The Old Quaker Meeting House has been used by the Flushing Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends as a house of worship for over 300 years. The house looks much as it did when it was first built prior to the Revolutionary War, with dark floorboards, timber ceiling beams and simple benches. Stepping inside is entering a peaceful reminder of an eventful and historic past.
But things have not always been so serene at the Old Quaker Meeting House. According to an old New York Times newspaper dated in April 1884, reports of ghostly activity were circulating through the town of Flushing.
The ghost was first seen coming out of the old Quaker meeting house just east of Main Street. It was dressed in white, and generally had an old style sword hanging at its side. It moved along quietly and did not interfere with anyone. A newspaper reporter from Flushing was the first person to see it. He dashed to the police headquarters and informed the chief that “the devil just came out of the Quaker meeting house.”
It was about 1am and the chief was a bit surprised that any man (or respectable ghost) would be out at that late hour. The chief and the reporter hurried back to the meeting house. As they neared the building, the Chief was amazed at what he witnessed. In the moonlight, he saw a strange form disappear in the meeting house. They approached the house with caution and found all the doors and windows fastened or locked. By now a curious crowd of ten investigators had formed and one of them decided to look through the keyhole of the front door. The gentleman peered through the hole for only a few seconds. He then turned, ran through the vacant lot, and didn’t stop until he reached the monument on Broadway. Of course, everyone else in the party felt it was necessary to run and catch up to the frightened man.
He told the others he was not ever going back to the meeting house again. The other investigators begged him to tell what he had seen through the keyhole. He took a deep breath and gave this report. “Well, I saw three big men dressed in white, and with swords hanging to their sides. When I looked in first they were close together, and one of them seemed to be explaining something to the other two. Then they commenced to dance, and I ran away.”
The police Chief and his armed reserve kept a watch at the meeting house for the next several nights hoping to catch a glimpse of the mysterious men in white. The ghosts were soon the talk of the town and many of the people went to the old Quaker Meeting House to see if they could find any traces of the spooks.
An 88 year old gentleman lived in the rear of the meeting house. He was a leading member of the Society of Friends. His 60 year old son gave his version of the ghost story. He said “When I was a boy, about 50 years ago, I remember very well that there was a real ghost in the meeting house. You see, where the meeting house now stands was a burial ground during the Revolutionary War, and there are over 500 Hessians buried there.”
It was also believed that the Flushing ghosts many be the spirits of three deceased pirates who buried money in Flushing. Perhaps they return to the location of their hidden booty to revel, drink, and celebrate in dance. In any case, the swarm of Quaker ghosts of disorderly habits created a great amount of curiosity throughout the town.
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Old Quaker Meeting House
137-16 Northern Boulevard
Flushing, NY 11354
For more info: www.mvdghostchasers.com
Debe Branning [email protected]