Virtual Capitol Hauntings tours begin this week

Legislative Gazette file photo
Stuart Lehman, education coordinator for the Capitol, tells visitors about some of the strange and unexplained occurrences in the halls of the Capitol over the years.

New Yorkers looking for a socially distanced scare this season are in luck as the annual Haunted Capitol tours will still be held virtually each week leading up to Halloween.

The New York State Office of General Services will be hosting these virtual ghost stories at 1 p.m. this Thursday, and the following two Thursdays leading up to Halloween. These online visits will combine supernatural legends as well as actual historical moments from the state Capitol. 

The three videos will be titled “The Fire of 1911,” “Creepy Capitol Carvings,” and “Legend of the Capitol Halls.” They will combine a mix of history about the events themselves as well as personal anecdotes of haunting occurrences from staff and past visitors. 

The videos will be available through the Office of General Services Virtual Visit Program. This program currently offers dozens of virtual tours about the Capitol’s history, art and architecture. 

Legislative Gazette file photo
The hundreds of ornate carvings in the halls and stairways of the sate Capitol will be the subject of one of three virtual Haunted Capitol tours offered by the state Office of General; Services this Halloween season.

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito is excited about this solution to the inability to offer physical tours this season. 

The OGS team could not let the Halloween season pass us by without offering the public a special version of one our most popular themed tours of the Capitol,” Destito said. “These are terrific, fun tours filled with interesting facts, and this year, people will be able to press pause if they get too scared.”   

While these videos will premiere live at the 1 p.m. start time, they will stay on the website available for public consumption afterwards. Each virtual visit is expected will last about 5 minutes. 

Anyone interested in attending these tours should go to 

Capitol Hauntings Tour Online Premiere Schedule:

Virtual Visit Tour Part 1: The Fire of 1911 – 1 p.m., Thursday, October 15

On March 29, 1911, a tragic fire swept through the New York State Capitol, which housed the New York State Library. This virtual tour will explore the fire and its aftermath and how it contributed to stories of unexplained occurrences in the years after. Find out what survived from the New York State Library and learn about the fate of the night watchman who patrolled the statehouse on that tragic night.

Virtual Visit Tour Part 2: Creepy Capitol Carvings – 1 p.m., Thursday, October 22

The New York State Capitol is known for its intricate hand-carved detail completed by hundreds of stone carvers throughout the building’s 32 years of construction. In this tour, people will discover the inspiration behind some of the carvings, the differences between grotesques and gargoyles, and the mystery behind the carved “secret demon” hidden among the walls.

Virtual Visit Tour Part 3: Legends of the Capitol Halls – 1 p.m., Thursday, October 29

With its castle-like architecture and gothic stone carvings, the New York State Capitol is the picture-perfect setting for a scary story. Throughout the years, Capitol employees and visitors have reported unexplained occurrences throughout the building. This tour will focus on the legends and lore of the Capitol — including the two U.S. presidents who visited after their deaths.