By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News
— For the past five or six years, Mason Winfield’s Haunted History Ghost Walks have taken place throughout Western New York, from Allentown to Lewiston and various points in between ... but despite a wealth of folklore, not in North Tonawanda.
On Wednesday, that will change.
“Haunted History Ghost Walks Inc. were asked by a couple local folks to lead a private ghost walk when the idea came to everyone to open it up to the community,” Winfield said. “ We have a terrific script for North Tonawanda. It has some wonderful stories, and we hate to waste them by not presenting them. This may be a once-a-year thing in the future.”
The walk will leave at 7 p.m. Wednesday from the Carnegie Art Center, 240 Goundry St., North Tonawanda, and last about 90 minutes. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 7 to 11 and free for those 6 and younger. No registration is necessary.
The original request was made by NT resident Aaron Mohr, who said that he and some friends had the idea after going on Winfield’s Lewiston Ghost Walk last year.
“I like how Mr. Winfield approaches these walks,” Mohr wrote in an email. “First is the historical aspect. I have always liked history, and it gives you a new perspective on places you may be going by every day, and have never realized the historical relevance. Secondly he touches on architecture, another thing you gain appreciation for, how these older places were built.
“Thirdly, the ghost stories about places we walk by on the tour that have been passed down through the years. Being in October, what better time to hear a ghost story? Also, it’s something different and fun to do with a group of friends.”
Winfield said the walk will hit a number of locations, including sites on Thompson, Goundry and Tremont streets and Payne Avenue.
“On the tour, we will be discussing famous ghosts in North Tonawanda, including ‘Black’ Hannah, ‘The Woman in Red,’ and the Tuscarora shaman known as ‘Mad Bear,’ “ he said. “We will be talking about paranormal critters like ‘The 1920 Incident’ and ‘The Petite Creek Flume Monster.’ We’ll be talking about zones like ‘Ghost-Man’s Pass’ and Tonawanda Island. We’ll be looking at some famous haunted sites, like the DeGraff house and the Riviera Theatre.”
Although North Tonawanda ghost walks used to take place and some of the script from those will be carried over, Winfield said that a few sites and stories have been added. There’s no lack of them for the city, he said.
“It’s either got a surprising incidence of hauntings ... or people who think they’re haunted,” he added. “There is an enormous amount of urban folklore there. I was surprised at that.
“Since we last did our walks there, we’ve had a couple of electrifying, beautiful stories come in. One is a very haunting, poetic tale and I just can’t wait to tell it. Let’s just say there’s an ancient mystery site in North Tonawanda ... it’s a site that defies the archaeologists. There are reports of a monster ... connected to Tonawanda Creek and the Erie Canal.
“And there is one particular site in NT that has incredible eerie legends about little people. You might think of them as the Irish fairies .. but they’re not quite that friendly. Very eerie stories.”
IF YOU GO • WHAT: North Tonawanda haunted history ghost walk • WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday • WHERE: Departs from Carnegie Art Center, 240 Goundry St., North Tonawanda. • COST: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 7 to 11 and free for children 6 and younger. • MORE INFO: Visit www.masonwinfield.com.