Story and photo by John Adamski
In the mid-1990s, during a transitional period in my life, I rented a century-old farmhouse on ten acres in northwestern Ontario County. It was located on Dark Hollow Road – better known today as County Road 37 – which connects the hamlets of West Bloomfield and Honeoye. I shared the place with Sidney, my daughter’s housecat, while she was away at college.
The homestead was actually the combination of two houses – a two-story home built in the mid-1880s – and a one-story addition that was moved from another site and attached some years later. The one-story section featured a small library with bookshelves built into three of its four walls. The fourth wall had a door that opened to a staircase that accessed an attic over that part of the house.
Added to the original house was a circa-1970s wood-paneled family room with a massive stone fireplace. The home had two fireplaces and was charming, well-kept and nicely landscaped, and it afforded a million-dollar view that stretched more than a dozen miles to the Naples Valley beyond the south end of Honeoye Lake. The place was also haunted.
I’d never put much stock into haunted house stories – not until I moved to the aptly-named Dark Hollow Road farmhouse, that is. But not long after we settled in, Sidney and I both shared some experiences that can only be described as paranormal. Strange things began to happen – some on a regular basis – that were enough to unnerve the both of us. Sidney would often sit halfway up the winding staircase in the magnificent two-story foyer and groan some of the eeriest and mournful catcalls that I have ever heard – for no apparent reason. There was something on the second floor that bothered him and he wasn’t shy about letting it be known. I’d have to put him outside to get him to quiet down.
Despite the fact that the place had a well-seasoned firewood supply, I couldn’t keep a fire going in either of the fireplaces. Even though the chimneys were clean and drafted well, a hot crackling fire soon became reduced to a pile of smoldering wood that eventually went out for no apparent reason. It was frustrating to say the least.
But other things began to occur that made me wonder about the fireplaces. For example, before retiring for the night, I always made sure that all of the downstairs lights were turned off. But when I’d come down in the morning, oftentimes they’d be turned back on again. It became a challenge for me to make sure to turn the lights off – only to find them back on in the morning.
And then there was the doorbell. It only happened late in the evening but on occasion the front doorbell would ring. Sidney would race to the door to see who was there and I wouldn’t be far behind him. Turning on the outside porch lights showed that no one was there. I began to think that it was a kid’s prank until one night when it snowed. The doorbell rang a half dozen times that night and when I’d turn on the lights, no one was ever there. There weren’t any footprints in the freshly fallen snow either.
But the part that really got to me was what happened in the library. When I moved in, I brought seven heavy cardboard boxes full of books, which I placed on the floor in the library, planning to place them on the bookshelves when I had a chance. I also set up my exercise machine in there as well. And without fail, every morning when I’d go into the library to work out, the door to the attic was always open. I’d close it and push hard enough to make sure that it latched but the next morning it would be open again. One morning out of sheer frustration, I latched the door, stacked four boxes of books in front of it, and piled three more in front of those. The following morning, when I found the door wide open and seven boxes of books slid aside, I finally accepted the fact that the place was haunted.
During the entire 18 months that I lived there, I never heard anything go bump in the night or experienced any apparitions. But it became clear that Sidney and I were not alone in the Dark Hollow Road farmhouse. One time the doorbell rang during the day and I found a middle-aged lady standing there. She introduced herself as a formal tenant and wondered whether I had any unusual occurrences there. It turned out that both of our experiences were very similar.