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The Ghost of Nyack
Background about the House

1lavetaplace2.jpg (368118 bytes)This 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 page

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Ghost of Nyack: Background; Court Case; Update
Page last edited on: 03/25/17

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