HAUNTED BUFFALO: THE HOBGOBLIN OF FORT NIAGARA
A hobgoblin is a spirit of the hearth, typically appearing in folklore, once considered helpful but since the spread of Christianity has often been considered mischievous. Shakespeare identifies the character of Puck in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a hobgoblin.
Hobgoblins seem to be small, hairy little men who, like their close relatives the broonies, are often found within human dwellings, doing odd jobs around the house while the family is asleep. Such chores are typically small tasks like dusting and ironing. Often, the only compensation necessary in return for these is food.
While broonies are more peaceful creatures, hobgoblins are more fond of practical jokes. They also seem to be able to shapeshift, as seen in one of Puck’s monologues in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
One of the most talked-about aspects of the historic Fort Niagara site is the story of the hobgoblin.
Fort Niagara is a fortification originally built to protect the interests of New France in North America. It is located near Youngstown, New York, on the eastern bank of the Niagara River at its mouth, on Lake Ontario. Wikipedia
Area: 250 acres
According to Mason Winfield (historian of local folklore), per WGRZ, the hobgoblin is more a prankster than something that’s a threat.
A young piper named John Carroll in 1804 was punished for drunkenness by being thrown in the black hole, which is a pit of solitary confinement. Dug into the floor of one of the buildings.
Carroll claims he was visited by a hobgoblin (or demon) that night and said that he was instructed to write a song or a hymn. You can listen to a piece of it here.
Then, a soldier was on duty in 1812 before he supposedly saw a being in the graveyard. He saw it come into view during a lightning strike. He fired his rifle at it and ran off, knocking himself out cold by going into a barricade.
But since both incidents involved both men being intoxicated…but did they actually see the hobgoblin?
According to the Old Fort Niagara website, they too make mention of the folklore of the hobgoblin, including the “wall of fog.”
Whether or not you believe in the hobgoblin, it certainly makes for an interesting story, especially since it involves such a historic site as Old Fort Niagara.
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