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The History of the Haunting of the Bull’s Head Inn, Cobleskill, NY

The current structure of the Bull’s Head Inn was built in 1802 by Seth Wakeman, the same builder of the Beekman Mansion in Sharon Springs, NY (which is also supposedly haunted).  The Bull’s Head Inn is built on the site of three previous structures dating back to 1752 when George Ferster built a log cabin here, one of the first buildings in Cobleskill. During the American Revolution in the Battle of Cobleskill, that cabin was burned to the ground by Indians, Tories, and British.  The two buildings that followed were also burned and then rebuilt. It is from this history of catastrophic destruction on this site that various stories are told of residents perishing in one or more of the fires. It is also stated that an Indian was killed in the building during one of the conflicts. One story in particular centers around a girl in an upstairs bedroom who was too scared to run, froze in terror and perished in the blaze.

The current structure was built as an inn and tavern in 1802  to host the growing traffic of merchants travelling on the then recently charted
Loonenburg Turnpike which accommodated commerce between Central NY and New York City.  When the Erie Canal was built, it redirected this traffic to go further up the Hudson River and then westward, bypassing the popular Cobleskill stop-over point. Shortly thereafter, the Bull’s Head Inn was purchased by Charles Courter to be used as his private residence, and from that time forward, was known as the Courter Mansion.  

The last private residents of the Bull’s Head Inn were Mr. John Steacy and Mrs. Grace Steacy.  John reportedly was a drunkard and Mrs. Steacy was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and loathed drinking.  After passing away, the building was sold by their estate to Monte Allen, who served as mayor of Cobleskill for some time. When in 1966, Monte Allen reopened the Bull’s Head Inn as a restaurant, he added a bar in the late Mrs. Steacy’s home (in the location that was her bedroom!).  Since then, many guests and employees have encountered apparitions and experienced extremely unusual events, attributing the occurrences to Mrs. Steacy. Sightings of a woman in a white gown moving typically around the central staircase, and upper and lower landings are numerous.  Mischievous activity such as food, plates, utensils and napkins being disrupted, sometimes flying across the room or being knocked to the floor were typical. Door slams, and faucets turning on by themselves are examples of recent experiences of the current ownership.

It is not fully understood what the true source and nature of the haunting of the Bull’s Head Inn is, but what is known, is that people with first hand experiences are absolutely convinced of what they felt, saw, and/or heard and stay true to their stories.  The activity reported does not seem to be violent or very threatening, but it has definitely gotten people's attention and made of them, believers in the spirit (or spirits) that haunt the Bull’s Head Inn.

-Written with benevolent reverence for the structure and spirits that may reside within.
Christopher J. Guldner, Owner of the Bull’s Head Inn

Bull's Head Inn

Historic Restaurant, Banquet House and Cellar Tavern - Established 1802