case. But this is not the most grim of stories relating to this school.

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The school is condemned. It has withstood fire and a partial collapse to a side wing, but it may not survive the city’s decision to demolish the building. If there were ever a time to see the abandoned building, which is also surrounded by a Mausoleum from previous owners in the 1800s and a cemetery (later post on the cemetery coming), that time is now. The Village of Goshen is an adorable and charming small town with plenty of metered parking and cafes serving home-style cooking on Main Street. You’ll also see the school from Main Street, and if you dare to venture further beyond the main town, and make a few more turns, you’ll come to an old burned down farm house, once home to a serial killer. But that’s another story.

Links:

Opacity Site 17 | Salesian Missions | Village of Goshen

Photo Nov 25, 8 18 45 AM.jpg Photo Nov 25, 8 41 17 AM.jpg

corpp book 1.jpgD.P. Joynes is a genre -crossing author hosting fairy tales and folklore and, sometimes, torn teen puppy love in realms of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror.

“I’m a coconut with maudlin sentimentality.” Connect with me on Facebook or Goodreads and don’t forget to hit the follow button to explore more paranormal activity with me, Grim, and Charming.