THE SARATOGA WITCH
This summer we moved from New England to upstate NY near Saratoga Springs.
The first thing I did when we arrived (after unpacking) was learn the haunted history of the area. I hit the jackpot. Reportedly, there are 467 haunted venues in Albany/Saratoga area. The many battles of the Revolutionary War fought here, including The Battle of Saratoga are responsible for many of the sightings. But hidden deep in the history of the war, I discovered, Angeline Tubbs, The Witch of Saratoga.
The woman was real. Here's her picture from the Saratoga Public Library. Her story? Well, you decide for yourself. But if true, she's one cool witch...
Angeline was born in 1761 in Britain. At 17 she followed her fiancée to the colonies to fight in the war. After the British were defeated at the Battle of Saratoga, he dumped her.
Alone and abandoned, she settled in a hut at the base of Mt. Vista, a small mountain about one mile north of Saratoga, a brood of cats her only companions.
She soon earned a reputation as a witch and made a living telling fortunes, the majority of which came true.
At one point, and the information is murky, she was sentenced to hang. There is no evidence she was charged with witchcraft, and some say she was falsely charged with stealing to disguise the real reason, which was she scared the townspeople and they wanted her gone.
The hanging failed. She walked away, a mark on her neck forever.
They didn’t try again.
Some townsfolk claimed they would see Angeline on Mt. Vista, on the edge of the cliff, standing with her arms outstretched in the middle of a terrible storms, talking to spirits.
Mr. William Stone wrote about it in his dairy in 1826. It's–not clear who Mr. Stone was, but I got the impression he was somewhat important figure in the community.
“Had she been mistress of the whirlwind, she could not have been more delighted with storms. She had been seen, her form erect and with extended arms, standing upon the verge of fearful precipices, in the midst of the most awful tempests, conversing, as it were, with unseen spirits, her long, matted hair streaming in the wind, while the thunder was riving the rocks beneath her feet, and the red lightning encircling her as with a winding-sheet of flame.”
Angeline boasted she would die when the last of her 21 cats died. She grew older and older, outliving those who shunned and ostracized her and when her last cat died, so did she, in 1865 at the age 104.
There are those who swear she still inhabits Angeline’s Hill on Mt. Vista. A young writer, Ben Carradine on a writer’s retreat in 1932 saw her apparition briefly, for the first time. Driving back from Ohio in 1955, he pulled over to look at the sunset, when a thunderstorm rolled in. Taking cover near Mt. Vista, he found shelter under an overhanging rock and saw her a second time. Here’s his account:
“A lone figure was standing on the stone ledge at the top, silhouetted against the sky. She stood erect, arms stretched out to the raging sky. Her long hair and wet cloak streamed out behind her. And he heard her piercing scream above him. Another lightning bolt illuminated the woman. She screamed again and again as the lightning flashed, the thunder cracked, the rain fell, and the wind howled. Finally the clouds moved away, the screaming stopped, and the woman vanished."
So my quest this fall is to find Mt. Vista and climb up and see if Angeline makes an appearance. I'll keep you posted...
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