Joe Dagastino and the Wilcox Ghost


I have told this story numerous times since my Dad, Cy Johnson, relayed it to me after a hunt he had at the camp many years ago.  It takes place on a perfect hunting morning.  Fresh snow had fallen the night before, the clouds were clearing and it wasn't going to be bitterly cold for the day.  Joe Dagastino was at the camp just a few weeks after leaving the hospital after an operation.  He was anxious to do some hunting.  I can't remember who offered but they loaded Joe up in one of the camp jeeps and drove him up Cardiac hill, about two thirds of the way to the Mass road, right about where it starts to level out.  That's were they left him, settled in, back to a tree, morning sun rising and warming him as it did.  He was to stay put for the morning.  They would be by to gather him up for lunch a bit later.


That's what they did.  They headed down Cardiac to pick up Joe.  To their surprise he was standing in the road with his pistol in his hand, shaking and as white as a sheet.  He was all nerved up from something, but he wouldn't say what.  His partners supposed it was some complication from his hospital ordeal and decided to watch him closely at lunch.  There was a bit of friendly banter about what had happened but Joe wasn't saying much, just getting even more agitated because of all the talk.  As Cy tells it, he and Joe sat down with a beer after lunch and talked.  Cy made sure that Joe knew that whatever Joe saw, he believed Joe was not making it up.  Joe relaxed and began to tell Cy the whole story. 


Joe had fallen asleep while hunting. He awoke to someone tapping him on the shoulder.  He gazed up to see a young woman dressed in a white lace dress with buttons all the way up to a high collar.  She wore old fashioned, button, high top shoes but no coat.  Joe was startled.  She looked down at him and said "Who are you, what are you doing here?"  Joe told her he was hunting as a guest of the Yonkers Rod and Gun Club.  She told Joe that this was her property and he should leave immediately.  With that she turned and walked into the woods until disappearing below a hill.


After Joe's story is heard around the camp Cy and a handful other hunters decide it would be best if they all headed back up Cardiac with Joe to see if they could make sense of the story.  They arrived at the tree and Joe told the story again, pointing into the woods where the girl disappeared.  The new snow from the night before revealed no foot prints leading away.  Joe guided some of the men in the direction that the girl took and hollered as they disappeared over the hill, "That's where I lost sight of her".  They stopped and started kicking around in the snow and leaves.  That's when they discovered it, a gravestone! This stone was one of many scattered around the property, but one that had not been found before.  To their surprise it was the grave of a young woman in her teens.  Her last name was Wilcox.  She had died in the late 1800's and had lived right there where Joe had been hunting.


Written by, Rich Johnson