Mason Winfield leads History Ghost Walks through Saratoga Springs in August, September and October.
continued “What I find is much more interesting is the type of places that get the ghost stories. I spent a lot more of my energy studying the physical places,” said Winfield. “I think I’ve seen a ghost or two in my life; never when I was looking for it.”
Most of what people think they know about ghosts is wrong, said Winfield. For example, they’re not devious and evil and they don’t return for revenge.
“The general public often believes that ghosts are all satanic and dangerous; they’re really scared,” said Winfield.
He will never tell people what to believe, said Winfield, but in his opinion, many supposed ghost sightings are often unfounded and likely the product of an overactive imagination.
“Your typical ghost that the eyewitness reports is a quick image, makes no noise, it’s usually in color and it seldom shows any sign of self awareness. It just stays a few seconds and is gone,” said Winfield. “It really takes a lot of projecting to believe that the average ghost is back with a message … I think most ghost sightings happen by accident … you’re just minding your own business and all of a sudden you see something.”
Seeing a ghost is actually quite rare, said Winfield.
“Psychic phenomenon is pretty rare, really. It’s very common in the big picture of life but very rare that it enters any individual’s life,” said Winfield.
Whether Saratoga residents have seen them or not, Winfield said the city has plenty of supernatural folklore and ghost stories.
There’s Madame Jumel, who has been known to frequent the site of her former house on Circular Street. The casino in Congress Park has attracted two notorious spooks: John Morrisey, a boxer, and Reubena Hyde Walworth.
“Reubean was a young woman and member of a very prominent Saratoga family. Her father was a wackjob who had committed a murder … and she appears in the casino because an exhibit of her family belongings there is associated with her,” said Winfield. “Reubena was also reported independently as an after death vision. She died very young in her 30s … and she actually came back 50 years later as a ghost who is seen comforting her dying younger sister, who was on her deathbed.”