haunted house

The Haunted House Known As Skene Castle

At the end of a narrow, winding road, standing as sentry overlooking the harbor and village of Whitehall, New York, stands the haunted house known as Skene Castle.

Information value only. The castle is not for sale.

Built in the mid-1860s as the personal residence of Judge Joseph Potter (1820-1902), a New York State Supreme Court Justice, his wife Catherine, and children Sanford, William and Henry, the Victorian manse was originally named Potter’s Terrace. Perched high on the hill looking (as one man described it) “as if Bavaria’s  Mad King Ludwig had escaped to America and built a small castle,” the stone manor’s address still stands as 8 Potter’s Terrace.

Judge Potter


It is a mystery why the edifice is called Skene Manor. No one named Skene ever resided in the castle. Philip Skene lived during the American Revolution and founded the village of Whitehall,  initially called Skenesborough, but that was way before the manor was constructed. Some believe Skene may have lived on the mountain in the general vicinity, but that is not known for sure.

As legend has it, however,  Mrs. Skene’s ghost haunts the castle. The story goes that she held the wealth in the Skene Family, and upon her death, her husband Philip would receive an annuity. Ah, but there lies the catch. He would only receive the monies as long as the body of Mrs. Skene remained above ground. She died before Philip, and not wanting to lose the cash, he put his wife in a lead coffin, propping her up in a corner of the basement.  Others say that she was laid under the grand staircase, but her ghost would simply not stay put.


The story of the unburied Mrs. Skene and the ghosts of Skene Manor became intertwined after new owners opened a restaurant in the establishment and built “the” coffin behind a cornerstone of the bar. Many a tipsy drinker reported seeing an apparition of a lady in a Victorian gown wearing a large ring roaming the halls of the castle.



Subsequent owners eventually lost Skene Manor to taxes, allowing it to fall into disrepair and neglect. They stripped the castle of chandeliers, crystal doorknobs, and anything else they could make a quick buck on. The historic building almost was sold to a party in Vermont who planned to dismantle it block by stone block and rebuild it in the Green Mountain State. At the last minute, a group called SOS (Save Our Skene) raised the funds to pay the back taxes, but not before the dastardly previous owners were brought up on cruelty to animal charges. They tied a rare dog breed out in the yard in the cold without food, water or shelter. A UPS driver found the dog frozen to the ground still alive.

Interior Photos




Information value only. The castle is not for sale.


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