Haunted Buffalo: Ghosts in the Queen City

Haunted Buffalo: Ghosts in the Queen City

by Dwayne Claud, Cassidy O'Connor


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Grab pen and paper, a flashlight and a camera and prepare to embark upon the haunted adventure of a lifetime using this comprehensive guide to some of Buffalo’s spookiest sites. Avid ghost hunter and paranormal investigator Dwayne Claud and researcher Cassidy O’Connor entertain readers with stories of the city’s most acclaimed spooks and spirits, such as Tanya, the five-year-old that can be spotted bouncing on guest beds at the Grand Island Holiday Inn. The book includes twisted tales from the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, as well as stories of roaming spirits at Frontier House—a hotel frequented by figures such as Mark Twain and President McKinley. This gripping collection of ghostly tales is sure to thrill anyone fascinated by the unknown.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596297753
Publisher: History Press, The
Publication date: 09/28/2009
Pages: 126
Sales rank: 787,420
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Dwayne Claud is the director of Western New York Paranormal and can often be seen giving lectures on haunting and demonology. He has consulted for NBC News Nightline, and appeared on the Maury Show and national radio's Jeff Rense Program, along with a variety of other local and regional media. He has a BA in Communications from SUNY at Geneseo and currently owns and operates a wellness center working personally as a hypnotist.
Cassidy O’Connor’s interest and passion lies in the area of historical research. She has worked with several regional historical societies independently researching historical sites, artefacts, and individuals. She uses these skills to correlate reported ghost stories with oral and written local history to validate the possibility of their existence. Some of her research has allowed her to discover the once lost location of Harmonia, one of New York State's Spiritualist settlements.

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Food critics have best described Buffalo as a melting pot of cuisine. The diverse population of the city brings a wide range of food choices. It's not unusual to discover restaurant upon restaurant serving authentic Polish and Italian dishes to specialties from Germany, Greece and India. Buffalo's variety of food is only matched by its selection of elegant lodging, from unique bed-and-breakfast accommodations to lavish hotels, which makes for an exciting night life for both the living and the dead.


3800 Hoover Drive, Blasdell, New York www.DockAtTheBay.com

Soldiers in uniform are said to be walking the hallways of this popular Buffalo dining destination. Today, a beautiful panoramic overview of the bay is what visitors to Dock at the Bay will experience, but some two hundred years ago, it was a bay filled with commerce, trading vessels and warships. The bay became an essential military point during the War of 1812, providing a stop for ships and their crews. Today's Dock at the Bay was formerly known as the WillLink Hotel and became a popular place for soldiers during the war.

One local legend tells of Captain James Byrd, who served on one of Admiral Perry's ships during the war. He would set his ship to anchor at this point in the bay and sneak off ship to rendezvous with a lady friend late at night. They met at the WillLink Hotel. He would then return early in the morning, to no one's suspicion. One night, Byrd was seen coming back onboard the ship. He was soon after court-martialed and shot by a firing squad. His body was laid to rest in Hamburg, New York.

Employee Carl Mazzu believes that the spirit of the captain still walks in the building. He recalls one encounter when he had just finished work for the night. As he was preparing to leave, he heard the sound of heavy footsteps on the floor. He described them as boot heels — heavy boots pacing the floor above him. It would go from one end of the building to the other. When he went to investigate, no one was there. Several employees have had similar experiences at the Dock at the Bay throughout the years. One evening after a banquet, when guests were leaving, a waitress noticed a tall man wearing a black hat and long jacket who stood by one of the serving tables. As she watched, the man turned and "floated" up the stairs to the banquet room. A few moments later, the disc jockey came running down the stairs, scared out of his mind. He told the waitress that a man had just come up the stairs to the room and, as he watched, evaporated before his eyes. To this day, the disc jockey has not returned to the restaurant, according to Mason Winfield's television documentary The Phantom Tour: The 13 Most Haunted Places in Western New York. Another disc jockey tells of coming into work early one day to set up for a party in the banquet room. Once this task was completed, he headed downstairs to get dressed for the party. He returned to the banquet room to do his sound check before any quests arrived, only to hear a voice quietly whisper his name, "James." He looked around and no one was there. He walked closer to his equipment to hear "James" called a little louder. Puzzled, he continued to his table to hear his name yelled: "James!" He turned quickly around to see no one in the room. Perhaps this was the gentle whisper of the girlfriend still looking for her captain.

Locals believe that there are two Byrds whose spirits still haunt the Dock at the Bay. The other is that of Amos Byrd, who fought in the War of 1812 at the Battle of Black Rock. His grave is not far from the restaurant. As the story goes, there was a scuffle in the tavern in the mid-1800s. The barkeep instructed the men to take it outside, where it became more heated. Gunshots were fired that missed the men, but one bullet hit the gravestone of Amos Byrd, knocking a small piece off of it. It is said that in the fight, a piece of the steps to the tavern was broken off as well. The two men who fought are said to have taken the piece of stone from Byrd's grave marker and placed it into the crack in the steps of the tavern to repair it. Some believe that Byrd is upset that his rest was disturbed so haunts the bay. Today, things will fall off the tables with no explanation and empty pitchers will fly across the kitchen with no one near. Many believe that they have to be careful of what they say or do at the Dock at the Bay so they don't upset the spirits.


100 White Haven Road, Grand Island, New York www.MyHolidayInn.com

One of the more famous haunts of Buffalo is the Grand Island Holiday Inn. Many believe the Holiday Inn to be haunted by the young five-year-old spirit whom the hotel staff have affectionately named Tanya. The spirit of Tanya is said to run up and down the hallways late at night at the hotel with the sounds of a ball bouncing. There have even been accounts of guests experiencing the sensation of the beds "bouncing" at night, as if someone were jumping on them. Tanya is believed to be the spirit of a young girl who died in a house fire in the 1800s; the hotel was built on the ashes of the home, according to Lynda Lee Macken's book New York State's Haunted Landmarks. According to historical records, this story isn't possible. Local historian Teddy Linenfelser tells that a home was indeed built on the property in the early 1830s. It was purchased in 1848 by the town supervisor, John Nice, who raised ten children there, none of whom had the name Tanya. There are no records of the home ever burning down. It was later sold and became a restaurant for several years. In 1962, the restaurant burned down and the property was then purchased by the hotel. How does this account for the young child spirit that roams the building? It doesn't, but that doesn't mean that the spirit doesn't exist. Consider that the story may just be wrong.

One evening, guests came down to the main desk. They seemed quite upset and began to complain that the person behind the desk must have put two families in the same room by accident. As they had walked into their room after coming from dinner, they had seen a young girl in the room playing with their children's toys that had been left there. As the guests began to explain what the little girl looked like, the hotel clerk stopped them and asked, "You're in room 422, right?" They responded, "Why yes." They were a bit puzzled because they hadn't shared the room number yet. He went on to explain that they had just met Tanya, one of the ghost guests of the hotel. They were promptly placed in another room.

A former employee of the hotel recalled arriving for work one morning. He came in about 5:00 a.m. and stopped at the coffee shop. He recalled what a beautiful morning it was, with the sun rising and glistening off the water of the lake. This was routine for him every morning and was his way to relax a bit before the hectic day began. This morning had started out just like every other, except that he noticed a young girl playing down in the grass wearing a white nightgown. His first thoughts were that someone's child had sneaked out of their room and out of the hotel. He grabbed his keys and headed down to the porch to see whose child it was. As he walked outside, the girl was standing and had begun to walk toward one of the older buildings, a smokehouse over two hundred years old. He called to her. She turned and gave him a smile but continued walking. She turned the corner of the smokehouse with the employee following quickly behind. When he rounded the corner she was gone — she had vanished. He circled the building but could not find a sign of anyone. The little girl had just disappeared.

The spirit of Tanya isn't the only one said to haunt the Grand Island Holiday Inn, although she is the most famous. A former manager of the Holiday Inn explains that one evening he was in his office and had a frightening encounter. He glanced up from his work in the late-night hours to see the shadow of a tall man before him. He was walking back and forth in the hallway in front of his door and wearing an 1800s fashion cape or long coat with a tall stovepipe hat. Guests have also reported this same man in room 422.

Psychics who have visited the property feel that there are at least four or five entities that are active at the hotel. What makes the hotel such a hotbed of paranormal activity? It is really anyone's, guess but it seems that it's the place to stay for a "spirited" adventure.


414 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York

In 1869, Charles Sternberg commissioned architect George Allison to build him a mansion. There is little known about Allison other than the fact that he was the designer of many of the high-priced mansions that were constructed along Delaware Avenue. Sternberg was one of the grain tycoons who took up residence in the city of Buffalo. Unfortunately, he never saw the completion of his home before his death. The home showcases over twenty thousand square feet of living space with eighteen-foot ceilings and over two hundred windows, including several twelve-foot-tall bay windows that flood the interior with light. The massive number of windows in the home has earned the mansion the name the "house of light." The light not only floods into it during the day, but in the darkness of night, it illuminates all that is around it.

After Sternberg's death, the mansion was purchased by Samuel Curtis Trubee, who converted the space into a one-hundred-room hotel. It was open in time to operate during the Pan-American Exposition, which flooded visitors into the region. Trubee's hotel was filled to the maximum, charging the highest price in the city, three dollars a night. The spillover guests were allowed to sleep in the yard around the home. The hotel flourished through the years, including during the Great Depression, when local rumors had it that the mansion also served as a high-class bordello.

World War II ended and restaurant entrepreneur Hugo DiGuilio bought the establishment and opened the restaurant Victor Hugo Wine Cellars, which operated until the mid-1970s. The building remained abandoned until 2001, when the Mansion of Delaware Avenue opened its doors, offering twenty-eight luxury suites with butler service for every visitor, a unique feature to Buffalo accommodations. This elegant hotel also offers something else very special for its visitors: a few spirits of the past that still remain and linger.

Hotel staff and guests have reported seeing the spirit of a little girl that runs throughout the hotel. She stands out because her clothing is that of the nineteenth century. Her voice is often heard being carried down the hallways, laughing and singing little girls' games. She is a friendly spirit looking for someone to play with. No one is certain who this little girl is; perhaps she is an energy imprint of a past guest or even the child of one of the past owners. Other reports at the hotel include one from one morning when a house cleaner had stepped into a room briefly to check its vacancy. She returned to the hallway to find her cart flipped over with all of its contents thrown about the hall. She went back into the room and called to report the incident to her supervisor, but upon returning to the hallway moments later, her cart was back upright with everything in its place. The mansion definitely has a variety of paranormal activity for its guests. There are some who claim to have seen orbs of light with their eyes and elevators that open and close by themselves. One has to wonder, who are truly the guests in this home? Are they the visiting guests or the spirits themselves?


102 Pletcher Road, Youngstown, New York

The Mill Glenn Inn is located in what is considered one of western New York's most haunted regions: the town of Lewiston. During the War of 1812, British troops were ordered to burn the town of Lewiston as retaliation against the doings of General McClure, an American general. The residents of the town were ordered to leave and the town was burned to the ground, leaving women and children to try to survive a brutal winter homeless. The retaliation for the burning was swift and savage by the British and Native Americans. In the end, a vast majority of the residents of Lewiston had perished and only one building remained standing. Many times it is emotionally charged events like this that hold on to psychic energy, allowing spirits to remain or even to draw spirits back in.

Once a dairy farm, the Mill Glenn Inn Bed-and-Breakfast has two resident spirits. One is that of a feline phantom and the other an elderly gentleman. A prior owner shared her first experience at the inn. Shortly after she had purchased the property, she encountered a cat in the house. It was a dark gray cat, and as she watched it, it walked through the kitchen, up the stairs and into the bathroom. When the owner went into the bathroom, the cat had vanished. Several days later, she saw the dark cat again in the home, but this time her dogs noticed it too. Not being brave dogs, they just watched the cat walk up the stairs. The owner followed again, only to have it vanish. Although she had only canines for witnesses, this time she knew that she wasn't seeing things and called the prior owner to ask her about a cat in the house. The prior owner explained that she had a cat in the home and described the phantom feline exactly. When asked how old the cat was, the prior owner broke down and explained that she had just died the week prior. It seems that the cat's litter box was once kept in the upstairs bathroom.

One morning, two guests came down for breakfast. They were travelers through the area and it was their first time staying at the bed- and-breakfast. As breakfast was being served, they asked if another guest wouldn't be joining them. They had heard the voice of an older gentleman in the hallway several times the prior night and thought it would be nice to meet him. The innkeeper explained that they were the only guests in the home that night. They went on to explain that they had heard him talking but couldn't make out what he was saying. They could even hear his footsteps down the hallway, but the innkeeper insisted that no one else had been there. A few days later, the owners were enjoying a quiet night without guests when the events with their guests began to make sense. As they sat in the living room, they began to hear the sound of footsteps walking back and forth on the floor above them in the bedroom, the floorboards creaking with each step. When they investigated, there was no one there. It seems that even ghosts need a little vacation once in a while.


40 South Grove Street East Aurora, New York www.RoycroftInn.com

In 1895, the Roycroft community was formed by Elbert Hubbard. It was to be a completely self-contained arts and crafts community. It drew such well-known names as Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley to work. It quickly became a mecca for those interested in the arts and crafts movement. In 1905, the Roycroft Inn was opened to accommodate the thousands of visitors who journeyed to East Aurora. Today, it still greets visitors to this historic village with a flavor of the past. There are twenty-eight guestrooms, each decorated in the arts and crafts style of the time. There is also a fine dining restaurant, event rooms and, of course, "finer spirits."

As legend has it, Hubbard was a world traveler. In the last years of his life, he traveled with his wife to Germany. On May 15, 1915, they boarded a United Kingdom–bound ocean liner from New York. While just off the coast of France, a German U-boat sunk the ship. Hubbard did not survive. Since that day, the spirit of Hubbard has been seen in Ireland, France and at the Roycroft Inn. According to an article in the October 2008 Buffalo Downtowner, there is one gentleman who claims to have frequent conversations with Hubbard at the inn. He speaks directly to the portrait of him behind the bar. There have also been reports of Hubbard walking down the street speaking to another gentleman, in the inn walking down the stairs and reading in the Ruskin Room.


9701 Lower Lake Road, Barker, New York

There is a place along the Niagara River just south of Buffalo that has claimed many ships over the past three hundred years. In 1780, the HMS Ontario sank here. Local legend says that the ship was carrying British troops and over $15,000 in British payroll. In 1817, the Mary sank in the same area. Historical records show that some seventeen years after the sinking, neighbors to the area witnessed men rowing to shore on a boat. They walked up to the top of the hill and began to dig. They returned to their rowboat with a chest and rowed back out to the ship waiting in the river. The locals believed that the men came to retrieve the treasure left by crew of the Mary. Is it local legend? Perhaps. But there have been many documented ships sinking in this area of the Niagara River, which is why the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse was built in 1875 just off the river to mark a dangerous sandbar.


Excerpted from "Haunted Buffalo"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Dwayne Claud and Cassidy O'Connor.
Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Richard J. Kimmel,
Beds, "Spooks" and "Spirits",
Creepy Cemeteries,
Deathly Insane,
Ghosts at Work,
Historic Haunts,
Haunted Homes,
Haunted Highways,
"Spirited" Theatres,
Paranormal Terms,
Paranormal Researchers,
About the Authors,

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