Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Haunted Cemetery

For lovers of the paranormal, the Rural Cemetery is also the subject of local ghost stories.  There are stories of in old-fashioned pajamas seen drifting along the paths at twilight.  Some accounts describe them as elderly, others as young.  Other stories talk of glowing orbs appearing in photographs, unexplained shadows, and spectral black dogs.  It's also said that the old Superintendent's Cottage is now home to spirits and that an out-of-control horse which died after crashing headfirst into a monument  at the base of the North Ridge on an August evening in 1906.  The horse, which had been hitched to a buggy outside a church on Fifteenth Street in nearby Watervliet, had become spooked and bolted, dragging the buggy down Broadway and into the Cemetery.  The unfortunate horse, which was buried in the fields near the barns, is said to still gallop wildly along the Cemetery's roads.

Even the often-repeated urban legend of the hitchhiking girl has featured the Rural Cemetery as its setting,though the local variation of this tale is usually set at Graceland Cemetery on Delaware Avenue just south of Albany.  In more recent years, vague stories of mysterious black sport-utility vehicles (along with “men in black”) seen driving around the Cemetery have appeared on the internet.

I've personally experienced a few odd things in the Cemetery.  Several years ago, while walking in the general vicinity of the McIntyre plot, I felt someone gently, but firmly touch the back of my head.  I could rule out overhanging branches, mischievous friends, and such normal explanations.  On another occasion, I looked up from photographing a Revolutionary War veteran's headstone and saw - briefly, but clearly - a white figure walking towards me in the tall grass.  In the 1990s, while walking with my dog on the Middle Ridge just uphill from the DePeyser Douw vault, I heard a beautiful female voice humming a few bars of a melody just about a foot from me.  The tune repeated twice and I noticed my Pomeranian was staring intently in the direction that the voice came from.  There was no one nearby. 


  1. What a cool blog in general--and an eerie post, this. I love walking in ARC. I never feel any presences, but once my niece and I saw a very interesting grave sculpture that I've never been able to find again, even though I was sure--or thought I was sure--exactly where we had seen it. I need to look through photos.

    1. Anything is possible at Albany Rural, Rosalie. I have been hearing of a huge black dog that appears at dusk with red eyes who keeps pace with people as they leave on the macadam road. One couple was walking their dog and the dog never appeared to see this big dog although he was right next to them. In 1973 I was by the John Boyd Thatcher crypt with my little niece and as we approached it this excruciating sound came blasting out of the sounded very much like someone throwing a tin barrel against INSIDE the crypt. I grabbed my niece and we ran and I think we left there about 40 miles an hour in reverse. Very frightening. Thatcher was the Mayor of Albany and Thatcher Park is named after him.

  2. My friend Linda is the one who had an encounter with a disappearing man in black driving a black SUV in this cemetery in 2010. I have been on Coast to Coast with George Noory and have appeared in books by Nick Redfern and Timothy Green Beckley and have done many radio shows with Mr. Beckley on this subject. He visited the cemetery with me a couple of years ago and filmed video but nothing showed up. Charles Fort is buried there, did you know that? He is the father of the modern day paranormal movement. The place IS haunted. My niece's friend worked there as a grounds keeper and many days at dawn or at dusk he will see a woman in black appear and she will nod and say hello and vanish. There is also from time to time by the pond an ancient funeral procession with old fashioned mourners in dark clothing..veils, dark black dresses, the men in derby hats and old fashioned black suits. Also, a couple are seen to fly over the tombstones at dusk in their pajamas. Yes. Albany Rural Cemetery is haunted.

  3. My children and I recently thought it was a good idea to walk through Albany rural at night. Our first trip was quite scary just being in a cemetery in the dark. We also had our dog Chloe with us that night, towards the end of our visit on the way out our dog slowly approached a grave marker then suddenly leaped back, she then slowly approached a second time and again leaped back as if she were startled. She finally circled the marker cautiously then sniffed the marker at that point we called her and quickly exited. She definitely saw or sensed something. Very beautiful and interesting place.

  4. I have become a friend of a couple who are buried there. I don't think of them as ghosts. They are beautiful spirits. When I first encountered the husband, their mausoleum was quite beautiful. Now, it is falling in disrepair, which makes me very sad. I wish I had the money to save it. I talk to them and pray for them. I ask them to pray for me.