During most of the year, it’s easy to walk past many of these places in St. Lawrence County without thinking of anything spooky. But if you’re in the mood for something a bit haunted, the North Country has several great spots surrounded with intrigue, history, and legends. Here are some we’ve heard about, and links to learn more if you dare! (And if you have anything to add, please contact us and we'll update this post - and give you credit for helping us out.)
Pine Grove Cemetery #2
Cook Street Road, Massena
Many of the plots in Pine Grove #2 were relocated from Barnhart Island during construction of the Seaway in 1955. One section in particular, belonging to the Barnhart family, is sectioned off and wrapped in iron fence. A source of local legends, among them accounts of unexplained claw marks on the inside of caskets. Visitors from ghost hunters to children have all felt presences.
Open to the public dawn til dusk
More info: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/pine-grove-cemetery-2
3 N Main Street, Massena
Known as one of the most haunted places in the country, an old rail car was converted into a small diner in 1956. Over the years, the restaurants changed hands until the father of present day owner Valeris J. LeValley purchased it. Her dad, “Spanky”, had various unexplained experiences in the restaurant. Lights and equipment turning on and off, presences felt, and faces and voices seen and heard. One woman reportedly had her shoelaces tied together while dining.
Haunted basement open for ghost hunts and tours by appointment
More info: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/spankys-restaurant
1 Lincoln Street, Canton
The Hub, an old cottage on the St. Lawrence University campus, is said to be the residence of the ghost of Florence Lee Whitman, the daughter of former president of the college John Stebbins Lee. Famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren claimed to have witnessed a ghost in the butler’s pantry in the 1970s.
Private residence not open for visits
More info: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/the-hub/
University Ave, Canton
If you ask the students who spent any time here, the T-shaped Herring-Cole Hall at SLU, which is on the National Registry for Historic Buildings, is a hotbed of supernatural activities. Countless sightings have been observed over the years by the students. Rumor has it that the haunts make it a great spot for seances and meditations, but it could partially be the acoustics too.
Open by appointment/reservation
More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osvYRms4ACA&feature=youtu.be and https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/herring-cole-hall/
8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam
Witnesses have described an apparition, believed to be Elizabeth Clarson, the mother of the college’s namesake, at the Holcroft House. Among the sightings reported are lights that turn on by themselves, moving furniture and parting curtains, sounds of footsteps and a crying woman, random banging, and a Ouija board that once spelled out “Elizabeth”.
Open by appointment
More info: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/holcroft-house/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNYbelUfGoM&ab_channel=ClarksonUniversity
44 Pierrepond Ave, Potsdam
SUNY Potsdam was founded in 1816, making it one of the 50 oldest colleges in the United States. The spirit of Dr. Howard Satterlee, first dean of SUNY Potsdam, is said to still roam the hall of his namesake. He is said to favor the third floor, and sometimes turn on the clock tower lights. Other apparitions have been observed in the Knowles basement and students have seen doors slam by themselves.
Open during regular business hours: https://www.potsdam.edu/about/directory/buildings/satterlee-hall
More info: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/suny-potsdam/ and https://www.newyorkhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/suny-potsdam.html
The Claire House B&B
709 Franklin St., Ogdensburg
Once a church rectory built in 1884, this imposing limestone manor is filled with terrifying entities that tie back to its religious beginnings. The Claire House once neighbored the original St. Mary's Cathedral and was home to the Rector and other priests for 76 years. When fire destroyed the cathedral in 1947, precious relics were saved from the flames and secretly stored in the basement of The Rectory. Since then, it was sold to a succession of families who used it as their home. During this time, the house fell into serious disrepair and there has been haunted sightings ever since. Many have claimed to see ghost sightings of Bishop Conroy, the original Rector of the house who lived there for 37 years. Others have seen the Skeleton-Faced Lady AKA Mrs. Gardner & Our Little Girl and Mystery Ghost. The building was purchased in 2019 by Hal and Rachel Kench, who have rehabilitated the property and converted it to a "Haunted B&B". An episode of "Ghost Hunters" was filmed here and featured as the 2023 season finale titled "Diocese of the Dead".
The B&B is expected to open in the summer of 2023.
More info: https://www.theclairehouse.com/ and https://www.newyorkupstate.com/places-to-stay/2023/04/new-ghost-hunters-episode-to-feature-haunted-outdoor-adventure-b-b-in-upstate-ny.html
Mater Dei College/Academy at Ivy Ridge
5631 NY-37, Ogdensburg
As a former school for troubled teens, witnesses have felt being watched by the presence of a ghost boy and a phantom nun at the former Mater Dei College, later the Academy at Ivy Ridge. With a turbulent history that included riots, accusations of assault, and other troubles, the school closed in 2009 after being open seven short years.
More info: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/mater-dei-college-academy-at-ivy-ridge/ https://www.newyorkhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/academy-at-ivy-ridge.html
Ogdensburg Public Library
312 Washington St., Ogdensburg
Librarians at the Ogdensburg Public Library have reported seeing apparitions in the building and have had unusual experiences. Originally a residential mansion, it was remodeled between 1921 and 1922 after a devastating fire. According to the librarians, the ghosts are more friendly than fright.
Open to the general public during regular business hours: https://www.ogdensburgpubliclibrary.org/hours
More info: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/ogdensburg-public-library/ and https://www.newyorkhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/ogdensburg-public-library.html
Frederic Remington Art Museum
303 Washington St., Ogdensburg
The Frederic Remington Art Museum is known for not only its art collection but also the ghost of Elena Vespucci, the mistress of Daniel Parish. The Museum is the site of the former home of Parish and Vespucci. They moved back to Europe and spent their final days separately across the ocean, but many believe Vespucci’s spirit travelled back to her old home, where she once spent the best and happiest years of her life. Vespucci’s voices, along with the ghost of Remington and others, have been reported by visitors.
Open during regular business hours: https://fredericremington.org/hours-of-operation-c16.php
More info: https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/frederic-remington-art-museum/ and https://seeksghosts.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-ghost-at-frederic-remington-art-museum.html