Three Long Island Urban Legends: Secrets and Spirits


Nancy Carter, Google

Delaney Hallahan, Contributing Writer

Living on Long Island, you may have heard a haunting story or two from just a few towns over, so today, we want to bring you three of our favorite legends just a few miles away from our very own campus. Although the island seems small, there is a lot more below the surface to learn from the history of our beautiful island. Some of our history has dark undertones to it; join us in learning about a small part of the many spirits and secrets of Long Island.

1. The Montauk Project – Montauk
If the plot of Netflix’s hit original series, Stranger Things, sounds familiar, you may know our first legend on this list. Rumors came up during the 1950s that a US Air Force Base on the grounds of Camp Hero State Park on the east end held secret experiments during World War II. The rumored experiments included a test similar to what Eleven of Stranger Things experienced, such as the use of electromagnetics to find the ability of telekinesis-like powers in people and searches for other dimensions. Many theories of what happened behind these concrete walls were “confirmed” by a series of books by Preston B. Nichols and Vincent Barbarick (also known as Peter Moon) titled “The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time,” published in 1992. Nichols and Barbarick claimed to have discovered their repressed memories of being kidnapped and experimented on. The hysteria only continued when cryptozoologist Loren Coleman washed up on a Montauk beach in 2008, a strange bare-skinned creature named The Montauk Monster. Theories of what this creature could include:
● A pitbull.
● Raccoon.
● A turtle with no shell.
● A creature that might have escaped from a secret lab.
The many legends, theories, and rumors born from this fenced-off base stand as one giant question mark with no actual evidence, only the viral ideas that have reached all corners of Long Island and continue to haunt those who fear the unknown.

1. Amityville Horror House – Amityville
Next, we have a gruesome story that inspired dozens of movies through the years and holds its spot as one of Long Island’s biggest arguments of fact or a hoax. Early morning on Nov. 13, 1974, Ronald Joseph DeFeo Jr. shot his six family members to death as they slept, including his two parents and four siblings. After DeFeo confessed to his horrible actions, his defense tried to plead insanity. DeFeo claimed he heard voices that told him to commit this crime, though many blame his actions on his troubled past involving abuse from his father and drug addiction. After these events, the Lutz family of Kathy and George and their three children moved into the beautiful dutch colonial house in Dec. 1975. However, they only lasted 28 days until they decided to move out due to multiple supernatural occurrences. Some of the things the Lutz family experienced included Kathy claiming to have levitated in bed, George being woken up at 3:15 a.m. every morning, which was the time of the DeFeo murders, and their daughter having a strange imaginary friend. Most residents of the house after the Lutz family claimed to have not experienced anything out of the ordinary but have only had to deal with tourism in their own home. Though very entertaining, most- if not all -books and movies based on the murders and supernatural events are merely fiction and not accurate to the murders or hauntings at all. Many theories surround the Lutz family, questioning if their stories were true since there is no solid proof other than a lie detector test the Lutz family passed. Today the house stands eerily quiet for tourists to pass by.

1. The Spirits of Raynham Hall – Oyster Bay
Raynham Hall of Oyster Bay, once involved in George Washington’s spy ring during the revolutionary war, is now a museum with spirits lurking in its halls. The story goes that a 17-year-old Sarah Townsend, also known as Sally, fell in love with British Commander, Lt. Col. John Simcoe, who was quartering in Raynham hall during the revolutionary war. It’s said that the first American valentine was given to Sarah from Simcoe. When a British soldier, Major John André, leaves a secret letter for Simcoe containing British plans involving the American fort at West Point, Sally reads this letter and tells her brother Robert, a member of Washington’s Culper Spy Ring. In doing this, André is captured, and British plans are foiled. Simcoe soon leaves Oyster Bay, and Sally is left alone to grow old and never marry; she passed at 82 in her home, Raynham Hall.

Today, visitors of Raynham Hall Museum are said to feel sudden coldness in her second-floor bedroom and have heard screams coming from her room at night. A ghost-riding apparition has also been seen along with the sound of footsteps and doors slamming and opening; some believe this is Major Andre himself. These days, you can visit Raynham hall, see where history took place, and learn more about the history of Oyster Bay.

And with that, we finish our three Long Island Legends! We hope you learned a thing or two about our Islands’ History and secrets. Do you believe our island has more than what’s on the surface? You are welcome to visit these locations. However, it is imperative to acknowledge residents’ privacy and any trespassing signs; please stay safe and remain respectful!