There is many a Hudson Valley Haunting but the one at Blithewood Mansion on the grounds of Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson is truly an unusual one. It’s an almost one of a kind that involves a haunted statue. That’s right, a statue.
During the 19th century, the land that Bard College stands on was home to a number of estates. One of these estates was known as Blithewood. In 1853 John and Margaret Bard purchased the property and renamed it Annandale.
In 1860 St. Stephen’s College was founded on 18 acres of this property and in 1930 the name was changed to Bard College in honor of its founder. So far we’re doing fine, no ghosts and no hauntings. Then, enter Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie, who made his fortune in real estate sales.
Captain Zabriskie purchased the Blithewood property and built his opulent Georgian-style summer estate there in 1900. Here is where legend and fact may collide but legend has it that the Captain commissioned the sculpting of four statues, one to represent each one of his daughters. The statues were to be placed in the estate’s English garden.
According to legend, one of his daughters fell to her death from the window of Zabriskie’s New York City apartment. It was never determined if this unfortunate occurrence was an accident, intentional, or a result of foul play. Since her death, it is told that one of the four Blithewood Mansion statues has been missing from the estate.
Three of the statues still remain and an empty platform exists where the fourth statue once stood. According to Hudson Valley haunting legend, it is the departed daughter who roams the grounds at night in the form of the missing statue.
Blithewood was eventually given to Bard College in 1951 and became part of the Levy Economics Institute. I am told that the school received the spectral statue along with the property.