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Museum Haunting
Photo Illustration by Aaron Eisenhauer - James Parillo, left, director of the Saratoga Springs History Museum, and Michael Levinson, right, the exhibition curator, say they both try to explain away the strange occurrences they have witnessed in the building, however Stuart Armstrong, center, a member of the museum, cannot explain the bodiless dress he saw floating near the stairway on the third floor. A paranormal investigation of the historic building will be televised on the SyFy Channel on October 13. The ghostly quality of this image was created with a slow shutter and multiple exposures that made the subjects blurred and translucent. Aaron Eisenhauer

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- In between the children's carousel and the duck pond in Congress Park, some strange, unexplainable things have been going on.

"Is this place haunted? It will be interesting to find out," said Jamie Parillo, executive director of the Saratoga Springs History Museum, which sits inside the Canfield Casino in the park.

Parillo won't have to wait long for an answer.

A paranormal investigation conducted at the site will be televised on NBC Universal's SyFy channel at 9 p.m. today (Wednesday).

A crew of about 20 people came to the city in June to investigate the reports of unexplained phenomena at the Canfield Casino.

Parillo will learn the results of their investigation when the 60-minute broadcast is screened live inside the casino tonight.

The museum is housed inside the 140-year-old landmark building, which

originally operated as an illegal gambling house in the late 19th century.

Museum staff members have sporadically reported unusual happenings going on inside the building during the past 20


"Recently, that activity has picked up," said Parillo, explaining that the increase in "activity" coincided with the changing in March of an exhibition displayed in the Victorian Parlor since


Most of the incidents reported by museum staff members have occurred next to a permanent exhibition of furniture from the Walworth Mansion. The Walworth Family had a tragic history that included spousal abuse and patricide.

Staff members reported doors slamming shut and lights flickering on and off. Murmurs of conversations were heard when no one else was around and sudden drops in temperature inside the building were experienced.

A mist has been observed forming outside the museum's High Stakes Gaming Room, then creeping up the staircase to the third


"I don't know if I believe in ghosts or not," said John Conners, curator of the museum's Bolster Collection. "If there is something here, it is mischievous."

Conners said archived files have mysteriously disappeared, then


One day, Conners said, he had to muscle his way into his third-floor work office because a carpet runner had somehow gotten rolled up flush against the back of the door, as if someone had rolled it up from the inside, he


The door was locked overnight and the only other exit from the room is a small window that hangs three stories above Congress Park.

Staff volunteer Stuart Armstrong recalled a day spent doing some research on the building's upper floor. Armstrong said, when he turned around, he watched an off-white Victorian dress gliding across the floor, by itself, as if someone was walking around in it. No body was in the gown, he said.

He later pointed out that dress as belonging to Reubena Hyde Walworth, a member of the Walworth Family who died after contracting typhoid in 1894. The dress is currently part of the museum's


Museum curator Michael Levinson has not personally seen anything quite so expressive, but is confident about the feeling he gets while working on the building's upper floors.

"There's no question that you're not alone here," he said.


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