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Ghost home up for sale

Cattaraugus County's infamous Hinsdale House, long considered to be haunted by ghosts, is up for sale.

And just in time for Halloween, a quirky website has deemed the property one of the nation's top 10 haunted houses on the market.

The website,, calls the old farmhouse "America's scariest haunted house" and ranks it fourth on its most recent list of 10 best home deals.

The two-story, three-bedroom structure comes with 7 1/2 acres of forested land, including a pond, in the lush foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Asking price is $289,000.

"The house has a history of frightening off its past owners," a summary on the website reads. "Many seem to think it would make a great research facility for paranormal rearchers or equally as an attractive single-family home after renovation…if you have nerves of steel!"

The website's list also includes: the former home of actress Janet Leigh, known for her role as the victim of a shower stabbing in Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film "Psycho"; the Charlestown, W. Va., site where abolitionist John Brown was hanged in 1859; and a rural Ohio mansion that has sat abandoned since boxer Mike Tyson lived there in the 1990s.

The Hinsdale House first became notorious in the 1970s, when the Dandy family lived there and experienced bizarre episodes that led them to call upon a priest from nearby St. Bonaventure University to perform an exorcism of the house.

The Dandys left the house in 1975, and Clara Dandy went on to write a book, "Echoes of a Haunting," about her encounters, such as mysterious burns appearing on the bodies of family members, strange chants heard in the woods and bricks from a chimney being inexplicably dismantled and placed in the middle of the room.

The Discovery Channel also did a docudrama at the house, which is a favorite among paranormal enthusiasts.

The most recent residents of the house were an elderly couple, Florence and Joseph Misnik. In a 2009 interview with The News, the Misniks recounted numerous instances of what they believed to be ghost sightings and paranormal activity during their time on the property.

The Misniks moved into the Hinsdale House in 1986 with no knowledge of any haunting, but they said they loved their home and never felt threatened by the alleged ghosts and spirits.

The husband and wife died within two months of each other in 2010, and the house has been empty since then.

Owner Dona Reiss of Cuba referred questions about the property to her daughter, Kenda Stern.

The house was put up for sale by owner about two weeks ago, said Stern, who was unaware of the website listing.

The home has deteriorated over the years, and some members of the Reiss family would prefer to see it torn down.

But Stern believes the home should stay, and she's using its unique history as a marketing tool, explaining that the "good-natured spirits" could provide "an adventure of a lifetime" for the right buyer.

"I'm in hopes that someone who really respects and believes in the paranormal will buy it and remodel it," she said.

Stern said she's experienced the spirits herself in visits to the house three or four times since April.

"They have actually come up and touched me, and I tell you, I was a firm nonbeliever," she said.