Hauntings in Poughkeepsie

A guide to some of Poughkeepsie’s most interesting haunts.

Want to give yourself a good scare this Halloween? If the answer is yes, then look no further than your own backyard, you are about to enter a world of the undead, where the spirts of those long past still inhabit the land. So, next time when you are walking alone at night and you think you hear someone behind you; you may not want to turn around, but if you choose to do so; look at your own risk.

Christ Episcopal Church

The church which was built in the late 19th century, is said to be one of more active places of Poughkeepsie spirits. There’s been sightings of shadowy figures that sit in the confession booths at night, waiting in eternity for a priest to resolve them of sins past. If you’re lucky enough, you might run into Alice, who visits the church at all hours and sits in the pew all the way in back. “Alice (which they call her cause she looks like the character Alice form The Brady Bunch) likes to visit when she pleases” said a current worker who wished not to be named. “There’s also been sightings of a former Reverend, who is said to haunt his old office. I have never seen him myself, but the night crew has had some run ins with him.” The Reverend that my source spoke of is apparently that of Alexander Cummings, who appears every now and then. The Reverend has been known to be one of the more mischievous spirits that haunt the church; Reverend Cummings has been known to move objects around, hide objects, blow out candles, and even ring the church bell.

Sheahan Hall, Marist College

Being a freshman in college is hard; dealing with the ghost of Shelley who patrols the floors of Sheahan is a whole other story. The story of Shelley is indeed a tragic one; in 1975 she was a freshman at Marist, and one day her ex-boyfriend shot and killed her in cold blood in the cafeteria. It is said that to this day, Shelley wanders the third floor of Sheahan. While most of the former residents of Sheahan I talked with never had a run in with Shelley, I did manage to find one unlucky soul who ran into her. Former Marist student Sean McCann, who’s girlfriend lived in Sheahan at the time, remembers the night when Shelley paid them a visit. “We heard the story about Shelley, so one night, out of pure boredom, we broke out a Ouija board, and tried to summon Shelley.” Shelley did, in fact, make her presence feel known. “When we asked ‘Shelley are you here?’ the next thing we know there was a loud banging sound at the door, and that was the last time we ever messed with her,” stated McCann.

College Hill

Nothing attracts ghosts more than the grounds of where an old school and hotel once sat. College Hill, which is one of the largest open spaces in Poughkeepsie, is said to be a place of unrest of former residents of the hill. One such “resident” is said to be that of Charles Bartlett, the former principal of the old military school that sat upon the hill over 250 years ago. Some sightings include seeing a man dressed in academic robes walking up and down the area where the school once stood. Another witness has stated to have seen Bartlett’s spirit watch over them while golfing. “Many years ago, I remember looking up the hill and seeing this oddly dressed older man, who was just looking out into the golf course” said Philip Rickards. “I don’t remember what hole I was on, but I remember turning my back for a split second and the old man was gone.” Other sightings have included seeing an orange light float around the pavilion at all hours of the night, which may be the caretaker who took care of the property back in the early 1900s. “I have seen what appears to be an orange flickering light on the hill, going in circles. At first, I just thought it was some kids goofing around or cops patrolling the area. I remember seeing it up there during a really bad snow storm, but when I called the cops to ask them what that was, they told me that no one can get up on the hill past 10 p.m. because of the gates. Of course, they sent an officer to investigate and they found no footprints or any sign of anyone,” said a neighbor who lives across the street from the park.

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