Halloween may be firmly in our rearview mirror, but this winter, "ghost apples" may still be spotted across the Hudson Valley.

It was a rough season for New York apple growers back in 2023. Heavy rains that disproportionally fell on weekends meant that many farms that relied on their apple-picking business were left with empty parking lots and often, a surplus of unsold apples. The incoming snow and ice, however, may provide the perfect conditions to create a viral sensation: the "ghost apple".

"Ghost Apples" were spotted in Michigan - have you seen them in New York? The process happens when non-picked apples are covered in ice. The apples can then disintegrate, leaving its shape in ice behind.
"Ghost Apples" were spotted in Michigan - have you seen them in New York? The process happens when non-picked apples are covered in ice. The apples can then disintegrate, leaving its shape in ice behind. (Andrew Sietsema via Facebook)
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Have You Seen a "Ghost Apple" in New York?

This phenomenon was first documented in Michigan, where an orchard manager named Andrew Sietsema noticed something both bizarre and fascinating: after a winter storm had cleared, only an apple-shaped orb of ice remained where an unpicked apple used to hang. How "ghost apples" form is just as incredible, too.

Ghost apples are an incredible phenomenon when apples leave their shapes behind in ice
Ghost apples are an incredible phenomenon when apples leave their shapes behind in ice (Andrew Sietsema via Facebook)
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How "Ghost Apples" Form

First, an apple still attached to its tree needs to be covered in ice... Then, it needs to rot away. Andrew Sietsema explained exactly what happened on his Facebook page:

As I pruned the trees the melted, rotten apples [that had turned to mush] would be shaken and slip out of the bottom where it didn’t get covered in ice.

The process is almost too magical to believe, and resembles the the manner in which you can remove the contents of a raw egg through a small pin hole punched through its shell. The apple, which thaws and disintegrates before the ice shell melts, can slide out of the "escape hatch" (AKA a hole in the ice shell), leaving only its former outline behind.

A "ghost apple" found in a New York orchard would be an instant hit. This example was found in Michigan
A "ghost apple" found in a New York orchard would be an instant hit. This example was found in Michigan (Andrew Sietsema via Facebook)
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Andrew's discovery went viral, with over 13,000 shares of his original post and even coverage from the Today Show. Understandably, a decent amount of ice is needed for this special process to occur, with Sietsema estimating that his "ghost apple" ice was at least a half-inch thick.

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If you see a icy orb that looks like a fancy Christmas ornament hanging in your local apple orchard, congratulations! You've discovered a New York ghost apple. Check out some other beautiful results of frigid temperatures below.

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