Weekly Feature



2017-10-12 / Front Page

Haunted history takes center stage at Roycroft Inn

by KATE PELCZYNSKI
Editor


Several “ghosts” featured on the 13 Ghosts of the Roycroft Campus practice their scare tactics with Haunted Haunted History Ghost Tours founder Mason Winfield. From left are Maeve Annunziata, Emma Culkowski, Molly Culkowski, Elin Bowen and Martin Cohn. Several “ghosts” featured on the 13 Ghosts of the Roycroft Campus practice their scare tactics with Haunted Haunted History Ghost Tours founder Mason Winfield. From left are Maeve Annunziata, Emma Culkowski, Molly Culkowski, Elin Bowen and Martin Cohn. On a quintessential fall evening, Mason Winfield, founder of Haunted History Ghost Walks, has gathered about five kids to practice their parts for the “13 Ghosts of The Roycroft Campus,” an event which will give guests a glimpse into some of the paranormal history of the Roycroft Campus.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at the Roycroft Campus, 21 S. Grove St. The self-guided tour allows guests to “interact” with some of the folkloric ghosts, portrayed by the child actors, and learn a little about the haunted history of the historic building.

Winfield says the kids will be stationed around the campus and tell their stories to guests every 15 minutes.

“It gives the kids a good opportunity to act and practice their public speaking,” he says.

Among those spirits are an impish ghost who Winfield says likes to play pranks on people. There is also the young bartender and naive waitress, a couple Winfield says are characters who believe they saw ghosts.

The ghost tours are more than a passion for Winfield; they are his career. For 20 years, he has lead people on paranormal tours of the Village of East Aurora. Several years ago, he was contacted by the Roycroft Campus to design a Halloween themed event that would incorporate the history of the campus with a spooky touch.

That history is rich with stories of paranormal encounters, Winfield says. In the 1980s, a fire ripped through the third floor of the furniture shop. While no one was injured, countless people have since claimed they witnessed an apparition floating around the store.

Winfield says the people who claim to see these ghosts are regular people with everyday jobs. One of those people was Louis Fuchs, the former owner of the Roycroft Inn. Fuchs, says Winfield, claimed to speak directly to the ghost of Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard.

“There was a legendary curse on the Roycroft Campus,” he said. “The town had folklore that if you sell alcohol, you won’t succeed at the inn.” Winfield says the folklore most likely originated because Hubbard abstained from alcohol.

“And Louie Fuchs, back in the late ‘50s, he sold alcohol and did really well. And everybody said to him, ‘aren’t you afraid of the curse?’ and he said, ‘No, Hubbard didn’t mean that.’”

Winfield explains that Fuchs told people he took advice on running the inn from Roycroft’s ghost.

While Winfield says he has never seen a ghost, believes they exist.

“I really do believe anyone who happens to be at the right place, at the right time, looking in the right direction would see something if it manifested,” he said. However, he emphasizes that having a paranormal experience is never guaranteed.

“I’m not saying anyone will (see a ghost), and I’m certainly not implying that you’ll see one because it’s Halloween, or because you’re in a famous haunted building.”

The night will also feature a series of spooky activities, including a psychic, a ghost hunt and a séance, in which a group of people will try to summon the ghost of Alice Hubbard, Elbert Hubbard’s wife. Winfield points out that he is not in the business of communicating with ghosts, but thinks it’s a great opportunity for those who want to try it.

“My business is folklore. It’s human report. It’s not talking to the dead,” he says. The events for the evening are:

8 p.m. Algonquin mystic Michael Bastine will discuss the Native American harvest time and how the native people prepared for the darkness of winter. The event will take place in the Assembly room of the Roycroft Power House.

9 p.m.: Owen Ó Súilleabháin will perform Celtic songs and poems in the Assembly room of the Roycroft Power House.

10 p.m.: The Rev. Ivy Rivera, a professional psychic medium, will host a reading in the Assembly room of the Roycroft Power House.

11 p.m. to midnight: Heather Rease will hold a seance to channel the ghost of Alice Hubbard, along with other spirits in the Assembly room of the Roycroft Power House

Midnight to 1 a.m.: Rob Mattison of Elemental Paranormal, a paranormal investigative group, will offer guests a chance to go on an authentic ghost walk through the campus. The event begins in Dard Hunter Hall in the Print Shop.

For more information on “13 Ghosts of The Roycroft Campus” or to make a reservation, visit hauntedhistory walks.com or call 655-6663.

Return to top