The Ghost Author

Cheri Farnsworth is the haunted stories guru of New York.

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Cheri and her dog Coco.

The lights and television were off. It was around midnight as the guest lay there when suddenly on a window above her head she heard 8 distinct taps. No one was there but Cheri Farnsworth, the acclaimed ghost author of New York.

A "Woman in White" is said to haunt this same room at the Belhurst Castle in Rochester, NY, that Farnsworth was staying in.


"We saw a shadow dart across the field, at an inhuman speed, toward a vacant building, and then we heard the door to that building close."

Yet Farnsworth's ghostly journey began long before her night in that Rochester room. It all began when her sisters came to visit several years ago and asked Farnsworth if she could do some research on their old house in order to find out if it was actually haunted.

While filing through old newspaper articles at the local museum in Massena, NY, regarding different properties, she came across two articles claiming Spanky's Diner, and the Haskell House were haunted. These articles eventually developed into a spark of interest, which led to more findings, "and—before I knew it—my first book was born," says Farnsworth.

Farnsworth, from Massena, went to college at Suny Canton for Secretarial Science. "So I got my degree, got married, and got a job at the New York Power Authority as a secretary (all in the same year, she adds); quickly had 3 beautiful daughters at two-year intervals; and forgot about writing for awhile." She continues saying, "Then in 2000 after my fourth daughter was born, I got the ‘itch’ to write something…anything."

That anything has turned into writing about over 500 places alleged to be haunted in three different states in the past nine years.

"The stories I write today include personal experiences of the property owners, paranormal researches findings, psychic impressions, and good, solid, historical incidents that might shed light on the reason for the haunting," Farnsworth says.

She recalls her plan to only write one book about regional ghost stories, "But I got so many leads from people who had read that first book, Haunted Northern New York, that I’ve been able to write 3 more in the series all with different stories."

Cheri’s name has evolved into what some may know as, "The Ghost Author." Her books have grown from interviews and research, to opinions and findings from paranormal groups who have investigated the places she’s wrtten about, to a psychic investigators perspective on some stories.

She says, "After being approached by Stackpole Books to write their Haunted State series, I discovered online newspaper archives and started including information from old news articles in my stories."

Her first book, however, is one people seem too remember the most. Jessica LeClair, who lived in Massena several years ago, remembers the book. "I’ve read it before, like flipped through, and I never realized that I have actually seen these places and had no idea they were haunted."

"To this day, I wonder if the Lady in White tried to get my attention that night."

Plattsburgh State student Hannah Crouse, who has grown up around the Plattsburgh area, recalls two stories that stuck out from the others. "I liked the one about how Hawkins and MacDonough Halls are haunted; since I’ve been in those places." She continues saying, "I think they are true, I haven’t witnessed anything in those buildings but I’ve heard stories about people who have witnessed things."

Having been able to witness some of these many eerily scary stories, one of her most interesting experience has been at Sackets Harbor Battlefield.

She went along with the PBS "Folklore & Frost" tour group, along with the Shadow Chasers of Potsdam, NY. "All in one unforgettable night, we captured the sound of musket fire on EVP recordings, as well as the sound of a woman saying, ‘Help me,’ " says Farnsworth.
Her daughter, Jamie, was able to take some incredible apparition photos, which can be found on her website.

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An apparation forming after they saw the shadow and heard the door close.

She continues saying,"We saw a shadow dart across the field, at an inhuman speed, toward a vacant building, and then we heard the door to that building close."

Farnsworth's experience staying at the Haunted Belhurst Castle in Rochester has left a permanent impression, "To this day, I wonder if the Lady in White tried to get my attention that night," she says.

These occurrences are something that not only she can take away, but also the reader. "It’s the research I put into each ghost story that really makes it enjoyable and when I find an incident that happened long ago that may explain the haunting, it’s a very rewarding feeling," she adds.

Hard work and dedication has definitely paid off for Farnsworth. She now has ten books to her name, and is working on two more.

She has hopes to branch out one day, maybe write about true unsolved murder mysteries that have happened in New York State. She also says, "Maybe even a book about long forgotten crimes of yesteryear in Northern NY."

As for now, "If I wasn’t still working full-time as a secretary at the Power Authority I’d definitely be writing full-time," Farnsworth says. "It’s just a very enjoyable past-time."

Ghost stories have woven together with history and the future. Cheri Farnsworth has helped bring forward those mind boggling stories that have actually occurred in your town, or maybe around your area.

Do you have any scary stories you would like to share?