This Hudson Valley Island’s Wicked Past is Full of Mystery
A small island hidden in the Hudson River between Kingston and Poughkeepsie is full of mysterious secrets from the past you can explore. That is if you can get there.
I've been living in the Hudson Valley for most of my life, but have never heard about the creepy history of Esopus Island. The uninhabited piece of land is located in the Hudson River just off the shore from Hyde Park and Esopus. It doesn't look like much from land, but if you get closer, it becomes clear why this island has attracted some very strange visitors.
The island was recently described by The Travel as "The Hudson Valley's great mystery." Like many other publications that have written about this little-known island, the article focused on a gentleman by the name of Aleister Crowley.
Back in 1918, Crowley was a well-known magician, occultist, writer, painter, and all-around creepy guy. He founded his own religion and told people that he was a prophet. Known as the "the most notorious occultist magician of the twentieth century," Crowley was even included as one of the figures on the cover of the Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's album. His odd behavior came to a peak when the madman decided to follow in Jesus' footsteps and spend 40 days and 40 nights on Esopus Island.
With no food or supplies, Crowley brought red paint and spent most of his time writing on rocks and trying to find religious enlightenment. Fans and people who were just curious about Crowley were up to visit him on the island, bringing food, supplies, and, of course, drugs.
None of Crowley's paintings appear to have survived, but remnants from religious ceremonies that happened way before Crowley's visit do still exist on the island. On the eastern shore, there's a rock formation that appears to be a megalith, which is a stone structure similar to Stonehenge, just on a smaller scale. The manmade stone sculpture is believed to have been put there by the Lenape Indians, who most likely used it for religious ceremonies. A Jesuit missionary is said to have been sacrificed on the island by the Lenape.
The island is now part of Norrie State Park and has a campsite you can reserve through Tentrr. Visitors can not only explore this mysterious island but also spend the night. Esopus Island is only accessible by boat or kayak and campers will need to bring their own transportation, gear, and bravery.