Ghost Hunting At Hempstead House

Creepy basement hallway of Hempstead House
Creepy basement hallway of Hempstead House

On a dark and stormy night…just kidding. Actually it was a sunny, normal Tuesday afternoon in August when several of Long Island Weekly’s staff members met up with five paranormal researchers and intuitives with Northwestern Queens Paranormal Research Group (NQPRG) at Hempstead House on Sands Point Preserve in Port Washington.

Built in 1912, the massive English Tudor-style mansion Hempstead House, on the Gould-Guggenheim Estate, was the site of society parties, performances and exhibitions by world-class artists, and gatherings of the powerful elite of the time. Today, Hempstead House stands ready for entertaining with its magnificent architecture, landscaped gardens and exquisite views overlooking the Long Island Sound.

Hempstead House was not the first residence on the property. Ten years earlier in 1902, Castle Gould was erected. Financier Howard Gould, son of railroad tycoon Jay Gould, had the house built for his wife, Katherine Clemmons, by architect August Allen.

It was rumored that Clemmons hated Castle Gould and demanded a new one be built. While in the midst of having a new castle built in 1909, allegations exploded that Clemmons was having an affair, naming William “Wild Bill” Cody as her lover.

The Goulds divorced the same year. Gould continued building Hempstead House, which was completed in 1912. The Goulds never lived in the house. It was sold to Daniel Guggenheim in 1917.

In the 1940s, the Guggenheims vacated Hempstead House and opened it to war refugee children from Britain. The Guggenheims’ son, Harry, was a fighter pilot in WWI and WWII; the family began investing in aeronautical science and soon after donated Hempstead House to the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, which was then sold to the U.S. Navy. The Navy used the estate from 1946 to 1967 as a training facility but in 1971, declared it as surplus and deeded it to Nassau County.

Once Hempstead House was selected from several rumored haunted hot spots from around Long Island, the news team and researchers, headed by lead researcher and group owner Bradley Mauer, went to work noting tales from site employees and museum docents, and hearsay from Internet postings. The melded team set out throughout the mansion collecting evidence and photographic and audio recordings, along with sheer intuition, which two of the NQPRG members, Mark Ciochettl and Sylwia Kruszewska, specialize in.

Almost immediately and steadily throughout the visit, Ciochettl and Kruszewska indicated being affected by supernatural energies, some passive and benign, while other energies were more aggressive and ill-spirited.

Mauer activated a “spirit box,” an AM radio receiver designed to operate on a frequency determined to capture other-worldly audio transmissions, in the mansion’s library. He initiated verbal contact with any would-be spirits in the room. Mauer asked basic questions of the spirits: “Who are you?” and “Why are you here?” and “How many people are here?”

Seemingly, there were responses from the spirit world in single-word answers, such as “Willie” and “10” and “spirits” and “stuck.” It’s easy to debunk but just as easy as it is to believe.

Several incidents were noted throughout the investigation, such as a tote bag falling from a solid placement and a camera battery dying completely in minutes, then being fully charged and functional after the spirit communications ended. Rafael Suarez, photographic researcher, attributes this to the energy draw that spirits need to communicate.

Several weeks later, the news team and researchers reconvened to share findings of the photographic and audio evidence, noting orbs in several of the photos, unexplainable shadows and ghostly figures in reflections. Real? Or pure coincidence? You decide.

For more details, including access information to Hempstead House, visit or call 516-571-7901.

Learn more about Northwestern Queens Paranormal Research Group at

For more from our Halloween theme issue, including more details about the history of Hempstead House and other haunted places on Long Island, click here.


Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

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