Haunted Honeymoon Part 2: The Haunted Hotel
Published: October 7th, 2021
By: Sarah Genter

Haunted Honeymoon Part 2: The Haunted Hotel A front view of the Fainting Goat Island Inn, located in Nichols, NY, and voted the second most haunted hotel in the 2019 USA Today’s Ten Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards for the Best Haunted Hotels category. (Photo by Dustin Genter of 5th Dimension Photography)

(This article is a follow-up to a column published on October 1, 2021 called, “Haunted Honeymoon Part 1: Finding the Mothman)

My husband Dustin and I went on our "Haunted Honeymoon" earlier this month, and our first adventure was in Point Pleasant, WV, where we learned all about the creepy cryptid known as the Mothman.

Following our exploits in Point Pleasant, we were on the road again. This time, we travelled a little closer to home and visited the magnificent and mystifying Fainting Goat Island Inn. Built in the 1800’s, the Inn was once a railroad hotel, used by travelers passing through on the Erie and Lackawanna railroads, located in Nichols, NY. It was also voted the second most haunted hotel in the 2019 USA Today’s Ten Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards for the Best Haunted Hotels category.

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After a long day of driving we finally pulled up to the charming residence; a three story home situated a stone's throw from the Susquehanna River. Literally. And on the other side of the river is a whopping 17 acre island that is also a part of the property, but unfortunately not accessible this time of year.

We were greeted by four enormous dogs, and the two lovely homeowners, Marnie and Bill. They welcomed us in and Marnie immediately whisked us away on a tour of her home.

She explained to us that she found the house in 2007 while doing a beer float down the Susquehanna River, and took the leap of buying and rehabilitating it. She met Bill, a contractor, along the way, and he helped her with renovations.

While the house is restored, it still retains its old-timey charm and splendor. The furniture looks antique, there are terrifically creepy vintage dolls and old photographs everywhere, and the wallpaper and colors used to decorate the rooms are reminiscent of a Victorian era home. Basically, it's my dream house. By the end of the tour we were kicking ourselves for not booking a second night!

In a stroke of luck, we found out that we were the only people staying in the hotel that night, so we had free reign of the entire second floor, which holds five bedrooms, the attic, and two rooms on the first floor: a sitting room and a sort of dining room complete with a large bar and stools. It was even a full moon! How lucky are we?

Marnie regaled us with tales of hauntings within the home. The most common occurrence reported by guests was footsteps down the long hallway on the second floor. Guests have also witnessed things moving on their own and apparitions. Marnie also reported hearing disembodied voices, and told us our room held the spirit of a little boy who liked to hide under the bed.

When I asked Marnie, a self-proclaimed skeptic, if she would have bought the house had she known it was haunted, she cheerfully replied, "I wouldn't have cared!"

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Now, this may sound a little crazy to some readers, but bear with me. When we first got to the house and walked inside, I was overcome with an intense feeling of dizziness. I followed our host through the halls and rooms feeling like I was in a daze. It was bizarre!

I chalked it up to the long drive in the car (seven hours from Point Pleasant to Nichols!) and possibly the uneven floors. I shook it off and we left the property for an hour to go to dinner, and the vertigo subsided.

But, upon returning to the house, the dizziness was back and stronger than before. It became so intense that I had to lay down on the floor and close my eyes! I stayed there for a bit clearing my head while Dustin explored the house and took pictures.

When I finally pulled myself together, we jumped right into ghost hunting. Last year, Dustin and I bought a spirit box, which is a small device that rapidly flips through radio stations to create a static, white noise effect. The idea is that through the white noise and energy created by the spirit box, ghosts are able to speak. We've used it plenty in our apartment, and have gotten some interesting messages!

Marnie also had a small arsenal of equipment she provided to us, including several EMF (electromagnetic frequency) readers, a pendulum, and dowsing rods. Still a little shaky from my earlier bout of vertigo, we got started with sitting on the bed in our room and firing up an EMF reader and the spirit box.

The EMF reader immediately lit up like a Christmas tree, indicating that strong electromagnetic frequencies were present in the area around the device.

Then, we got our first message through the spirit box. It said, “on the table.” Across the room from us was a small table, and the only thing on it was a basket full of old photographs.

“Are you mad that I’m taking pictures?” Dustin asked, chuckling. Unfortunately, we didn’t get an answer.

From there we decided to start exploring the rest of the house. As we were walking out of our room, we passed by that same table, and the spirit box very clearly said “stop.” So, we did, but our questions after that received no answers.

We took the spirit box through the bedrooms, into the parlor room and bar area, and even outside to the garden, backyard, and dock overlooking the river. Nothing.

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I was a little bummed! I was hoping for some crazy ghost activity, but so far we were coming up short. There was still time, though. Marnie had told us several stories of hauntings happening through the night, keeping people awake. So, the plan was to stay up late waiting to see if we heard any disembodied voices or unexplainable noises.

But of course, things don’t always work out. Only a couple hours into our search and I was absolutely exhausted. I felt so drained I could barely keep my eyes open! I told Dustin I wanted to sleep for a couple hours to take the edge off, and then we could keep looking.

We got settled in the massive (and massively comfortable!) bed and I promptly fell asleep and slept, well, like the dead. Dustin, however, barely caught a wink.

The next morning he explained to me what had kept him awake through the night. He said after midnight he started hearing loud tapping on the wall across from our bed. Further investigation showed that there was nothing beyond that wall. No trees, no plants. Nothing that could have been thumping against it and creating the sound he was hearing.

Dustin also told me that around 4:30 a.m. he heard shuffling footsteps outside of our closed door, as if someone wearing slippers was scuffling by. Even weirder, he said he tried to wake me up so I didn’t miss it by elbowing me! I am not a heavy sleeper by any means, but he said I didn’t even move.

We couldn’t leave the house without checking out the attic, which was located directly above the room we rented. It was once used as a brothel, where women and girls as young as 13 were locked in and forced to work. We pulled down the creaky ladder and cautiously made our way up.

We got a few more messages through the spirit box. Mostly names, interestingly enough. Marnie had warned us that men often had bad experiences in the attic, caused by the spirits of the women who spent their days under the cruel control of a man that worked at the brothel. But, lucky for Dustin, we made it out unscathed!

While we didn’t experience anything too intense at the Fainting Goat Island Inn, we still really enjoyed our stay. Our hosts were awesome, the house was stunning, and we left with plans to come back for a full weekend as soon as we could. And, of course, we stopped by the goat pen and said hi to all the animals before we left!

The best part about the Inn? It’s only an hour and a half from Norwich! So, if you’re into the paranormal like Dustin and I, check out their website at www.faintinggoatislandinn.com, and book your stay in one of their five haunted rooms!

Check out next week’s Evening Sun for the third installment of my Haunted Honeymoon column series, where Dustin and I explore the world of magic.


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