These Historic Mansions are the Most Haunted Places in Binghamton, NY
October 20, 2023
Upstate New York is filled with history, and that history comes with plenty of mysterious and inexplicable stories. The Southern Tier city of Binghamton is no different. In fact, there are several historic mansions in town that have ghost stories of their own, putting them on the Haunted History Trail of New York State. With nearly 400 years of history between them, these mansions invite you to come learn more about them. So if you’re looking for more places to visit this spooky season, head to these haunted places in Binghamton.
The Bundy Museum
Inventor William Bundy and his entrepreneur brother, Harlow, made their mark on history by inventing the time clock. People today would recognize it as a ‘punch clock’, where many workers stamp their time in and out of work. Drawing on the success of the business, Harlow and had a mansion built for him, his wife, and their future family. Over the next few decades Bundy Manufacturing Company saw great success, and eventually became the tech empire International Business Machines. Yes, that IBM.
Now, the historic Bundy family mansion has become the Bundy Museum. Located in the heart of Binghamton, the museum invites visitors to step back in time to see how the family lived at the turn of the 20th century. Art galleries and period-appropriate furniture fill the rooms.
In the back building of the property, you’ll find another incredibly interesting exhibit. This one is dedicated to Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. In case you didn’t know, Rod Serling, star of the cult classic tv show, was from Binghamton. In fact, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that a lot of places around Binghamton were either featured in the tv series or were inspiration for some of the stories.
The building houses original tapes and memorabilia from both The Twilight Zone and The Night Gallery, two of Serling’s most famous projects. Among those objects you’ll find some of the creepiest dolls you’ve ever seen as well as a replica of Serling’s desk and typewriter.
When you finish exploring the exhibit, take a peek at the 1930s barbershop that was transplanted into the museum.
The Ghosts of the Bundy Museum
The first spirit that is said to be lingering around the mansion is Julia Bundy herself. Somewhat surprisingly, Julia was the one who mainly funded the building of the Queen-Anne Victorian home. And although she died in Pasadena, California, ghost hunters believe her spirit returned to the home that meant so much to her.
The second ghost at the Bundy mansion is thought to be that of Edwin Hopton. Edwin and his wife Elizabeth originally lived next door to the Bundy family. But then they purchased the mansion in 1912 alongside the success of the caramel company, Ideal Candy, in Johnson City. Edwin died in the former Bundy house in 1931. Elizabeth died at home as well in 1942.
Edwin’s figure has often been spotted by people around the museum. The cleaner’s dog always stops in front of the house and barks at a second-story window. The cleaner himself once noticed a man in the window. The story says that the man resembled Edwin, with a mustache and a top hat.
In an effort to raise money and increase patronage to the museum, a second paranormal group is hosting a limited series of ghost hunts as well. Empirical Paranormal (an official TAPS member group) is hosting 4 separate 4-hour hunts this fall. Each event is from 7pm until 11pm and is limited to 15 participants. The dates for the ghost hunts are October 13, November 18, November 25, and December 8. Reservations in advance are required, and entrance is $40 per person.
Of all the haunted places in Binghamton, the Bundy Museum has the most ghostly events. Perhaps that means the best chance to experience something paranormal?
The Phelps Mansion
If you’re driving along the streets of Binghamton, one house stands out from the rest: the Phelps Mansion. Built in 1871, the Second Empire style mansion was designed by famous architect Isaac Perry. (Perry is also known for designing the NYS Capitol Building in 1899 and the Binghamton Inebriate Asylum in 1858.) Perry used the finest amenities and building materials that could be attained, including Italian marble, black walnut, and golden oak.
Sherman David Phelps was the original owner of the house. He had made his fortunes on the railroads, like any other businessmen of his time. Phelps later became a lawyer, and nods to his career can be seen in the gavels carved into the wooden features of the house. He liked to keep his business private, which is noted through some of the home’s more unique features. For one, there are two main parlors to the house. But more oddly is the secret mailbox slot that was accessed through his closet.
Following its life as a family home, the mansion became the headquarters for the Monday Afternoon women’s club in 1905. The club was started by two wealthy school teachers as a way to network. They regularly hosted lunches with magazine and news editors to learn about current events. Unsurprisingly, the club was active in the women’s suffrage movement.
Over the course of its history, the building has seen damage, repairs, and additions. But what remains today is an architectural gem that is an important piece of Binghamton’s history. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the intricate design details and uncover the incredible artifacts in the museum’s collection.
The Ghosts of the Phelps Mansion
Like most residences in the late 1800s, the Phelps Mansion was no stranger to death. Many family members died within the walls of the beautiful home.
When Phelps died, his niece moved into the mansion to take care of his sons. The younger son died at just 19 years old. The other son got married, but died shortly after. His bride died just 8 months after him. By 1882 the Phelps family was gone. Rumors circled around town that the wallpaper might have had arsenic in it, causing the family to all get sick.
Interestingly enough, none of the servants got sick, but they had their own stories to tell. The head cook was a freed slave, and there are thoughts that the mansion may have been a stop along the Underground Railroad.
Upcoming ‘Haunted’ Events at the Phelps Mansion
This October, the Phelps Mansion is hosting a series of ghostly tours throughout the building. As visitors walk through the historic hallways and rooms, the guide will tell stories about the history of Spiritualism. They will talk about the rise of Spiritualism in the 1800s, how it was incorporated into gothic horror literature, and ways practitioners communicated with the dead. The tours are held most Fridays and Saturdays in October at 7pm. Admission is $20.
On November 4 and November 25, Empirical Paranormal is hosting a ghost hunt at this second haunted location in Binghamton. Like at the Bundy Museum, participation is $40 per person and limited to 15 people. The investigations run from 7pm until 11pm.
The Roberson Museum and Mansion
The Roberson Museum and Science Center has been a favorite of mine since I was a young girl. It’s the museum in Binghamton that I’ve visited the most, starting with a girl scout trip over 20 years ago. One of the things I love most about the museum is the planetarium, where visitors can immerse themselves in the night sky.
Throughout the rest of the museum, you’ll find an eclectic array of exhibits. There is a display paying homage to the native Haudenosaunee people. A model train replica of downtown Binghamton. And a NatureTrek trail with native plants and animals on display. Plus there are rotating exhibits highlighting local artists, nature photography, and women’s suffrage memorabilia.
But that’s still not the best part. The best part is the mansion that is attached to the museum – and the spirits that reside there. Originally built in 1907, Alonzo and Margaret Roberson lived there alone. Since they had no children, the couple left the mansion to the community as an education center.
The early 1900s home was designed with a mixture of history and modernity. Even though it was built in Italian Renaissance Revival style, it included modern amenities. Like the wrought iron elevator that still works over a century later.
Upcoming ‘Haunted’ Events at the Roberson Mansion
Over the years, both staff and guests have noted unusual occurrences while roaming the century-old rooms and hallways. So every October the museum hosts ghost tours, guided walks through the mansion sharing spooky stories from its past. Tours are every Friday and Saturday throughout the month at 6, 7, and 8pm. The family-friendly events are included with regular museum admission ($8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors).