story deals with the house that my wife, Cynthia,
spent her teen years in. The house is situated on the Hudson River at
the bottom of a dead end street. It was/is a 5000 sqft Victorian house
with 3 levels plus a full basement and Attic. Cynthia's parents, Helen and
George Ackley, bought the house in the late 1960's. At the
time the big Victorian sat vacant and was in disrepair.
Neighbor kids told them as the moved in that the house was haunted.
It wasn't until later that the Ackley's found the truth.
The Ghosts and the Ackley's live at peace with each other.
There was never an intentional scare to any of the Ackley's or their visitors.
Nyack sits approximately 20 miles north of
New York City on the West bank of the Hudson. Many people
of the area know about the haunting of this house. As a
matter-of-fact, the Hudson Valley is known for many haunted places.
Just straight across the river lays Tarrytown. Just
outside of Tarrytown is the legendary Sleepy Hollow. This was made famous by the Washington Irving's Halloween
tale of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Many of Irving's tales are based on
legends of the lower Hudson Valley.
The Legend of the Nyack
House made print in the Reader's Digest by a
article submitted by Helen Ackley herself in the May 1977 edition. She
told of various instances about the ghosts making their presence known
to the family. Here are a few tales:
- One ghost would wake my wife
up every morning for school by shaking her bed. When spring break
came, my wife made a loud announcement before going to sleep that
it was spring break, there was no school and she wanted to sleep
in. Her bed did NOT shake the next morning.
- A few of the grandchildren
received 'gifts' from the ghost in the form of baby rings. All of
sudden they just appeared.
- My wife received a gift of a
small silver sugar tong.
- My wife's older brother's
wife received coins.
- While painting the living
room Helen saw one of the ghost looking in approval of the color.
She always got the feeling that the ghost liked the renovation
they had done on the house.
I had two personal
experiences with the ghosts. They both happened soon
after I moved in with my future wife Cynthia and occurred
about one month apart.
- The first happened on Christmas
eve. I was home alone due to various activities. I was
playing Christmas elf in the living room putting gifts
together. It was totally quiet in the house. After a
while I kept hearing a muffled conversation coming from
the dining room around the wall. I would get up and walk
over, and nobody was there. I felt like I was being
watched. I had purposely turned on every light in the
surrounding rooms. I was getting nervous. Then my future
Brother-In-Law suddenly pounded on the door making me
jump out of my skin, and the talking stopped.
- The second incident
happened in our bedroom on the third floor. It was a
clear dark night, Cyn had already fallen asleep and I was
drifting. Then I heard the bedroom door creak, and the
floor boards squeak. My back was to the edge of the bed.
Suddenly the edge of the bed by my mid-section depressed
down, and I felt something lean against me. I went
literally stone stiff! I was speechless and could hardly
move. I was able to twist my neck around enough to see a
womanly figure in a soft dress through the moonlight from
the bay windows. I felt like she was looking straight at
me. After about minute, the presence got up and walked
back out of the room. I finally relaxed enough to shake
my wife out of sound sleep acting like a toddler who just
had a nightmare.
Later I reflected on the
incident. I believe the ghosts were checking me out
because they knew my wife and her ex-husband. They
probably wanted to see if I was a "good" person
for her. It was the women that used to shake Cyn's bed
every morning to go to high school. After that episode no
other sightings occurred. I did get the impression that
they did "approve" of me, and my wife and I
were married about 18 months later.
In 1989/90 taxes started going
out of control so Helen decided it was time to sell the house and move
to Florida or Texas. This lead into a big court case featured on the next
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