Fort Ontario Ghost Tours

Submitted article

Fort Ontario State Historic Site will offer its popular guided ghost tours on October 23, 24, and 25, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.   Tickets are available by advance purchase only and cost $8.00 for the public and $5.00 for Friends of Fort Ontario members.  Tours are scheduled in ten minute increments, group sizes are limited, and no walk-ons are allowed.  Call Roberta Elmer at (315) 343-4711 from 7 AM to 2 PM for tickets and reservations.

Located at the north end of East 4th Street in Oswego, N.Y., Fort Ontario is considered one of the ten most haunted places in the United States by purported experts on the paranormal.  Since 1755, murder, accident, suicide, drowning, disease, wounds, and natural causes have ended the lives of many of the forts military and civilian occupants.  Some legendary figures, such as Lt. Basil Dunbar, killed in a duel in 1759, or Private George Fykes, who died in a 1782 fever epidemic, are rumored to appear as ghostly figures walking the ramparts of Fort Ontario and scaring army sentries and intruders.  Voices and music playing in the forts buildings are sometimes heard with no explanation for their source, and paranormal investigations reveal abnormally high energy levels thought by some to be indicative of the presence of supernatural beings.

Public interest in the forts ghosts prompted State Parks staff and the Friends of Fort Ontario, the forts not-for-profit support group, to develop an educational program based on ghost sightings and soundings at the fort.  From its humble beginnings in 2005 the “Ghosts of Fort Ontario” has grown into one of the most insightful and popular special events dealing with the supernatural in central New York.  Utilizing primary historical and other sources, event producer Jennifer Emmons weaves fascinating accounts of the lives and deaths of individuals whose life stories ended at the fort.  Special effects expert Richard Guinn assembles period furnishings, lighting, and other props for the sets interpreting the lives and deaths of those people discussed during the ghost tours.

The Friends of Fort Ontario is a not-for-profit educational organization, with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The organization was formed in 1989 to encourage community participation in programs, to assist in the preservation and enhancement of the collection of artifacts and documents, and to develop and conduct educational programs, services and activities designed to broaden the experience of visitors.  The Friends group also sponsors fundraising events such as the Ghost Tours which will lead to improvements and participate in other activities, which are in harmony with the operation of Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site is one of six historic sites and eighteen parks in the Central Region administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Carol Ash – Commissioner.  For more information on NYS Parks visit the agency website [www.nysparks.com], or Fort Ontario at [www.fortontario.com].