Upstate New York's Most Haunted Places Are Some of the Spookiest in America
November 17, 2017 By Cait Russell
The Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany is known to locals to be one of the most haunted places in the state!
Photo by: Jennifer Kirkland, via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Upstate New York is known for a lot of things - its picturesque parks, beautiful landscapes, bustling college towns, and robust culture. But that's not the only thing the state of New York is known for - with it's rich history, historical towns, and numerous "abandoned" psych wards, it should come as no surprise that The Empire State is home to many of the most notoriously haunted places in the entire country.
While NYC and Long Island are also known for their haunted history, Upstate NY is so jam-packed with real haunts that we thought deserved a closer look, that we've picked out some of our faves from the region:
- The Rolling Hills Asylum - East Bethany, NY - There's few things spookier than a haunted asylum, which is why The Rolling Hills Asylum is at the top of the list. The Asylum was originally built as a "Poor House" in 1826 (its official name was even "Genesee County Poor House"), to house drunks, the mentally ill, and paupers of the time. The poor could "earn there keep" working at the facility, which also housed the mentally ill. Years later, the Poor House was transformed into a variety of different hospital-like settings - it was an infirmary, an orphanage, a nursing home, and even a tuberculosis hospital at one point.
But what makes the grounds so eerie? Well, it's believe that over seventeen thousand people are buried there, unceremoniously deposited in unmarked graves. Oh, and all of the patients/guests were referred to as "inmates", despiet not being criminals. Creepy. Though the Asylum doesn't operate as an Asylum anymore, it is open to the public for ghost tours, and there have a wide variety of reports of seeing shadowy figures, orbs, feeling temperature drops, and all sorts of paranormal activity throughout the grounds, but it seems especially concentrated in the morgue, the psych ward, and the graveyard.
And if that wasn't creepy enough, there's one bedroom of a former inmate, Roy, which all who visit swear up and down is haunted by his spirit - this room is considered to be one of the most haunted on the premises. According to local lore, Roy now haunts the Asylum as an ominous 7 foot tall "shadow man", which numerous visitors have claimed to have encountered when they visited the former hospital.
- The Sagamore Resort Hotel - Bolton Landing (on Lake George), NY - The Sagamore Resort is a historic resort on picturesque Lake George, which opened its doors in 1883. The hotel, which is still open, if home to a few different spirits of visitors from over the year, with the most-well known likely being the little boy that's seen running on the golf course, collecting stray balls to sell back to the Pro Shop. Legend says that the boy regularly collects and returned the lost golf balls to the Pro Shop, until he was struck and killed by a car in a motor accident, cutting his young life short.
Another legend of the Sagamore Resort Hotel tells of a ghostly couple that likes to visit the on-site restaurant, but they've been spotted at a variety of locations throughout the hotel, including on the grand staircase. There is also a second ghost woman that's been sited in another on-site restaurant, who allegedly spoke with a prep cook, and then walked through him, disappearing. The cook quit on the spot after the encounter (can you blame him?).
- Vale Cemetery - Schenectady, NY - The Vale Cemetery, which first..."opened" in 1857, houses the remains of over 33,000 people, and is over 100 acres in size. The first person to be buried at the cemetery was a 4 year old boy named Noah Vibbard Van Vorst, and it's said that his ghost, as well as the ghosts of many of the cemetery's other residents. There have been reports of seeing "black and white figures" roam the cemetery grounds, as well as eerie orb light balls appearing in photos taken at the cemetery.
People have also reported hearing "ghostly sighs" at the cemetery, as well as seeing statues an monuments cry - some even tears of blood!
- The Utica Lunatic Asylum (Also Known as "The NYS Lunatic Asylum of Utica) - Utica, NY - New York State definitely does not have a shortage of creepy, abandoned psychiatric facilities, that's for sure. The Utica Lunatic Asylum opened its doors in 1843, and remained open until 1978, and although it is not operational today, you can still go on ghost tours of the premises if you're feeling brave, and want to encounter some really terrifying history. The Asylum has become infamous because of many practices seen as unethical, and downright horrific by today's standards, including forced lobotomies and electroshock therapy.
The facility is also home to the know infamous "Utica Crib", which essentially was a long, coffin-sized "bed" with a claustrophobic metal cage around it that doctors placed agitated patients in to "calm the down", but was also used as punishment for misbehaving wards of the hospital. It's also been said that though the hospital was built with the intention of caring well for the mentally ill, that they essentially lived in filth and squalor at the Lunatic Asylum.
To this day, it is believed that the Utica Lunatic Asylum is haunted by the spirits of the patients that underwent these horrific procedures and punishments, and there have been reports of modern-day visitors hearing disembodied screams in the hallways, seeing faces in the windows (sometimes twisted and contorted with pained looks), as well as countless reports of feeling an eerie presence nearby while touring the property.
- 13 Curves Road - Onondonga, NY - Upstate New York is home to many "Lovers Lanes" haunts, however, Cedarvale Road, known as "13 Curves" is by far the most infamous. According to legend, a young Just Married couple were driving on Cedarvale Roadway, when they lost control of their vehicle on one of the sharpest of the road's curves, killing both the bride and groom. Legend has it that you can sometimes see the young bride walking down the road in her wedding gown, looking for her groom, and it's even more common to see her on Halloween night.
Numerous reports of seeing a woman in a white dress with glowing eyes, sometimes holding a lantern, sometimes covered in blood, have been made by locals, tourists, and passers by who have seen her standing in the middle of the road, looking for her beloved.
Have You Visited Any of Upstate New York's Most Haunted Places?
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