Albany State Capitol

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Has a spectral night watchman still on duty, despite his own tragedy.

A disgruntled artist is fit to be tied.

A remorseful spirit has found no peace.




The fabulous, 25 million dollar New York State Capitol has five stories, plus a full basement and attic. The architects, Thomas Fuller, who drew the original plans, and Leopold Eidlitz and Henry Hobson Richardson, who greatly improved Fuller’s ideas pulled out all the stops, creating an absolutely glorious home for New York state government. While having such a huge budget truly inspired their standards and quality of work, creating a rather exquisite state capitol, it would have cost quite a bit more today; a half-billion dollars if this structure was built today.

In 1867, the building material of choice was gray granite, with walls over sixteen feet thick at its foundation. The outside of this impressive, beautiful building is a wonderful blend of Italian Renaissance, Romanesque and French Renaissance styles. Taking 32 years to complete;(1867 to 1899), it is the most artistically elaborate state capitol ever built in the United States.

The Senate Chamber and The Executive Chamber are impressive, with gorgeous decor that was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson. In the Senate Chamber, people are wowed with the beautiful, shimmering 23 carat gold leaf on the walls, and richly carved golden oak ceiling. Siena marble was imported from Italy, and used for the large arches above the visitor’s gallery. Red granite was imported from Scotland for the pillars. Mexican onyx was imported to panel the north and south walls. Can’t forget the red leather and carved mahogany paneling on the walls below the galleries.

The Executive Chamber, now known as the Red Room and used for ceremonies, was also designed by Henry Hobson Richardson. It too has red carpeting, chandeliers, and gold leaf wall band. Equally beautiful is the elegant mahogany wainscoting, and the intricate coffered oak ceiling stained to match. Another beautiful decor touch is the beautiful bronze leaf band, that covers the upper half of the walls.

Inside, it is said that the most impressive areas though are the lobby, the magnificent Assembly Chamber, and the three elaborate staircases, “lavishly carved in a variety of stone and crowned with magnificent skylights.” The three staircases in this building are quite intricate and eye-popping! Tom and I had never seen such fantastic staircases in all our travels.

Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and built by Isaac Perry, the central staircase, called The Great Western Staircase, is a masterpiece of “American architectural stone carving excellence”, that has 444 steps and reaches 119 feet high. Over 500 stone cutters and carvers worked on a variety of stone, at various times. Many were English, Scottish and Italian craftsmen who learned their skills in Europe. They were responsible for the carvings of 77 people of importance found in the stone staircase, as well as countless other designs. It cost a million dollars and 14 years of work to complete.

The Senate and Assembly Staircases were designed by Leopold Eidlitz, and carved by the same craftsmen, though more subtle themes were chosen that still are very impressive, still unique and beautiful.

Both the lobby and the Assembly Chamber were Designed by American architect Leopold Eidlitz. Just outside the Assembly Chamber, is the lobby, whose main impressive feature has to be the groined Moorish Gothic ceiling, a smaller rendition of the original ceiling that was constructed in the Assembly Chamber.

The vast Assembly Chamber is the largest room in The New York State Capitol Building, and was the first of the building’s “grand spaces” to be completed and used for business of the people. The original groined Moorish Gothic style, multi-colored sandstone ceiling, was supported by granite pillars, and rose to a height of 56 feet above the floor. This visual wonder mentioned above was described by architectural critic, Henry Van Brun, as being “the most monumental interior in the country.”

On the upper sandstone wall space just below this ceiling, were the crowning jewels; two beautiful, 40 ft. murals; “The Discoverer” and “The Flight of Night”, that were painted by William Morris Hunter, probably the highlight project of his career. Regrettably, the groined ceiling experienced structural problems, as the building began to settle. It began to crack and break, creating a real danger for the members of the assembly seated down below. A new, lower ceiling was constructed in 1888, that unfortunately covered up these works of art, as this ceiling was four feet below the murals.

This new ceiling was supposed to be made of solid oak. Instead, the wily contractor cheated the state by substituting panels made of oak and papier-mache, to lower the cost to this contractor, increasing his own profit. While this incident caused a mighty brewhaha at the time, this contractor inadvertently saved the Assembly Chamber years later.

Twenty two years later, in 1911, a fire started on a desk in the Assembly Library, that quickly erupted into an inferno, as the flames fed on many historical documents and books. After consuming both the State and Assembly Libraries, the fire raced toward the Assembly Chamber. This wood-paper-mache material in the ceiling is credited in saving the Assembly Chamber. This material slowed down the progress of the fire, because it absorbed the water from fire fighter’s hoses, providing a water firebreak. Unfortunately, the 40 ft murals above this ceiling were probably destroyed at this time.



People who suffer from accidental, traumatic deaths while on the job, sometimes continue on in their duties in this world, despite being in spirit form, not letting death stand in the way of their work ethics. Sometimes entities relive in their minds their last struggles and traumatic demise as well.

A security guard/night watchman, Samuel Abbott, was overcome by smoke, and was charred beyond recognition in a fire that broke out in the library, in 1911. He had made sure everyone was out of the building before trying to leave himself, but he couldn’t escape the deadly smoke and fire that was racing down the corridor from the libraries. His charred body was found in this fourth floor corridor, near the ruins of the southwest cupola. He was identified by his watch.

Despondent people who take their own lives, don’t find peace on the other side, discover that they feel the same, and that it didn’t help. They wind up staying in this world, relive their pain, hurt, loneliness, and/or try to resume their life in some way in this world, still unhappy.

A depressed fruit vendor killed himself, in 1890, by flinging himself off the fourth floor Senate Chamber staircase.

Sometimes changing, neglecting or doing something to a valued possession/work of art /piece of property can act as an environmental trigger that stirs up paranormal activity from an upset entity. Being treated unfairly/experiencing huge disappointments at the hands of others in this life can cause a spirit to not be able to let go of this world.

William Morris Hunter was very proud of his artistic endeavors; his glorious 40 foot murals, in a place of honor, where everyone could see and admire them; an artist’s dream! Imagine his disappointment that they were hidden from sight just 10 years later, when the new ceiling was installed! Apparently, the entity of William Morris Hunt still isn’t amused, and still having issues!



Entity of Samuel Abbott: Night Watchman

A friendly, courageous fellow, dedicated to his job, who hasn’t changed a bit in spirit form.

People hear the jangling of keys.

See shadows walking the 4th & 5th floor corridors.

A grayish blur passed right through a woman in the corridor, giving her an icy chill. This apparition then suddenly sped up, racing down the corridor, causing a passing woman’s skirt to fly up.

Entity of William Morris Hunt

Ticked off because the highlight projects of his artistic career were hidden from view by the new ceiling.

Then some dolt started a fire in the library, that destroyed his hidden art masterpieces in the Assembly Chamber.

His unseen, restless presence is felt in the Assembly Chamber.

Door knobs rattle, and doors open and close at will.

Cold spots that are felt and occasional flickering lights in the Assembly Chamber are also attributed to Mr. Hunt. Perhaps, on occasion, his apparition is seen by the living, glowering at them!

Entity of Fruit Vendor

Still sad and depressed, and perhaps a bit regretful.

Has probably been seen and felt on the staircase, visiting the scene of his death.

There are probably cold spots felt on the staircase.

Perhaps on occasion, people can see his apparition fall from the staircase, as he relives his death.


Most Probably so! Despite the lack of hard evidence that has been published, there have been many, many reports of personal experiences from those who have been in this building over the years. The entities have their ways of letting the living know that they are still there in the building

A psychic medium also was allowed to do a quiet investigation and she met the spirits residing there. The entity of Samuel Abbott is friendly, and will talk with live people who have psychic medium skills, no matter what their age it seems. The other entities also may communicate with live people as well.

Amateur camera buffs have also caught orbs, that may be just bugs or dust, or maybe manifestations of energy. Over the years, visitors and tour participants, staff, employees and politicians have had personal experiences with these three entities.


Because this is a state government building, security is tight, and paranormal investigation groups either haven’t been allowed in to investigate, or not allowed to divulge what they catch on their recordings. Perhaps, people in charge also don’t want to disturb the spirits by bringing in annoying investigation groups, making the hauntings more active than they already are.

One psychic medium was allowed to walk around, and has reported meeting the entity of Samuel Abbott, who continues on with his duties, and tries every night to out run his doom, perhaps not willing to accept that he died the way he did.

Every year around Halloween, Capitol Haunting Tours are offered for free to the public, which means people acknowledge that there are spirits hanging around the New York State Capitol Building. The tours take people to known hot spots within the Capitol Building, and the spirits and their stories are told to tour participants. I would love to go on this tour! Tour participants have captured evidence on cameras, and a few have even had their own experiences.

“We DID get several really amazing “orb” pics off the balcony and by the Haunted Staircase. Our little grand daughter was with us and every time we go by there (not often as we don’t live anywhere near there) she tells us about the people she “met” thrash was 3 at the time! She might have “met” the Night Watchman, according to her telling us and the Tour Guide about it. “ The reported hauntings in New York City’s Capitol Building have been published in at least 4 reputable haunted house books.



State Street in Capitol Park
Albany, New York

The glorious New York State Capitol Building can be found on the east side of the Empire State Plaza area, on State Street, with Washington Street behind it. Take Broadway to State Street, which will bring you into Empire State Plaza from the south side.


  • Haunted New York: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the New York State, by Cheri Revai, 2005.
  • Empire Ghosts, New York State’s Haunted Landmarks, by Lynda Lee Macken, Black Cat Press, 2004.
  • The Big Book of New York Ghost Stories, by Cheri Revai, Stackpole Books, 2009.
  • Ghostly Register, by Arthur Myers, Contemporary Books, 1986.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in New York