Fort Ontario and its Haunted History


A chronicle by Sam Citarell

Air of Mystery

As the leaves change and the air turns crisp, the season of spookiness arrives. Autumn and the Halloween season is the perfect time to explore eerie sites and New York offers plenty of mysterious places to delve into. One intriguing destination is Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York. Join me as I take you on a journey into this historical site filled with stories of the past and an air of mystery.

Tunnel to get into Fort Ontario

The History of Fort Ontario 

Nestled in the shore of Lake Ontario and in the heart of Oswego, lies a historic star-shaped military fortress. Built by the British in 1775, the fort has been destroyed and rebuilt during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. After the wars the fort turned into a training base and then a safe haven for refugees in WW11. The fort was abandoned in 1946 and made into a state park in 1949 and a place of rest for those who are buried there.

Outside and the wall of Fort Ontario
Outside of Fort Ontario

The Spooky Side 

Many spirits like to linger around the state park. Some being soldiers, nurses, captains, refugees and children. One in particular is a soldier named Corporal Fykes who is buried on sight. There is even a legend that if you stand on his grave you will be haunted by him personally for life however if you jump over it you can choose who he haunts instead. Other well known spirits are the ghost of Captain George and the Crying Lady who both roam around the park and have been seen and heard on many occasions. While I was visiting I had a maintenance worker who noticed me searching around the cemetery for Corporal Fykes grave. He then told me that due to vandalism his headstone was removed and replaced. He let me into the fort into a room where the original headstone lies. While talking to the maintenance man, I asked him if the rumors are true about spirits and he informed me that he has seen some creepy things happen around the fort where people see figures or hear noises all of the time. He also mentioned to me that there were many times where his tools would just magically go missing or doors would slam shut.

Corporal George Fykes Headstone
Corporal George Fykes Headstone
Cemetery at Fort Ontario
Cemetery at Fort Ontario


Many people describe the atmosphere at Fort Ontario as positive rather than negative, so thankfully, the ghosts are pretty nice! Personally, during my visit, I didn’t sense any negative energy at all and the maintenance guy also shared that he never felt negative energy either. I highly recommend exploring this intriguing and historically rich place, especially if you’re in the area. There’s no better time than now to experience its unique blend of spookiness and history.Not only are the grounds beautiful and captivating, but the views of Lake Ontario are truly extraordinary. The park is open every day, welcoming visitors to come and explore. Just keep in mind to be respectful and considerate to the park as well as its visitors. If you’re feeling particularly in the Halloween spirit, the fort hosts an annual ghost hunt on the grounds, typically held late at night. This year, the event took place on October 14th, 2023, though I regretfully couldn’t attend. But there’s always next year to look forward to! If you can’t make it to the fort in person and want to delve deeper into its mysterious side, you might be interested to know that in 2012, the popular TV show ‘Ghost Hunters’ filmed an episode at Fort Ontario to investigate the reported ghostly activity in this fascinating location. 

Happy Exploring!!

Lake Ontario at Fort Ontario

Lake Ontario at Fort Ontario View