The state of New York has had so many reports of ghost sightings flooding in from various sources over the last four centuries that the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce felt the need to set up a statewide paranormal trail that cover’s thirteen counties filled with haunted venues, ghost infested cemeteries and apparition riddled locations. The paranormal trail has been aptly named “The Haunted History Trail of New York State”, and according to the mastermind’s behind this eery source of entertainment, you will need varying degrees of courage to get through the different areas where ghosts and other paranormal activity fight to stay alive.
The haunted trail is set up so that visitors can explore the reported hauntings by region and experience. The haunted tales, imagined or not, are believed to have originally stemmed from the spirits who date back to the early Native Americans that once walked and lost their lives on New York’s unsettled land. Due to popular demand, the members of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce recognized a growing trend of paranormal tourism from thousands of visitors flocking in each year to visit and tour the state’s most talked about haunted venues.
Once the group recognized the potential for bringing in revenue to the state from these haunted destinations, the chamber member’s formulated a plan to collaborate with the other counties throughout New York in an effort to promote the state’s many haunted assets that include the haunted local Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany to the spooky Wing’s Castle located in the breathtaking Hudson Valley in the south eastern part of the state.
Tourism marketing director, Kelly Rapone expects that many more haunted venues will be added to the trail as early as 2014, but for now they feel that they have offered ghost hunters something very real to investigate. As for those that are simply curious about the paranormal, there are enough haunted events throughout the thirteen counties that there should be something for just about everyone from the faint of heart to the serious ghost hunter.
The Trail Map
In total there are thirteen counties currently participating in the Haunted History Trail of New York. Included in the list are Albany, Dutchess, Genesee, Niagara, Orange, Ulster, Yates, Columbia, Ontario, Livingston, Oneida, Tioga, and Wayne County. A map of the counties along with their haunted events and venues can be found at: http://www.hauntedhistorytrail.com/trail-map.html
Dutchess County: During the middle part of the eighteenth century the Quakers settled in the quiet community of Millbrook, New York, located along the southeast part of the state. Today that area is a popular tourist attraction for those seeking history or ghosts. Luckily, the county offer’s both. In fact the Wing’s Castle is one of the most haunted abodes found in the state of New York. The castle is so fascinating, haunted and extreme that it was featured on the History Channel, the Travel Channel and HGTV’s Extreme Homes.
Dark and dreary, topped with Turrets and standing on top of a dungeon, the obvious look and feel of “thing’s not being quite right” is almost enough to make you want to back out of the gravel driveway and run for your life. Created and hand constructed by Peter and Toni Ann Wing, the castle is filled with primitive trinkets and artifacts from around the globe that have a life of their own. Overnight stays in the castle’s decked-out dungeon are not for the weak, and ghost enthusiasts do not leave disappointed. On the upside, the castle does overlook the entire Mid-Hudson region and is decorated beautifully. Location: 717 Bangall Road, Millbrook, New York.
Genesee County: The Rolling Hills Asylum is considered one of the most “real” haunted buildings in the United States. It is located in East Bethany, New York, between Buffalo and Rochester, and the facility opened its doors in 1827. The asylum has been a county poor farm, along with being a home to orphans and the mentally ill. It later became an infirmary, and finally an antiques mall. It was around this time that staff began to notice strange events that included apparitions, dark shadows, disembodied voices, objects moving, slamming doors and cold spots. A paranormal team was called into investigate and determined that the building was home to a few ghosts, including a child and another spirit that only shows a hand and arm that vanishes after appearing. Ghost Tours Available, Call: 585-502-4066. Location: 11001 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany, New York.
Niagara County: The Haunted Fortress at Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York has always been a part of the communities folklore, and the locals of Niagara County have always known about the spirits of the fort which today consists of six original buildings that the ghost’s dwell in. The public later became aware of the haunted eighteenth-century fort after it was investigated by the Ghost Hunters and the team from Ghost Lab and then later aired on Syfy. The fort was designed to ward off attacks sustained during the battle between the French and British and American soldiers. Unexplained phenomena will have your heart pounding and living history demonstrations will fill you with compassion for those who have fought for our country and lost their lives because of it. Location: 4 Scott Avenue, Youngstown, New York.
Oneida County: In the heart of Utica, New York you will find several haunted venues along with a fascinating mode of transportation that leads you to some of the most panoramic rail-trails that the state has to offer. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad refreshes your senses with nature’s beauty that leaves you unprepared for the harrowing experience that awaits you at your final destination. While en route to nearby Remsen, New York, you will learn about local history while gearing up for the layover at the haunted Depot and the Remsen Stone Meeting House where you will experience the undeniable feeling of being watched. Visitor’s often report dark shadows lurking around with one prominent dark figure who shows up in his top hat. This haunted attraction was voted as the second best Autumn Road Trip in AAA Car and Travel Magazine. Location: 321 Main Street, Utica, New York.
Tioga County: Zombie hunting season is in and the “Zombie Apocalypse” is now, at least if you are at the Turkey Trot Lodge in Candor, New York it is. The Zombie Walk begins at 5:30 pm, but before you dare to walk through flesh eating creatures you must prepare. There is a handful of artists available to put you in position for the death walk, making you fully equipped with make-up and zombie attire. Visitor’s will force the walking dead to remain hampered while walking through the haunted woods located in the central-southern part of the state, armed with a “Zombie Slayer” and one-hundred rounds of paintballs, eliminating zombies during the heart stopping walk of terror. The live “scarefest” costs: $20.00 and includes a meaty zom-B-que. Location: 188 Tubbs Hill Road, Candor, New York.
Wayne County: Pultneyville, New York is not only historic, it is haunted. The quaint hamlet sits nestled within the town of Williamson and is anchored south of Lake Ontario. The community offer’s visitors a peaceful harbor, the famous Gates Hall, primitive antiques, unique shops, a bed & breakfast, and of course, a few cemeteries filled with restless spirits, some of them historic figures. The Williamson-Pultneyville historical society along with the locals embrace their friendly spirits by hosting an annual candlelight ceremony tour during October’s full moon, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of past historic figures and why they are so restless.
Reenactments from the local historians serve as a reminder of days gone by when the town started in 1806 and later became a Great Lakes trading port. Several of the town’s historic buildings made it necessary to place Pultneyville on the National Register of Historic Places to protect and preserve the New England buildings with the Greek revival style architecture. Paranormal investigators have experienced disembodied voices, shadowy figures, equipment failures, faint voices and unmistakeable footsteps even though nobody was present during past candlelight tours of the Lakeview Cemetery. Cost: $5.00 per person. Location: 4130 Mill Street, Pultneyville, New York.
Guides to the Haunted History Trail of New York State can be requested at: http://www.hauntedhistorytrail.com/brochure.html