Halloween season is a time when the misty veil between our world and the world of the supernatural is believed to be at its thinnest. It is not uncommon for earthbound spirits to be seen and heard during Halloween season. Some ghosts want to share secrets. Some cry out in the night for lost loves.
It’s precisely places of long forgotten mysteries and tragic love stories like Jamesport’s Jedediah Hawkins Inn and the Jamesport Manor Inn, where shadowy ghosts seem to emerge from the walls at midnight during Halloween season to share their cryptic stories, even if only for a second. Though there are no such modern-day ghost stories linked to either inn, some people believe ghostly activity might have occurred in these buildings in the past.
Will you see the ghost of Jedediah Hawkins while dining in the splendor of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn’s exquisite restaurant or lodging in one of its six luxurious rooms? Will you see the ghost of little Margaret Olivia when enjoying lunch or dinner at the stately and gorgeous Jamesport Manor Inn? Maybe. Maybe not.
Jedediah Hawkins Inn at 400 South Jamesport Avenue is a breathtaking “Italianate” Victorian mansion, completely restored to its original Civil War period splendor. The inn is located at the threshold to the North Fork’s picturesque wine country. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the colorful Jedediah Hawkins Inn is an ideal getaway for couples who share a taste for fine wines, four-star dining, elegant lodging, and a passion for Long Island’s rich history.
According to the inn’s website, “Legends abound about the house; some claim that Jedediah Hawkins was an abolitionist and the house was a station on the Underground Railroad; others claim that Jedediah was a gunrunner. Although there is no historical evidence for these speculations, there are unexplained secret passages and trapdoors throughout the house, which pique our imagination and lend some support to stories.”
Built in 1863 by the dashing Captain Jedediah Hawkins, a former ship’s master and later a Captain in the Union Army, the house was rumored to be haunted while it was unoccupied during the later part of the 20th century. The house was purchased and renovated by new owners in 2004. The result was a brilliant balance of preserving the old while introducing something new—Luce + Hawkins, the inn’s premier restaurant overlooking Tuscany-like farmlands.
“Ghosts?” asked chef Keith Luce, an owner of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn. “No, we don’t see any ghosts. Some people have said they have seen doors open and close by themselves, and staff experienced strange feelings in the basement… I guess I’m being a little wishy-washy here because I was one of the people who snuck into the building before it was resurrected, and I definitely got a creepy feeling. I wouldn’t doubt if Jedediah’s presence, or one o f his family members, still lingers here; but they must approve of what we’ve done with their house because they’re at peace. We enjoy a peaceful feeling here.”
For many years the Jamesport Manor Inn at 370 Manor Lane was believed to be a haunted house. The historic mansion was destroyed by fire in 2005. The present owners painstakingly replicated details of the house documented in photographs. The Manor is composed entirely of new materials.
However, the fire could not destroy the Manor’s rich history. Members of the Dimon family lived in the Manor during the Colonial period. They served as Minutemen before the American Revolution and as militiamen during the battles in the War of 1812. “On top of all this, there are stories of great adventure and of great love,” the Jamesport Manor Inn’s website says. “Scandal, tragedy and sadness, too, all played a role in the lives lived within the Manor’s walls. The Manor harbored many secrets that its walls were just beginning to reveal when they were silenced by a tragic fire.” The abandoned Manor was rumored to be haunted by the ghost of 10-year old Margaret Olivia before it was purchased in 2004. The young girl reportedly died from a broken neck when she fell out of a tree on the property in 1868. People also claimed to have seen the ghost of a young woman staring down from a window on the second floor at the front of the mansion. Today, odd, unexplainable incidents are reported by staff, giving credence to the notion that the building might still be haunted.
Matthew Kar, owner of the Jamesport Manor, said the Manor has a peaceful friendly feeling. Ghosts have not been seen in the building. But, he quickly added, employees have reported strange sounds and occurrences such as chairs in the dining rooms being unexplainably moved after having been carefully arranged by staff. Moreover, psychics who didn’t know anything about the history of the Manor reported sensing activity upon walking in the front door.
“I have one incident where a man returned a dusty candleholder to the Manor that he had taken years ago before the fire,” said Kar. The man said, ‘I’m returning the ghost now.’ When I said I didn’t believe a ghost could attach itself to the candleholder, he said, ‘Oh, you don’t believe in ghosts?’ I said I didn’t. Just then a lightning bolt hit a transformer across the street and our power went out… I think there is some merit to all this.”
Joseph Flammer and Diane Hill are the authors of three books about Long Island’s ghosts. They lecture widely on Long Island and in New York.