I took this picture shortly after we bought the lake house in 2012. I was exploring what was for me a new area and passed by Carmel. I was a bit hungry and the Smalley Inn looked like an interesting spot to grab a sandwich. While I was there I got talking to the owner: Anthony Porto (seen in the picture) who told me something of the history of the inn: most importantly that it’s reputed to be haunted. He showed me a binder containing lots of pictures of supposed paranormal happenings.

I had my lunch and didn’t feel or see anything particularly spooky. I also took some pictures and nothing untoward appeared on them. They were particularly lousy pictures, however – probably because it was extremely dark inside.

Let me be clear that I’m willing to believe that there are such things as ghosts. I’m from the UK so how could I not. You can’t throw a brick in the UK without hitting a haunted house. My mother claimed that she had seen the ghost of an old woman in Victorian clothes in the house where she grew up. I’m not disputing that Smalley’s Inn might be haunted – just that nothing happened during my visit.

According to Wikipedia:

A growing interest in the apparent haunting of Smalley’s Inn has evolved. Owners and employees have noted peculiar sightings and events for years. Approximately fifteen years ago, Anthony Porto Jr. found the tombstone of a little girl buried under a set of basement steps in the restaurant. After this occurrence, these peculiar events intensified. Frequent ghostly sightings of a little girl prompted owners at the Inn to contact paranormal investigators. It was clarified that the ghost in Smalley Inn was in fact Elizabeth Smalley, daughter of original owner James Smalley, who had been killed as a toddler.

SMALLEY INN on Route 52 in Carmel has all the ingredients for a haunting. The inn was built around the mid-19th century, though evidence shows it may have been around a lot longer. The site had a series of tragic events, including a deadly fire and an execution. Owner James J. Smalley was at various times the sheriff, coroner and treasurer of the town. His daughter, Elizabeth, was only a toddler when she died, and there’s the belief that a portion of the basement was used as a morgue when Smalley was the coroner.

Witnesses have had their clothing tugged on, have seen ghostly figures of a man, woman and child, and, on one occasion, every cell and house phone went off at exactly the same time, with each call originating from a phone within the building. Tony’s dad, Anthony, who owns the inn, has had experiences in the upstairs apartment, and the inn’s staff members have their own stories of happenings in the kitchen and basement liquor closet and meat locker.

One waitress has said that she has heard footsteps, while working alone, in the attic. When she confronted someone, the answer was that no one was ever up there. No one wants to go downstairs for they feel a strange presence. As for Anthony, while upstairs and lying in his Queen Sized Bed, he felt someone on the other side of his bed… just lying there. Once he got up, there was no body there.

Anthony wanted to build a sports bar in the basement. But in order to do that, men had to work around “The Pillar”. The ghost of Elizabeth was said to peek out behind the pillar. Almost as if playing peek-a-boo or hide and go seek. As one man tried to work downstairs, he came up asking “Is this like a joke?” and left. The second man came over, went downstairs, came up freaked out, and left. As for the third man, he went down, came up almost in tears and screaming, and left. He forgot his tools in the basement.

Radio Station K104 visits the restaurant yearly around Halloween with paranormal investigators for entertainment.

On August 17, 2012, The Travel Channel aired an episode of “The Dead Files” filmed in Smalley Inn. In the episode, the show’s physic medium, Amy Allan, said she saw the transparent ghosts of a banshee and a soldier, who reportedly haunt the building.

Hauntings of the Hudson River Valley, An Investigative Journey, by Vincent T. Dacqunio and Postcard History Series- Carmel, by George Carroll Wipple III are books entailing detailed references of the history behind the current paranormal events documented at Smalley Inn & Restaurant.

Taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX-3

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