Take a haunted tour of the NYS Capitol in-person or online

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — We’re still over a month out from Halloween, but for some, that spooky day can’t come soon enough. Those looking to combine “scary” with “history” can take a Capitol Hauntings tour starting September 30.

If you’re ever in the Capitol and hear the jingling of keys, but there’s no one around, believers will tell you it’s the lingering spirit of a man who was inside the building in the early hours of March 29, 1911, when a fire broke out that reduced the library to ashes. “The night watchman, Samuel Abbott, perished in the fire,” explained Capitol Tour Guide Stuart Lehman. “Many people have reported strange noises in the background, some claim they have seen an apparition.”

Lehman himself looks like an apparition as he tells the story. He dresses in historical garb from the time period of the macabre event. And in addition to his more chilling chronicles, he’ll tell you about some frightening faces carved around the Million Dollar Staircase. “There’s some great gothic creatures,” Lehman said, “like you’ll find in a castle or cathedral in the middle ages.”

Making eye contact with these evil-looking grotesques can leave you feeling unsettled. You may be relieved to see the familiar face of Abraham Lincoln carved into the Scottish sandstone. But even that comes with an eerie tale that was first told a few years after the martyred president lay in state in the old New York Capitol overnight.

“There is a ghost legend that says the funeral train that brought him here to Albany regularly appears as a phantom train on its way up the Hudson River Railroad line to Albany, New York,” Lehman said.

You can register online to take a Capitol Hauntings tour, or you can watch virtual tour segments led by Lehman on YouTube.

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