ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn't afraid of ghosts, but spooky thuds still keep him awake at night when he stays at the governor's mansion in Albany.
The Democrat told a Long Island crowd Thursday that during legislative sessions he spends evenings unsettled by unexplained noises in the 161-year-old mansion near the Capitol building.
"Now, I don't believe in ghosts and I'm a big tough Italian guy," Cuomo said "But I'll tell you — it gets creepy in that house and there're a lot of noises that go on, and you are very alone."
The governor, who spends most of his time at his family home in Westchester, has mentioned apparitions in the reputedly haunted mansion before. In an April speech in Harlem, he said he spends the eerie, sleepless nights reading about past governors.
The only known death in the mansion was in 1909, when the Rev. David C. Hughes, the father of Gov. Charles Hughes, died from a "stroke of apoplexy," according to state archives.
New York State Capitol assistant curator Stuart Lehman said historians have no reason to believe Hughes had unfinished business that would cause his spirit to remain in the house, but Albany's state buildings brim with reports of paranormal activity.
Lehman, who leads popular Capitol Hauntings tours every Halloween, said visitors and staffers have reported supernatural sounds and sightings in other state buildings: the sound of jangling keys from the spirit of a watchman who died in the Capitol's 1911 fire and the ghost of a benevolent librarian who resides in the state education building.
Former Gov. David Paterson, who spent some time in the mansion before Cuomo took office, said he also believes the house is haunted. Paterson told the New York Post that one evening, staff told him the sound of a vase smashing was caused by the spirit of the building's original groundskeeper.
Paterson said his 5-year-old nephew also told him he could feel an invisible hand guiding him up the mansion's stairs.
"Governor Cuomo should be relieved," Paterson said. "It's a friendly ghost, like Casper."