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The Ghosts of Historic Richmondtown

I used to work at a museum complex on Staten Island, NY known as Historic Richmondtown, or HRT. Some of the houses on the property are considered haunted.  Though the museum will deny any ghost stories, I, along with others who have worked there, say that there is something in some of these houses.

Some of the houses have been moved to the property from other areas of the island. This is the case with the Guyon Lake Tysen House. It is

located on Richmond Road right before the intersection at Arthur Kill Road. This house was built in 1740, though the upstairs wasn’t finished. The present day kitchen wasn’t installed until 1820 by the Lake family. It was the Lake's daughter, Elizabeth Lake Tysen, that the hauntings are centered around. Elizabeth was given the family farm by her parents after her marriage so her and her new husband, David Tysen, could work the farm.

Elizabeth had a large number of children. I believe it was about eleven. Most didn’t make it to adulthood. In the children's bedroom upstairs, toys have been known to move around. Even a friend of mine has heard footsteps and "children" upstairs playing with toys, and even a penny whistle when no one was upstairs in the house. 

When you walk into this house, in the east parlor, there is a portrait of a lady. If you photograph the expression on her face, it will change. Also, it looks like her face is all bruised. 

Another house on the property is actually the old county clerk and surrogates office that has been converted into museum space. When workers were renovating the back upstairs room about 10 years ago, weird things would happen. Tools would go missing or be noticeably moved. Workers would hear voices and footsteps behind them. 

According to a woman who was the receptionist there for over 15 years, HRT found it hard to keep workmen up there. Even recently, two friends of

mine that are the weekend supervisors have witnessed strange occurrences. There are times it sounds like a ball or some large object is rolled around upstairs when no one is in the museum. There are also noticeable chilly spots, such as in the upstairs back room, which is now a toy exhibit. While at the reception desk, one of my friends heard a man talking in her ear.  She knew someone was talking but she couldn’t make out the words and no one was in the museum. Though it was the middle of January, my friend was so freaked out she spent most of her time outside the museum until her partner's tour came back.

Though these are some of the stories from HRT, there are more. I worked there for about two years. My friends (the weekend supervisors) have worked there for about six years. You can go see HRT for six dollars. You can go on tours on afternoons and weekends. Once "open village" starts in the summer you can enter the buildings as you please and there will be costumed interpreters in most of the buildings.  –M.

You can read about all of New York’s other haunted hotspots and ghostly gathering places in Weird New York.

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