Paranormal Walks 2020
Paranormal Walks 2020

Great Ghosts

Sep 23, 2019

Niagara Gazette

Gettysburg. Salem. New Orleans. These are the places that come to mind when you think of all things that are spooky. However, the Niagara region certainly should rank among these more well-known haunts.


I have seen this first-hand researching material for my books, and the Paranormal Walks I have been leading since 2012. We have such a broad paranormal footprint here in the Niagara Frontier.

I have been teaching social sciences for over a decade at Erie Community College North Campus and my students are constantly amazed at the depth of our local heritage and folklore.


I have had the honor of having several members of the Iroquois Confederacy take my classes. In my tours we explore the legends of the stone monsters, little people, and false face masks. The Iroquois are so intrinsic to any understanding of local folklore in Buffalo, which the Iroquois called Place of Basswood, perhaps their most sacred tree.

My Paranormal Walks, now in their eighth year, are unique in many ways. Usually when looking for a haunted tour one typically finds either a standard ghost walk for storytelling or a ghost hunt which is for investigation. Also, the stories are confined to hauntings. My walks are a hybrid ghost tour/ghost hunt with extensive historical context for each site to understand why a place is reporting paranormal activity.


During each tour, I bring detection equipment, including spirit voice communicators. This makes each tour unique. The other main difference is that I embrace the broad range of the paranormal world in each of these tours. I discuss ghosts, patterned hauntings, demonic possession, remote viewing, miracles, aliens, crop circles, strange creatures, secret societies, conspiracy theories, secret tunnels, and anything else that fits into the paranormal spectrum. Most of the stories are spirit related, but the paranormal world has so much more that intrigues, so I bring that broad approach to the walks and in my books. I have written four books that center on religious mysteries, and three books that deal with conspiracy theories.


I am leading walks this year from the last weekend in September to the end of October. Hamburg and Medina are on Friday nights, while the Cobblestone District and Lockport are on Saturday nights. At the beginning of each walk we deputize some shadow hunters and encourage everyone to download some apps that we use during the walk. 

The Lockport Paranormal Walk is the oldest walk I lead. At the end of each walk, we head down into the locks and I present what is the clearest evidence I have ever seen of a full-bodied apparition.

The Lockport walk is filled with tales of love, suicide, Civil War heroes, demonic possession, remote reviewing, secret tunnels, and trapped spirits. It is the product of nearly a decade of cumulative research that I have conducted with the helpful people of Lockport, many of whom were my former students. The two owners of Lake Effect Ice Cream, where the Lockport tours begin, have been supporters from the beginning. I can’t thank them enough.


There are also walks in Medina, a beautiful village filled with tales of Iroquois legends, haunted theaters, bizarre deaths, Masonic secrets, alien contact, and Civil War spooks.

All are welcome to any and all of the walks, including those from this world and the next. 


Paranormal Walk to explore ghosts and legends in Medina



MEDINA — The bustling village of Medina may not conjure the image of the home of the extraordinary.

Yet hidden among the stores lining Main Street and pedestrians on the sidewalks are Iroquois legends, aliens and Civil War era ghosts.

Starting on Oct. 5, the Medina Paranormal Walk will be touring the village every Wednesday in October through Oct. 26 regardless of weather. The walks will be hosted by Professor John Koerner, a social sciences professor at the north campus of Erie Community College,

“About two years of research went into putting the Medina walk together,” he said. “This involved interviewing residents and workers, plus digging into archival material.

“As an historian I feel obligated to get the facts correct,” he continued. “Anyone can say a place is haunted, but if you can find specific historical incidents that reinforce these firsthand accounts that are reported, it gives more credibility to the story.”

Although Koerner currently teaches at ECC, he formerly taught at Niagara County Community College and Genesee Community College for five years.

While at GCC and NCCC, he said he had students approach him telling him Medina and Lockport were haunted.

“They were aware that I wrote books about the paranormal, so they knew I would be interested,” Koerner said. “Also, during the Lockport walks we often get people from Medina who said that we should do one in Medina. Plus it is such a beautiful village to walk through.”

Some of the sites on the Medina tour include NAPA Auto Parts, Bent’s Opera House and the Medina Historical Society. He said, however, the most interesting part of what he learned during his research into the village is the surprise ending to the walk.

“It is a two century old secret about Medina that I discovered just this summer,” Koerner said. “I can’t wait to talk about this old Masonic secret that is hidden in plain sight in this magnificent Erie Canal village.

“That alone will be worth the price of admission,” he continued. “I can say that in all my research, all the books that I have written, nothing left me speechless more than this. I think those that come to the walk will be equally impressed by what I found, which is revealed at the final stop on the tour.”

Medina Paranormal Walk differs from other paranormal walks in the fact it doesn’t just talk about ghosts; Koerner said the paranormal is a broad range of unexplained phenomenon, and it will discuss ghosts, folklore, legends, angels, demons, miracles, secret societies, psychic events, vampires, strange creatures, and UFOs.

“A second thing that makes Paranormal Walks different from other walks is the interactive side to it,” he said. “I bring to the tour some field equipment like K2 meters, and MEL meters to demonstrate how they are used in ghost hunting.

“People who come to the tours are encouraged to ask questions and take photos,” he continued. “Many times we have captured orbs, faces, and other anomalies that are then posted each night on our website. Another thing that makes us unique is that we have had some strange things happen on the tours like seeing apparitions, or hearing a voice whispered in your ear, for example.”

The Medina Paranormal Walk meets at Meggie Moo’s Ice Cream Café at 114 East Center St. in Medina at 7 p.m. The cost is $10 per person and under 7 years old is free. Admission includes candy, ghostly wristbands and free passes to Monster Mini Golf.

For more information, visit


Paranormal Walk shows off Hamburg’s history, ghosts

Thursday October 1, 2015 | By:Andrew Manzella | News
John Koerner talking about the best ways to connect with the spirits of the dead while on a recent paranormal walk in Hamburg. Photo by Andrew Manzella.
For some, the presence of paranormal activity is a matter of obvious fact in Hamburg. For others who are more skeptical John Koerner, a professor of American history at Erie Community College, can shed some light on the village’s spooky past with a guided tour based on historical accounts and his professional insight.

Koerner will lead a walking tour of different sites in the village of Hamburg that are referenced in stories and haunted tales of the past. Specifically, the guide touches upon a connection in Hamburg to presidential assassination conspiracies.

“I grew up in Hamburg. I am a graduate of SS Peter and Paul Grammar School in the village, and St. Francis High School, so this walk and the people who come to it make this very personal for me,” he explained. “It seems like every week that I do the walk, I run into someone from Hamburg Junior Baseball, or one of my former classmates. I feel an obligation to show the pride that I have in being a Hamburg native to make these walks a showcase for the truly unique paranormal history that Hamburg has to offer.”

Koerner said he added a lot of new aspects.
“This year we are emphasizing more interaction with the tour-goers,” the guide explained. “Each person is encouraged to bring their own ghost-busting equipment, and take plenty of photos. Any interesting photos get posted that night on our website.”

Photography is encouraged during the tour because some anomalies can be visible in the exposures. Koerner said the presence of orbs, fog or other images is common.

Two volunteer tour-goers receive a quick lesson in electromagnetic wave detecting devices, and take charge as “ghost hunters.”

Kelly Toporek, of the Hamburg village, served as one of the volunteer ghost hunters.

“I just hope we don’t go down my street,” Toporek said as the tour began. “If we do, I’m not going home tonight.”

As Toporek, and the other volunteer, a local youth named Lucas Vogt, walked with the crowd of about 20 people, the small devices in their hands blinked with red lights. This, according to Koerner, implies the presence of certain paranormal activity.

Koerner starts his walking tour at Main Street Ice Cream, located at 35 Main St., then he takes the group down Main Street, toward the corner of Center Street. He stops at various buildings and sites— even a church— and talks to the crowd about what the paranormal significance is there. He also offers insight into traditions that are still around today which stem from paranormal reasons.

Koerner said that two sites on the tour were added for this season and two more were “reworked”

The Kronenberg mansion, at 213 Main St., made it onto the tour this year because, according to Koerner, it has a century worth of unusual accounts.

“What is fascinating about this house is that the spirits have seemingly stayed with every owner that the home has been passed on to, and seem keenly aware of the living occupants,” he said.

He added that this year he has a more in-depth understanding of connections between Father Nelson Baker and SS Peter and Paul. Beyond the paranormal aspect, Koerner has authored books pertaining to conspiracy, as well. A topic on the tour is a Hamburg connection to the conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy.

The final paranormal walk of the season will be on Halloween night.

“What better way to end your Halloween season than with us,” Koerner said about the tour. “We will have plenty of candy and some special prizes to give away that night.”

He added that there will be a discount for admission for anyone who shows up in a costume on Halloween.

For more information on the Hamburg Paranormal Walking Tour, visit its website at

Paranormal walks explore Hamburg’s ghouls and ghosts


HAMBURG — With Halloween just over a month away, ‘tis the season for things that go bump in the night. With John Koerner’s guidance, residents can explore Hamburg’s village and learn all about the paranormal happenings that lace the area’s history.

Koerner is a historian, teacher and founder of Paranormal Walks LLC. He is also a Hamburg native and graduate of Saints Peter and Paul school and Saint Francis High School. His parents still live in Hamburg and he said his ties to the area, as well as its wealth of history, make it a great spot to seek out the paranormal. The guide has led tours in Hamburg for three years now and this year, the walks start off at Main Street Ice Cream on Main Street and wind through the center of town, visiting spots like SS Peter & Paul, the Verizon building, Acquired Attire, the Noco station and Next to Nature, ending at the Unitarian Church on Union Street.

“There are a number of great stories in Hamburg,” Koerner said, adding that this year, the new route means there will be new tales to tell, even for repeat visitors. “Being a Hamburg native, I know a lot of the sites well from growing up here, and there’s just so much going on, it’s a perfect place for a walk. Being a native, it was just a natural fit.”

Based in his own research and that of other historians, Koerner’s walks cover the “whole range of the paranormal,” including ghosts, miracles, angels, folklore, vampires, secret societies, conspiracies and vampires. “And Hamburg has almost all of them,” Koerner added.

As a paranormal investigator, Koerner brings ghost-detecting equipment on the walks and encouraged local enthusiasts to do the same. “My tours are very interactive. People can bring their cameras or equipment. I love when people ask questions or have stories to share,” Koerner said. “I want people to feel like they’re part of the experience.”

The tours are family-oriented, although there are some scary stories, the tour guide noted. With children of his own, he said he “knows how to respect children and their needs,” and plans the walks accordingly. The mile-long journeys are great for couples or family outings, he said, and include free wristbands and candy for all participants. He also charges less than some other local touring companies, and offers a printable coupon on his website, to make the night more affordable.

“Buffalo is a working-class city, and I know how hard it can be. I try to make it a fun night out for the whole family, or for a different kind of date night,” he said. On Halloween, he will be leading a one-night special “director’s cut” walk with candy and costumes, as well as two extra sites.

“We’ll be visiting lucky 13 [stops] that night, and everyone will be in costume,” he said. “It’s a great chance for the family to come out together, get a little extra candy, wear those costumes one more time. We may start a little later that night, give people time to get there.”

The tours travel the village every Friday night until Halloween, starting at 35 Main St. at 7 p.m. and running until about 8:30. Topics such as ghosts, UFO sightings, Hamburg’s connection to presidential assassinations and other topics are all covered in Koerner’s walk.

“Hamburg has great examples of why things happen the way they do,” Koerner said. “We’ll talk about why ghosts are in some cases good, in some cases bad, why they haunt some people and places and not others. I like to keep it open to everyone and just ask that people keep an open mind.”

He added that the walks continue to grow, as participants add their own perspectives to his stories.

“Last weekend, I was talking about how McKinley Mall is haunted and some lady in the group spoke up and said, ‘Yup, I work there and I can vouch for that.’ And that happens all the time; my talks are always getting added on to and verified by participants.

“Hamburg has such a special history. People are very friendly, very open. It’s a great town.”

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

October 14, 2013

'Paranormal Walks' are a different way to tour Lockport

By Kevin Prise

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — John Koerner feels an obligation to track down the truth. As a history professor at Niagara County Community College, he describes himself as "obsessed" with the challenge of deciphering the truth, sifting through history to learn which happenings are true and which are false.


The quest has led Koerner to develop a series of paranormal walks throughout Western New York, where the professor guides tour groups throughout area locales and educates on the mystical history of each town. One of Koerner’s first projects has been Lockport, where he is currently guiding a series of walks for the second consecutive year.


The Lockport walk, as part of Koerner’s "Paranormal Walks" series, is offered each Saturday at 7 p.m. and takes about 90 minutes. Koerner begins each tour by introducing himself and his credentials, then leads a walk up and down several streets, where he touches on the ghoulish history of the buildings.


Koerner, who previously wrote four books about aspects of the paranormal, said he feels a duty to teach the public about mysterious happenings in the area, if he can.


“I thought it would be appropriate to bring some of these stories to the public in a walk,” Koerner said. “I’m kind of obsessed with trying to figure out things about the unknown, that are closer to the edge. I want to figure out what is true and what’s not true, and to bring that to the public.”


The tour this past Saturday was attended by about 60 guests, most of whom were from the Lockport area. Most walkers said they didn’t have much experience in the paranormal realm but were intrigued by the subject and wanted to learn more about the city’s history. A few guests made the drive from southern Erie County. Boston resident Robert Yung said the drive was well worth it.


Koerner has been hosting these tours for two years, in both Lockport and Hamburg. He said he has many guests who take one tour and then feel compelled to take the other, or decide to take the same tour a second time and bring family members. Koerner said the Lockport tour took about a year to research.


He also pointed out the organic nature of his tours, that is, how he is receptive to the introduction of new facts and ideas by tour guests who know a thing or two about the area’s paranormal history. He added the site of the former Friendly’s restaurant due to a tip from a tourist, and also added paranormal-related information about the local Department of Motor Vehicles office after a conversation with a few tour-takers. As a result, the same tour is never given twice, and new perspectives are added each week, Koerner said.


“I’ve found that people are very willing to share their stories and add them to the walk,” he said. “We also get a lot of photos that are sent in, and a lot of people come back and bring their families for the second time.”


Indeed, Koerner tries to keep his walks family-oriented with a variety of fun endeavors such as encouraging walkers to sing as they go from location to location. On the way to the YMCA, Koerner attempted a rendering of "YMCA" by The Village People, and he tried to get guests singing "Casper the Friendly Ghost" on the approach to the now-closed Friendly’s restaurant.


Saturday’s tour group included Lockport residents Molly and Joe Rex, Damon and Pam Eyre, Audrey Collesano and Jeanette Collins, who all lingered near Lake Effect Ice Cream (where the tour started and ended) afterward to discuss the covered topics.


In respect to the unique nature of the tour, this walker will not divulge the specifics of paranormal activity discussed. I'll simply say that the tour is ongoing every Saturday night through Nov. 2, starting at 7 p.m. at Lake Effect Ice Cream, 79 Canal St. Walks through Hamburg begin at 7 p.m. Fridays through Nov. 1. Each tour costs $10 per person, and a coupon is available at


Compared to other ghost walks that are a bit more pricey, Koerner thinks he provides a solid deal. The fact that no two walks are ever the same helps keep things interesting, he added.

“We try to keep it affordable for the family. Just because of my profession of teaching history, I feel that I’m always obligated to find out the truth," he said. "We’re always trying to take steps forward with the paranormal.”

Click image to read full article...

Conspiracy Theory: Author suggests more to McKinley Assassination than lone gunman

By Mark Graczyk (Batavia Daily News)                         


As a kid growing up in the Buffalo area, John Koerner was fascinated by the events surrounding the assassination of President William McKinley.


After all, McKinley was shot in Buffalo, at the city's Pan-American Exposition on Sept. 6, 1901. He died eight days later. Some have argued that McKinley's demise left a permanent black mark on Buffalo's image.


''To say I was obsessed with the McKinley assassination and the Exposition would be an understatement,'' Koerner said in an e-mail this week to The Daily News.

So it's no surprise the author and historian has written a new book about the murder, timed for release around the tragedy's 110th anniversary.

What makes this book noteworthy is the theme. As the title implies, ''The Secret Plot to Kill McKinley: Conspiracy, Curses and Ghosts in Western New York'' uncovers an extensive conspiracy to kill the president that extended well beyond convicted assassin Leon Czolgosz.

Click image to read full article...

Local Historian's Passion Fuels Latest Book

by Catherine Colmerauer (Hamburg Sun)


In the oppressive late summer heat, thousands wait in line for the chance to greet the 25th President of the United States. Inside the Temple of Music at Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition, President William McKinley shakes hands with his public. The organist has begun to play Bach’s “Sonata in F.” The scene is merry.

Yet hidden in the crowd waits one man. A white cloth conceals the gun in his hand — the weapon that will come to murder McKinley and change the course of history.

In John Koerner’s latest book, “The Secret Plot to Kill McKinley: Conspiracy, Curses and Ghosts in Western New York,” the local historian attempts to uncover the true account of McKinley’s murder on Sept. 6, 1901.

“It has been assumed by mainstream historians for well over a century that a single gunman acted alone in assassinating the president,” writes Koerner in his introduction. Part one of Koerner’s book sets out to prove the intricate plot and the many hands involved in McKinley’s death.

In part two, Koerner focuses on the inexplicable phenomena that continues to haunt the locations surrounding the president’s final days.

Though many books have been written about McKinley’s assassination, Koerner believes he is the only writer to frame the murder as a conspiracy.

Click image to read full article...

GCC Instructor completes second Father Baker book

By Mark Graczyk (Batavia Daily News)


John Koerner said his first ”introduction” to Father Nelson Baker was the Father Baker Bridge, a now-demolished span in Lackawanna known for its huge potholes and questionable construction.


”I asked my parents why it was called the Father Baker Bridge and they said 'because it takes a miracle to get over it,”' Koerner said, repeating a common local punchline.


Koerner's subsequent connections to Father Baker have been more positive. The Erie County resident recently completed his second book about the beloved Buffalo area priest, who died in 1936 at age 95.


The Father Baker Code is a sequel to Koerner's first book, The Mysteries of Father Baker, published in 2005. The new book recounts additional stories of reported miracles attributed to the priest's intercession, many of which occurred long after his death. Father Baker founded the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna and also started a hospital, a home for orphans and neglected children as well as Baker-Victory Services, which assists needy people in the area. Church leaders have begun the long process of attempting to have Father Baker declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.


”I felt called to look more into this side of Baker,” Koerner said.


After his first book was published, Koerner said so many people contacted him with more miraculous stories that ”I felt there was just so much more to tell about this man.”

No reservations or tickets required for any tour.



Order John Koerner's artwork at Fine Art America. Click the image above.

John Koerner, founder of Paranormal Walks, Author in Residence, West Seneca Public Library, professor, and historian
Click the icon above to listen to Professor John Koerner's interview on Coast to Coast AM discussing the Assassination of JFK Junior.



Click above image to listen to John Koerner's interview on Coast to Coast AM discussing "Why the CIA Killed JFK and Malcolm X."

Click to listen to John Koerner's interview on the Conspiracy Show with Richard Syrett discussing JFK Jr.

Click above to order John Koerner's first conspiracy book.
Click icon above to order John Koerner's most controversial book "Hunting the Nazarene: The Second Resurrection of Christ."
Click below to listen to John Koerner's interview with Dave Scott on Spaced Out Radio.
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