This trip was crazy! Three days, two nights, and visiting as many places as I did on the five-day trip!
Exploring the Hudson Valley this time, I brought my dad along. He’s a retired teacher and neither of us had ever really visited this area, so we were both excited to expand our knowledge of the state! I’d heard it was breathtakingly beautiful and was looking forward to everything but the drive 🙂
On this trip:
Museum Village (host ghost hunts)
Village of Pine Bush: UFO Capital of New York
Pine Bush House Bed & Breakfast
The Shanley Hotel
Hurley Heritage Society Museum/Cemetery
Hudson River Maritime Museum
Liberty Public House
Miss Fanny’s Victorian Party House
Clermont State Historic Site (Legends by Candlelight events)
Museum Village was our first stop in the Hudson Valley after the five-hour drive. Located in Monroe, it is the vision of Roscoe William Smith. Smith was an electrical engineer and entrepreneur, on top of being QUITE a collector and philanthropist. He is the founder of Orange and Rockland electric company, which is still the electric company for a good portion of the Hudson Valley.
We met Michael Sosler (executive director) and Lori Siccardi (program coordinator and resident medium), as well as Susan and Mary Ann from Orange County Tourism when we arrived at Museum Village. It was a beautiful day to go back in time!
We sat around a large table on benches in the Visitor’s Center while Mike and Lori gave us some background on Museum Village. Then Lori told us of her paranormal experiences (Mike usually brushes his off!).
Mike said Roscoe Smith was “ahead of his time” and it “might seem like he was a hoarder,” but Smith wanted to leave a legacy for learning, and with his (local) collectibles and family farmland, he did just that.
The time period of the buildings and collections is approximately the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Smith began to display his artifacts in 1940 and Museum Village opened in July 1950. You truly are transported to a time long-passed when you visit. They have a one-room schoolhouse, a livery, a candle-making shop, a blacksmith, a drugstore, and a general store, among other businesses and buildings.
Roscoe appears to Lori fairly frequently in the Visitor’s Center; as do several other spirits. She says there is a story or two in EACH building! (Mike and Lori both noted that the spirits could be attached to the artifacts or the land.)
I’ll give you the hauntings broken down by building …
– Visitor’s Center:
– Lori has seen Roscoe standing next to the large fireplace.
– Joe, a medium who visits one a month, came in (not knowing Lori had just been talking about Roscoe’s birthday) and said he saw Roscoe with a birthday hat on and flowers for Lori.
– Lori and Mike went up to the attic to get Christmas decorations and had trouble opening the door. When they finally got in, they discovered that there was a chair with a mop bucket on it that had been pressed up against the door. (Obviously there’s no way someone could do that after the door was closed.)
– Lori answered the phone one night and all she heard was “four four four four …” and a lot of static. She checked her email the next day to find a long-forgotten document was sent to her personal email from her work email at 4:44 a.m.
– The Learning Center (used for field trips–Mike estimates 1.5 million schoolchildren have visited since 1950) has a spirit who likes to play with the vacuum.
– The Schoolhouse is a replica of the Monroe Stone Schoolhouse from 1805. Paranormal group Visual Paranormal Investigations (who regularly investigate there and produced a 35-minute documentation called “Village of Shadows”) has caught the names Claire and Stu in the schoolhouse. Lori reports hearing children laughing and freaked me out when she said there was a vortex right where I was standing! (She then followed up with that’s how her medium senses begin … she gets dizzy, nauseous, and everything goes out of focus.)
– The Livery hosts a display of various antique vehicles used for various purposes. There were many hearses (horse-drawn), carriages, wagons, and I’m pretty sure I saw an ambulance in the far left corner. Lori doesn’t like to go into this building. She says there’s a very heavy energy—your voice just drops. I certainly felt like I couldn’t breathe in there, but it could’ve been from the lack of ventilation … and the fact that I was surrounded by hearses.
– The log cabin on the grounds is completely original; from the late 18th century! It was moved, piece by piece, from a forest in Orange County. Various noises have been heard and artifacts have been moved.
– Vernon Drugs, the pharmacy, has the complete “authentic content, fixtures, and furnishings” of Charles Vernon’s drugstore in Florida, NY. He decided one day to up and leave and let Roscoe have everything! They sold everything from ice cream to herbs to a Civil War doctor’s surgery kit and eyeglasses. Lori says she can feel Mr. Vernon’s spirit in there occasionally.
– One of our last stops was the Natural History Building. Mike said, “Let’s go see Harry,” who I assumed was the name of a spirit. Boy, was I in for a surprise when he opened the door and there stood the skeleton of a mastodon! Unearthed just a few miles down the road, Harry is one of three complete mastodon skeletons in the world—this isn’t a mold! Incredible.
We also stopped in the print shop and the energy building, which is an in-progress collection of every type of energy and machines used thus far. There were even two early elevators!
I’ll take the stairs, thanks. (Who knows who’s lingering in those?!)
We thanked Mike and Lori for their time, then my dad and I followed Susan to our next destination—Pine Bush, the UFO capital of New York! We met with RJ Smith, a prominent local realtor (but not before first being greeted by a woodcarving of an alien on his front porch).
RJ is very involved in the UFO Fair every year and also runs a haunted house that includes the house next door to his office. They go ALL out for the haunted house and have for 20 years! They have police, reporters on the “scene,” and when you walk into one room, you see aliens operating on people!
RJ’s personal UFO experience happened about 20 years ago. He was driving near Route 52 (where there is a big field with unusual electromagnetic force) and he saw something in the sky, right above what the locals call “Rock Cut.” He pulled over to watch it, but it very quickly took off and was gone (headed toward the Hudson River) within a matter of seconds. He said it looked round, was very low to the ground (“hovering”), and was covered in bright lights.
“I couldn’t identify it, it was flying, and it was an object,” said RJ. “Therefore, it’s an unidentified flying object, or a UFO. How arrogant would it be to think that there is not something as intelligent or MORE intelligent than us in the universe.”
The 1980s is when the UFO phenomena started to really gain attention in Pine Bush. They used it for tourism and RJ used it for his realtor business—putting up a billboard that said, “ET came home, you can too!” National Geographic and the Discovery Channel have visited and done segments on the town. People say they’ve been abducted, seen weird lights in the woods, and objects in the sky.
A Judge Crater (coincidence?) disappeared in the early 1900s—people still don’t know what happened to him.
We ate dinner with Susan at the Cup & Saucer Diner—an alien/UFO-themed diner in Pine Bush. The menu was MASSIVE. And I do mean massive. You could have breakfast, lunch, dinner, Italian, Mexican, sandwiches, wraps, pie, and more. Our waitress was awesome and was able to find me something gluten-free (diners are notoriously hard for that!).
After not being able to finish our dinners because they were SO big (Susan and I each ordered half a chicken), we headed to our haunted accommodation (one of the newest on the trail!) for the night—Pine Bush House Bed & Breakfast.