No doubt about it, Buffalo is old. And old cities mean lots of dead people. And lots of dead people mean some spooky hauntings. And around Halloween it’s basically your civil duty to gather up some friends, hop into the most unsecure-feeling car you can find and drive out to some of Western New York’s creepiest destinations.
By now you’re probably well aware that the Central Terminal, Goodleburg Cemetery and the H.H. Richardson Complex – the old psych center on Forest Ave – are seriously haunted, but maybe you didn’t know about places like Pigman Road in Angola or Delaware Road in Clarence. Whether you’re within the city limits or just a few miles outside, you’ll definitely be able to find some unexplained sounds or floating orbs to regal your party-mates with on Halloween night.
And if you’ve got an EVP recorder, all the better. Happy hunting!
Iron Island Museum
998 Lovejoy St., Buffalo, New York 14206 / ironislandmuseum.com
Imagine going to work one morning only to find the remains of 24 cremated people in a closet in the basement. Well, that’s what happened to some workers at Iron Island Museum in 2000.
And those cremated souls certainly haven’t kept quiet.
On the museum’s website are dozens of videos and recordings of supposed ghostly interactions between professional ghost hunters, visitors, and volunteers. Ghost Hunters and Ghost Lab have both visited the museum to conduct paranormal investigations.
If you’re ready to find your own spooky moments at the Museum, you can sign up for an overnight ghost hunt (minimum of $105 for up to three people Sundays through Wednesdays and $175 for up to five people Fridays and Saturdays). The Museum also hosts guided ghost tours at just $5 per person on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. But if you want to explore on your own, for just $2 you can walk through the Museum Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
The Museum was built in 1885 and was originally a church. But the church closed for about a decade until it re-opened as a funeral home in 1956. It operated as a funeral home until 2000 when it was donated to the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy, Inc. With a history like that how could the place not be haunted?
Delaware Road, Co Rd 247, Clarence Center
It’s barely a road – there are no lines, no street signs and no street lights. All there is are patches of dense trees lining each side of the pavement. After the sun goes down, any motorist would find themselves in a heavy pitch blackness, only the dim lights of their car to help navigate.
Locals know all of the urban legends. It’s said the KKK used to meet in the roadside woods. It’s said their spirits are still there. It’s said you can see “The Gatekeeper” holding a lantern on the side of the road. It’s said a little girl, badly beaten, often stands with him. It’s said trucks appear – and disappear – out of thin air.
So if you’re daring, or hope to successfully pull off pretending to be daring in front of a new date, take a drive down the entirety of the road. But luckily, Marvin’s Bar and Grill sits at 7675 Goodrich Rd near Delaware Rd – you just may need to stop in for a nerve-relaxing beer after your dangerous drive.
Pigman Road, Holland Road, Angola
Two horrific moments in history, one seriously haunted road.
On just 1.5 miles of Route 5, ending at Hardpan Rd, you’ll find two railroad underpasses which force the road into just one lane. Try and see what’s ahead of you, but beware, you probably won’t see anything. Before you take the drive out to Angola, be sure to watch the video of one of the tunnel bridges on angolapigman.weebly.com – it’s definitely creepy.
Although navigating a narrow road at night can be nerve-wracking, the legend of the Pigman and the history of the “Angola Horror” make this road one not for the nervous.
On a chilly day in December 1867, Buffalo and Erie Raildroad’s New York Express train approached a bridge near Angola. Suddenly, the last two cars of the train jumped the tracks, hitting the icy creek bed below. One of the cars became engulfed in flames as the heating stoves spilled out coals, igniting wood in the car. Approximately 50 people died and even more were injured making this one of the deadliest railway accidents in U.S. history, according to angolahorror.com.
The “Angola Horror” was incredibly tragic, but the legend of the Pigman is simply horrific. M.C. Hageman compiled the extensive document: “Pigman: Angola’s Legend,” detailing both the “Angola Horror” and the legend of the Pigman.
Legend has it that a murderous butcher terrorized the area, murdering locals and putting pig heads on sticks, which he used to line Holland Rd. But Hageman writes, “in order to keep people off his property and to ‘protect his stuff’ William [a local butcher’s assistant who was born with a face deformity] would do some very strange and out right weird things,” including putting animal heads on sticks along his driveway.
Paranormal researcher Mason Winfield writes on his website that Angola historians say in the 1950’s or 60’s a man was shot in the stomach in a butcher shop and then hung from a meat hook. Was it William? Nobody knows for sure.
Whether you believe legend, Winfield’s research, or Hageman’s more tame story of a local hoarder with some strange actions, a drive down Pigman Rd on a dark, dreary night might give you some good nightmare material for days to come.
Koessler Administration Building, D’Youville Campus, 320 Porter Ave
D’Youville students beware, a ghostly presence may be in your mist!
Story has it that nuns lived on the upper floors of Koessler and one night, the building caught fire. One particularly faithful – or, ahem, stubborn – nun refused to leave the building, shouting that Mother D’Youville would save the beloved Koessler. It’s her spirit that is said to haunt the building.
Although, according to a reporter for D’Youville’s The Catalyst student newspaper, there was never an orphanage on the site of the Koessler visitors and guards are said to have seen a little girl surrounded by a white light walking on the fourth floor. Others have seen children sitting at desks.
So after classes end one fall evening, take a wander through the third and fourth floors of Koessler. People have reported seeing ghostly nuns, lights flickering strangely, doors opening without human provocation, and hearing footsteps when nobody is around.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St
For a more, let’s say, charming haunting, try and hang back after a performance at the historic Shea’s Performing Arts Center one night. You just might get a chance to chat with Michael Shea, the theater’s founder.
Mr. Shea died just ten years after his beloved theater opened, when he sat with overwhelming pride on opening night in 1926.
Although he died in the 1930’s, leaving the theater without its proud daddy waiting in the wings, Mr. Shea is said to still be inside the incredible building. Visitors and volunteers are said to have encountered an older gentleman with gray hair and a mustache after the curtain dropped and most other patrons had left. He is said to always ask, “Isn’t this magnificent?” After patrons agree, Mr. Shea disappears.
Other paranormal reportings include doors slamming, feeling a presence nearby when nobody is around, flashing lights, and – perhaps unsurprisingly – Mr. Shea’s portrait being rearranged.
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