If you’re looking for mystery this Halloween season, there’s only one place in New Paltz to find it.
As legend, folklore and ghost stories have it, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) gets even more interesting in the month of October when it becomes haunted. Haunted Huguenot Street tours will take you back in time to relive and recount the scariest stories of the town’s past.
“Every year we strive to top the previous year’s tours,” said Kara Gaffken, director of public programming at HHS. “Huguenot Street has such a storied history that we can do this year after year. As always, these stories have roots in actual facts, fears and events from the past.”
This season’s tours uncover some of the dangerous and ubiquitous diseases and illnesses that plagued the 18th century New Paltz community.
The tours illustrate what happened when medieval medical treatments were still practiced, and doctors inflicted immeasurable pain that often times resulted in fatalities.
Guests will witness theatrical demonstrations of the remedies that were used in attempt to cure the patrons of the past.
Visitors will also be taken to the burial grounds, Jean Hasbrouck House and Deyo House to experience the chilling tales of paranormal activity found in the HHS archives, diary entries and police reports themselves.
Like all HHS events, these tours aren’t just meant to spook people, but educate them of the town’s colonial era as well. For almost 400 years, generations of people have been building history in New Paltz. They’ve left behind their stories that fall somewhere between truth and legend right here, in the houses of Huguenot street.
The true story of Maria Terwilliger Deyo’s triple-murder suicide, resurfaces at Haunted Huguenot every October, along with tales of paranormal activity circling Gertrude Deyo’s portrait. The Deyo House is also said to be haunted by a young woman who died of tuberculosis in the 1800s.
Tales of pictures flying off walls and spirits moving through halls are sure to follow you through the grounds. There is nothing scarier than history—especially that of three-century old stone dwellings with a genuine New England gothic atmosphere. These tours only last an hour, but the tales will haunt you forever.
Previous years’ tours included exploring the oppression of 17th and 19th century women, who were dragged through sexist witch trials and wife kidnappings. Others focused on the everyday hardships of the early French settlers at the banks of the Wallkill River in 1678.
“It’s an authentic experience that’s fun, but also educational,” Gaffken said.
But, if stories just aren’t enough, come see for yourself! This Halloween, forgo the costume frat party or spooky house show, and check out New Paltz’s real dark side.
Tickets to Haunted Huguenot Street are $25 ($22.50 for senior citizens, members of the armed services and members of HHS). Tickets can be purchased on HHS’s website or at the door; however, the tours often sell-out in advance.
Nighttime tours will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Oct. 18 through the 20, and 25 to the 28. Pre-registration is highly recommended. For more information, visit www.huguenotstreet.org.