Niagara Gazette

October 12, 2013

A talk, a walk and 13 ghosts with author Mason Winfield on Tuesday in North Tonawanda

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Mason Winfield, author of many books about the supernatural and spooky in Western New York, will be returning to North Tonawanda on Tuesday for a lecture, book signing and ghost walk.

The presentation, titled "Thirteen Ghosts of North Tonawanda," will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sweeney Hose Fire Co., 499 Zimmerman St. At 8 p.m., the walk will begin at the Manhattan Street parking lot and will last about an hour. The cost is $15 for both events.

"We have some wonderful material in North Tonawanda," said Winfield, who is also the founder of Haunted History Ghost Walks. "You do have a remarkable cast of ghostly characters in North Tonawanda. "It's amazing how much urban legend, how much ghostly folklore there is." 

This might have something to do with the position of the city in the midst of so many moving bodies of water, as well as all the train tracks, he said. "You just have all this energy coming in, transportation energy coming and going."

The lecture portion of the evening will highlight 13 of Winfield's favorite ghost stories and sites of North Tonawanda. Some he has spoken of before, while some are newer tales.

"There's some shocking tales of strange apparitions that we call little people. It's almost like fairy tales ... except eyewitnesses report them," he said. Others include NT's rather famous "Black Hannah" and "The 1920 Incident," a 10-day series of events involving a ghostly apparition.

"Everybody in town was buzzing about it," Winfield said. "It doesn't even sound natural for a ghost. Most ghosts look like something that used to be ... people or animals ... this one ... ehhh ..."

After the lecture, there will be an abbreviated ghost walk during which Winfield shares stories of different sites and buildings in the city. This walk will mostly keep to the core of the city, shorter than last year's very-well-attended tour, Winfield said. 

"The lecture will be very different; we get to talk about things in North Tonawanda that we can't walk to," he said. "We wanted people to be able to have a nice evening whether they walk well or not. We have some wonderful stories in the area. I think it will be a good time."

Winfield's Haunted History Ghost Walks also includes walks through Western New York, including Allentown, East Aurora and the theater district downtown, pub crawls and other special events. The NT event is part of the "My Favorite Haunts" series, which also included a "Ghost Toast" in Lockport and ghost walks in Lewiston (including events today, Oct. 18 and 25).

Winfield, who meets thousands of people a year at the various events, said that it's great to return to the area.

"Niagara County is extremely rich in supernatural folklore and legends," he said. "Its history, its profile is so different ... because of its location along Ontario and its connection to Fort Niagara, and the falls is like this crazy cutoff in our geology. 

"It really has created a very different history in Niagara Country. And the supernatural folklore is quite different, too."

For reservations or more information, call 655-6663 or visit www.hauntedhistoryghostwalks.com.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: Lecture and ghost walk with author Mason Winfield • WHEN: The lecture takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the 60-minute walk at 8 p.m. • WHERE: Winfield's keynote presentation, "Thirteen Ghosts of North Tonawanda," will take place at Sweeney Hose Fire Co., 499 Zimmerman St., North Tonawanda. The Haunted History ghost walk will start at the Manhattan Street parking lot and continue throughout the city. • TICKETS: Cost is $15 for both events (lecture and walk). For reservations or more information, call 655-6663 or visit www.hauntedhistoryghostwalks.com.