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Haunting beauty

Yaddo Garden Association hosts ghost tours of Spa City grounds

Many visitors of the gardens at the Yaddo Artist’s Retreat in Saratoga Springs say there is a “mysteriousness” to the place and that they sometimes don’t feel quite alone there. The Yadoo Garden Association is holding tours this fall to tell the ghostly tales. Submitted photo.

Many visitors of the gardens at the Yaddo Artist’s Retreat in Saratoga Springs say there is a “mysteriousness” to the place and that they sometimes don’t feel quite alone there. The Yadoo Garden Association is holding tours this fall to tell the ghostly tales. Submitted photo.

— Hefter said financier Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina, along with their four children, would travel to their Saratoga home often, especially after each of the kids took ill. Katrina is buried on the grounds, while the children are buried in Brooklyn.

“There have been stories of Katrina sightings up around the mansion but that is not part of the tour. … There have been people that claim to Katrina sightings be it wherever – in the gardens, floating down the staircase,” said Hefter.

Even the current name of the estate has peculiar and morbid origins. The Trask children all died very young and it is said after the death of the youngest boy, little Christina Trask said while traveling to Saratoga there would be no more “yaddos” at their respite home. She was young and couldn’t pronounce the word shadows so it came out as “yaddos.”

“There are stories that people hear children laughing and they think it’s the Trask children,” said Hefter. “A lot of visitors to the gardens have experienced sightings … things to make people think the gardens are haunted. It’s all what you believe, also.”

It was after all of the children died and the Tasks were left with no heirs that Yaddo was bequeathed to Saratoga as a retreat for artists. Legend has it Katrina Trask had a vision of “men and women yet unborn walking the lawns of Yaddo creating, creating, creating.”

The cost for a ghost tour is $10 and free for children under 12. Tours last for about an hour. All proceeds go to the association for garden maintenance. More traditional garden tours are held throughout the summer.

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