by Judy Berman
One crisp, clear November night when the moon was brilliant, a scenic ride along Old Route 57 turned into a terrifying experience for one traveler.
She came over what is Seneca Hill, and started down the long, long roadway which runs down the other side of the Oswego River, through the sleepy little village of Minetto, just south of Oswego.
It was so bright that night that the road was like a bright ribbon. The traveler was coming down, reaching almost the bottom of the hill. She thought she saw something outside the passenger’s side of the car.
She turned quickly. Looked. It was so pronounced that she had the feeling that something was there. But she didn’t see anything and thought, “Oh well. It must have been a shadow, a tree or something like that.”
The next November, the same thing happened.
This time, out of the corner of her eye, she distinctly saw something, turned and caught a glimpse of something … but, what?
The third year, she again made her way through Seneca Hill on that long ribbon of moonlight.
But, this time, there was no mistake.
There she was on the right-hand side of the road. A woman, who was in her late-30s, was running. She wore a nightgown, an old-fashioned nightgown. She had a little girl by the hand who appeared to be about 6 years old, also in an old-fashioned nightgown.
They were running. Running as hard as they could along the shoulder of the road. The traveler started to stop and clearly saw the woman’s face.
She never saw such terror, never saw such terror on a human face before. The woman was frightened beyond belief.
So, she put the brake on as fast as she could and her car came to a squealing halt.
She jumped out. She could see them. They were still behind her, running up a hill.
She shouted after them, “Stop. Wait. What’s the matter?”
They didn’t turn and she thought, “Maybe they didn’t hear me.”
The traveler ran after them, but didn’t seem to gain any ground. When the pair reached the crest of the hill, they disappeared. She went to a house, the first one she saw. She knocked, but no one answered.
Shaken and confused, She raced back to her car and headed across a bridge to a state police substation
She told the desk sergeant he had to come with her, something terrible had happened.
It seems like he moved in slow motion as he closed his book and put it down.
“Something has happened on the other side of the river,” she said, frantic and anxious.
“There was a woman and a little girl running … “
The state trooper broke in, “You say you saw a woman and a little girl?”
“Yes, yes. But we mustn’t talk about it. You must come with me. I know something terrible has happened. She looked so frightened and she was running up the top of the hill.”
“We’ve got to go over and see what happened.”
The state trooper calmly told her that he’d heard that story many times. He said what she saw people at the station called the Seneca Hill Ghost.
(An invitation: If you have a ghost story of your own that you’d like to share, please post a reply. No gory stuff, please.)
Thanks to Rosemary Nesbitt, who told me this tale, which is one of my favorite ghost stories. Nesbitt, a professor for more than 40 years at SUNY Oswego, Syracuse University and Wells College, also was a historian and author of 15 plays for children. She died in 2009. Nesbitt said others had told her they’ve had the same experience on moonlit rides through Seneca Hill between Nov. 5 and Nov. 10.