Tracking the Ghosts in the Boscobel Manor


The EMF detector used for measuring electromagnetic fields has a series of lights, from white to hot red, only about the size of a gumdrop. These lights will blink when in the presence of either a wad of ancient wiring or a spirit. Tonight, at a ghost hunt with Hudson Valley’s own ghost investigator, Linda Zimmermann, the lights blazed not once, but often.

We were touring the Boscobel estate that sits on a quiet stretch of lonely road just over the border of northern Westchester into Dutchess County. It was raining, an unusual icy rain for this time in October. On a sunny afternoon, the house is cheery, the views outstanding, and the feeling light. But on this night, the skies black, our breath visible in the cold air, and the house creaked. Goosebumps were in high supply, and whether created by the sudden drop in temperature or the slight magnetics felt when spirits “are in the house” no one could really say.

Boscobel is prime for ghost hunting. The original owner who started the home in the early 1800’s died before the project was completed, his wife Elizabeth died at just 47 years, a family member named Peter, died at 27. The house itself was moved from its Montrose foundation, in sad repair to its new location, here in Garrison. It is said that regret and longing fill the house, and that over the years, there was no money to keep the house going.There’s a lot of history here, and with that comes the perfect ingredients for ghostly happenings.

About 50 of us filled the gallery of Boscobel’s lower level where Linda gave a short slide show of past hauntings, and introduced her partner, Barbara Roth, a psychomerist, or someone who can see and hear the spirits of passed loved ones. She stood and spoke about some of the sensations and visions she came upon when first entering the home.

“I saw a small black dog run past,” she said, and “two children playing.” Later in the evening, she was able to put her hand on a piece of furniture to get is reading. “I feel like I have to kneel,” she said, a gloved hand on the table surface and feeling disoriented, “Was this piece of furniture brought over on the ocean?” A Boscobel staff member confirmed it. “Yes, from England.”

But on to the hunt. After the slide show, Linda led a part of the group and her two assistants, Barbara took a second group, and another investigator, Michael Worden took the third. I made sure to stick near Linda as she would make comments along the tour, and I wanted to hear every word. “Does anyone feel anything in this room,” she asked the crowd, holding the EMF meter in front of her. “Does anyone want to make their presence known,” she asked the spirits.

At one point in the kitchen, the EMF meter suddenly went crazy, indicating the appearance of a magnetic force, a blip of energy. Was it a spirit making its way through the crowd? We moved on.

The grand staircase is the site for many sightings and sensations. A grandfather clock captures the attention of a gentleman spirit who watches it intently, a woman is seen besides the big window, and on this night, Linda’s meter went crazy again, by the stairs, and in the corridor beside it. The three ghost hunting groups converged at this point, and were able to see the lights afire. Barbara thought it may be the dog or the kids since the meters would light up as they were held closer to the ground. And, we’ll never know if it was a case of imagination, or a spiritual encounter, but some in the audience mentioned feeling lightheaded, or anxious, or felt a touch.

A ghost hunt with a trained ghost hunter, like Linda Zimmermann, is a great way to experience the thrill of the unseen world. Linda needs a lot of clues and evidence to say that an area may have paranormal activity. A scientist by trade, Linda calls on her training to search for clues, debunk what is man-created, and returns time after time to confirm and reconfirm. When you’re with Linda, you’re with the real thing.

And, Boscobel, with its long two hundred year plus history, is ripe for ghost hunting. But, you know, the ghosts enjoy the daytime just as much, so you if want a little taste for yourself, make a visit to Boscobel when they have one of the many annual events – there’s usually a few each month — and when you’re walking the grounds, just listen very carefully,

Boscobel is open from April to December, but the grounds are open every day except Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Upcoming events include performances of A Christmas Carol, a Christmas Tea with Santa, and there are daily house tours in December. And, Boscobel dressed up for the season is a thing to see.

Photo, left to right, Linda Zimmerman, Michael Worden, and Barbara Roth.

1601 Route 9D
Garrison, New York

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