Fort Ontario State Historic Site

FORT ONTARIO STATE HISTORIC SITE NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION 1 EAST FOURTH STREET OSWEGO, NEW YORK 13126 TEL: 1 (315) 343-4711 WEBSITE: www.fortontario.com Fort Ontario, located in Oswego, New York, has a breathtaking view of some beautiful sunsets. As you enter the gates, you are taken back in time. The fort interprets life as it would have been in 1868. Many people immediately sense the supercharged atmosphere that has seen many conflicts. Fort Ontario dates to the mid-1700s and has been held by the British, French, and United States at different times in its history. Fort Ontario has been held by the United States since 1796. The fort was also once a refuge to nearly 1,000 individuals who fled Germany during World War II. Three ghosts that are prominent among the many that seem to remain here are Lt. Basil Dunbar, George Fikes, and a nameless ghost in a blue uniform. Lt. Dunbar was killed during a duel with Lt. Penier in 1759, and George Fikes died here in 1782. Syracuse Ghost Hunters have reports of activity in all areas of the fort, but most predominantly in Officer Quarters #1. Many have reported doors slamming, footsteps, and the laughter of children. During an investigation, our team left a nightvision video camera on the third floor and left the building. When the team returned, they heard a banging that echoed throughout the building and seemed to be coming from all directions. They couldn’t identify the origin and no explanation was found. Mid-Atlantic 61 When the tape was played back, they heard the sound of footsteps during the time the building was empty. In October 2004, a local TV station did a report about the hauntings of Fort Ontario. An employee of the fort dressed in clothing from the late 1800s and was filmed walking down the stairs. During the filming, everyone could hear what sounded like a harpsichord. Fort Commander Paul Lear reports that reenactors from both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars have had the same experience in Officer Quarters #2. Reenactors that spend the night here will awaken to the sound of voices. The men will yell, “Be quiet!” and attempt to go back to sleep. The voices will continue and get louder until they get up to investigate. The reenactors search for the culprit but never find anyone. In the Enlisted Men’s Barracks there is a story of murder. The barracks were the site of a conflict between Privates Marks and Clemmins. Apparently, Marks had turned in Clemmins for misuse of rations. Clemmins said, “Give me 50 cents for a funeral,” and went to the second floor of the barracks where he shot and killed Marks. Clemmins was imprisoned in the guard house, where he drank poison and died shortly after. A visit here will certainly pique your supernatural interest. Maybe you will see the phantom regiment on the parade grounds or the ball of light that is reported near the guard house. —Laura Schmidtmann Founder and Lead Investigator, Syracuse Ghost Hunters

Taken from the: Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger

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