LITTLE FALLS, NY HISTORY          The beginnings of what is now Beardslee Castle actually start with a man named John Beardslee in the year 1781. John was Connecticut native and a man well-versed in many vocations. Well-versed in architecture, engineering and mechanics, he ventured out into the world like many of his era did to use their gifts and knowledge to secure their fortune and establish themselves in society.          His story begins in Whiteside, N.Y. in 1786, where he constructed mills financed by the inspired idea of selling shares in the dividends to be generated by the goods that they would produce. Eventually his own profit was earned by selling his shares in the mills. The state of New York was duly impressed enough to commission him to build more mills for use by the Oneida Indians. At this point a burgeoning career took flight as he continued to construct more mills, bridges and municipal buildings in the Mohawk Valley area.          Beardslee eventually settled in East Creek, where the development that followed there would be called Beardslee Mills. The population grew to around 2000 people as the town continued to prosper and grow in the 1800s. This good fortune was short-lived however as with the opening of the Erie Canal, more trade was concentrated elsewhere. The result was a town that underwent great hardship, eventually leading to most residents moving elsewhere in order to survive. Ironically, John Beardslee died the same month the Canal was opened, October of 1825, as if to definitively signal the end of a prosperous era. He was laid to rest in the family mausoleum in East Creek.          Four years prior to John's death, his son Augustus graduated from Union College and quickly displayed the same work ethic and business acumen his father did. Augustus went on to practice law and was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to attend a convention in Virginia for the purposes of quelling the movement toward civil war. While those efforts failed, he proved to be a shrewd investor and his growing fortune resulted in the construction of the Beardslee Estate in 1860.          Augustus and Helen Beardslee had a son named Guy who, like his father and grandfather before him, grew up to be an industrious, well-rounded and successful individual. Born in 1850, he took a somewhat different path that his predecessors by being appointed at West Point (albeit barely making the grade) at age 21 and after graduating, found himself sent to Fort Niobrara in Nebraska. A year later, resigning his commission, he returned home to handle the family's affairs.          It was back home that a tremendous business opportunity practically fell into his lap. He was approached by engineers representing a New York firm wanting to develop power at the old Beardslee City location. While Guy agreed in principal, the firm could not raise the agreed-upon price of $40,000. Sensing the prospect of a lucrative payday, Guy used his own engineering background and - with the help of two other friends with a background in electricity named Edison and Tesla - sought to develop the project himself. Soon the farm was almost fully mechanized (l.) making it the first rural farm in the United States to have electric power. Realizing the potential, Guy offered the same to other farms in the immediate area and eventually supplied power to other locations farther away. In 1911 the Adirondack Power and Light Company (below) bought out Guy, in the process making Guy and his family wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.                It was in this time of prosperity that a tragic event struck the Beardslee family. A fire had started and quickly engulfed the castle, leaving nothing but the walls and foundation behind. Reports circulated that the fire was intentionally set by a man seen wandering around the property to cover up the fact that he had robbed the home. The many fine furnishings and curios the family had collected in their travels overseas now were gone forever.          While the first floor was rebuilt, the upstairs was left empty with no roof installed to replace the original lost in the fire. The back of the property was converted into a garden area. The family split time between the castle and another home in Florida until Guy passed away in 1937. His wife Ethel followed in 1941 to join her husband in the family plot in East Creek. They had no children.          A series of new ownerships was to follow. The estate's executor Gertrude Shriver, sister of Edith, sold the property to one Adam Horn who along with his wife lived there for only a year. They in turn sold it to Anton "Pop" Christensen who renamed the castle "The Manor" and opened it to the public. It remained this way for 45 years until Pop grew very ill. Knowing his days were numbered he attempted to take his own life on multiple occasions, finally succeeding in doing so in what is now the side entrance foyer, but what was then the ladies room. His daughters sold off most of what was left of the Beardslee belongings left behind and sold the castle to a restaurateur named John Dedla who operated it as such until 1976.          Joe Casilio was the next to make a go of The Manor, but he felt a name change was in order so he dubbed it "Beardslee Manor" and turned the basement into a pub (l.), renovated the second floor and installed a new roof over the castle. It was at this time that the ghost stories began to reach a fever pitch and paranormal investigators flocked to the restaurant. The staff was encouraged to relate their own stories to the customers and interest remained fairly high until the burden of an absentee owner and the poor quality of the food served combined to doom the troubled building.          In 1989 yet another fire wreaked havoc on the establishment. It began in the kitchen area and completely destroyed that wing. The castle closed again and eventually fell prey to decay and vandalism. There was also collateral damage from broken water lines that continued to run, flooding and damaging the exterior and interior of the castle.          It remained this way until 1994, when present owner Randall Brown purchased the property and began extensive renovations that lasted a year and a half. One of the first orders of business was again to re-name the manor "Beardslee Castle" to honor its original inhabitants. The second was to enlist a catholic priest to bless the castle (reasons why to follow). From the restaurant's website (www.beardsleecastle.com): "Nearly every square inch of the Castle has been restored or rebuilt. The original oak parquet floors, covered for the preceding twenty years with wall-to-wall carpeting have been returned to their glistening shine. The stonework interior with its wide gothic arches have been thoroughly hand cleaned of 140 years of dirt and soot. The wood paneled ceilings have been restored to a warm luster highlighted by art deco and mission style lighting fixtures. The second floor banquet room features beautiful floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows giving a panoramic view of the valley. A completely new kitchen services all three floors."     THE RESTLESS SPIRITS OF BEARDSLEE CASTLE             A young woman in a white gown has been reported throughout the castle, but in particular standing, sitting or walking by a certain window.  It is said she is called Abigail by staff and was a bride who died the night before her wedding. Psychics have felt the presence of a woman dressed in a white dress with a high collar. Construction workers have noticed a very strong smell of perfume in an otherwise empty Carriage House. Psychics have identified Abigail as a “friendly” ghost who loves the castle and the grounds. A former employee was in the cellar one night getting a case of wine when she turned and saw the woman dressed in the white gown standing behind her. She recognized her as Abigail because of a picture that hung inside the banquet hall. From that point what she saw chilled her to the bone.  Abigail turned to walk up the stairs and when she reached the top she floated across the floor toward the bathroom. The door opened to let her in without being touched and closed behind her as she passed through it. When the employee went to check, the bathroom was empty.          In the mid-1700s, the grounds of the castle and the surrounding area were a central supply point for the militia in the French and Indian War. Psychic researchers have identified the spirit of Native Americans as a strong presence in and around the castle. This could also be in part because Guy Beardslee, upon resigning his Army commission in Nebraska, returned with three Sioux war bonnets. These Indian artifacts could also be drawing a spirit response as well. These artifacts were lost in the first fire at the castle in 1919.    One night staff members were playing with a Oiuja board and allegedly encountered some not-so-friendly ghosts. Lights went out and one employee was hit so violently in the chest that he was sent across the room. The next morning, tables and chairs were found overturned, and silverware, broken bottles and glasses were strewn across the room.          Employees have also reported footsteps in an empty main hallway, doors that appear to open and close by themselves and music and singing emanating from the empty second floor. Members of the staff have experienced anything from whispers to screams that have so frightened them that they ran from the room and left the building. Bartenders claim they will reach for a specific glass or item and it will move as they reach for it as if a mischievous game is being played.              In the 1950s, drivers on Route 5, which runs directly in front of the castle (below), reported seeing strange lights come out of the woods at great speeds directly at their vehicle. Some even claimed the lights pursued them down the road. There were a number of accidents, some fatal, that were blamed on these phantom lights. In one case a woman claimed her husband was blinded by one of these lights and was forced off the road. He was killed in the crash, but she managed to survive. From 1994- 2000 there were no fewer than 4 vehicles who drove off the road on a 1/4-mile straight stretch of Route 5 that ran past the entrance to the castle.  There is rampant speculation that the strange floating lights are in fact reflections from Beardslee’s lantern as he searched for a child who’d gone missing many years ago. To this end, a young child has been seen by drivers walking on the side of the roadway. Pop Christensen's grand- daughter claimed to have seen a lantern floating by itself in the rear of the property one night.            At the Beardslee family mausoleum in East Creek, weeds will not grow in the path leading to the old family mausoleum, though it is seldom tended. Many young people who used the abandoned area as a party spot years ago swear they would constantly hear voices and witness more strange lights. A strange rainbow- type anomaly appeared in a photo taken by a Syracuse police officer at the gravesite that could not be explained even by police forensic photo experts.          A more ghastly story involved the mausoleum (below) being broken into years ago and the coffins of the Beardslee family desecrated by the culprits. More ghoulish is the fact that the skull of Augustus Beardslee was found in the closet of one of the people arrested in connection with the crime.        But the strangest of stories may involve a couple who were recently driving down Route 5 one night when they hit a girl who had walked out in front of them. They quickly called police who arrived to find no body anywhere, nor any marks on the vehicle. Where this takes an even more bizarre turn was that the entire incident was witnessed by the occupants of another vehicle that was travelling in the opposite direction and actually joined in the search.       Strange mist in the "Dungeon" of Beardslee Castle