Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
Read Part Four here.
Now, when I took this assignment to go to haunted places and stay overnight, I was nervous. Very nervous. But I’ve been able to get through most of the overnights and visits so far with minimal panic.
The Hulbert House was a different story.
The Historic Hulbert House, built from 1803 to 1812 by Ephraim Owens, has always been a hotel/inn and a tavern/bar. It has seen many owners (most notably, Richard Hulbert, who it is named for and who added the third story and extra space downstairs), and just as many notable patrons. General U.S. Grant, General Philip Sheridan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Horace Greeley, and several other famous names are in the register. The website says, “In the 1800s it is said to have been the most famous hotel between the Erie Canal and the St. Lawrence River.”
Now owned by the Daskiewich family who bought it in 1964, the Hulbert House is hard to miss when you pull into Boonville. A large, limestone building next to a Rite Aid, you have a choice of two doors at the front: bar or dining room. Lauren and I shrugged and walked into the dining room. A woman came over and asked if she could help us and we followed her into the bar to fill out some paperwork to stay overnight. Not even mentioning the Haunted History Trail, she asked if we “were excited to be spooked.” We had a drink while we waited for our room and already had an uneasy feeling.
Once we were given our keys, we went upstairs to check out the room. Pretty simple, small and dark, with two beds. Lauren picked up a document on the dresser and when I asked her what it was, she said, “You can’t read this until tomorrow, once we’ve left.” Evidently, it detailed ALL the paranormal activity on the property, by room.
We went back downstairs and had dinner at the bar while talking to Tracy and some of the local regulars. Tracy (Lauren would later tell me) basically told us all the stories on the paper. So, it was safe to say I was sufficiently shaking in my boots and no amount of drinks was helping!
She told us that pretty much anyone who comes to the Hulbert House has a paranormal experience—bar patrons, staff, family, and (especially) overnight guests. The hallway upstairs is the most active, and several psychics/paranormal experts have said there is a heavy, negative, almost violent energy there. … So there’s no avoiding the most haunted part. (Besides the third floor, which is only open to paranormal investigations.)
Wayne seems to be the most popular and often-seen spirit at the Hulbert House. He is mostly seen in the hallway and in Room 25 (take note!). A tall, thin man has been seen and a negative/violent energy felt. He seemed nervous and confused during one appearance, but wouldn’t go to the light.
A little girl (believed to be the same one) has been heard/seen in many parts of the building. In the basement, the group from “Haunted Collector” heard her say “help me”—after only being there for 45 seconds. On the second floor, she said she was being held there by a man named Tom as a prostitute. She asked all the men to leave and all the women to join hands in a circle and say a prayer. They haven’t seen her since.
The most common experiences from people who stay the night are heavy footsteps in the hallway, banging on the walls, and doors slamming.
Some of the other experiences we heard about:
– The spirit of Colonel Charles Wheelock is believed to be in the building. He called a group of paranormal investigators “spies.”
– A colonial couple has been seen in the hallway.
– A waitress has had her name called out, cleaning staff have had their hair tugged, and the TV and water in bathroom have been turned on.
– A man was in the shower when the shower curtain was pulled back—his wife was downstairs and no one else was in the room.
– Someone saw a Civil War soldier at the end of the stairs and then disappear through the wall.
– Several people have seen a woman floating by the lobby (believed to be Patricia or Tricia—older/younger versions).
– A woman driving said she saw a cavalry with five horses go by the Hulbert House.
– The NYS Guide Association stayed in four rooms that had to share a bathroom. One of them opened their door and Wayne was standing right there.
– A group of snowmobilers from Long Island (who are return guests) heard children laughing/playing on the third (unoccupied) floor. Another visit, they heard a handsaw sawing wood, then all of a sudden the bed fell apart.
As we finished dinner and listened to Tracy’s stories, I was acutely aware that the sun was starting to set. However it was Lauren who said she wanted to be upstairs and in our room before it got really dark.
Tracy once again reminded us that we were the only people staying the night (and in fact, would be the only people in the entire building, after the bar closed at 2 a.m.). Lauren ordered an extra drink to take up the room and told Tracy not to be surprised if we weren’t there in the morning! (Half joking, half very, very serious.)
We walked from the bar into the lobby, past the “front desk” and then opened the door that led to the stairs. We were on the second step of the stairs when we heard BAM!—a loud door slam from upstairs. Frozen, we looked at each other and Laur seemed to read my mind.
“I can’t do this,” I said.
“We at least have to go get our bags,” she said, obviously the calmer one.
We held hands and checked the hallway before scurrying into our room. Me, being exhausted and terrified (and a big weenie) started freaking out.
“I can’t stay here. *Gasp* I can’t. *Gasp* We can’t do this.”
“OK, OK,” said Lauren. “Let’s just take a few deep breaths.”
I asked her if I was overreacting and got a “yeah, kinda” response. Okay, I told myself. Calm down. After checking in with the parents (yes, I know I’m 25, but who else do you call when ghosts are scaring you away from your accommodations for the night?! Besides Ghostbusters, obviously …).
ANYWAY. Lauren and I were talking and then all of a sudden she stopped, mid-sentence. I turned around and she was sitting on the bed closest to the door, staring at the bottom of it.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“We have to leave. We have to leave right now,” she said.
When I asked her why, she said that she had just heard two men having a conversation in the hallway. The voices were carrying like they were walking past our door, but she didn’t see any bodies move past.
As soon as she finished telling me, another loud door slammed at the end of the hallway. Then … heavy footsteps. Then … BANG, BANG, BANG. Like someone was trying to knock down a door or wall. Then more heavy footsteps.
Our eyes were bugging out of our heads, I went into fight or flight mode: “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go to the bathroom, because who knows how long we’ll be driving. Then we’re going to go out to the car and try to find a hotel in Syracuse.”
Huddled in the bathroom together, we heard more banging on the walls. Both worried what would happen if we opened the door and Wayne was standing in the hallway, we took a deep breath, opened the door, scanned the hallway, and then RAN. (Lauren, still in her boot, made it out faster than I did.)
A quick apology to Tracy and we were OUT of there. I really could not stand to be in there a second longer. (On the drive to Syracuse, Laur would tell me that our room was suspected to be where past owners of the Hulbert House were and they made it clear that they were looking over the building and wanted to be left alone.)
We caught our breath and just put Syracuse into the GPS—we’d figure out specifics later, but needed to be out of Boonville.