Don’t be scared
JT’s Farmhouse, located on Bayport Avenue in Bayport.

SCN/Perrotta

Don’t be scared

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
10/31/2019


In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve decided to compile a list of places within our readership area and neighboring hamlets that are allegedly haunted or are believed to have experienced ghostly phenomena. 

 

JT’s Farmhouse, Bayport

The building has operated as a tavern since its completion in 1868. There are numerous stories surrounding the Bayport restaurant. One involves how the previous rendition, the Grey Horse Tavern, got its name. About 60 years ago, when Hans and Katie Rohde owned and operated the joint, they often brought their grey horse into the bar to join the festivities. 

Another story involves a spirit named Iris, according to reports, who has been sensed throughout the building. It was reported that the former Grey Horse owner, Linda Ringhouse, was once alone in the tavern with her dog and saw a bright light coming down the staircase. The dog, reports add, also saw the light and ran away. 

Justin Templeton, one of the new owners, is skeptical about the ghost stories. But one of the other owners, Brenin Burgess, said there’s something behind them. Burgess worked at the Grey Horse from 2012 to 2015. “When I was there, you could hear the doors open and closing [when they shouldn’t have been],” he said. Burgess also recalled being first told about the building’s “presence” by the head bartender, Ryan Murray. “Everyone [who worked there] knew the stories,” he added. 

The new owners bought the property shortly after it was announced, in May, that Grey Horse would be closing. They hope to be up and running by Thanksgiving Eve. 

 

Reid’s Ice Cream Factory,
Blue Point

The story surrounding the former ice cream factory typically involves a young woman, referred to as Linda, who was killed on the property in the 1950s. 

Linda, according to local legend, worked as a go-go dancer at a nightclub in nearby Bayport. One night, she was seen talking and making plans with a male patron, who just so happened to be eating ice cream while watching her on stage. Linda’s co-workers advised her against going out with the stranger, but the dancer ignored the warnings. She was seen leaving the club, hand in hand with the stranger, never to be seen alive again. Her body, the legend goes, was found outside the ice cream factory. The murder was never solved. 

In the decades that followed, loud screams and high-pitched crying were reported at the factory. There were also mysterious fires and, in typical ghost story fashion, sightings of a ghostly woman walking the property. The facility operated as an ice cream factory since the 1870s and closed in the late 1960s. 

The ghost story became more prominent in the 1970s after a young boy reportedly died inside the vacant building. He was playing on a piece of heavy machinery and got spooked by something. The boy fell to the ground and the machine he was climbing on crushed him to death. Afterwards, sounds of giggling were reported at the premises. 

The property where the former building stood was eventually sold, and in 2006, houses were built on the land. 

 

The Normandie Inn, Bohemia

Built in the early 1920s, the Gothic-style inn first served as a home to a Czech baron before becoming a speakeasy during prohibition. It also served as the hotel Chateau La Boheme and a restaurant, which was its last incarnation. 

The Normandie Inn, which has been abandoned since 2004, is supposedly haunted by a young woman, Maria or Sarah, who was strangled to death in the second floor’s back bedroom while operating as a speakeasy. It was during the building’s time as a hotel that visitors reportedly heard the woman’s spirit walking the hallways and knocking on their doors. According to legend, guests also reported cold spots throughout the hotel, hearing whispers when they were alone and seeing shadowy figures lurking about the property. According to reports, workers also saw footprints in the carpet where no one had been standing. 

The silent film star Rudolph Valentino stayed at the inn for at least one night, and decades later, Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore frequented the restaurant, which is described as one of his favorites.

The Normandie Inn, which is located at 1500 Lakeland Avenue, is currently for sale. 

 

Islip Cinema, Islip

The previous incarnation, the Islip Pavilion Theater, first opened in 1946. 

Online posts state that former employees have reported a variety of unusual incidents, including hearing footsteps and knocking when no one was around. Disembodied breathing and heartbeats have also been mentioned. 

Charles Ramesar, the theater’s manager, said he took over the establishment about a year ago. In that time, there has been a completely new staff and no one, including Ramesar, has experienced anything out of the ordinary. 

“I have heard the stories, though,” the manager said. 

 

Plum Estate, East Islip

The estate is part of Heckscher State Park and gets its name from its co-owner J. Neale Plumb, in the late 19th century. Plumb, who was a retired merchant, confronted a rival of his bank, Alexander Masterson Jr., inside the Burlington Hotel and allegedly shot him to death. According to reports, Plumb felt Masterson was trying to create a wedge between him and his children. The alleged killer was arrested for the crime, but died of a strep infection before going to trial. 

Reports state that while walking the trails of the old estate, people claim to have heard a horse passing by when there was no horse in the area. Feelings of being watched while on the estate have also been reported. Long Island Paranormal Investigators speculate it could be Plumb following you, or Masterson looking to get revenge against his alleged killer. 

 

Gateway Playhouse, Bellport

In the late 1800s, there was a murder at the location, according to reports. Since then, numerous ghost sightings have been reported. Mike Baker, the Gateway’s artistic director, said the location offers a lot of history. Before the playhouse came about, there was a farm and hotel on the property. Baker said over the years, he and visiting actors have experienced ghostly encounters. Baker, who is also the director for the theater’s haunted house, doesn’t like sharing his personal experience too often, but insists there is some kind of “energy” on the property. He also laughed about the Gateway’s owner, Paul Allan, not experiencing any paranormal activity, despite the countless others who said they have. 

 

Hanging Tree, East Patchogue

Individuals accused of witchcraft in the colonial times were hanged in Patchogue. Or at least that’s how the story goes. Located at the edge of a wooded property on the Swan River, a gnarled, old tree (where the accused hanged by their necks until dead) is believed to be a hotbed for paranormal activity. Visitors, according to reports, have seen moving shadows and strange lights. Some claim they felt unusually hot and cold spots near the tree, while others said their electronic equipment malfunctions at the site.

 

Almhouse Potter’s Field, Yaphank

Local paranormal investigators, Joseph Flammer and Diane Hill, recalled a ghostly encounter at the potter’s field during a presentation at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville earlier this year. One early morning, around 2 a.m., the ghost-hunting duo entered the cemetery. Hill said she always asks permission before entering a cemetery. She also thanks whoever might be listening while leaving. While doing just that, in the potter’s field in Yaphank, the friends said they heard a muffled “you’re welcome.” Over 1,000 bodies are buried at the site, not by name, but by number, according to Hill. 

 

Woodland Cemetery, Bellport

Diane Hill also recounted an experience she had at the Bellport cemetery… during the day. Hill said she was visiting the cemetery when she saw an orb of light. She later learned that someone had recently been buried where the orb was located. “We’re all energy,” Hill stated. “We don’t really die. Our energy just takes a different form.” n