Don’t Dance With The Ghost At The Pitcher Hotel
Can you imagine finding the woman of your dreams, spending the night with her dancing, and the next morning finding out she was a ghost? That's exactly what happens when you pick up Zella Droff on the way to The Pitcher Hotel.
In Chenango Valley you will find the village of Pitcher. You'll also find a small graveyard that hasn't seen any new members burried since 1873. The grave belongs to Zella Droff, a 21 year old who got married, and murdered out of what appears jealously.
The Evening Sun reported on the murder in 2011, and the story is as sad, and scary today:
About 1870, Ezra Droff (the middle-aged owner of a hill-top farm) took a lovely bride of barely 20. Ezra was a hard worker, a good provider and a deacon of the church. Slow to anger, his wrath was deep when aroused. Zella on the other hand was young and loved sharing the innocent picnics, dances and socials of other young people that Ezra couldn’t and wouldn’t allow her to participate in. Shea tried inviting young people to her house after the day’s work, but a stern and tired Ezra soon forbade this too. Finally frustration drove Zella into slipping out after Ezra fell asleep and walking to Pitcher wearing a pretty dress to attend dances and socials by herself. This continued until the night Ezra awoke to find himself alone in bed. After confirming Zella’s absence, he sat down by the door with a butcher knife. When she finally came in, he murdered her where she stood spraying blood over the furniture, walls, floor and ceiling (supposedly still visible long afterwards). Zella was laid to rest in the burying ground just up the road. Nothing was removed when the house was abandoned and the contents could be seen for years."
So it appears she was murdered from a very controlling husband. Her ghost haunts the hills, and the local dance club. One local tale that floats around is of a travelling salesman picking her up as a date.
A travelling salesman specializing in small items difficult to get in the days before department stores came to town and put up at the Pitcher Hotel. Hiring a rig, he went for a drive in the hills. Sometime after sunset as he drove along a dark road, he saw a beautiful young girl in a pretty dress walking his way. Stopping, he found that she was on her way to attend a dance at the Pitcher Hotel. Turning around, he took her to the village and, after she asked him to dance, the evening was filled with fun and music. During an intermission he got a tortoise shell comb from his sample case and the delighted young woman tucked it into her hair. Too soon afterwards, she wanted to go home and back they went to the exact spot where he had first seen her. He offered to take her home, but she got out and said that she could walk the short distance. Sadly, he watched her disappear into the night and then he returned to the village.
The next day upon finishing his business, the drummer re-hired the rig and went up into the hills hoping to see the young woman again. Yet, beyond where she had gotten out, there was nothing but an empty rotting house and barn and an ancient, nearly buried, graveyard. Puzzled, he returned to the village and questioned the man behind the hotel desk.
“You’ve danced with a ghost,” the clerk told him. “It happens every so often.”
He was then told the story of Zella Droff’s murder and how on certain nights she would once again walk down the road to a dance, leave rather early and disappear on the hill road. Unconvinced, the drummer went back to the old graveyard that night and found Zella’s lonely gravestone atop which, glistening in the moonlight, lay a tortoise-shell comb."
Now of course that's a pretty interesting tale, that seems rather fake doesn't it? Stories like this seem to happen ALL the time, in every little town in America. Is the story true though? Many tales of similar outcomes happen with ghost hitchhikers.
Do you have any of these stories in your home town?