Book Signings

We will be discussing and signing copies of our book Long Island Oddities at the following dates and locations:

10/23/13 7PM Carle Place, Barnes and Noble

10/24/13 7PM Bay Shore, Barnes and Noble

10/30/13 7PM Lake Grove, Barnes and Noble

One of the places that is most concentrated with history is Old Bethpage Village. Here, houses from all over Long Island that have connections to the 1800's and pre-Civil War Long Island. There are four main structures that these legends focus on. These are the Conklin House, Williams House, Hewlett House, and the Noon Inn.

The Conklin House

This house was originally located in the Village of the Branch, Smithtown. It was built around 1920 by Thomas Hallock, and sat next to his inn. It is believed that Walt Whitman resided here for a short time while teaching school. . In 2853 Joseph Hull Conklin purchased the home. He had married Thankful Hallock, Thomas Hallock's niece. Joseph Hull Conklin was in the coach business until he moved to this house, where he became a bayman. It was moved to Old Bethpage in 1965 and is the embodiment of a typical working class house from the 1850's. Aside from the historical value, the house is reputed to be haunted. We had heard tales of a deformed or disabled boy who had been shut up inside the house. Upon asking the employees, we were told that the boy did show up in a census for only one year and never again. This has not yet been verified.

Some people have reported seeing a woman upstairs dressed in a period outfit. One of the interpreters was asked if a tour could be given upstairs. She responded that there was no one working upstairs that day. The visitor swore that a woman had been up there. Perhaps it was a ghostly inhabitant. Some people have refused to set foot inside the house, including an interpreter who had worked at Old Bethpage Village for 20 years. The house is very small and simple. It is hard to imagine what could give people such a fright. Some say it is the low ceiling and a natural feeling of claustrophobia. Others say that there is more to this house than the walls and ceilings.

The Hewlett House

This is one of the most unique houses at the restoration village. Inside you can see an authentic looking Kitchen and root cellar amongst other things. The Hewlett family is well known in Long island history, especially during the Revolutionary War. A descendant, Lewis Hewlett, resided at this house in Great Neck. There are a number of strange happenings here. One worker was leaning over the fireplace when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Figuring it was a co-worker she rose and turned only to see that there was no one there. On a tour, one of the interpreters mentioned that some people do get nauseous in the house.

There is a portrait in one of the rooms that some say will stare at you no matter where you are in the room. This is most likely a trick of the painting but still an interesting feature. On the adjacent wall is a tapestry done by a child learning to sew and embroider. Though faded, you can still read some of the words, which revolved around being buried, bones rotting, and a desire to not be forgotten.

One woman felt pulled towards the staircase every time she entered the house. She felt an immense pull to go up and finally one day she did, only to see a noose hanging from the top of the stairwell. Another woman felt as if she were being pushed down the stairs, so together they decided to hold a séance. During the séance supposedly they contacted the spirit of Lewis Hewlett who said that he was the one hanging from the stairwell. While the hanging has not yet been proven, the Hewlett family did undergo a period of very hard financial times.

The security guards tell another interesting tale. The Hewlett house has ordinary house key locks on the front door and once in, the door locks behind you when you close it. Many a security guard has been locked in the house waiting for someone to come and unlock the door from the outside. One man heard voices of two men talking downstairs and called out to them. He realized that if there were two men down in the basement, he would be outnumbered. He went to leave and go get backup but as he reached the door he saw that it had closed and he was locked in the house. He became so frightened that he actually jumped out of a window rather than to radio and wait for help,

One of the most interesting ghostly tales is that of the mysterious engraving of initials into the ceiling above the same fireplace. The initials read L. H., which is assumed to be Lewis Hewlett. As the story goes, the initials just appeared on the same day as the mysterious shoulder tap. Some say that whoever wrote those initials wanted them to be noticed. Whether or not the initials were always there, they were not noticed until that day. The Old Bethpage Village Restoration historians are mainly concerned with pre-civil war and that time frame so we do not know if the L.H. is related to more recent occupants of the home.

The Williams House

This was the home of Henry Williams, a farmer and carpenter. They were from New Hyde Park. The house is quite charming from the outside. This is reputed to be the most haunted house. Supposedly a seamstress named Esther resided in the house. There are some large trunks upstairs and they have been heard moving around and upon coming upstairs, are found moved, open, and their contents tossed around.

The interpreters had quite a bit of trouble with one of the parlor windows. It was a hot day and two women were working in the house. They opened the window and turned back to the sewing table. The window slammed shut. They put a stick under the window to keep it open. The next time the window shut they came in to see the stick laying on the sewing table. Perplexed hey put the stick under again and walked away. The window shut once again and this time the stick was somehow way out by the garden. Another time two women were in the house cleaning up. They were across the house form each other and one woman picked up a small child size teacup toy. She heard a small voice saying, “Put my teacup down”, which of course she did and left the room very hastily.

During preparations for Thanksgiving at the village, the door kept slamming shut. One woman used a fireplace instrument to prop open the door. She turned around and got back to work only to be hit in the head by the same thing she used to prop open the door. Perhaps Esther is very particular about what windows and doors should be open.

The Noon Inn

This building was originally built to be an inn and bar. After it closed down the building was bought and used for storage by another company. During this time sometimes kids would break in to look around and one man actually used the building as a place to sleep. Three teenagers broke in and found him sleeping. He then stabbed and killed the three, one upstairs in the bedroom and the other two downstairs in the hallway. It took some time before their bodies were discovered. A security guard doing rounds caught the man and saw the bodies. The vagrant had items from the three boys on his possession and confessed to their murder. Later on it became a haunted spot of local legend and one girl coming there saw the faces of the three boys in one of the upstairs windows. Supposedly this was spotted on the same night that the vagrant hung himself in jail. This occurred in East Meadow where the house once stood on the corner of East Meadow Ave and Prospect Avenue. Since the inn’s relocation at Old Bethpage Village, no paranormal activity has been reported.

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