Ghost Stories of the Southern Tier 4: The Natives are Restless
Native American Influence
In Elizabeth Tucker's book, 'Haunted Southern Tier," she writes not only about the many early industrial influences, with names like Phelps and Roberson, but of even earlier visitors, Native Americans.
She tells the story of the 'Lost Nation,' as recorded in Catherine Harris Ainsworth's 'Legends of New York State," in which traders would do business with these friendly Indians every year, except in the winter months. When one spring the traders returned, only to find no trace that the Indian encampment ever existed. There were no graves, no arrowheads, or remains from any campfires. Scouts were sent out to find this tribe, and no trace could be found. To this day that valley is known as "The Lost Nation." And still, no one knows what happened to the Native American Tribe that lived there.
We, in the Southern Tier, are living and working in the heart of what was once the great Iroquois Nation. For the people who live in these valleys, it is common place to see signs with names like 'Otsiningo, Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioghnioga, and Onaquaga," just to name a few. The Five Nations of the Iroquois; The Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, and Cayuga... and later joined by the Tuscarora, formed the League of Peace and Power, here in the Southern Tier.
Sa sa na Loft
High atop a hill just outside of Owego, in Evergreen Cemetery stands a monument to a 21-year old Mohawk Indian maiden who was killed in February 1852 following a horrific train accident in Deposit, NY. The following excerpt is taken from the “Treasures of the Tier” website.
The Lofts were of the Mohawk tribe who, a generation earlier, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, relocated from Canajoharie in New York’s Mohawk River Valley, to a reservation on the Salmon River in western Canada.
The Loft children were well educated. For several months Sa-sa-na lived with the reservation minister’s family where she was tutored in English language and Christian beliefs. She took music lessons and by many accounts developed a beautiful singing voice. At age 21, Sa-sa-na, with her brother Rok-wa-ho and sister Ya-go-weia, left their widowed mother and eldest sister in Canada to travel to the United States where they would give concerts to raise funds for educating their people.
A prominent Owego citizen, Judge Charles P. Avery, helped sponsor the Loft family’s visit to Owego, where they performed two concerts before moving on to their next stop in Deposit. Judge Avery, having an interest in Native Americans and their history, entertained the family at his home during their brief stay in town.
When news of the tragedy reached Owego, Judge Avery made arrangements to have Sa-sa-na’s body returned to the village and temporarily interred in the Avery family vault. Although her brother planned to return her to Canada the following spring, the citizens of Owego had been so touched by the young girl’s visit just days before, they persuaded Sa-sa-na’s family to allow her to be buried in the village.
A campaign was launched by church and women’s organizations to raise money for a monument, which was completed in May of 1855.
The 17-foot white marble obelisk was placed at the highest point of Evergreen Cemetery in Owego. Engraved on the front are the words: “In memory of Sa-sa-na Loft, an Indian maiden of Mohawk Woods, Canada West, who lost her life in the railroad disaster at Deposit, N.Y., Feb 18 1852. Aged 21 years.” On the back is a single wild rose with stem broken and one missing leaf, and on the west side: “By birth a daughter of the forest, by adoption a child of God.” Sa-sa-na was laid to rest at the foot of the monument, on the east side.
It's said that on certain nights, when the moon is right, people visiting the monument have been able to hear what they say is singing. Is it the wind, or a message from the Indian Maiden as she watches over the village that adopted her?
About a month ago or so, I asked the question of our listeners of 991 The Whale, if they knew of any Ghost Stories or places in the Greater Binghamton area that were haunted. I of course got pointed in the right direction with the Sherwood Inn, our first story in the five part series. The Barron's Inn also came up on the radar screen.
Here's a few stories from Facebook. I have changed the names as to not anger the Ghosts and Spirits....
IK writes... The house I grew up in was haunted. My parents built a new house in the back yard 15 years ago. I don't know if the ghost followed to the new house. (apparently IK hasn't visited mom or dad in awhile)
PF suggests that the American Legion Post 80 in Binghamton is haunted, but the commander there has apparently been too scared to call me with the details. Also that her own house is haunted
Another person writes of numerous homes and businesses in the Village of Greene that are haunted in someway or another. Another writes that a building I own in Greene is very big on the EVP scale.
Yet another lady writes.... 'I could tell you some true stories, but can't, the ones (ghosts) here might get mad. (speaking of her own home). She further writes... 'They live in my bedroom. They don't like my daughter but I've said I'd leave them alone if they left me alone... I will tell you that something sat on my bed... the bed went down on the right side. I was terrified... had to turn over to turn the light on and as I did the bed went back up. This Is True!.... I didn't believe orbs till I saw one.
Another writes that she has a picture of her stepdaughter walking down the stairs with something.. or someone, walking behind her.
And another... The Smithville Community Center is known for hearing bangs and noises upstairs when there is no one up there. I've heard them myself.
And here's this one, from a lady whose father used to own a building on Henry Street in the City of Binghamton.....My father used to own it. It is 4 floors with two apts. on each floor. There was also one studio apt. in the basement. One of the apts. on the first floor was empty (the one right over the studio) and he and my grandfather were fixing it up for a new tenant. While this was going on he had some complaints from a few tenants that they would come home and some of their stuff was moved, not stolen or defaced, just put in a different spot.
Then the woman that lived in the studio called my dad and told him that she kept hearing heavy footsteps in the vacant apartment at about 6-7 at night. She wanted to know if they were there working at that time since she didn't see his truck. He wasn't working at that time of night. He went down the next day and had to do some work in the basement near the ceiling, something with the pipes.
As he was working he heard footsteps coming from that apartment. So he ran upstairs to see who was in there, all the doors were locked, when he got inside no one was there. The windows were all locked too so someone couldn't have jumped out the window and it is downtown Binghamton so you know there are deadbolts on the doors. He couldn't figure out what it could have been. So he stayed there all day and nothing else happened. In the evening he decided to wait in the apartment, lock himself in and see if anything happened. He hid in a closet that was right past the living room, (which had hardwood floors so he would be able to hear any footsteps).
He waited for a while. Then he hears what he described as heavy footsteps, like a man in boots start walking from the middle of the living room toward where he was hiding in the closet. It walked right over to the closet door. There was a light switch right outside the closet and my dad waited for the person to turn on the light but it never happened. He thought it might have been my grandpa coming down to the apt. to check on him too so he didn't want to just open the door and give my grandfather a heart attack.
He slowly opened the door and looked, there was nothing. He turned on the light, nothing. He searched to whole apartment, nothing. All the dead bolts were still locked, windows locked and he was the only one in the apartment. He went down stairs to see if the woman in the studio heard the foot steps too and she did. He still has never figured out what it was, there is no explanation except that it was a ghost. About 10 years before he heard the ghost in this apartment, he had rented it out to his nephew (my cousin) and his friend. The friend had committed suicide in that apartment. He shot himself in the head. My dad had to go down and clean up all the remnants of brain and skull left over. We think the ghost might be this guy!?
It's interesting to note that all the people saying they have heard, or heard of strange spooky happenings have been... WOMEN. Now, does that mean women are more susceptible to ghost stories, or maybe it's that because they have two (X) chromosomes, which means they have a genetic predisposition to being able to pick up ghosts and EVP's?
As the Eagles sang..... 'Ohhh, Hoooo Witchy Woman, she got the moon in her eye...... '
Coming up tomorrow, we look at the Roberson Mansion and the Former Binghamton State Hospital.