Your Hometown: Haunted hometowns
Every week we bring you the rich history of hometowns throughout the region, telling you about the people who live there. But since this is Halloween, we've decided to treat you to a very tricky edition of Your Hometown. Brian Dwyer has the story of some well known people, the stories of their deaths and how some say they not only still walk among us, but wreak havoc in their former homes.
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Watertown looks, feels and acts like your normal city, right? I guess on this Halloween Weekend it depends on where you are because while those living here might enjoy it. Those who used to live here seem to like it as well.
This is the Burrville Cider Mill, just outside the city. Home to great apples, donuts and of course cider, but other things call it home too; two previous owners.
"So we call one of them Homer because he plays with the press downstairs and we call the other one with the cigar smoke Captain Burr. Captain Burr was the first owner of the cider mill, back then it was a saw mill and that was back in 1801,” said Cindy Steiner, Burrville Cider Mill owner.
Steiner says weird things happen there. Lights go on and off and Stenier's co-owner Greg, had a strange experience too.
"I was upstairs checking the tank to see the level because we provide our cider for the stores upstairs sometimes. As I was walking down the stairs one of the bails of half gallons, plastic half gallons flew off the pile up there and hit me in the back of the head,” said Greg Steiner, Burrville Cider Mill co-owner.
Of course the stories get stranger and creepier as you get into the city. Here at the place known as the Court Street Triangle, the first county jail house sat.
The place a local man was sent after killing three friends. The story is one of the features of a DVD from WPBS called Folklore & Frost.
"Henry Evans had rented a house out towards Brownville. He and a few friends were drinking one night and they had decided to kick him from the property. They came over and got into a fight with them. He grabbed an axe and killed all three of them. He was tried and sentenced to hang until death. Well he was buried on the Brownville cemetery, but apparently he didn't stay buried because there were sightings of him walking the streets as a vampire. So he was dug up and reburied somewhere else. The grave is not known to this day,” said Tracy Duflo, WPBS Director of Production.
Also a part of the DVD is the old Paddock Mansion, the current home of the Jefferson County Historical Society. There have been several scares here, including people seeing one of the home's owners Olive Paddock.
"You can see her from the street. She's standing in the window in full Victorian garb. She walks into the hallway and disappears,” said Lenka Walldroff, Jefferson County Historical Society Curator.
A volunteer also claims to have seen the ghost of a civil war soldier walking around upstairs.
"He was backlit by the window so it was very strange. There was nobody in the museum. It was only her at the time,” said Walldroff.
Some say they've also heard a young boy believed to have died in a basement well.
"Apparently he had drowned down there. So sometimes you can hear, they say you can hear the cries of a young child down stairs,” said Walldroff.
This is just a small sampling of what people say they've bumped into here during Watertown nights. My advice, be very aware of your surroundings, especially this weekend.