WEST BRIGHTON — A Staten Island nonprofit will host a tour and ghost hunt in the largest abandoned cemetery in the city.
Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island (FASCI), a group that cleans and maintains full burial grounds, will host their first fundraising "spirit" tour at Fountain Cemetery in West Brighton at the end of the month.
"For 35 years, people have reported the same five spirits down there," said Lynn Rogers, director of FASCI.
"We decided, as part of the fundraiser, we're going to have these tours, tell them the story of who we believe the spirits are and a little bit about the background."
After the tour, visitors will be allowed to hold their own hunt for the ghosts believed to haunt the cemetery, which they normally can't do because the cemetery is closed to the public, Rogers said.
"It's sort of going to be a big deal that we're opening it up like this," Rogers said.
The 8-acre Fountain Cemetery opened in 1799 and had its first burial in 1802, Rogers said.
The grounds were the site of a Revolutionary War skirmish and a Native American burial ground. It has bodies of veterans from the Civil War and the War of 1812 buried in it, Rogers said.
Rogers said she's heard reports over the years about the spirits, including a veteran from the War of 1812 and a Native American ghost, who used to walk through a house adjacent to the ceremony.
"[The owner] reported the same Native American guy who would come out of the cemetery and sort of clip her kitchen as he went out to the street," Rogers said.
The tours will cost $20 each, and groups of 10 or more can schedule private tours with Rogers.
She said all the money would go towards funds to maintain 11 cemeteries around the borough next year. If it goes well, she expects to continue offering the tours.
"We're really excited about it," she said. "This is actually a real cemetery with a very interesting past and there are spirits. I think it's a good way to do something on Halloween."
The tours will be on Oct. 26 and Oct. 31, at 6:15 and 8 p.m. Admission is $20 per person. For more info or contact FASCI at SICemetery@gmail.com or at 917-545-3309.