Spooky Retelling of Local Lore

Tales Retold by Kaycee Colburn

The Murder of Kauquatau 

More than a hundred years passed since the Salem witch trials in Salem Massachusetts when a similar emergence of paranoia struck this area of Western New York, Chief Tommy Jemmy of the Seneca Nation accused and executed a witch. 

Her name was Kauquatau and she was an herbalist and medical practitioner in this area. She was working in the greater Heso area trying to cure patients infected with a pandemic disease. Because of her knowledge of medicine and pathology she wanted to stay in this area instead of going home. When she was pressed to go home she refused and said no and explained that she didn’t want to risk her family getting sick, after being forced to go home, it wasn’t long that one of her family members did indeed contract the virus, and became gravely Ill. This made everyone very suspicious of her, how could she have known that would happen? She must have caused it! Soon after she noticed symptoms in one of the Chief’s family members and she urged them to take it seriously before it worsened or caused their death. They didn’t listen and upon their passing, the Chief was convinced she had caused it using witchcraft. She fled to Canada in a panic but was hunted and brought back to the states where she was quickly executed in what was then Buffalo Creek. The paranoia didn’t stop there, she was then accused of Witchery and haunting the area of her home, of which the people then buried her in the basement and burned her house down around her, and built a church on top, surrounded by a cemetery which means consecrated ground – a holy space where her “wretched-evil” spirit could no longer roam.  But, As legend has it, people report seeing her still today, seemingly searching for something, perhaps it’s justice, or perhaps she’s looking for her next Hexable victim. 

For more information about this historical event go to http://www.executedtoday.com/2017/05/02/1821-tommy-jemmy-executes-kauquatau/

The Cannibal with a stove-pipe hat – High Hat  

This story is about a sinister, dark entity that is said to roam this entire area of Western NY. Reports say the first thing you will notice is the overwhelming stench of decay and then when you see him,  he is very tall ranging from 6-8 feet tall, he is extremely slender and he is darker than your typical shadow person, his smile is clad with razor-sharp teeth, his eyes glow bright red that seems to pierce your soul, his long slender arms extended by the length of his fingers and claws and atop his head sits a tall stovepipe hat.  Now, many people report seeing “The Hat Man” but how High Hat is different is that he came into existence soon after the destruction caused by the Kinzua dam. He causes paranoia and fighting, the sight of him captures your mind, and you become frozen in your tracks, he causes nightmares even when your awake, he can make you sick or worse, and if all of that doesn’t scare you to your core, there is one more thing to know about him – he’s cannibalistic and before you see him he’s probably been watching you, stalking you, hunting you, waiting for the right moment to strike. The good news he’s believed to be attracted to troublemakers 

For some additional information about High Hat go to -https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/local/unknown-stories/unknown-stories-of-wny-monsters-myths-legends/71-343765633

The Haunted Hinsdale House 

The house that shook the earth in the 70s. 

Built in 1853, This house has seen many tragic events, from the death of multiple children during a pandemic that swept the area, rumored stagecoach murders, a brother killing a brother, a buzz saw accident that took the life of a 16-year-old boy, to the Dandy family being torn apart and forced to leave their new home after a failed exorcism. 

All this and yet this is a place I could call home. Sure it has plenty that goes bump in the night from shadow figures, the lady in white, Disembodied voices and smells, bumps, knocks, and moving objects, UFO sightings, Bigfoot Knocks, and even the reported sighting of a Pukwudgie. 

The focus of this story is right to its meat, In the ’70s, the Dandy family- a family of six the parents Clara and Phil, and their four children Mike, Beth, Mary, and Laura, were looking for a fresh start when they found this old cabin in the woods, surrounded by trees and a yard that hugs the circular man-made pond. It gave hope to Phil that they would become closer and things would improve in their family life. However, soon after they moved in unexplainable things started to happen, Pets would be seen fine and then come up missing or found dead, some seemingly committing suicide by bolting in front of cars, cars would break down or die, the well-dried up and the furnace went and if this wasn’t enough the paranormal activity started to ramp up, the girls in the family would make complaints about the activity and Phil would shut them down and say they were just making it up, this caused division in the family and isolated Clara even more from her husband, that is until the activity had reached such a high that even Phil could no longer ignore it.  That is when they called in Father Alphonsus Trabold from Saint Bonaventure who after visiting the home decided to promptly perform an exorcism not on a person living there but on the structure itself. The House woke up during his efforts and with a mighty twist and roar it shook the land under it and the exorcism was determined to be a failure, the following week’s things were eerily quiet-  until they weren’t,  and the spirits eventually forced the dandy family from the home because of their oppressive attacks that occurred almost daily, unfortunately for the family Clara and Phil split and divorced soon after. 

The Hinsdale House- 

“Visit The house that sits in the quiet hills, and soon your spine will crawl with ghostly chills. Your heart will pump, your mind will race, white will be your faded face, the dark will creep and you’ll lose your sight, you’ll scream and cry all through the night. The house will smile and you’ll go on your way, until it calls you back, one fine day.”

For more information about the Hinsdale house or to book your stay go to www.danielklaes.com