Found this great post over at the Bowery Boys, telling a Brooklyn ghost story I’d never heard before. And it’s thoroughly awesome.
According to Henry Reed Stiles’ 1869 history of Brooklyn, the following event transpired one night in the 1820s, in a rowdy little tavern on Red Hook Lane:
“One evening at around 11 p.m., the men at the converted tavern discovered they had run out of brandy. To replenish their supply, somebody needed only to run down Red Hook Lane to the Brooklyn ferry and retrieve more.
Less than a half-mile walk, of course, but one that passed by an old ruined fort (Cobbleshill Fort), approximately near the intersection of today’s Court and Pacific streets. Sitting near to the fort was “a ghost-haunted spot,” a frightening, decrepit place well-known to locals, ‘about which dreadful stories are whispered, which lent wings to the feet of such unwary village urchins as chanced to pass it after dark.’
Nobody wanted to admit they were frightened to venture out alone, and yet despite their incredible thirst, nobody volunteered for the task. Finally, a man named Boerum, thirsty and bold, declared he would head to the ferry and retrieve the brandy.”
Two hours later, when Boerum still had not returned, his friends ventured forth into the night, all a-tremble with terror and trepidation:
“Mounting, not in hot haste, they turned their horses’ heads towards the village and on approaching the haunted ground, they found Boerum’s horse standing against the fence not far from the house, and when they reach the spot itself, their companion was discovered lying senseless on the road, with features horribly distorted.”
Boerum died a few days later, still speechless, and to this day nobody knows how he perished. Did he see the ghost and die of fright? Or did he come across something still more sinister?
We cannot say. But you can still visit Red Hook Lane, a tiny alley in Cobble Hill, just off Fulton Street, and see if the spirits will tell you anything.
Read the rest of the Bowery Boys blog post here.