The Canfield Casino is one of the most beautiful and talked about historic locations in Saratoga Springs, New York. Back in the late 1800s, it was originally called the Saratoga Club House and was built by a professional boxer named John Morrissey.
When it opened, Morrissey had three very important rules – no women were allowed in; no locals were allowed in; and patrons could only use cash. It was a very successful business, as it was recognized as one of the most famous gambling houses in the world – at least it was until 1907 when gambling was banned from Saratoga Springs. Nowadays, the property is used for weddings and parties as well as being the location of the Saratoga Springs History Museum.
The beautifully historic property also has a creepy side as it’s rumored to be haunted by several ghosts, specifically by the spirits of the guests who have partied and gambled at the casino. Additionally, many people believe that the spirit of past owner John Morrissey still roams around the location.
Back in the 1990s, the spirit of a woman wearing a Victorian era gown was seen wandering around the hallways. The same sighting occurred in 2007 when a museum volunteer noticed a woman wearing clothes from the Victorian era walk towards a group of visitors and asked a question before disappearing.
According to reports, the paranormal activity escalated between 2007 and 2010. Some people believe that the escalation in unexplained activity was a result of an exhibit featuring clothing that was worn by the famous women of Saratoga. One of those ghostly incidents occurred in 2009 when a customer had a glass slapped out of her hand by an unseen entity. In another incident, the lid to a garbage can was seen flying through the air before landing on the ground by both an employee and a volunteer.
Other paranormal activity includes sudden drops in the temperature; items inexplicably moving around in empty rooms that were locked up; smelling unexplained cigar smoke; and feeling the presence of an aggressive energy.
Interestingly enough, the Canfield Casino isn’t the only haunted location in Saratoga Springs. According to Joe Haedrich who runs Haunted Saratoga Tours, the spirits of those who helped build the city are still roaming around. One of those locations is the Olde Bryan Inn restaurant that is said to be haunted by past residents of the building including a Civil War widow named Beatrice who has been seen wearing a green Victorian era dress with a high neck. She is often witnessed in the upstairs women’s room which was once her bedroom.
Another allegedly haunted location is the Batcheller Mansion. When renovations started taking place, workers noticed items that suddenly appeared out of nowhere like a mirror and a mantle which nobody knows where they came from. It is also said to be haunted by the former owner George Batcheller and his family who have shown themselves to guests and as well as employees.
Perhaps the creepiest place in all of Saratoga Springs is the “Devil’s Chair” which is located in the corner of Congress Park. Apparently it was going to be used as a corner stone in the building of a church but when they found out that it was going to be located next to a casino, the construction plans were abandoned. The stones, however, were left there and according to legend, anyone who dares to sit on them will travel back through time to the early 1900s.