Come on boys and ghouls! It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.
This week's stop is Clifton Heights, NY and our special guide is Kevin Lucia author of THROUGH A MIRROR, DARKLY and THINGS SLIP THROUGH.
Kevin's Top 5 Spooky Places in Clifton Heights
Clifton Heights, New York – the Adirondack town of Things Slip Through, Devourer of Souls, and Through A Mirror, Darkly.
Clifton Heights is a modestly sized Adirondack town between Old Forge and Inlet. Two miles past Old Forge, you take a left off NYS Route 28 North onto Route 79 East, and you’re in Clifton Heights after a twenty minute drive. The Heights is one of the minor mountain ranges of the Adirondacks – definitely no comparison to White Face or Blue Face Mountain – but still picturesque in that uniquely recognizable Adirondack way. Clifton Lake is just big enough to offer fishing and swimming for the locals, not big enough to attract too many tourists.
Main Street in Clifton Heights is lined with the sorts of local-run shops and eateries you’d expected in a town like this. We certainly aren’t a tourist-magnet like Old Forge or Lake George, but we’d like to think we offer our best face to everyone who visits. We pride ourselves on our appearance, while retaining our own unique identity.
The Adirondacks, of course, is rife with stories of haunted places, and Clifton Heights is no exception. In fact, it could even be said that Clifton Heights has some of the most ghostly locations in all of Adirondack Park. According to a town survey The Tribune took last Halloween, here are the top five most “ghostly” locations in Clifton Heights.
5. Old Webb
Old Webb - as it’s affectionately called by the locals – was formerly a primary school in the Webb County School District, about five miles outside Clifton Heights town proper. Back in the seventies, it was closed due to “low enrollment” and “district rezoning,” though many have found that explanation to be suspicious over the past few decades. Even more oddly, the school was closed with a rapidity bordering on mass evacuation. Stories abound of entire classrooms full of desks being left behind, as if one day, the entire school simply walked out en masse.
Several attempts to re-task the building failed. It stands empty and abandoned, and is a known party location for teenagers on Saturday nights over the summers. Though there’ve been no recent reports of hauntings, the story of Old Webb’s closing still raises eyebrows, as folks wonder if something else besides “low enrollment” led to the school’s demise.
4. Ampitheater, Raedeker Park
In the eighties, Raedeker Park had an outdoor amphitheater and bandstand which played home to concerts, plays, and the weekly summer movie. Over the past ten years, however, it has fallen into disuse and disrepair. Rumor has it that a ghostly presence started making itself known during the early nineties; a woman singing a mournful tune too soft to make out. The official story from the Town Board is simply that for now, restoration expenses aren’t cost effective, but stories still circulate that over the summers, if you happen to wander over to the amphitheater ruins after visiting Raedeker Park Zoo, you might very well hear a mournful woman singing a soft tune.
3. abandoned gazebo, Bassler Road
On Bassler Road, just past the Commons Trailer Park and before old Bassler House are the remains of what was once a wonderfully maintained flower garden and koi pond. Years ago, the owner, an elderly Vietnamese man named Mr. Trung, was found floating face down in the koi pond, an apparent victim of death by heatstroke. All that remains of the garden today is the overgrown pond and the old, tattered gazebo at its center.
Though children of all ages make yearly pilgrimages to old Bassler House, no one ever goes near the gazebo, despite its rather innocuous appearance. Stories tell, however, of people driving by the gazebo at night and seeing a dull, greenish haze drifting up from the koi pond, as well as a shadowy form lurching toward the gazebo. Those who live nearby will swear that on a certain night every summer, what sounds like thousands of bull frogs rumble from the koi pond and the gazebo.
2. Bassler Road
Bassler Road, which leads out of town to the interstate, mostly owes its reputation to the 1992 disappearance of a local girl, Jenny Tillman, eighteen years old. After a fight with her mother, Jenny Tillman packed a bag and stormed out of their trailer in the Commons Trailer Park on Bassler Road. She was never seen or heard from again. Since then, stories have circulated of a lonely girl in white hitching alongside Bassler Road. Coincidentally, the number of fatal car accidents on Bassler Road over the years – even before Jenny’s disappearance - seems excessive. There have also been reports of a strange, shadowy male figure hitching alongside Bassler Road, but in all the cases, the tellers were warned off picking up this hitcher by some deap-seated, primal fear.
1. Bassler House
Bassler House is a run-down Victorian farmhouse sitting in the middle of a long-fallow corn field off Bassler Road, outside town. Unoccupied since the mid-fifties, when Harold Bassler (a linguistics professor at Utica College) and his wife Marge disappeared without a trace, it has become the epitome of the “small town spook house.”
Legends abound of strange lights and sounds coming from the old house at night, and dozens of tales of its haunting have been passed down over the generations, told second and third hand from adolescents and teenagers who have dared explore its ruins. In the eighties, a local boy fell through a rotted floor to his death, and in the nineties, two brothers vanished without a trace the night they bragged to friends of going to Bassler House to look for “nudie books left by them football players always partyin there.” Despite the tales, Bassler House remains a favorite sight for daring, intrepid youth and teenagers.
Thank you Kevin for giving us such a haunting tour of Clifton Heights!
To learn more about Kevin Lucia and his books, please visit his website. You can add his books here on Goodreads.
What did you think of Kevin's picks for spooky places?
Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited San Francisco, CA with Celia Breslin. Next week we'll be traveling to Malibu, CA with D.B. Reynolds.
Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!
if you dare!