We all know about the hustle and bustle of New York City, but if you travel deeper into New York State, there are plenty of places to stay in a serene environment. The Finger Lakes are a great place to unwind, while embarking on a vacation, but there is one hotel that gives an extra hint of thrills and chills while relaxing along the calm waters of the lake.

Belhurst Castle is a beautiful castle-style hotel that boasts three unique properties right on the shores of Seneca Lake. The hotel has everything from a luxurious spa, to wine and craft beer pairings as well as highbrow dining for guests to enjoy. They also host an array of weddings on the picturesque grounds.

However, guests have been known to be haunted by a few ghosts that loom on the premises. The most notable ghosts being a late opera singer who is not shy about making her presence known throughout the hotel along with a prank-playing caretaker.

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The History of Belhurst Castle

Belhurst Castle has quite a history that spans all the way back to Native Americans that inhabited the area as it was originally the site of a Seneca Indian village and home to the council of the Six Nations of Iroquois.

After the land was re-inhabited by settlers, the property became part of the state of Massachusetts in 1738 by two land developers. In 1810, the land was sold to a few businessmen and they built and operated the Ontario Glass Manufacturing Company, which was the first glass company west of Albany. 

However, in 1824 the land was divided among stockholders of the glass company with William DeLong receiving the largest portion of the land, which became the grounds to the hotel.

After the grounds went through a few owners, it was eventually purchased by Carrie M. Young who purchased the property immediately after she laid eyes on it for the first time. After a messy divorce, Young and her new husband employed 50 men for four years to construct the Belhurst Castle we know today. 

The path to its completion was not an easy one as one went insane while putting the roof on the hotel and another fell to his death from the highest tower. However, the townspeople were aflutter about the hotel after its completion as it had all the bells and whistles of a premiere hotel and although there were untimely deaths attributed to its inception, guests did not let them detour them from their vacationing. 

Today, guests still travel from great lengths to stay at the hotel and additional properties have been added to the grounds. The current owners of Belhurst Castle are Duane and Deb Reeder who purchased the property in 1992, and they have converted a ranch built in the 1950s to become guest quarters, and constructed a 30,000 square foot facility adjoining to the castle as well. Amazing restaurants and a spa have also been added to the property giving guests the utmost luxury, but there are many reports of paranormal activity on the grounds as guests attest to strange behavior during their stay time and time again.

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The Hauntings of Belhurst Castle

Although we know there were a couple tragic deaths that occurred during the construction of the hotel, there is one female ghost who is the most predominant on the grounds as well as a caretaker who never left the hotel.

Isabella was a beautiful opera singer who fled to the grounds with her forbidden lover, Spanish Don, where they built a house with a secret tunnel to smuggle alcohol during the Prohibition as well as escape if the authorities came after them. One day, they were pursued by the authorities and Isabella along with her husband escaped to the tunnels to a boat that was waiting for them to make their escape. Every thing was going according to plan until the tunnels collapsed, killing Isabella instantly. From that day forward, Isabella has been said to be roaming the grounds in a white dress looking for her lover who lived out his days without her. 

Another ghost said to be haunting the grounds is Dick O’Brien, the caretaker of the hotel until his death in 1972. O’Brien was said to be a prankster, so there have been many accounts of disembodied laughter and harmless, unexplainable pranks played throughout the hotel.

Hauntings Guests have Encountered

The staff at Belhurst Castle have witnessed both ghosts on numerous occasions. Allegedly, showers are known to turn on and off in many guest rooms, and bottles and glasses fly across the bar area without anyone being behind the bar. There have also been accounts of tablecloths being tied to the chandeliers. Many of the activities in the bar area of a jovial nature have been attributed to Dick O’Brien. The caretaker is not shy about making his presence known in the hotel as guests have seen him walking up the stairs or sitting in his favorite chair along with the pranks he pulls on the staff and guests.

As for Isabella, she has been known to stand staring at the hotel from the front lawn and she has also been seen as an apparition flying through the windows. Many guests have seen the late opera singer roaming the grounds in a white dress in search of her lost lover.

There are also a few ghosts that the staff does not know the backstory about too. Guests have reported hearing the sound of a lullaby being softly sung in the middle of the night after all guests have gone to bed. There is also the sound of children playing or even screaming in the hallways or in rooms next door usually reported by pregnant women staying in the hotel. Other guests have reported the sounds of furniture being moved above them at odd hours of the night. These sounds most commonly come from the old casino room, which once houses a roulette wheels and gambling tables back when Belhurst was both a speakeasy and casino.

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Visiting Belhurst Castle

4069 W Lake Rd, Geneva, NY 14456, United States