I was born in the Berkshires, and have always believed in ghosts. Luckily for me, the Berkshires seem to have an abundance of ghosts and the stories to go along with them. When I was younger, I lived in Pittsfield, and often saw a ghost of a Native American man, who would peek in the windows of my house. As I grew older, the ghost disappeared and didn’t return again, until my niece was a child in the same house, and would describe the exact same ghost to me. If that wasn’t odd enough, years later when my son was a child in that house, he would often tell me of a man with long, dark hair, who he insisted was looking through our windows. Now, a peeping Tom could be to blame if any one of those happened individually, but for three children to see the exact same person, over the course of twenty years, leads me only to the conclusion that it was a ghost. The land that the house sits on is also an old native American fishing spot. Hmmm ….
Over the years, I have seen many apparitions, sometimes in a neighborhood, sometimes while hiking in the mountains, but always scaring the living daylights out of me( I said that I believed in ghosts, I never said I liked it!). The Berkshires are a place that everyone loves, so it only seems fitting that there would be so many ghosts trying to stay here as long as they can too, I guess. There have been many accounts of hauntings, several of them in the area estates, also known as the Berkshire Cottages. There have been investigations, and even television shows (that focus on ghosts), that have come to film at the estates. In Lenox, there is the Church on the Hill, which has a graveyard that is supposedly frequented by the ghost of a woman who was a prominent person in Lenox. I have visited the cemetery several times, hoping for a glimpse of her, and have taken many photos, hoping to capture her image on film, but never have seen anything there. Others have though, seen her roaming through the gravestones, or caught a picture of her in the church windows.
My ghost encounters lately have been relegated to the animal world, more specifically dogs. I live in the neighborhood of several of ‘the cottages’, and many of these estate owners were devout dog lovers. My yard is also part of the old fox hunting grounds from the Gilded Age days. Now, to hear a dog barking is one thing, but to hear the sound of a ghost dog barking is quite another. The two are not similar at all, though you might think so. The ghost dogs that I hear, appear to be quite nearby, close enough so that I should be able to see them if I look in the direction that the barks are coming from. But, there is never anything there, though the barks continue. I once saw what appeared to be a small, white dog walking down the road, a dog that seemed to be see through. Not quite sure if the dog belonged to Edith Wharton or Emily Sloane of Elm Court, or perhaps just a random ghost dog, but it scared me enough to go running inside to hide. Sometimes, late at night, I have heard what seems like a pack of dogs barking, not unlike the packs of coyotes that roam our area. But, I think they are ghost dogs, still chasing after the poor foxes throughout their old hunting grounds.
There are several books written about ghost sightings in Berkshire County, and though there are many who refuse to believe in such things, I for one, believe that they are very real. So, when you are in the Berkshires, keep your eyes and ears open, you never know what you may find!
Tags: berkshire county, berkshires, church on the hill, elm court, ghosts, graveyards, lenox