I look around for a street sign. The Cherry Hill property is very close to me, according to Google Maps. In 1827 a man is said to have been murdered here by his wife and her lover. And his ghost is said to haunt the house to this day. No wonder it is very popular with ghost hunters.
I brake. Two men shuffle past my shiny silver and rather large rental car. One lifts his head, looks at me with dark eyes, seems to slow down. His eyes penetrate me. I’m getting goosebumps. Now the other man looks up. Stares at me. Then they are gone. And I’m left twisted in the car. What was that? Anyway, that should be the street, I say to my friend and we drive inside. A slight curve and it goes down. Suddenly it is dark. The sun was just shining, there is shadow down here. And suddenly felt twilight.
We follow Cherry Hill Street until shortly before it ends. According to the map, the house should be on the right. I see trees. Many trees. And keep driving down the street. Maybe we can already see the house from the 1stst Avenue, it is located between Cherry Hill, 1st Avenue and South Pearl Street. The entrance is on South Pearl Street. Cherry Hill Street ends in front of a fence, with a large parking lot behind it. It is empty.
In front of the fence there are two cars that must have looked better. One has a flat tire and apparently for a while. Somebody got into the other one. The bulge extends far inside, the pane is broken. We turn right. And stop in front of a house. It could be. But somehow it is too close to all other houses. I check the picture I have again: The yellow house should be free.
Something is wrong with Albany’s haunted house
We continue towards South Pearl Street, but cannot see the house. It is now pitch dark. The GPS fails. Street lights are scarce or broken. It’s hard to see from our car in the dark. And somehow a strange feeling creeps up on me. We keep going. Turn here and there. Suddenly we are in a dark alley. A dented and completely rusty car cuts our way. I brake sharply. The driver looks at me, well, let’s say unhappy. Maybe angry too. Maybe he always looks that way.
The next shiver runs down my spine. Somehow all of this doesn’t feel good anymore. Kind of creepy. The bad feeling gets stronger. I feel more uncomfortable from street to street. Somehow in danger. Although I can see no danger. My orientation is long gone. Google Maps is still not working. It feels even darker around us. Still, I want to find this house.
I have no idea how we got back, every dark and somehow run down street looks almost the same to me, but suddenly we are in front of the house from the beginning. It could be. Or not. A car slowly drives past us, the driver looks into my window. Kind looks different. In front of us two dark figures emerge from the shadow of a house, I can only see their outlines. And suddenly I realize how we have to look like this in our shiny, almost bonnet car screaming rental car, standing on the street and looking curiously out of the windows at a house after doing the same thing a few minutes ago. Maybe that’s not so smart. I press the gas and take the bad feeling with me. Something was wrong.
“The worst corner of Albany”
An hour later we are sitting in a restaurant (“La Bella Valatie” on Route 9 – by the way, an absolute recommendation!) And have a chat with one of the waiters who comes from Albany. Still unable to let go of that stupid feeling, I tell him about our search for the haunted house. The waiter laughs from his face: “Well, let’s put it this way. If you are looking for stress and the worst corner of all of Albany, you just have to go to the corner of Pearl and Cherry Hill Street, ”he explains to me. That was probably what I felt there. Of course, I don’t know whether this has to do with the haunted house or not. But it was creepy in the Cherry Hill area, no question. Even without having seen the mind.
What happened in Cherry Hill?
In 1827, high society lady Elsie Lansing Whipple lived with her husband John Whipple in the Cherry Hill estate. At the same time the lady had an affair with the artisan Jesse Strang. The couple finally decided to get Whipple out of the way to live together from now on. On May 7, Strang hid on the roof of the shed, fired Cherry Hills through a window and into the shoulder of the rival, who collapsed and died shortly after on the stairs of the house.
The murder ended the way it was not planned: the murderous couple was arrested and brought to justice at the end of May. Because of the popularity of the Albany social elite and businessman, the case got a lot of attention. Probably also because of her status, Lansing Whipple was released while her lover was sentenced to death, although she is believed to have been the brain behind the murder planning. On August 24, Strang was hanged publicly – the last public execution of this kind in Albany. Strand’s lover died five years later. Her murdered husband is buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery. However, he is said to have never left Cherry Hill and his spirit has appeared there to this day. Cherry Hill is now one museum – and offers guided tours.