Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Balthasar Kreischer Home The Site Of A Real Murder Or Just Another Tall Tale?

Sometimes it becomes hard to draw the line between fact and fiction. You see, this is not just another Halloween haunted house story. Because, at least from the State of New York's perspective, some of the eerie allegations are true. A Victorian-style home on Arthur Kill Road on Staten Island is legendary for odd clanging noises and weeping sounds late at night. Ghost tales have centered around the Kreischer mansion for decades. Rather then simply chalk it up to fiction, federal investigators claim that the Kreischer mansion was used as a mafia execution site. Charges actually followed an investigation. Specifically, Joseph Young was charged with stabbing, strangling and dismembering Robert McKelvey in April 2005. Young allegedly carried out the execution in exchange for an $8,000 payment from a member of the Bonnano family.

Dozens of fictional stories predate the alleged murder. For example, the scratching heard in the closet is not mice, rather it is the ghost of children who were supposedly locked in the closet when they were bad. Other tales involve ghosts appearing, sounds of weeping and doors slamming. Unfortunately for tourists, a nonfictional history of the mansion is less impressive.

Around 1885, Balthasar Kreischer built two identical homes on the hilltop. One was destroyed by fire. Sons, Edward and Charles, lived on the grounds and worked at the family brick factory. Balthasar Kreischer died in 1886. In 1894, Edward Kreischer shot himself in the head at the factory. His weeping wife is among the alleged ghosts (but they had lived in the mansion that burned down.) By 1899, the factory had closed. After a few sales, the mansion became a restaurant which subsequently failed. In the late 80's, the mansion was bought by Isaac Yomtovian. Yomtovian restored the home. He would like to build senior citizen housing around the mansion and use the mansion as a clubhouse. Unfortunately, Yomtovian has not had much luck with investors. At some point, the home may become a museum. In the mean time, it remains the haunted house that children point to as a place to avoid after dark.


Anonymous said...

Which is scarier, the mafia or haunted houses?

Anonymous said...

Real life torture chamber!

Ms Calabaza said...

Hmmm, weeping and slamming doors ... you say? Maybe a Red Sox fan? ... or a Republican.

Billie said...

Or both! Ms. C. you are spot on!