Every Halloween you can be sure to see costumed children collecting candy and carved pumpkins adorning windows- but if you live in Nyack you are guaranteed to also hear about the legend of 1 La Veta Place, which was deemed a legally haunted house in 1991 by the New York Supreme Court.
Over more than two decades I have had the opportunity to represent it for sale twice, and have an insider’s view of what has affectionately become known as the “Ghostbusters House.”
Take a step back in time to the late 1980s, and I was at the start of my career as a real estate broker. I was asked to represent 1 La Veta Place, a late 1800s house that had been on the market for a couple of years with another brokerage. The owner, Mrs. Ackley, was very proud of her house, but insisted she wasn’t the only inhabitant. She described two women in hoop dresses and a little man in a Revolutionary War era red coat that also would visit. The only catch is they were not living. This fact didn’t seem to disturb Mrs. Ackley, but I remember I would often get nervous going down to the very large, dark basement to put on whatever few lights there were!
After about a year a buyer was interested and put a deposit down. Right before it closed, the seller asked us to advise the buyers of the ghost visitors, which we did. They still wanted to proceed and jokingly said they would call the “ghostbusters in,” referring to the popular movie of the time.
Two weeks after contracts were signed, however, the buyers had a change of heart, and the rest as they say, is history. The case went to court, and while my firm and I were released from the case, the owner/seller was held liable. Ultimately the case settled out of court, but along the way the New York Supreme Court ruled the home legally haunted.
As a result, New York State real estate license law changed for a brief time, requiring the broker to have to automatically disclose if a home owner said they had a ghost. Since then the home has gone down in pop culture history, with media from all over covering the story.
When the home went back on the market, I showed it to several clients and one would tell stories of feeling something brush against him in the hallway. Eventually the home sold for about the same price as it would have sold the first time.
Fast forward to about 2012, the third owner after Mrs. Ackley called us to list the home for sale. While the owners didn’t mention the ghosts, the first day I had a showing there, I had my own supernatural experience. As I went around the house putting the lights on, the door bell rang as I made my way to the Tower Room on the top floor. The clients had just arrived to view the home. As I put the last light on a light bulb burst and a small fire started. The flame grew larger and a nearby shade caught fire before I could put it out.
Was it a ghost I encountered that day? Did they object to the house changing hands again? Many in the psychic world say there is no such thing as coincidence. Perhaps the activity at 1 La Veta Place was simply an old soul wanting me to know they were still there. We will never know for sure… one thing is certain, however, the next time you hear a creek in the floor or a voice in the night, just keep moving forward and don’t look back. Happy Halloween!!!