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The past summer has been spent wandering further afield from Long Island, so pickings have been slim for new articles. Well, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been working on several, which unfortunately don’t really fit with the Long Island thematic approach we’ve employed for the past year.

Thus it is with some sadness and still even more excitement that we’d like to announce the launching of A Gothic Cabinet of Curiosities and Mysteries. There you will find any article not still hosted on this site, a growing collection of classic gothic ghost stories, and any new stuff that happens to find its way to completion.

Head on over, sign up for email notifications of new stuff, RSS feeds, make comments and all the usual rot. No hurry, there’s still a bit of house cleaning taking place.

thanks!
the mgt.

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St. James General Store

St. James General Store

There’s some strange legends about Head of the Harbor, New York concerning Mary’s Grave and Mary Hatchet, associated with a couple of particular places. We take a look at what the truth is about these places, and what truth lies beneath the legends.

Go to A Gothic Cabinet of Curiosities and Mysteries to read the article

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Rosemary Amphitheater, Rosemary Farm, Huntington, New York
To view large or order fine art prints and posters of this image, click here

“A poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Across this bridge, some of the greatest performers of their generation walked – Sarah Bernhardt, John and Ethel Barrymore, Tyrone Powers, Helen Hayes and the entire 300 piece John Phillips Sousa Orchestra. The moat was once filled with water, and hidden in the moat were jets which would send water cascading up sixteen feet in the air, hiding the island that served as the stage from the rest of the 4,000 seat amphitheater between scenes. The moat was fed by a waterfall to the side of the stage, and the view was beautiful, not only of the stage, but of Long Island Sound further down the hill. 

This wasn’t a theater built by a city, a corporation or as a business, it was a labor of love, built by a man for his wife, at the bottom of the hill from their house. It was built by patrons of the arts for their community and for the artists.

Today the stage is silent, shadows fall and like the rest of the amphitheater, overgrown with vegetation, grown taller than a person. The statues are gone, much of the stone which was used to build it is fallen from it’s original form, now just rubble. But the feeling is still there, when the brightest stars to be seen were on the ground and not in the sky.

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Sleepy Hollow, New York
To view large or order fine art prints and posters of this image, click here

“About five-and-twenty miles from the ancient and renowned city of Manhattan, formerly called New-Amsterdam, and vulgarly called New-York, on the eastern bank of that expansion of the Hudson, known among Dutch mariners of yore, as the Tappan Zee, being in fact the great Mediterranean Sea of the New-Netherlands, stands a little old-fashioned stone mansion, all made up of gable-ends, and as full of angles and corners as an old cocked hat. Though but of small dimensions, yet, like many small people, it is of mighty spirit, and values itself greatly on its antiquity, being one of the oldest edifices, for its size, in the whole country. It claims to be an ancient seat of empire, I may rather say an empire in itself, and like all empires, great and small, has had its grand historical epochs. In speaking of this doughty and valorous little pile, I shall call it by its usual appellation of “The Roost.”

Wolfert’s Roost and Miscellanies, Washington Irving

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Kings Park Psychiatric Center, Kings Park, New York

Building 40, known as Infant 1 was built in 1932. It originally housed inmates, but as the population of Kings Park dwindled it was turned into a daycare center for the hospital’s staff. Much of the staff of the hospital lived on the grounds themselves, and it’s rather harrowing to think of children being raised here. Just across the sidewalk from the playground are three buildings which housed patients. At best, it must have been frightening for children to be raised and cared for, surrounded by insanity. And one must also wonder at the patients watching the children playing from their windows, seeing themselves long ago.

As a child, a friend of mine was mentally retarded, and we accompanied his family the weekend that he went away to a “special school.” It’s hard for a child to understand the difference between retarded and crazy, and for years when faced with the unexplained I kept my mouth shut. The house I grew up in was haunted, and for years I would on occasion see the figure of a man, sometimes inside the house, sometimes outside. When I asked my parents about ghosts, they said there were no such things, and so I reasoned that they were either wrong, or I was crazy. So I never told them about what I saw, for fear they think me crazy and send me away to a "special school." It was only decades later as an adult that I finally brought up the subject, only to find out they knew the place was haunted all along. That’s why the kids slept upstairs, as my dad to this day, still won’t sleep up there alone.

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Someplace in the Cotswolds, England

In December 1760, the landlord of the Ragged Cot, Bill Clavers, decided to rob the midnight stagecoach travelling to London. Before setting out, he gave himself Dutch courage and resistance to the cold with liberal helpings of rum. As he staggered from his bedroom with loaded pistols, his wife, with their young child in her arms, tried to dissuade him. In his anger he roughly pushed her aside and she fell downstairs. Delirious he fled the house.

After robbing the coach, Clavers returned to the Ragged Cot to find his wife and child dead at the foot of the stairs. In desperation, he put their bodies in a trunk. The local constables, following his tracks in the snow, approached the house and, after getting no answer to their knocks on the door, forced a widow. A shot rang out and the figure of Clavers appeared at the door.

As one of the constables prepared to fire, a terrified scream was heard as Clavers saw the ghostly figure of his wife and child silently crossing the floor and disappearing up the stairs. Unable to provide any resistance, Clavers was apprehended and tied to a chair. The constables began to search the premises. As they entered the bar parlour, they were confronted by the apparition, seated on the old oak trunk. Fearfully they retreated out of the house. As daylight broke, the body of Clavers’ wife and child were found at the bottom of the stairs and he was led away a doomed man. He was tried at Gloucester Assize Court, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.

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