Iron Island Museum is one of the most haunted places in all of Western New York… how much do you know of this funeral home turned museum?
So you’re about to go on a ghost hunt–maybe it’s your first or your 100th–either way, it’s always good to go to a location with a bit of knowledge about the place. No, you don’t have to pour over old documents or spend hours researching (though your research could include watching an episode of Ghost Hunters… more on that later). Check out these 10 factoids about one of Buffalo’s most unique museums to get to know Iron Island before you investigate.
10. The building dates back to 1883 when it was an Episcopal church. The church was well attended and ran until the 1940s when it was left vacant for a few years. In 1956, it was turned into a funeral home until 2000.
9. When Linda and Marge received the building, they found dozens of ashes were left unclaimed in the basement, and one urn was even knocked over with the remains scattered over the floor. Over the years, they’ve been able to figure out the identity of those individuals and have even gotten the urns to their families.
8. The museum is called “Iron Island” because the community it is in is surrounded by railroad tracks. No matter which direction you travel from, you will pass over train tracks before arriving at Iron Island Museum.
7. The museum is a building within a building. When it transformed into a funeral home, a new structure was built inside the church to offer three viewing rooms. You can see the two separate structures today if you look close enough.
6. Linda and Marge have a very close connection with the building that goes beyond the 20 years they’ve run the museum. During its years as a funeral home, their son and brother, Jimmy, passed away and was waked in the middle viewing room, now known as the military room. Jimmy has made himself known in the museum but follows Marge home each night, so don’t bother looking for him on your investigation.
5. Iron Island Museum was featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters season 4, episode 14. Its reputation is infamous in the paranormal community as it has also been featured on Ghost Lab, My Ghost Story, and others. You can watch the Ghost Hunters episode here.
4. If you’re brave enough to climb the ladder up to the attic, you can see the beautiful stained glass windows original to the building. Some believe something else is up in the attic too… Or should I say someone?
3. The piano in the chapel is a piece of Buffalo history (of course, everything in the museum is part of Buffalo’s history). One of Buffalo’s most prominent families with the most impressive mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery is the Blocher family. The tragic story tells of love, betrayal, and a broken heart (read the whole saga here). It’s a story that haunts anyone who walks past the incredible monument at the entrance to the cemetery. Well, Iron Island Museum is now the home of the Blocher family piano that visitors can still play.
2. There are tons of different ways to experience Iron Island beyond a paranormal investigation (though it’s one of the best deals around at just $35 per person with a minimum of 5 guests). There are haunted guided tours on Thursdays for $5, guided history tours on the weekend, as well as Escape from Iron Island (an escape room throughout the museum), and Haunted Happy Hour and the Haunted Food Truck Rodeo at Halloween time.
1 . The most famous ghost at Iron Island Museum is Edgar Zernicke. A former marine, he fought in the Sandino Rebellion in Nicaragua before settling in Buffalo in the 1930s. Born in 1905, Edgar passed away in 1992, but his ashes were one of the many that went unclaimed at Iron Island. It wasn’t until 2010 that he was finally laid to rest. With help from the famous medium, Chip Coffey, Linda and Marge were able to learn his identity and reunite Edgar with his family.
Spook-Eats is hosting its first ghost hunt at Iron Island alongside Soul’s Gate Paranormal. Join us on Saturday, February 29th, from 8pm-12am (it’s even the day before my birthday!). Tickets are $35 per person and include the hunt and a signed copy of my latest book, A Haunted Atlas of Western New York. If you haven’t already gotten your tickets, get them here. Space is limited, and very few tickets remain!
See you at Iron Island!