The Ghost Cattle of Camp Onyahasa

In 1942, three young teenage boys were excited to be camping at Camp Onyahsa. Little did they know that this would be an experience that would have a lifetime effect upon them.

Camp Onyahsa is located on Lake Chautauqua in Dewittville, NY and is one of the oldest summer camps in the country. The boys participated in a number of activities including swimming, boating and hiking through the vast forest surrounding the camp.  One of the favorite afternoon games was called hounds and hares.  One group of boys were the proverbial hounds who would track the other group of boys who were the hares.  The hares would have a bag of confetti that they would leave a trail through the forest.

Ghost Cattle

One afternoon, three boys, who were the hounds, ran rampantly after the trail of confetti left for them by the hares.  They were having such a good time tracking that they forgot the time it was becoming darker by the minute. Soon they became disoriented and lost in the woods. All of the trees and trails looked the same. After trying for several hours to find their way back to the camp, the boys knew they were truly lost.  The sun eventually went down and the forest became very dark. The three boys walked for several miles and came upon a road with a split rail fence on both sides.  The moon was full and illuminated the road.  They walked for few minutes and came upon an old man wearing overalls, a straw hat and a tattered shirt leaning on the fence post.  They asked the old man directions back to Camp Onyahsa.  The old man just cackled and pointed saying, “Just follow the road”.  The boys thanked him and continued on their way.

After a few minutes, the boys saw the same old man again, sitting on a fence post.  They asked him how he got there so fast, but the old man just cackled.  The boys asked him again how to get back to Camp Onyahsa.  The old man replied, “Follow the road and when you see a meadow with a knoll, go over it and you will find what you are looking for.”

The boys found the meadow but as they started to cross the field they heard a low rumbling noise.  The boys looked around expecting to see cattle, but there were none.  Just a moonlit field.  They continued to walk toward the crest of the hill.  With each step the rumbling became louder and the ground began to shake under their feet.  The noise became deafening.  Cold sweat trickled down the boys faces in fear that a herd of cattle was coming toward them from the other side of the hill and that they would be trampled to death.  The boys peeked over the crest, but to their astonishment there were no cattle. The boys ran like the wind as fast as they could and climbed over a fence at the top of the hill. The noise suddenly stopped.  The three boys looked at each other and then turned and saw the lights of Camp Onyahsa in the distance. The old man was right.

When the boys finally got back to camp, they saw that everyone had turned on their car headlights hoping that the boys would see the lights and return.  The camp counselors were furious.  They demanded to know where the boys were for over 6 hours.  The boys told the counselors about how they got lost, the old man and the sound of stampeding cattle.  However, the counselors refused to believe their story.

The next morning, the boys and two counselors returned to the area where the incident had occurred. The only people around were a couple of farmers. The counselors asked them if they knew of an old man who lives in the area and also about a possible herd of cattle.  The farmers replied that there had not been any cattle in this area for over 100 years.  The last time that there was any cattle, “the whole herd had to be destroyed because of hoof and mouth disease.  In fact, the herd was destroyed in that field over there”, pointing to the exact location where the boys claimed to have heard the cattle. “The farmer, who owned the herd, went crazy after they destroyed his cattle. In fact, the neighbors found him dead leaning up against one of the fence posts on this very road.”

The boys began to shake and they looked at each other in bewilderment wondering what exactly happened to them last night. Could it possibly be that the past and the present somehow came together for few brief moments ?  What of this world or not of this world just happened right in front of them? And is the ghost of the old man and cattle still out there?  It must be!

James Prendergast Home

Reader Submission August 4th 2010

I lived in the house that  James Prendergast once owned  and every night he would appear he liked knocking pictures off the wall and open my kitchen cupboards.

Fenton Historical Society

Reader Submission March 3, 2010

Ok everyone who grew up in Jamestown has been to or at least heard of the Fenton Museum in Jamestown. It sits on a dark hill and one of the oldest and most historical sites of the town. Many mysteries come from there. Such as the wife and daughter of Mister Fenton died a yr to the day of each other and if I’m correct on the birthday of the daughter.

Well one day I took my son, My daughter, and my nephew to see the historical place. Well they seemed pleased..However we went to the second level of this place and I had my camera ready to miss nothing. As a child everyone said it was haunted and I wanted to see. I wanted to know if there was a such thing as ghosts. Well As we went up stairs I opened a door to a room that was for storage. It was supposed to be locked. However a had a calling..a feeling. I couldn’t help my self. The room was dark not any light at all. The floor for the room was raised and about two or three feet higher from the floor itself. It was crammed full of stuff. I took three consecutive shots with my camera and shut the door afraid to get caught. Well strange as it may seem both of my kids got really sick after that. My son even more so than my daughter. He was seated on the stairs crying that he wanted to leave and that his head hurt and he felt really sick to his stomach.

Well we left after that and he vomited as we got home and felt remarkably better. I thought the pics were nice but no evidence of any thing. Then later in August I was scamming threw my pics and noticed that room. The three pics. My sister had given the camera for my birthday and I was now more accustomed to using it. So I zoomed in on the pics all the way and started looking at the stuff in the room. Well on this aquarium looking thing I was this weird light or something. As I got to the second it changed and looked more strange like a face or something not moving positions…then on the third I saw… and others agreed… for I believed I was going crazy..a mans face about 50 yrs in age in a a hat from the civil war or something. You can see every detail to his face. He looked sad or mad not sure. But this is a picture of a man who served. I wondered if it was one of Mr. Fenton’s family members or himself. I don’t believe in ghosts but this is something so unbelievable. I actually would love ghost lab to see these pics. I am always willing to show them to someone. Everyone who see them knows or believes I caught something on that camera. I would be willing to meet with someone about this and do more research at the Fenton Museum with some help.

The strangest part of this is that my kids got so sick and were fine when we got home. My son used to talk to people that wasn’t there as a child. Laughing. I always got creeped out like he was crazy at 18 months old. And that is not the age for pretend friends. He would talk to them at 3 am. However I think he is very sensitive and whatever I caught on film bothered him that day. It was raining but that wasn’t the reason for the ailment.

McClurg Mansion

Reader Submission 10/30/2010

My friend and I were looking for something to do while walking around Westfield. It was raining, and we gradually found ourselves in the McClurg Mansion. We took a tour of the building (it was only my friend, the guide and myself), as we were walking through the second floor, I heard the sounds of a woman whispering/crying, I looked to my friend thinking that it was her trying to tell me something, I asked her if she said something and she said no. I shrugged it off, thinking that she was lying to me and we continued our tour, I continued snapping photos along the way. We got to the master bedroom, it was like an instant temperature difference, the room was cold as ice and as I got closer to the bed it felt as if someone brushed past me. I immediately walked out of the room, refusing to enter it again. As we made our way down to the main floor, I took a photo of the stairs. Later upon reviewing the photos, a shadow of some sort can be seen, as if they were coming down the stairs. Later on, I did some research on the computer about this home, it is said that the maids still haunt the grounds. I still get the the chills thinking about it and I wonder if anyone else has had the same or similar experiences that I’ve had.

The Incomplete Paper of De La Roche Hall

De Le Roche Hall which houses the computer and science classes at Saint Bonaventure has had a long past and retains a legend that may not just be urban. Somewhere on the third floor, there is a story that persists of a student that has never left. The story goes that late one night while a student, unnamed of course, was trying to finish a paper a fire broke out. In the conflagration, the student perished.  With the paper incomplete or lost, the spirit of the student still resides in De La Roche night after night toiling away at his studies.  People know because they can see a bright light burning in the third floor lighting the student while he still tries to finish the paper he died trying to complete.

Is this story true?  Has De La Roche been cursed by fire?  If we look into the past of De La Roche you can see a pattern emerge.  June 30, 1908 marks the day a fire broke out in the old college building destroying much leaving only ash behind.  When it was rebuilt the building was renamed Lynch Hall.  With the memory of the previous fire fading away into history, another fire broke out in 1933.  Again, with the building destroyed the college decided to rebuild.  This time the building was renamed De La Roche.  No one knows if the story of the student is true but those that look into the third floor window of De La Roche can only wonder: who is working under the light?

Ellington Ghost Carriage

Ellington Ghost Carriage

If you have ever been to Ellington, New York you would know that the quaint little town, sitting around a well manicured square, harkens back to a time when small towns were everything.  The local restaurant, garage, library and beautiful old houses are monuments to times past.  Everyone knows one another and if they pass each other on the street they stop and shoot the breeze.  It only seems right that a spirit resides there from time to time.  Someone told me once that a gentleman saw a spirit and swore that what he saw was real.  The recollection was vague but what they told me was that passing through the town square, down Main Street and past the gazebo was the apparition of a horse drawn carriage.  Sitting atop the carriage was a man and woman in period dress just as if time did not move on.  Clip clop clip clop they went and summarily faded away back to a time forgotten.  But if ever you should visit Ellington be sure to sit in the middle of town, on the grass or even in the gazebo and wait.  Enjoy the cool summer breeze and just before dusk you may just hear a horse drawn carriage coming down the street.  If you do see it wave and greet the driver if they do not wave back you never know they may not have seen you, or you may just have been witness to history.

The Kennedy Peddler

The Unexpected Disappearance of the Peddler

It is well known that in the days of the blooming rural communities there was not much of a source from where the settlers could purchase necessities. The basics were available maybe miles away and would take the day to travel into town to just shop. At this time the peddler became more prevalent. A traveler, sometimes by foot, at others by cart he supplied the settlers with a means to purchase their tin wares or other certain sundries. These peddlers were usually local but at times men would come through town from all parts selling their wares. These peddlers would rely on the kindness of the townsfolk to put them up at times and would repay them with some of their items. These out of towners were also looked at as wealthy since they carried some cash upon them from their sales and were at times looked at suspiciously.

This story taken from Chautauqua County: A History by Helen McMahon retells the unfortunate story of a “Yankee” Peddler whom taking advantage of the good graces of the townsfolk stopped in at McGlasson’s Tavern in Kennedy to pass the night. Stories of disappearing peddlers circulated from town to town knowing that people of enterprise could often dispose of the peddler and obtain his money without anyone being the wiser. This story has some proof that possibly the peddler never left town that night. For when the old cemetery was moved the first grave dug up was that of a one legged man. The peddler who had stooped into McGlasson’s that night on his way through town was seen to have only one leg. Even more evidence turned up in a field nearby where the peddler’s pack was said to be found. Now the peddler is a mere memory but the vanishing peddler of Kennedy and the mysterious one legged corpse buried in the cemetery can live on as a true mystery of Chautauqua County.

Hollenbeck Cemetery

hollenbeck cemetery

Just outside of the city of Jamestown is a small cemetery in which rests about twenty-five graves. There is nothing great or even remarkable about this final resting place last used about 1890. It has sat for over a hundred years watching time pass and along the way certain stories have cropped about around this little plot of land called Hollenbeck Cemetery. The www.shadowlands.net states that sightings of a headless horseman, of animal bones, calls for help, babies crying, and even of a strange knocking like someone trying to escape their ghastly tomb have all taken place over the years. What they do not mention is the sightings of strange hovering balls of light within the cemetery and the odd disappearance of most of the tombstones in July 1995. Placed in the middle of the cemetery is a memorial dedicated to those laid to rest beneath the earth.

It states:
MEMORIAL PLACED BY THE TOWNSHIP OF ELLICOTT
ON FEB 8, 1996 TO REPLACE THE ORIGINAL 19TH CENTURY
GRAVESTONES THAT WERE STOLEN JULY 1995
The odds are vandals desecrated the tombstones but what of the other occurrences? What of the sighting of a ghostly woman in white around and in the cemetery itself. When you read the message at the bottom of the memorial it makes you wonder are we alone in this world and if not what awaits us on the other side?

As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you will be
Prepare to die and follow me.

The Ghosts of Deveruex Hall

Sitting silently and morose, abandoned for years atop the Devereux Hall dormitory is the fifth floor. Better known by the student body as “Fifth Dev” this portion of the building has always circulated rumors.  Chief among them is the story of a black mass being performed by three students who became curious enough to try to conjure the devil one night in the 1960’s.  Using a few books dedicated to the invocation of evil spirits and some stolen unconsecrated hosts the students set about their task. We can only imagine them huddled in the darkness chanting sacrilegious incantations to summon the master of darkness himself.  Whether they succeeded or not is a matter of conjecture.  What is known is that a Friar on some unknown rounds may have interrupted the students, that the students did actually steal the hosts, and that shortly after the incident one of the suspected students was treated for psychological problems.  Fifth Dev, which used to be a student lounge, was closed off after that, Of course generating additional rumors and solidifying them as fact, the “coincidental” closing of the floor seemed to prove something did occur there. Therefore, the floor still sat empty and unused, presumably being renovated.  When Fifth Dev was reopened a few years after the incident it was immediately shut down again for reasons unknown. 

There is uncertainty if the Devil himself came to earth that night or if spirits merely walk there drawn by the dark imprint put upon Fifth Dev that fateful night.  Sitting behind locked doors is a room that perpetuates rumors year after year.  What did happen on Fifth Dev almost Fifty years ago? Was the floor shut down because of demonic possession or is there still something trapped within the walls waiting to get out?

Over the years stories have cropped up in regards to a hooded figure haunting the students of Devereux Hall. Many have seen him roaming the halls, through a window on the fifth floor, and even standing at the end of their bed only to vanish before them. What this spectral figure is no one can say. Many have concluded that it has something to do with that fateful night in the 1960’s.

Another story about a supposed ghost tells about a phantom spirit who jogs through the halls of Devereux. It could be a student or even a Friar running to a destination that only they know.  It has also been alluded to that a young student even hung himself in one of the rooms of Devereux Hall. It was in the closet to be exact and he has stayed there ever since.

The final spirit of Devereux Hall did not walk within but is said to haunt the World War II memorial that lay behind the building. The memorial was placed there to remember those students that died serving their country in the War. It was said that while this memorial was in place that the copper nameplates, tarnished over the years were near illegible. It was then that the story took on a supernatural luster.  One soldier in particular, William J. Cooper was said to come back once a year to shine is nameplate. It is odd because his name looked as new as the day it was put in while the others were still illegible. What these spirits want no one knows but from class to class, from generation to generation the stories are told repeatedly taking on a life of their own.

 

Recommended Reading

Children and Ghosts

I remember when I was a child, but only slightly, that I had an imaginary friend oddly enough called Casper. It was not until I started writing this book and creating this web site that my family reminded me that I used to play for hours with my friend. Specifically, I had an old record player made for kids that was in its own case and I used to play Disney records on it all the time. I was told I would sit for hours listening and singing along to “It’s a Small World After All”, and “Davey Crockey” as I used to call him.

All of this I did with my imaginary “friend.” One night I was put to bed and my parents heard me behind my door talking. They assumed I was talking to my friend before I went to sleep. After awhile they heard me yelling a little bit and soon after I calmed down and went to sleep. When I awoke the next morning I had a black eye. When my parents asked me what happened I said that Casper and I had a fight and he hit me. He then flew out the window. From then on I never talked to or saw my imaginary friend again. I know it sounds a little strange, well; a lot strange but there is a couple explanations for this behavior of mine.

As a child I did have an imaginary friend named Casper and that was all he was. He was created by my childlike mind since I only played by myself. Or could he have been an actual spirit that I talked to? Now before you pass judgment listen to a few facts. Children and ghosts have been studied for quite some time and a few things have come out of it. First, a child is more apt to encounter a spirit and this usually occurs before the age of six. The theory being that a child up until that age has no preconceived notions that what he or she is seeing is not real. A child at that age lives in a world where imaginary friends are real. It is not until parents begin to condition children into thinking what they see and hear are figments of an over active imagination. Think of it like this a child is scared of the monster under the bed but we continue to say there is no such thing. After awhile a child learns that it is not real and is no longer afraid. As adults the question we have to ask ourselves is there really a monster? The child certainly believes there is.

I cannot remember where I saw this story but in my research I came across and account of a child who began to do wonderful things. At the age of six or so a boy began to create wonderful things out of building blocks. Whole towns, scenes, objects that were well out of his skill range began to appear while he played. There was no explanation other than the fact that this boy was a genius. Proud, the parents began to question the small boy where the ideas came from. He stated that they came from “the man” that he talked to. Concerned now the parents probed further fearing their son was being approached by a strange man. As the details began to emerge one of the parents blanched for the description of the man was that of their deceased father. The boy then went on to say that this man was where all the ideas came from. What are we to make of this story? It seems straight forward enough either the boy was a genius or his deceased grandfather was speaking to him, either way it is a fantastic story.

I don’t want to say that without a doubt my “imaginary friend” was a spirit that I played with but doesn’t it make a little sense? I simply believe that at a young age the receptors to other planes of existence are wide open, free to sense everything around them. There are things out there and children can see them and then the receptors slowly begin to shut down. The world becomes a little more chaotic with school approaching and our minds begin to process ideas and thoughts more. At some point the receptors can stay open sometimes a lot, sometime a little but it makes me believe that everyone has the ability, it is simply that not everyone wants to allow it to come through. If we keep our minds op