On occasion, the staff at Seneca Caverns goes through the cavern between tours to sweep the steps free of the gravel and pick up trash that tourists sometimes leave behind. On many occasions while sweeping the steps, particularly while sweeping the set of stairs directly above the area known as the “Devil’s Kitchen”, I experienced the sensation of someone standing directly behind me on the stairs. However, when I turned around, no one was there. This happened numerous times, and was not the only thing that happened in this part of the cave.
History of the cavern reveals that the area known as “The Council Room” is where the Seneca Tribe was thought to hold rituals and holy council. This room is directly ahead of the “Devil’s Kitchen”, and the aforementioned staircase leads directly into it. Once while sweeping the stairs, and twice while leading a tour through the caverns, I noticed tiny “will o’wisp” like lights about the size of baseballs floating about two or three inches from the ground. They moved fast and erratically, but finally zipped into the cavern wall and disappeared. Once a tourist noticed the lights as well, so I am not as crazy as I thought I was.
The “ghost tour” is probably the most prevalent of all the manifestations in the cavern. Those of us that work there are always fooled by this phenomenon. It is possible that this is an echo from another part of the cavern, but it has happened on very slow days when no tours are in the cave at all and the staff is doing maintenance within it.
The “ghost tour” is, essentially, what sounds like a tour coming upon you as you are in part of the cavern. I remember one specific instance I was in the caverns with another staff member covering a water drainage line. We were in the area near what is called “Mirror Lake” when we heard people behind us talking.
Assuming it was a tour coming, we held off the shoveling (which was loud, and would have interrupted the guide). We waited and waited, as the sounds of the group got closer to us. We expected at any moment to see a tour group come out of the “Mirror Lake” tunnel. However, eventually the sounds ceased, and no one appeared. Scared, we quickly reburied the line and surfaced.
Many tour guides have had the “ghost tour” experience. I have no idea what it could be, but it is very creepy. Other guides had seen the “ghost lights” in the “Council Room” a few times. None of us liked to go through the cavern alone. After a while, it became routine for a staff member to follow a tour through the cavern and clean up behind them, rather than be stuck in the cavern with whatever is lurking within it.