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Feature Stories

Ghosts And Government Conspiracies

A handful of Long Island sites that will give you goosebumps

With its rich and colorful history, Long Island has managed to be the site of a number of creepy locations sprinkled throughout its suburban sprawl. Stories with roots dating back to Native American times and the Revolutionary War up through the post-Cold War era abound, and in the process, chill the bones and terrorize the psyche.

1. Plum Island (Southold) — A government research facility, this 4-square mile speck of land is supposedly the site of numerous nefarious bio-chemical experiments. Origins date back to right after World War II when numerous Nazi scientists were allegedly recruited to work on research spearheaded by German scientist Erich Traub, whose specialty was supposed to be viruses and vaccines. Some say Lyme disease was concocted here. The body of a man with 18-inch long fingers and holes bored into his skull washed up on the shoreline a few years ago along with another carcass of something dubbed the Montauk Monster, renewing rumors that extensive genetic experiments were going on at Plum Island. Most recently, ex-Minnesota governor/WWF wrestler Jesse Ventura has gone on to accuse the area of being used to conduct biological warfare experiments.

2. Camp Hero (Montauk) — This decommissioned Air Force Base was founded in 1929 and was converted into a state park following its shutdown in the 1980s. With its prominent concrete bunkers and its looming 126-foot radar dish, rumors abound as to some of the horrific experiments the government allegedly dabbled in during the time it was up and running. Rumors of teleportation and time travel, mind control experiments on abducted homeless people, extraterrestrial contact and bioengineering experiments are all said to have taken place here. Visitors beware — some say a presence (similar to the Id Monster from Forbidden Planet) lurks to this day in sealed-off subterranean levels

3. Mount Misery/Sweet Hollow Road (Melville/Huntington) — This pair of roads run through a fairly wooded area once considered taboo by a number of Native American tribes. Folklore dating back to the 1700s speaks of a sanitarium built in the area that supposedly burnt down, and to this day, there have been sightings of the spirits of these burned patients. There is an overpass by where the Northern State Parkway crosses Sweet Hollow Road where some teens are said to have hung themselves. Legend has it that if you flash your headlights, you can see the silhouettes of the dead teenagers hanging. UFO activity has been reported as well as animal vivisection findings, encounters with strange Men in Black, sightings of a woman with white hair, the spirit of a police officer who’d been shot in the head and is missing the back of his skull and at times a mysterious gypsy woman or agitated Asian man who appear and vanish at will.

4. Lake Ronkonkoma (Ronkonkoma) — Native American culture is once again at the heart of a curse supposedly hanging over Long Island’s largest and deepest lake. There are different variations of a story centering on an Indian princess who shares the name of this body of water and had fallen in love with either an English settler or warrior from a rival tribe who lived across the way. At some point, secret dalliances she had with her lover led to the princess’s death, and many believe that she exacts her revenge by causing the drowning death of a male every year. Long rumored to be bottomless, (it actually goes down to a depth of 70 feet at its deepest), Lake Ronkonkoma also wound up with a drowning death every year for decades with a large number of victims being boys or men.

5. Reid Ice Cream Factory (Blue Point) — Built in the 1920s and eventually leveled in 2003, this is the site of numerous stories. The most prominent one dates back to the 1950s and involves an exotic dancer who went back to the factory for a romantic dalliance. Supposedly, her paramour raped and killed her. Screams and cries for help have been heard on the grounds. Other victims include a little boy who snuck onto the grounds in the 1970s and died while playing on the equipment. Witnesses say you can hear giggling and the pitter patter of feet running around. Then there’s the lady in white, (isn’t there always one?), who can be seen wandering the grounds and nearby road. Most disturbing is that should you see her face, the woman is walking around with no eyes.

6. Raynham Hall (Oyster Bay) — Like its namesake in Norfolk, England, Raynham Hall is supposed to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Julia Weeks Cole, who owned the hall from 1914 to 1933, wrote a 1938 article for the Glen Cove Record detailing her encounter with a white horse and rider outside her bedroom window who she thought might be Major John Andre, a British army officer hung as a spy by the Continental Army. Other specters, often dressed in Victorian Era finery, are often spotted ranging from a deceased Irish servant named Michael Conlin and pipe-smoking 17th century owner Samuel Townshend to his spinster daughter Sally, who casts a sad vibe and a five to 10 degree drop in temperature in her old room versus the rest of the house.