The Ghost of Grace Brown: The story of murder and betrayal that created the hauntings of Moose Lake

For over 100 years, people have claimed to have seen a ghost of a woman at Moose Lake in the Adirondacks, upstate New York. The back story behind this mystery is particularly dark and filled with despair and murder.

In the early morning of July 11th, 1906 a young couple had rented a rowboat from Robert Morrison at the Big Moose Lake, New York. The couple who took the boat out never returned. Getting concerned about the young couple, and also his boat, Morrison gathered a group of people together and set out on his steamboat to try and find the missing couple.

Morrison and his search party managed to locate the missing boat, however, there was no sign of the couple and the boat was worrying floating upside down on the surface of the lake.

One of the men who was assisting in the search saw something in the water, to their horror it was the body of the missing woman, there was no sign of her male companion. They loaded the body of the deceased woman aboard their boat and returned to the shore where they contacted the local authorities

The police noticed that the woman's body had cuts on her mouth and her forehead, the type of wounds that would have been inflicted if she had been struck in the face. Morrison told the police that he had thought it was somewhat unusual that the man who was with her had brought a suitcase and a tennis racket with him whilst hiring the boat.

The couple had checked into the local Glenmore Hotel, their names used to check-in were confirmed as Carl Grahm and Grace Brown.

Glenmore Hotel Grace Brown
The Glenmore Hotel, Big Moose Lake, New York

The police uncovered that Grace Brown worked at the Gillette Skirt Company, upon investigating it was confirmed that although Grace worked there, nobody by the name of Carl Grahm did. It became apparent that the name Carl Grahm was in fact a false name used to check into the hotel, police were informed that Grace Brown was actually involved with a man named Chester Gillette, who was the nephew of the owner of the factory where she worked.

When police located Chester Gillette and questioned him about Grace Brown, he quickly confirmed to them that Grace was pregnant with his child. He made the claim that she was suffering from depression and had jumped from the boat to commit suicide.

The police were unsurprisingly suspicious of his story, noting that Gillette didn't appear even slightly upset about the woman's death.

Authorities working on the case then discovered Gillette's broken tennis racket that had been buried close to the shore of Big Moose Lake, he was immediately arrested.

The media quickly got hold of the story and turned it into one of the most popular and fascinating crime stories of the early 1900s.

Chester Gillette came from a wealthy family with a strong Christian background, his family, however, gave up all their material goods and possessions and decided to travel with the Salvation Army.

This wasn't the life for Chester and he muddled through doing various different things before becoming employed by his uncle at the Gillette Skirt Company factory.

Shortly after Chester began working at the factory he and Grace began a relationship, it was only seen as casual to him and he was renowned for being a womaniser. Other workers at the factory claimed he was often seen shouting at Grace.

After Grace fell pregnant with his child, Chester became concerned about his life, he wanted to marry someone with money, he decided that if this baby was to be born that it could potentially ruin his future plans for marrying into wealth.

Chester told Grace that he had arranged for them to have a romantic weekend away at Moose Lake, unfortunately for Grace, she was completely in love with this man and thought he was taking her there to propose to her, his intentions couldn't have been further from that.

Chester was convicted by a jury of the murder of Grace Brown on December 4, 1906, he was executed in the electric chair on March 30, 1908, two years later.

The tragic story of Grace Brown was that of a woman who fell in love with the wrong man and it led to her horrific death.

Since the death of Grace Brown, there has been a constant flow of reports of sightings of a woman wandering around the lake and the shoreline at Big Moose Lake, all with a very similar undertone to them.

Where did Grace Brown die on Big Moose Lake
A sign showing where Grace Brown and Chester Gillette set off on their boat trip that resulted in her murder

Rhonda Bousselot, an employee at Covewood Lodge which is a popular vacation spot on Big Moose Lake believed she had seen the ghost of Grace Brown, she said: "I walked into the staff lodge, straight up the stairs with my hand out reaching for the string, which is how to turn on the light," she describes.

"As I approached the top of the stairs and just before I was ready to turn on the light, a feeling came over me that somebody was right there. More or less, I stopped in my tracks and really just didn't move. I didn't have an overwhelming feeling of fright, but something or someone was definitely there, and it just kind of took my breath away."

At the same time as Rhonda's experience, her three work colleagues were watching a spectral woman on the second floor from outside the cabin, she said, "It lingered for just a few seconds and then moved away. I didn't see anything myself, but I felt that somebody was right there, and it was just a strange feeling.

Another employee at Covewood Lodge, Lynda Lee Macken spoke on her own experience with the ghost of Grace Brown a few months after Rhonda's. She recalled, "I was walking down toward the lake with my flashlight and the light was getting dimmer and dimmer. By the time I got to the edge of the lake and the rocks, my flashlight wasn't working. So I had to turn around and go back,"

A few minutes later, she returned with her friend Bridget. While looking at the lake, they saw Grace appear out of the mist. Lynda recalls, "I was awestruck, and not only was I certain that I was looking at a ghost, but I had a very strong feeling of sadness. She was very sad."

The sightings continue to this day, are they old wives tales? or is the ghost of Grace Brown still roaming around the waters of Big Moose Lake. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook for more stories.


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