Gripping Legend of the Kaaterskill ‘Ghost Dog’ Continues to Haunt New York Hikers
This story will make you question the sounds you hear the next time you are hiking in the woods of Hunter, New York. Sure it could be a branch falling off a tree or another hiker in the distance. Or maybe you have encountered the legendary "ghost dog".
Welcome to Kaaterskill Falls, one of the most spectacular natural attractions in the Northeast and also one of the most deadly waterfalls in the world. There have been 200 confirmed deaths over the years and not all have been human. This is the tragic story of the "Bayard of Dogs".
According to the Catskill Mountaineer, most of the deaths at Kaaterskill Fall occur from falling off the top of the falls or being washed over the falls but what about jumping to your death?
Atlas Obscura reports about a dog named Vite, "The Bayard of Dogs", who jumped from the top of the falls. Legend has it that Vite lost track of his owner, who made his way to the bottom. Once he saw the owner, his reaction was that jumping would be the quickest way to reunite but Vite did not survive this decision.
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. - Josh Billings
Many say Vite is still there, haunting the woods around Kaaterskill Falls. The date of June 19th, the anniversary of his death, is cited as the most likely date to encounter Vite. Listen for hollow barks and howling. Local lore claims you might even catch a glimpse of an apparition flying through the air as Vite repeats his fatal leap from the top of Kaaterskill Falls.
Is this just urban legend? A made up story for the ages? Well, if you can find it, there is an engraved plaque, dated June 1868, near the top tier of the waterfall and it is dedicated to Vite, the "Bayard of Dogs”.