TAPPAN, N.Y. — The '76 House in Tappan is a popular brunch spot but also a national landmark. Nicknamed “Andre’s Prison,” British spy Major John Andre, who conspired with Benedict Arnold, was jailed there before his hanging.
But according to some the restaurant may also be haunted.
"Most definitely," enthused Josh Taylor of Ghost Hunts USA .
The entertainment company--Taylor is based in the New Jersey office-- arranges ghost hunt events.
One is already sold out for October, but a Nov. 10 three-course dinner at '76 House includes seances and ghost-hunting vigils led by psychic mediums.
Taylor told Daily Voice that ghost sightings and paranormal activity are commonplace at the popular establishment.
They occur, in fact, frequently enough that in staff meetings "when a glass or piece of cutlery falls off a table, someone just gets up to put it back," said Taylor.
There are reports from staff and patrons seeing apparitions, said Taylor, retelling what Robert Norden, the restaurant's owner for 30 years, told him about the phenomena.
The alleged figures people have reported seeing are a man dressed in military-style clothing, like a Redcoat uniform, among "full-grown apparitions," particularly in the dining room that was used as the old jail.
"People in the room have seen apparitions walking through the walls and when they walked over to look for themselves there would be nobody there," said Taylor.
“The old jail used is one of the areas we use for the main dinner for our events. It was Andre’s prison. It’s got a very interesting history. People could sit in there and it could be very warm, yet they go stone cold in the room."
Paranormal experts have gone in with their electronic recording devices and picked up data in the room, he claimed. Much of this activity centers on a corner table, according to Taylor.
“On a serious note, you never know what awaits you. Things change. Spirits come and go from that location. It could be a (deceased) patron who would go in once a month and that’s the place they go back to. It’s not just war men. There are children there as well that have no relevance whatsoever with the Revolutionary War. When you go there the paranormal experience is so unique.”
Rudy Zayas, the general manager of '76 House recalled some of the odd things staff has seen over the 10 years he's been working there.
On table two he's seen a candle lit that he's sure was put out the night before.
"We make sure everything is closed for the night before we leave. Sometimes I come in the morning and find it lit."
Things mysteriously move on the table as well, Zayas continued. Staff routinely wipe down and set silverware in place and places a lantern on a pewter plate as a centerpiece.
"The lantern rolls down the table sometimes to a different spot. At first staff thought people were playing games with each other but after awhile realized nobody was doing it."
And one night at table 11 on the other side in a corner of the same dining room he thinks he saw a ghost.
"I was turning the lights off and it was just me and the bartender still here. After I turned off the light I saw a man sitting at a table in the front of the dining room. I told her to buy him a drink and turned the light back on for the customer. She turned to me and said, "There's no one there.'"
The Old 76 House is located at 110 Main St., Tappan, N.Y.