In search of the legend of Tug Hill Annie

The legend of Tug Hill Annie
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 6:41 AM EDT
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Reporter Emily Griffin takes us to Montague, where she discovers the story behind the Tug Hill’s legendary apparition.

MONTAGUE, New York (WWNY) - “We’re located on Sears Pond Road, which is also infamously the same road where Tug Hill Annie had her tragic accident in 1954,” Montague Inn owner Stephen Hennigan said.

Before the Montague Inn was an inn, it was a house whose neighbor was -- you guessed it -- Tug Hill Annie.

“Her home was located across from us where our hotel currently sits,” Hennigan said.

That makes for some interesting stories as patrons travel the road in the late hours of day.

“Typically, we hear about a pale ghostly woman along the side of the road,” Hennigan said. “Oftentimes people say they hear her calling out, crying.” But let’s back up. Who was Annie? And what happened that led her to haunt the road?

Anna Joan Machowski was born 1917,” historian Toni Engleman said. “At the age of 24 she married Alfred Tebidor and they had four children, all before the age of 30. It’s said that it was not a happy marriage and to drown her sorrows, Anna turned to the bottle.

“On June 14, 1954, Anna and a friend, Jan, jumped into Jan’s 1949 Studebaker pickup truck and headed off to Barnes Corners on a wine run.

“As they were going down Sears Pond Road, an onlooker saw them coming at a high rate of speed and he was afraid that they would not be able to negotiate a corner.

“He was right. Their truck flipped several times. When he got to the scene, he found Anna decapitated.”

Anna was laid to rest at the Lowville Rural Cemetery. Not long after, people reported seeing a headless apparition along Sears Pond Road and State Route 177.

Curiosity overpowered fear and this week I went ghost hunting.

Some have reported hearing a repetitious clink of metal, others have heard an old car driving up the road.

I didn’t end up seeing Annie.

In fact, no one does. Not since 2008 when a paranormal investigative team set her soul free.

Dead and gone -- but her legend lives forever.

“She was a real woman who lived right here on Tug Hill and had an unfortunate accident,” Hennigan said. “Her memory lives on one way or another.”