By Betty & Wayne Green
September 29, 2008
An 11th Century Manor House sits within a serene park along the Eastern Shore of Lake Ontario in the small rural town of Mexico, New York - the perfect setting for anyone with an imagination that leans towards the paranormal. The Manor House, better known as Casey's Cottage, supplies both the atmosphere and some stories that keep people coming back in the hopes of experiencing something mysterious.
Mexico Point Park has its own story. It is the site of the first community of Mexico in the early 1700's; the burial ground of Silas Towne, a Revolutionary War Hero credited with saving Fort Stanwick from English attack; rum running during prohibition; Mexico Point Hotel accredited with the best dance floor in the state in the 1940s; summer training ground for prize fighters Carmen Basillio and Joey DeJohn. The list could go on, but the focus of this story is Casey's Cottage and
a strange occurrence on a “dark and stormy night.”
Dr. William Casey was a sociology professor at Columbia University and a summer resident at Mexico Point. Lifelong friends of the owners of the resort, Dr. Casey was given lifetime use of the carriage house with permission to do as he liked with it. He, along with his long time friend Severn Bischof, relatives, friends and students, spent their summers turning this carriage house into an 11th Century Manor House. Stained glass windows, wall carvings, unique furniture, chains, and a fireplace all contribute to the aura of medieval life.
From the early 1900s well into the 1960s, summer evenings were spent sitting around the fire in Casey's Cottage, playing checkers, listening to classical music, and having philosophical discussions. In keeping with this long held tradition, recently a few members of Friends of Mexico Point Park were relaxing around the fire after working on restoration of the
cottage and discussing what needed to be done and how to get it done. A storm was brewing over the lake and moving
in quickly, we heard the thunder and saw the lightening flashes over the lake. As we debated whether to close the
cottage and head for home, the electricity went off. Being hearty souls, we decided to light a few candles and continue our discussion. As sometimes happens with people who are well acquainted and enjoying themselves talk turned from the business at hand to more frivolous topics.
Such was the case that night at Casey's Cottage. The conversation turned to speculating about the goings on at the cottage during those early years. What did Dr. Casey and his friends eat? What did they drink? What sort of topics did they discuss? What were the relationships between the guests? As our discussion became more "philosophical" a member of our group was expounding upon the question of who slept where and with whom when we heard a
tremendous thunder clap and saw a brilliant flash of lightening and two of the candles flew off a side table onto the hearth in front of our feet. With rattled nerves, we very quietly picked the candles up from the floor and placed them back on the table, picked up our papers and put on our jackets, locked the doors and hurried to our cars and
headed for home.
This is not the first, nor the last, unusual experience that some of us have had at the park. There are stories of sightings of a young girl standing near a tree under which she was buried, keys missing then found in strange places, and problems solved as if by spiritual intervention. Helpful and playfully mysterious happening continue to be a part of Casey's Cottage.
Some spirits, it seems, stay connected to their favorite earthly homes and Casey's Cottage was and is a very