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 traveling 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 activities 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
"I was there one night having dinner, before Mary and her husband bought the Bull's Head. I asked my husband why the lady was standing behind me to my left. He said no one was there, I said she has on a white dress and has black hair. I turned to look at her and she smiled and then was gone. Another time after Mary took over I was there and she gave us a tour and she asked if the spirit was there, I told her yes she is upstairs by the front window. Saw her a few times many years ago when my father in law (Ivan Schaffer) was the chef there." -Pat Spaulding Schaffer 10/29/2019
Many thanks to the owner of the Bull's Head Inn, Cobleskill,NY, Chris Guldner. Chris & his wife, Mary, have put so much effort into making this restaurant authentic, warm & inviting. The service is impeccable & the food, excellent.
Our investigation was definitely enhanced by the special touches provided. The black tablecloths & the candles added to the ambiance. Chris provided guests with a brief history of the inn & even added, to our delight, some of the "unexplained" happenings that staff & other guests have experienced. It is well worth the trip to go to the Bull's Head for dinner & libations in the gorgeous downstairs pub! -Ghost Magnets with a Twist