by Andrew K. Arnett

We drove east on Jericho Turnpike for about a mile then made a right turn on Round Swamp Road. A couple more miles and we reached Old Country Road. Took a left turn there and in a few hundred yards we were at the southern tip of Mount Misery Road.

I was nervous right off the bat. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was just hyping myself up, having read too many ghost and UFO stories. The spooky EVP session back at the motel room didn’t help. Sophie felt uneasy too as we drove the car slowly up Mount Misery Road.

There was an eerie serene beauty about the place, no doubt about that. Most of the leaves had already fallen from the trees lining the road. Elegant homes dotted one side of the road. The property on the other side belonged to the West Hills Nature Preserve, wherein Mount Misery itself was located.

Mount Misery, L.I. (2020). Photo by Andrew Arnett

Something on the side of the road caught my attention. It was a woman walking, and she was dressed all in black. Not the Lady in White of legend, but still, it was the first person we’d seen since we began our journey and the suddenness caught me by surprise.

“She’s just someone that lives around here,” Sophie said. “She’s on a cell phone.”

A pickup truck came up behind us and I pulled over to let it by. Then we continued until the end of the road. It was a dead end. Located there was a camp, currently closed. A sign at the gate read:

Driftwood Day Camp
Best. Camp. Ever.

Next to the camp was a tall cell tower. I quickly made a U-turn and drove back towards Old Country Road. Truth be told, I was nervous. I believe Sophie was nervous as well. We saw no turn-off that would allow us access into the wooded area so we turned back on to Old Country Road and continued along the base of Mount Misery.

In his book The Mothman Prophecies, John Keel wrote about a couple, Jane and Richard, who, after a night of looking for UFOs on Mount Misery, came upon a brilliant beam of light which shot out of the woods “like a floodlight,” rendering the couple paralyzed and unable to move. The next thing they knew they were driving on Old Country Road with no memory of how they got there.

Old Country Road, L.I. (2020). Photo by Andrew Arnett

The incident is reminiscent of the alien abduction case of Betty and Barney Hill in a rural area in New Hampshire back on September 19, 1961. In that case, Betty and Barney witnessed a 100-foot long UFO approach their vehicle close enough for Barney, with binoculars in hand, to catch a glimpse of the humanoid figures on board.

No such sighting was made by Jane and Richard but Jane did relate to Keel strange encounters with a Man in Black type character named Apol , who drove through Mount Misery in a “brand-new, very shiny and polished” black Cadillac.

When we reached Sweet Hollow Road, we took a right turn and proceeded north. We passed a cemetery, a dog run and an equestrian track. You could see people riding their horses across an open field. We continued along then passed under the Northern State Parkway overpass. This was the setting for the legend of the teenage boys who hung themselves one fateful night and who’s ghosts haunt this road still.

Despite the spookiness of the place, it was an undoubtedly beautiful drive. And it was a great time of year – fall. The trees were filled with yellow leaves and they hung over the road. The road was very tight. It was a two-way street but this was a narrow road for sure.

A pickup truck started tailgating me, after we’d passed under the overpass. It was really riding my ass. I finally found a shoulder to pull over and it blasted past me. There was a TRUMP/PENCE sticker on its bumper. It was, after all, an election year. We eventually reached a fork in the road and that was where we turned back.

Mount Misery, L.I. (2020). Photo by Andrew Arnett

Driving back we found a turnoff on the side of the road. Could this be an access point into the woods? We took that turn and drove about thirty feet to where the road was blocked by tree trunks. There was a car parked there. I could see someone sitting in the driver’s seat. The driver wore a grey hoody and was bent over looking at his phone. I could not see his face.

I got out of the car and proceeded to fetch my camera equipment from the trunk as Sophie wandered over to the other car to ask the man if he thought it was O.K. to park here for a while. He told her ‘yes.’

“That guy was weird,” Sophie said to me as we started walking into the woods. “He sounded really formal. When I asked him if we could park there, he said, ‘Yes, this place is suitable for parking.’”

“I thought he looked like a gangster,” I said, “But the way you described him it doesn’t sound like he was.”

“Maybe he was a cop?” Sophie suggested.

“That’s strange, what would he be doing here, out in the middle of nowhere?”

Mount Misery, L.I. (2020). Photo by Andrew Arnett

I started taking photos as we ventured deeper into the forest. We reached a fork in the road and decided to go right. We soon came to a clearing. The ground was of asphalt and over to the side there were stone steps. The steps had a metal hand rail but there was nothing else. No building or anything. Just this foundation.

Was this the foundation to the legendary asylum and later, the hospital, that was spoken of in ghost legends? Maybe. We walked up the steps and into the woods a little bit.

“Let’s set up the camera and do an EVP session here,” I suggested. “Let’s see if we can pick up anything.”

We opened up the Ghost Hunter M2 app on Sophie’s iPhone and immediately, before we even asked anything, the word CHUBBY popped up on the EVP.

“If there is any spirit,” I said, “that wants to communicate through this electronic device, feel free to do so.”

Sophie and author at Mount Misery, L.I. (2020). Photo by Andrew Arnett

A couple of minutes passed with no further response so I prompted it by asking, “I know there was an entity, a spirit by the name of . . .” and just as I was going to say the name MARY, the word DONNY appeared on the screen.

I followed up by asking, “DONNY, if that is you, then where are we at? What are we doing here?”

I have to admit, I was feeling creeped out right off the bat. I’m not sure about these ghost hunting devices; I’m on the skeptical side. Undoubtedly, most are just party gimmicks. But when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you get strange feedback to your questions, you have to start wondering.

Who is to say non-physical entities, or ultra-terrestrials, couldn’t exist and communicate with us through various means, such as the EVP?

A couple more minutes passed by with no response and then, the word ROBERT appeared. That would make two names, males names at that, appear in succession.

“That’s weird,” Sophie said.

“This brings to mind,” I said, “the legend of the teenage boys who had hung themselves off the Northern State Parkway overpass, not far away.”

Just then, the word GRANDFATHER appeared. There seemed to be some consistency to the responses we were getting on the EVP, that of a masculine polarity. After some more minutes passed, our dog Shizzle was getting restless, pulling us in the direction of the trees.

We decided to end the session and continue further on into the forest but before we turned off the EVP, one more word showed up, the name NEWELL. What did it mean?