Halloween may not be for months, but Ontario County’s Belhurst Castle is ready for the haunted season as the newest addition to New York State’s Haunted History Trail.
Belhurst Castle has a rich past of love affairs, embezzling funds and even death. From workers falling to their death to sounds of children playing in different rooms, a stay at Belhurst is sure to delight paranormal enthusiasts. Belhurst’s most well-known ghost is Isabella (hence the name of Belhurst’s spa and salon), the beautiful opera singer often seen dressed in white. According to local stories, Isabella fled with her forbidden lover, Spanish Don, to America, where they built a house with a secret tunnel. When the police came to look for them, they tried to escape through the tunnel, but it collapsed on her. To this day, the lady in white is said to be walking the shores of Seneca Lake, grieving for her lover. Guests have claimed to see her standing in the middle of the lawn at night or flying through the windows.
The Haunted History component at Belhurst Castle is low-key. Visitors may see various paranormal phenomenons if they spend the night on the property. Perhaps a guest will run into Isabella — or perhaps Dick O’Brien, an old caretaker that passed away in 1972. Guests still see him walking up the stairs or sitting in his favorite chair.
“We’re very excited to be part of New York State’s Haunted History Trail,” said Carly Morabito, marketing manager, Belhurst. “Our historic roots are known to tie to a few ghost stories or two, and our guests love hearing any Belhurst stories on hauntings and sightings.”
Spearheaded by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in 2013, the trail celebrates the paranormal history of New York State with over 65 haunted sites across 400 miles. The year-round trail encourages paranormal enthusiasts to participate in guided ghost tours and special events. Serious investigative teams also explore the ghost hunting locations for themselves.
“Belhurst Castle is lauded for being a luxurious romantic getaway in the Finger Lakes, but there is also a paranormal presence Belhurst is reputed from its days as a speakeasy and gambling casino,” said Melissa Knoblauch, partner and community relations manager for Finger Lakes Visitors Connection. “The Haunted History Trail allows more people to explore this distinctive piece of the area’s history.”
This is the second stop on the trail within Ontario County, which also includes The Naples Hotel. Open since 1895, the Naples Hotel’s 32 rooms are said to be haunted by at least six friendly spirits, including the well-known Topper. They have been known to move pictures, turn lights on and lock doors.
About the Haunted History Trail of New York State
From the great spirits invoked by early Native American tribes, to the first Dutch settlers who carefully avoided haunted places, New York has harbored centuries of spooky events that simply can’t be explained. Interest in the eerie has steadily increased with television and movies exploring the ghosts, UFOs, and things beyond the realm of human understanding. All of this awaits you on the Haunted History Trail of New York State as it takes you to the places where human forms come out of the mist and strange lights wink from the dark.
The Haunted History Trail of New York State features attractions from almost every region of New York State. Haunted dining, tours, and overnights are available on the trail, with many of the attractions tying back to New York’s local history. For more information, visit: www.hauntedhistorytrail.com.