Snug Harbor – Staten Island, NY – 5/19/11

The Matron’s Cottage

The Matron’s Cottage (Or Matron’s House, as it is also called) sits on the grounds of Sailor’s Snug Harbor, located on the North Shore of Staten Island. Founded in 1801 by Captain Robert Randall, it was built as an institution to care for “aged, decrepit and worn-out” seamen. It opened in 1833 and was the first home for retired merchant seamen in the history of the United States. The Matron’s Cottage was where the female staff for Snug Harbor lived. These women did the laundry, cooked meals and provided other day to day services for the men living at Snug Harbor. The woman in charge of these female staff members was called the Matron, hence the name of the cottage today.

Rumor has it that the Matron ran a very strict household for her female staff members, and would not tolerate any fraternizing between the women she supervised and the sailors. But, legend has it, she broke her own rule and had an affair with a man living on the grounds, possibly in what is now known as Cottage B, and had an illegitimate son. This being the late 1800s, she needed to keep this secret, and supposedly kept her son in the basement, in chains, until he was 13. At some point when he was 13, he supposedly escaped and killed her, and tried to hide in the woods behind Snug Harbor. He was found by members of the Snug Harbor community and reportedly hanged on a tree behind the Matron’s House (the tree was recently removed due to storm damage).

Rangers and employees of Snug Harbor have reported many unusual things in this house, from doors constantly unlocking by themselves, to objects in the building moving from where they were last placed, and even chains rattling in the basement.

The Investigation

For this investigation we were joined by Matt Haas, author and founder of Sleepy Hollow Paranormal and his fellow investigator Brian. Today, many of the first floor rooms of the Matron’s House are used for storage, but the rest of the house is empty and unfurnished. We started our investigation on the third floor, in what is believed to be the Matron’s bedroom as well as the scene of her murder. Lengthy EVP sessions were conducted in this master bedroom as well as the other rooms on this floor, before moving down to the first floor.

After more EVP sessions and investigating on the first floor, we decided to finish the night on the second floor, in the living area. We finally moved into the narrow hallway connecting the two staircases, where we had experienced some interesting K-II spikes in the past, most notably on the Historical Hauntings tours we conducted back in October and November of 2010. After hearing something very distinct footsteps in the house, we headed down into the basement to see what we could find, and ultimately ended our investigation in the basement with some last EVP sessions.

The Findings

Overall, the night was completely quiet. We didn’t register any anamolous readings on any of our EMF meters, we barely heard a sound, and nobody had any personal experiences. That is, until we were about ready to leave.

As we were investigating the narrow hallway on the second floor, we heard the distinct sound of footsteps in the house, coming upstairs towards us. We were in the house alone, the door was locked and a ranger was posted outside. We all got quiet and listened, as we could all hear the footsteps. Jason called out “Hello?” to make sure nobody had entered the house, at which point we heard them again, even louder. At this point we ran to get the ranger and all of us investigated the basement to make sure nobody had entered the house. We found nobody.


Just like the Governor’s House, the Matron’s Cottage has given us some very interesting results over the past year. We got consistent K-II spikes during the Historical hauntings tours, and we were never able to explain them. Our friends at SCARED! and SIPS have also had experiences they could not explain in the house. Hearing the footsteps very cleary in the house and knowing we were the only people in the building is also unexplainable, and some of the most striking evidence we’ve caught yet.

Click below to see a the video clip of the footsteps.