Is something wicked going on at Gelston Castle ?


Find out, when Carl Lane, a former security guard on the Gelston Castle property, gives a presentation on the possible haunting of the property at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the estate.

Local legend has it that Harriet Douglas Cruger, one of the property’s first residents and the woman who commissioned the building of Gelston Castle, still haunts the parcel of land in Jordanville.

Her great grandfather, Dr. James Henderson, received the estate as part of a royal land grant of 16,000 acres.

In 1778, her mother, Margaret Corne Douglas, built the first home on the property, Henderson House, which still stands.

Douglas Cruger’s castle was built between 1834 and 1836. It was inspired by and named after her uncle’s castle in Gelston, Scotland, which she had visited as a child.

Douglas Cruger was known as an independent and strong-willed woman, said Susan Perkins, executive director of the Herkimer County Historical Society, and one who was ahead of her time.

When she married Harry Nicholas Cruger, a New York City attorney, in 1833, she demanded that he take the name Douglas and they both be known as Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Cruger.

But the marriage ended in a very public divorce.

“The funny story is she chopped her wedding bed in half and made it into a couch,” Perkins said.

When Douglas Cruger died in 1872, she left the property to her great-niece, Fanny Robinson.

“The story goes that she wanted to be buried on the property,” Perkins said. Douglas Cruger had even purchased a granite sarcophagus to be interned in.

“But her relatives wouldn’t hear of it,” Perkins said.

Perkins said the family said Douglas Cruger was buried in a New York City churchyard, but the historical society has been unable to find records of Douglas Cruger’s burial site or her tombstone. 300w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /

The story is that due to her displeasure at not being laid to rest at Gelston Castle, she still roams the property over 100 years later.

Perkins said that when Lane worked as a security guard on the property, he had otherworldly experiences credited to Douglas Cruger’s lingering spirit.

“He does talk about experiences there,” Perkins said, at least until the presentation Oct. 22.

Perkins joked that Douglas Cruger’s spirit even ruined a Historical Society fundraiser that took place on the property.

After a weekend of rain, the sky cleared just as organizers had packed everything up to leave.

“I said, ‘See, she didn’t want us here,’” Perkins said.