During the height of the autumn season last fall, we made a visit to a cozy little town 16 miles east of Syracuse called Chittenango. We were there to visit the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, which was on a section of the Erie Canal. If you’re a history buff, you understand the significance of the canal from Albany to Buffalo and it’s impact on the prosperity of the United States. The canal also had a major impact on New York State, with communities popping up along the waterway or major population growth in already established cities.
In the 1980s, it was discovered that a brush filled parcel of land in Chittenango, was actually a historically significant spot where Erie Canal boats would be built or repaired. There were a cluster of buildings on the site, which included a blacksmith and boarding house. Fast-forwarding the story, the land was reclaimed by dedicated volunteers and some of the buildings and features reconstructed. What stands today gives you a very authentic feeling of what Chittenango Landing must have looked liked in the 1800s.
Paranormal groups have visited the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum and say that there might be a few spirits roaming around. The museum does allow private ghost hunts. Canal communities often report high number of paranormal activity due to the rough n’ tumble world surrounding the Erie Canal. It was somewhat of a seedy place, with violence being commonplace along the waterway.
During our visit volunteers/storytellers Doug Rainbow and Pamela Vittorio told us some chilling stories that have taken place at Chittenango Landing. We were able to capture some of these stories on video, which provides you with a glimpse of what life was like on the canal. This is a much longer video than we normally produce, but it includes three stories where people met a tragic end.