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  • Daniel Nephilim
    http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20050926/1016498.asp Exploring psychic folklore ... City Hall . . . has some terrific ghost stories. By ANTHONY
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2005

      Exploring psychic folklore

      "City Hall . . . has some terrific ghost stories."

      News Staff Reporter

      Mason Winfield, Western New York's resident ghost
      hunter, is taking his "spooktacle" to Niagara Square
      during the weeks leading up to Halloween.
      The Niagara Square Ghost Walk will start at 7 p.m.
      each Tuesday at Spot Coffee at Delaware Avenue and
      West Chippewa Street. The fee for the 90-minute tour
      of haunted architecture is $10 for adults and $5 for
      children ages 7 to 11. Part of the proceeds go to the
      Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier.

      "We start at City Hall, which has some terrific ghost
      stories," said Winfield, an East Aurora resident,
      "[and] we talk about the occult ornamentation" such as
      sun symbols.

      Asked for a ghost story, Winfield said: "The ghosts
      I've heard about are incoherent. You don't have any
      idea who they are. Just a ton of crazy effects that
      you run into all the time - darting shadows, and
      electrical phenomenon, and the elevators acting up;
      crazy sound effects."

      The man who designed City Hall, John J. Wade, also
      designed the Masonic Consistory, Winfield said, back
      when Buffalo was a major home of the Freemasons.

      "And," he added, "these types of sites tend to collect
      ghost stories."

      The next stop is Niagara Square, where the McKinley
      Monument stands.

      "We talk about the events surrounding the
      assassination of President McKinley," Winfield said.
      "There are ghost stories or some type of psychic
      folklore associated with every spot where McKinley
      spent his last 24 hours in Buffalo."

      Niagara Square was first laid out as a radial hub in
      the early 1800s by surveyor Joseph Ellicott. Winfield
      believes that Ellicott created "a henge, an earth

      "Ellicott had a reason for locating his formation
      right there," Winfield speculates. "They often become
      the center of cities, like Circleville, Ohio, which
      has its octagonal city square around one of these
      Native American earthworks."

      Winfield believes that Ellicott was a Freemason and
      that he employed some astronomy in his work.

      "He and his brother, Andrew, were certainly exposed to
      this type of occult architecture," he reasons,
      "because they [surveyed] Washington, D.C., and
      designed Buffalo" with some of the features used by
      Pierre Charles L'Enfant in his design of the nation's

      "Both cities have these unique, radial-patterned
      streets, which seem to point to astronomical

      Winfield said, "The old courthouse on Franklin Street
      is a beautiful site of executions and old burial
      grounds. War dead are buried there."

      Then it's on to the Guaranty Building on Church
      Street, designed by Louis Sullivan and completed in

      "We know that Louis Sullivan, the mentor of Frank
      Lloyd Wright, was very interested in the ancient
      megalithic monuments that the Native Americans had
      built," Winfield said. "We think that this influenced
      not only Sullivan, but Wright - one of the early
      models for Graycliff featured a virtual henge - an
      earth circle - a big earth doughnut."

      Winfield says the Guaranty Building is haunted by a
      Victorian gentleman whom they've nicknamed "Oliver."

      "He appears down around the basement floor, and I
      think he may even appear in the women's restroom once
      in a while," Winfield said, laughing. "Though he's
      said to be fairly respectful. He's very discreet."

      The tour passes the Buffalo Athletic Club, designed by
      E.B. Green.

      "Almost every building he touches get ghost stories,"
      Winfield says.

      Then comes the Erie County Holding Center at 10
      Delaware Ave.

      "There are ghost stories there," Winfield said. "The
      Tunnel of Tears goes underneath. . . ."

      Pressed for his personal views on all this, Winfield
      said: "I'm not saying I believe all the ghost stories
      I am told. Do I believe any of them? (Pause) I would
      have to say I think ghosts exist. And I think places
      at which generations of people have been telling
      stories are significant."

      Is it possible that people telling these stories for
      generations are helping to shape this phenomenon?

      "Yes," Winfield said. "It might be a folklore battery
      - there might be some energy about the site that
      affects the human imagination."

      Nephilim's Paranormal Investigations - http://paranorm.cjb.net

      Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
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