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Oct. 14, 2005

Fort Ontario Invites Visitors to Historical Ghost Tour Oct. 29

OSWEGO -- Fort Ontario is famous for its extensive history dating back to the French and Indian War and its legendary ghost sightings. The fact and fiction of Fort Ontario's ghosts will be explored in a "ghost tour" from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. The tour is hosted by the Friends of Fort Ontario, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation.

A donation of $5 for adults and $1 for children will benefit the Friends group's restoration efforts and programs. Tickets will be available at the gate the evening of the program.

Highlights of the tour will include Rosemary Nesbitt, who will represent Dr. Mary Walker, as well as others representing former post residents George Fykes, Basil Dunbar, James Fawdry, and others.

The program will also feature the Syracuse Ghost Hunters, led by Kurt and Laura Schmidtmann, who will demonstrate their ghost-hunting techniques and discuss the results of six years of research at Fort Ontario.

Many of the fort's reported ghost sightings are not attributed to any particular individual, but research into those buried in the post cemetery may provide insights into possible connections, noted Paul Lear, site manager.

"Shootings, drownings, traffic accidents, fevers, alcoholism, flu epidemics, accidents, and even a murder committed with a sword claimed the lives of over 100 individuals buried in the post cemetery at Fort Ontario," said Lear.

Reported ghosts date to the earliest period of the fort's history, and include the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763), Revolutionary War (1775 -1783), Civil War (1861 - 1865), up to the last burial at the Fort cemetery in 1943.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site has been featured in three recent publications dealing with the ghosts, "Ghost of the Northeast," "Haunted New York, Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Empire State," and the "Encyclopedia of Haunted Places, Ghostly Locales from around the World."

The Friends of Fort Ontario was chartered in 1989 to support Fort Ontario State Historic Site with educational programs, restoration, programming, and promotion. For more information on the group, visit their Web site at www.fortontario.com

Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in the City of Oswego. The fort is one of six historic sites and 16 parks in the Central Region administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Bernadette Castro, Commissioner. For additional information, contact the fort at (315) 343-4711.

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