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POV: A ghostly interest fortified

The author covers Schenectady County news for Spotlight Newspapers and has an interest in ghost hunting.

Fort Ticonderoga is traditionally toured as the sun beats down on reenactors, but a darker excursion offers some insight into its haunted past.

The Garrison Ghost Tour at Fort Ticonderoga offers visitors a unique chance to walk the fort under the moonlight and hear stories of staff members’ paranormal experiences, where the historic incidents happened. The tour was spawned three years ago after the Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” television show aired.

“The tour really grew out of the TV show,” said Chris Fox, curator of collection for Fort Ticonderoga. “When we did the show, it was arguably at the height of the popular interest in ghost hunting.”

If you’re not a fan of ghost hunting shows, the tour might bore you. If you are, don’t expect to be “hunting” for ghosts, but rather hearing ghost stories and learning a little about the fort’s past. The night takes on a campfire atmosphere, but the stories are far from campy.

Fox has been curator since 1996, so he’s heard a lot of tales from employees and visitors.

“We just collected a lot of stories that people, mainly staff, have experienced here over the years,” Fox said. “I have no reason to doubt what people have told me they have experienced here because I know these people really, really well. I know that when they tell me these things they are serious.”

Fox even had his own experience when he heard footsteps on the floor above him.

The scariest aspect of our tour didn’t stem from some paranormal tale or experience, but something rather alive.

Bats started swooping nearby shortly after entering the fort and would later be found hanging in various places around the fort. One bold tourgoer even shined his phone’s light on a bat while standing about a foot away. Keeping my distance seemed the best idea.

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