Canfield Casino, where the museum is located. (ERICA MILLER/The Saratogian)
The “parlor room” at the museum showcases furniture from the Walworth mansion. (ERICA MILLER/The Saratogian)
Victorian clothing is displayed at the Saratoga Springs History Museum. “Ghost Hunters” has conducted a paranormal investigation at the museum, and the SyFy channel will air their findings Wednesday. (ERICA MILLER/The Saratogian)
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ghostly apparitions, moving objects, a freezing drop in temperature — those are just some of the unexplained phenomena witnessed by employees at the Saratoga Springs History Museum in the Canfield Casino over the years.
This summer, NBC Universal’s SyFy channel conducted and filmed a paranormal investigation at the 140-year-old casino for an episode of “Ghost Hunters.” The program will air at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, and the public is invited to attend a free screening at the museum.
According to the museum’s executive director, Jamie Parillo, unusual events had taken place sporadically in the building for years, but they accelerated in 2007 after the opening of an exhibition of antique clothing once owned and worn by members of some of Saratoga Springs’ most prominent first families, now all deceased.
The curious happenings have included objects that were moved at night, carpets pushed against doors in locked rooms and the smell of cigars in a building where smoking is banned.
Parillo said the occurrences began in the mid-1990s, when a local businessman saw a misty apparition of a woman in Victorian-period clothing.
In 2004, Parillo said he experienced a freezing drop in temperature and a hostile energy moving him on the casino’s third floor. This took place adjacent to a permanent exhibition of furniture from the Walworth mansion. The Walworths, perhaps the most prominent Saratoga family of the 19th century, had a tragic history that included spousal abuse and murder.
In 2007, a full-body apparition, again in Victorian-period attire, asked a museum volunteer a question and then vanished.
“With so much happening, we felt it necessary to bring in professionals in paranormal activity who could help us validate what we have been experiencing,” Parillo said. “TAPS/Ghost Hunters arrived this summer and spent several days in their investigation. The airing of the show will represent the first disclosure that the board and I have had of their findings.”
For a sneak peek of the episode, look for a video clip at www.saratogahistory.org.