There’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to haunted locations here along the Hudson River, and this inconspicuous road out on Croton Point is no exception. At the top of the rise to the right as you enter (it used to be ridge connected to the mainland before the New York Hudson train yards were built) is a large, flat-topped area that was once the site of the largest Indian ‘castle’ in the region. It was a large enclosure with 20′ high walls built up of logs, though it’s exact purpose is still a topic of speculation amongst local archeologists. It might have been a fortress, or it may have been ceremonial in purpose – the evidence (such as the lack of substantial garbage, planted crops, etc.) strongly suggests the latter. What is known was that it was occupied by the Kitchawank Indians and that 12 of their sachems (chiefs) were buried there until 1928 when 10 of them were disinterred by Dr. M. R. Harrington, an archeologist working under the American Indian Museum of New York. Two of the remains were so intertwined within the roots of trees that it was decided to leave them, and they’re still there today. Which brings us to the Haunted Hollow. The road leading up to the area (seen above) traverses the gravesite and it’s rumored that on certain evenings their ghosts can be seen crossing this spot. So if you find your yourself strolling up along here some evening, tread carefully. And respectfully.
Left: 1930s map of Croton Point showing the ‘Bungalow Colony’ occupying the same location as the Kitchawank Fort. The raise lines encircling it are actually the burms (raised earthen ridges) on which the stockade walls were built, giving us a clear sense of the scale of it. Other artifacts and skeletons have turned up over the years, and evidence shows the area may have been occupied as early as 7,000 years ago.
An excerpt from Benons J. Lossing’s “The Hudson from the Wilderness to the Sea” (1866) gives us this description: “A little west of the cemetery, at the neck of land which connects Croton Point with the main, stood the old fort or castle of Kitch-a-wan, said to have been one of the most ancient Indian fortresses south of the Highlands. It was built by the Sachem Croton, when he assembled his parties for hunting or war. In a beautiful nook, a little cast of the site of the fort, on the borders of Haunted Hollow, is the Kitch-a-wan burying-ground. Around this locality hovers the memory of many a weird story of the early times, when the superstitious people believed that they often saw, in the groves and glens there, the forms of the departed red men. They called them the Walking Sachems of Teller’s Point. “