Interior, Beekman Family Crypt
Interior, Beekman Family Crypt

The Beekman Mansion has stood for over two centuries, weathered attacks by Native Americans, was a stop on the underground railroad, and was abandoned twice in its lifetime. How could there not be some restless souls wandering around its rooms?

We’ve met many locals, including one who spent time living in The Beekman as a child, who state unequivocally that they would never spend a single night in the mansion. Local tales claim of lights that appear to mysteriously travel from room to room – even during the years when the mansion had been completely abandoned. Several mornings Farmer John has asked us “who’s the insomniac?” having seen lights on in The Beekman while we were both sound asleep in our bed.

Attic stairs in the Beekman Mansion
Attic stairs in the Beekman Mansion. Scene of a scalping?

Another popular local rumor is that there was once a tunnel leading from the basement to the Beekman Crypt – also on the property. We have not found any indication of its existence, but its purpose is widely thought to have been an escape route from the house during Indian raids. So prevalent were Indian raids that The Beekman’s original shutters were lined with tin to ward against arrows and hatchets. There are still some of these shutters in the barn.

One local story tells of a young child who, during the chaos of such an attack, ran upwards rather than to the basement tunnel. She was reportedly scalped on the attic stairs.

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Long before it was on the underground railroad, the Beekmans owned slaves...these are chains in the cellar reportedly used to punish runaways.

When we heard that a local woman was a ghost whisperer, we wasted no time in inviting her to the farm.  When she arrived, she told us that for years she had been having conversations with the spirit of an African-American man, likely a slave, who resided in our front yard.  When she asked what he was doing, he replied that he was going to see the lady of the house for some salve for his injured leg.  Since the house was on the underground railroad, and runaway slaves were known to have undergone the brutal torturing of “hobbling” of the legs, was he perhaps a lucky escapee?

The ghost whisperer had never been inside the house, and she was as eager  to come inside as we were to have her.

Here are the presences she felt during the tour:

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Door through which the angry man passes…

In the dining room, there is the energy of an older man with a beard.  He’s dressed in full buckskin. He endlessly paces back and forth between the dining room and the kitchen. He is very angry and yelling at someone.

Josh’s mother, Jacqueline, and two of her friends were recently staying at The Beekman. His mother arose early and went down to the kitchen. Her friend, Kay, followed soon after and asked why Jacqueline was in the kitchen in the middle of the night clanging dishes. A bit later, the third guest, Rhema, came downstairs and asked the same question…without having spoken one word to Kay.

Jacqueline had gone to bed early that night and had never descended to the kitchen.

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The mysterious fireplace maid...

In the upstairs hallway, our Ghost Whisperer felt a petite, dark-skinned woman – perhaps West Indian – no taller than 5 feet.  She spends her days and nights traveling back and forth between the master bedroom and the guest room directly across the hall, tending to the fireplaces, poking at the dying embers in both rooms.

Several months after the reading, our friend Laura was visiting the farm for the first time.  We installed her in that guest room directly across the hall from the master bedroom.  Because it was an exceptionally chilly night, we built fires in both bedrooms. It was the very first time we’d lit fires in both fireplaces simultaneously. Laura brought her cat with her thinking that some fresh country air would be a special treat.  The cat was  mute, and she had never heard it make a sound.

At breakfast the next morning, we asked Laura how she had slept.  “Fine,” she said.  “But all night my cat kept walking back and forth from the doorway to the fireplace…meowing.”  Laura did not know about the petite, West Indian cinder maid, but evidently her cat did.

The attice of the Beekman Mansion
The humming in the attic rafters...

While the ghost whisperer did not perceive any energy on the attic stairway where the Indian attack had reportedly occurred, she did feel a weak presence in the attic itself. The presence made itself known audibly, from deep in the rafters. She is humming an aimless tune, as one would hum while doing a simple task, such as knitting.

According to the ghost whisperer, none of the spirits are aware of our presence…except for one. Luckily for us, she happens to be the most delightful one.

She is, apparently, a young girl – no more than four or five years old.  She can be felt throughout the house and walks around quietly on her tip toes.  As the only spirit who can see us, she follows us both around and usually stands in the doorways, smiling and laughing at us. The Ghost Whisperer believes that Mary thinks of us as her imaginary friends.

We weren’t surprised to hear that there might be a young girl’s spirit in the house. Shortly after we moved in, the contractor who had done the massive restoration on the mansion stopped by to helpfully show us some features of the work he had done. He asked if we had ever seen “a little girl,” before describing a strange encounter he’d had. He was working alone, late at night, when he realized he’d misplaced his hammer. He looked all over the room for it before turning around and seeing a little girl in the doorway pointing to a pile of drop-cloths in the corner. After investigating, he found the missing hammer tucked underneath them. He reported that several other workers had had similar experiences with “the little girl.”

We wondered if the girl our Ghost Whisperer was sensing was the same one as the one the workers had seen. We asked if she could pick up the little girl’s name.

“I’m not sure,” the Ghost Whisperer said. “I think it begins with an ‘M’.”

What she didn’t know was that when the aforementioned contractor toured the house with us, one of the last things he showed us was a carving they’d found etched in the wood floor of the downstair’s hallway.

It read, simply: “Mary.”

Mary leaves her mark in the floor of the center hallway
Mary leaves her mark in the floor of the center hallway

We’ve not had the pleasure of formally introducing ourselves to Mary yet, but we have no doubt that we’ve offered her countless hours of amusement.

We are certain Mary has a lot to tell us about life at the Beekman Mansion, so we’ve given her her own blog – Mary Beekman’s Diary. In her childlike voice, she teaches us all about what life would have been like for a small girl in the early 19th century. For those of you with young children, or grandchildren, Mary’s blog can be a fun and education historic teaching tool.

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People often ask us if we’re frightened by all the rumored ghostly activity in the house. And the answer is “no.” In fact we’re thrilled about it. It gives us hope that one day (hopefully far in the future) we’ll be able to join Mary and the rest, so that we can be forever at home in The Beekman.

Please post your ghost stories below. We’d love to share the scare.

READ MORE ABOUT MARY BEEKMAN.

by Dr. Brent

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Yoly Gayoso

I lived in a Victorian Home in Kansas City, MO. and even though I never saw any ghosts myself my granddaughter that was between 2 and 5 while we lived there, would tell me she was playing with the boys in my living room but there was nothing there or would ask us to tell the people that were upstairs playing what she described as an organ not to play that loud. One time someone that was working at the house asked me if we had a party for my granddaughter cause he could hear kids having fun inside my house. I never heard or saw anything myself but I knew who ever was in my house love it as much as me and I felt safe

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Lisa Factor

My Grandparents lived in Sharon Springs next door to the Beekman Mansion…..I remember sneaking inside it while playing kick the can with my Aunt & Uncles & cousins & my brother Dennis. It feels like yesterday I was inside looking and standing in the room with the chains on the walls with bones on the ground!!!!! If you looked hard enough you could see old dried up blood stains. It was so cool then & now to read all the truth behind it. At night we would see the lights go on as if someone was living there, while it was really vacant. I even walked on those attic steps that the little girl was scalped on. I am so pleased to have seen these pictures and go back to great times and memories after loosing my mother the day after christmas, we grew up visiting our grandparents on the farm in Sharon Springs. You are both lucky to live in such a beautiful town & home. Keep posting and up dating your website….I will be visiting, just as the ghost do.

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darla smelko

I live in a 1890’s home that is located in a small village in Pa. My family purchased the home in 1976 when I was 11. originally it had been a farm for a number of years but
when my family purchased it it was a house on about 2 acres.From the beginning we knew we were not alone some experiences were odd and some were scary to say the least. My father passed away here in 2002 and my mother remained here until 2008 until it was just too much for her to clean and maintain.She moved out and I purchased the house. I never wanted to live here again but
I am and I must say the energy has changed alot. It is light, calm and peaceful now.occassionly we are subject to hear our names being whispered and some one loves to turn on my printer and occassionaly turns up the thermostat. We were somewhat surprised to have captured a man and woman alongwith a border collie dog in a photograph that was taken at Thanksgiving 2009. Surprise, here we are. I am a sensitive and so are my children and grandchildren. So it did not surprise me when one of my 4 year old granddaughters began telling me there was a ghost lying on the floor of my bathroom. When i asked for a description of what she was seeing it confirmed who it was right down to the wire rimmed glasses. It is my father who passed in the bathroom on the floor and she described the clothing he wore the night he passed. Now for the other houseguests i get the names of Catherine and a Johnathon but so far the name of the dog I do not know.I am inclined to hear it jumping off my bed and landing on the floor and walking around. MY dog senses things and sniffs the air sometimes it’s unnerving but she is not acting afraid so I am ok with it. As I said I am a sensitive from childhood so there are very few places I have lived that I have not experienced some sort of phenomena.I just don’t like seeing full bodied apparitions they startle me. It makes life just a bit more interesting. LOL from Pa.

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john

hey guys, love the show…

My grandparent's house was built in 1773 in Philadelphia and from the time I was a very little kid I can remember the friendly ghost of an elderly woman.

The house I live in now is 165yo in Bethelehem PA. When my ex and I bought the place and first moved in the old owner said, "you know the place is haunted". My ex was a sceptic, but having frown up with a ghost at my grandparents, I was fine with it. We did research the house and were able to find out that the original builder of the house was convicted of a crime and hanged and we believe it is his spirit. He moves things and basically is an ok ghost. the few times he has gotten too restless I yell at him tell him we are stuck with each other for the time being and so settle down. Luckily he always does. He then amuaes himself by teasing the cats or the one dog. the other dog he leaves alone.. LOL not sure why. any whoo enjoy them Ghosts can be fun, but I have had one bad one in my experience and if you ever need a good exorcism I have one for ya… I am sure that Henrick knows I can get rid of him anytime I want and that is what really keeps him in line LOL.. TTFN

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dana at three oaks

We live in a 300 year old house. The previous lady of the house is buried on the property, and she was known to threaten that if her husband sold the house to some awful New Yorkers, she would HAUNT them. Ulp. The first week we moved in I saw a beam of light in an impossible place in the living room. I said hello, thanks for letting us live here, and requested that since it scared me, there be no more visible hauntings. It (she?) has honored this request, though my small children don't like to go into rooms alone. The previous lady of the house also had a poem posted about a ghost she had seen on the stairs, though I have not. Finally, I have a small photograph of the same lady, alive, lying atop her now grave. On the back it says "trying it out". I confess I feel the way you guys do – I'd be very honored to live out my life and die and be buried here, perhaps to hang around after. I love my farm home.

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Kim Lesser

I'm such a FAN! Love you two! MUAH!!

You ARE the FABULOUS Beekman boys 🙂

The Beekman is amazing…..and if you ever need help, I'm prudent with jarring AND soaping 😉

Cheers,

Kim

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Linda

I've had a few experiences with spirits, and saw a dog's reaction much like Adam's in an old home that I used to work in. The woman living there told me certain items she had were moved around constantly…a tea cup and saucer, and a brush and comb set. I imagine we may do the same someday, feeling that someone is "messing up" our arrangement of things just the way we liked them!

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Raymond Saint-Pierre

My entire youth was spent in the 50's and 60's on farms in New Hampshire and Canadian frontier New York. We did have one tractor besides the horses early on. Unfortunately the earliest and largest farm was destroyed and turned into a Tampon factory in the 60's. Rather ironic,considering my father is one of seventeen(17) siblings, most born there. Proof that before TV, even French Cathoholics had top do something besides work.

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Denise

Sorry-should have clarified that the house didn't stand at the time the ground itself was the site of the fighting.

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Denise

My grandparents grew up in the Sharon Springs area and had a book that mentioned that a group of white and black men dressed as Mohawks attacked some familes near/at Beekman's mansion area right before the "real" Cherry Valley Massacre. I can remember wondering out loud why the property was vacant and having my Grandfather tell me that you "couldn't keep horses" on certain parts of the property because "everyone knows that place is haunted!" Glad to see such love and care has gone into the property.

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john

Ive got a ghost story for you! In the 90s I was living with an ex in riverdale maryland and one night his brother came over so we decided to go to a huge abandoned retirement home for catholic priests and scout around.It was a gorgeous victorian pile,all boarded up and very spooky.We walked around for a while but it was hard going as it was all overgrown and pitch black,and we came across this burial ground that was immaculately kept,wich creeped me out more than the decrepit buildings for some reason! I started getting very uncomfortable so I told my companions I wanted to leave,wich surprised them as Im not a scary person,so we made our way back over this berm where we had entered and quite clearly we all 3 heard "john!" "john!" and simultaneously we all turned and saw the shadow of a figure standing right at the edge of the woods,wich wouldnt have been so bad but you could see in the moon light it was transparent!Naturally we all took off for the jeep,and for some reason though I was totally shook up I let them talk me into going to this famous haunted road(wich for the life of me I cant remember the name of).We got there at about 2 am,it was isolated and very sunken in as it had been there for like 200 years and parked and got out to look around.My ex had a flashlight and was shining it here and there,I was standing right next to him clinging to his arm and as he was flashing the light around the beam landed on what I can best describe as the ghost at the head of the stairs on poltergeist! This THING was at the top of an embankment,glaring right at us(15 years later I still get chills) and this feeling of overwhelming malevolence and complete terror coursed through my body! I grabbed dannys arm and said "what the H*LL is that?!?" but he was literally frozen to the spot,I heard his brother scream behind us,wich broke the trance,I somehow picked up a 6ft tall,250 lb man,carried him 20 feet to the jeep,threw him and myself in and his brother tore out of there! We all 3 didnt say a word all the way back to the apartment(I do think it was shock!) and dan and I went inside where I immediately started to shake and cry hysterically! I was absolutely CONVINCED that thing was evil,and the voice at the priests place was warning me!I have never been so scared in my life,and since then I leave ghosts etc strictly ALONE!

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pam

Love what's happening at the farm! I have had many encounters with those that have passed on. Although I am sure they exist, I've yet to meet a mean entity!

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Rachel

I love your show and all of joshs books, i can not wait to see the show tomorrow!

i live in my great grandparents house and i always hear footsteps in the living room and thumbing in the basement,even when no one else is home i kept it to myself, until i had guest over and they said they heared footsteps in the night thinking it was me but i didnt get up, i asked the family where my great grandparents died i found out my great grandmother died in the living room and my great grandfather passed in the basement. I used to think it was a ittle creepy but now that i know that it is family I am okay with it!

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kelly b

weird, the last chapter i read from the bucolic plague last night was the one about the ghosts… and find this post this morning!

my across-the-street neighbor gets his front porch plants moved around by his home's former inhabitant. a friend has also seen a tall, skinny naked man moving through a doorway over there. the man who lived there for 40+ years was a tall, skinny closeted single gay man. i am not so lucky to have a drag queen ghost to help with my plants, so i live vicariously through my neighbor. 🙂

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Corinne

Love this. I love anything haunted/spooky! That's the nice thing about living in this area…we've got a nice amount of ghosts! I'm still itching to do an unofficial investigation of the Bull's Head in Cobleskill. Keep us posted on the eerie happenings!

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Adam Lawless

Hey guys! I can't wait for Wednesday's episode. I love ghost stories and encounters of the strange and unusual. (Especially when they have a peaceful nature.) I have a story that I'd like to share:

George – Our Friendly Attic Ghost

I grew up in Central New York living in a 100 year old home. For this region, that is fairly common. My brother is 4 years older than me and was given the larger of the two upstairs bedrooms. I never fought him on this fact, mostly because I was a newborn when we moved in. As we grew up however, I remained comfortable with my much smaller room primarily because his room, while larger, also housed the door to the attic. Like most children, I had a natural fear of both the attic and basement levels of our home. For obvious reasons – cobwebs, creepy shadows, creaking floor boards, dry drafty winds coming from closed windows… You know, the normal stuff.

Over the years, my brother would talk about his friend George who lived in the attic. Being the younger brother, naturally I wanted in on the game and told everyone I had a friend named George too who lived in the basement. It wasn't until years later that I realized it wasn't a game for my brother. His friend George might actually be a real person…just no longer living.

When my brother moved out of his childhood room and on to a college dorm, I took over his former digs and made them my own. A year or so later, I was sleeping in – enjoying the perks of summer vacation when I felt my dog jump onto my bed and begin to growl. He's a great dog, but is a little loopy having hit his head as a puppy. (But, hey, who am I to judge.) Since the accident, he has a thing about protecting people who are lying down. He'll protect anyone who seems to be in a vulnerable state. After waking up from the initial plop on the bed and hearing him growl I leisurely rolled over to assure him I was okay and that no one was home. Both my parents were at work and my brother was staying at school for the summer. Upon seeing my dog's stiff posture I knew something wasn't right. His gaze was fixed upon the doorway leading to the hall. I gently pet his back trying to calm him down, but upon my touch he began to growl with increased ferocity. Still growling, he began to follow something moving across the room. His eyes stayed fixed on an object I could not see with only his head moving ever so slowly to the left until he stopped on the attic door. Thoroughly freaked out and yet enthralled I said, "George, if that's you, it's nice to finally meet you." A few seconds passed and my dog abruptly stopped growling, shook his head, jumped off the bed, and walked away as if nothing had happened.

My dog has been known to do this protective act from time to time, but only when a real, living person tries to approach someone who is lying down.

I've since moved out of my childhood home, but still love to hear stories from my parents about the odd happenings they attribute to my good friend George, the friendly ghost who lives in the attic. One thing is for sure, I'll never forget my first ghostly encounter thanks to George and my loopy, protective pup.

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PAULINE MUCCIACCIO

I think you're very lucky to be living in a house so rich in history. The deceased members of the Beekman family must be at peace knowing that you & Josh love the home & farm as much as they did. And having a fee ghosts are an added bonus,especially little Mary.

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Franklin

I lived in a 1920's home in Arlington Virginia for several years. There was this one bathroom on the main level off of what would have been the master bedroom. I used this room as a den/tv room and I always felt a presence there with me. The bathroom was always cold and you always felt like someone was watching you. I did some research and the owner of Georgetown Hardware had built the house orginally and I always thought maybe he was the spirit.

Many times when I would entertain and have friends over they would come from this area of the house and ask me if I ever felt anything "weird". I of course told them the story. I knew something was there just not sure what. I felt it was a him but he always respected me and me staying in his home. I took great care of his home.

Several years later I bought a new home in DC and was moving out. I had left some Lambert and Pratt paint in the corner of this room but the rest of the house was empty. I ran in to the room one last time and as I walked accross the room I felt such a strong force that I thought someone had hit me or come close to tyring. I actually fell on the floor trying to avoid it. I knew right away that he was mad that I was leaving his home so I ran out of the door never to return. I sat in my car for sometime looking at the house.

About 3 years later I was on a boat for a fundraiser and I am talking to a gentleman about what he does etc. He tells me he is involved with Gerogetown Hardware! I tell him of the story and he mentions that the family still talks about this man and that he had a very strong personality and that he had built that home and died in it. I suppose after all those years I finally heard confirmation that I was not alone after all.

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Ayla

I love the eerie pictures you guys have posted. I can't wait for the Ghost Hunter episode! I just read Josh's newest book and so badly wanted to see the crypt and the MARY carving. The crypt looks amazing. I live in Washington state in a house built in 1892. There is an overgrown fenced family plot with five graves from the late 1800s and early 1900s in the woods just off my property. The people did not live in my house but in homes surrounding my property. There is nothing more interesting than living in an old house in a historic area. You guys have been so inspirational to me. Reading "The Bucolic Plague" and watching "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" brings me so much joy. I wish you much continued success!

-Ayla

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