Esopus Island

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The Hudson River as seen from the northern tip of Esopus Island

Esopus Island is an uninhabited island in the Hudson River. It is part of Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, located in the town of Hyde Park in Dutchess County, in the state of New York.


The island is located to the east of the center of the river channel, 84 miles (135 km) north of the river's mouth at New York City, roughly 1,200 feet (370 m) offshore, southwest of Norrie Point in Staatsburg, and opposite the mouth of Black Creek in the town of Esopus on the west shore.

It is approximately 1,500 feet (460 m) long. In an 1894 book its shape was compared to "a great stranded and petrified whale." There is a beach on the southeast side and shoals at the north end. The island is wooded with outcrops of rock. It is part of Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park and of the Hudson River Watertrail and has campsites, picnic areas, trails, and fishing access points, but can be reached only by boat.


The Lenape Indians are presumed to have made use of the island, and a stone on the east shore shows signs of human working, resembling a megalith. There is a legend of a Jesuit missionary killed on the island by the Indians.

In October 1777, during the Revolutionary War, a British fleet laid off Esopus Island prior to destroying Kingston, then the provincial capital.

In the second half of the 19th century the island was part of the estate of Robert Livingston Pell and was known as Pell Island.

In 1934, the island was incorporated into Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park.

Occult events

Travis McHenry invoking Anubis on Esopus Island in 2021

Aleister Crowley

Starting July 19th, 1918, Aleister Crowley spent 40 days and 40 nights on Esopus Island (which he spelled "Oesopus") as part of his Great Magical Retirement. During this time, he meditated and translated the Tao Te Ching, meditating, and painting slogans on the rocks with red paint. Friends had given him money to buy a tent, a canoe, and stores for his retreat to the island, but instead of food he bought the paint, brushes, and rope for rappelling, saying that he would be "fed by ravens". Local people as well as friends brought him supplies. While on the island, Crowley began to remember his past lives.

Travis McHenry

In June 2021, occultist and author Travis McHenry paddled an inflatable kayak across the Hudson River to Esopus Island. Over the course of several days, he secluded himself in private meditation. He also performed an invocation of Anubis, initiating himself as a Priest of Anubis using the ritual initiation passed to him by the Coven of the Catta, as written by Frederick Santee.