Monday, October 31, 2011

Albany, NY: Capitol Hauntings Tour



Halloween weekend started out with a snow storm; yup, that's our Halloween wind sock with a backdrop of snow. There were only a few inches in Albany (which had melted off the driveway by the time we woke up the next morning), but things are apparently a mess downstate, where the foot of snow on all the leaf-filled trees mean tens of thousands of people without power and lots of downed power lines. It's way too early for this.



We hid inside, drank cider, and carved our pumpkins.

As our pre-Great Pumpkin viewing/pizza eating Halloween finale, we went to the capitol for one of OGS's free Capitol Hauntings tours, which they offer every October (but reservations fill up fast).



The tour lasted just over an hour and we started by taking this gorgeous senate elevator up to the fourth floor of the capitol building. We heard about a local fruit vendor who committed suicide by jumping down a staircase and a night watchman who died in the 1911 fire.



We went into the Assembly Chamber and heard about the murals by William Morris Hunt, which were painted on the original sandstone, close to the vaulted ceiling...only that ceiling began to crumble and the murals were covered by the replacement flat ceiling. I'd be a pretty angry ghost if someone covered my masterpiece only ten years later (and are now in a state beyond repair).





Yeah, and I found this really beautiful library sign. I can't even imagine anything this beautiful at my own library (we won't even compare elevators).



Ok, I can't compare staircases either. This is the Great Western Staircase (otherwise known as the Million Dollar Staircase), which I failed to get even one decent photo of, but it absolutely gorgeous. I could have spent the entire hour examining the different carvings. Our tour guide even pointed out a the secret devil carving, but my camera didn't want to cooperate.

We didn't hear any ghost stories about the stairs (or I got distracted taking photos), but this was the only place that I started picking up orbs on my photos. So, here are some of the orbs...think of them what you will. I think it's interesting that they all seem to have one larger orb and one smaller one.







So, there you have it. Our tour guide was great and it was a very fun way to spend Halloween. It's so interesting to hear about "ghosts" in the historical context of the building (as opposed to a haunted house "boo" type of ghost). There are several free tours of the building daily, with a focus on the art and architecture, that I would really like to go back for next time I have some time off during the week.

Happy Halloween!

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