Status: Former Residence and Business; Cursed Island; Ruins
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Leonard_G." title="User:Leonard G.">User:Leonard G.</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link
Francis Bannerman VI bought Pollepel Island in 1900 and began construction on his Scottish castle. This structure is one the few buildings in North America that can be called an actual castle.
Mr Bannerman dealt in military surplus and kept his considerable collection at the castle. Seven major buildings were constructed on the island: three arsenals, a lodge, a tower, a superintendant’s house and the family residence.
Breakwaters were built by sinking boats to protect the harbor. The island is now part of the Hudson Highlands State Park.
Long before Bannerman built his castle the island was regarded as cursed and haunted by the Native American population. They believed that evil spirits inhabited the island and refused to set foot upon the island.
Due to the severe storms that plague the Hudson River around the island the original Dutch Settlers that lived in the area believed the island was filled with goblins whose King controlled the storms.
The legendary “Flying Dutchman” was lost in the river waters near the island and is said to be forever cursed to sail the river. The voices of the ship’s crew are still said to be heard in the winds of the storms.
In the castle itself a phantom sound of a boat’s bell ringing; this is said to be from a curse from a tugboat captain who cursed Mr Bannerman after having asked to not have his tugboat sunk for the breakwater until he had left the site – the tugboat was sunk as the captain turned to leave.
Today the castle lies in ruins on the island and the legends of evil spirits and goblins live on. Strange activity such as unexplained lights and phantom footsteps are still reported.
(Zelda Fitzgerald’s Abandoned Sanatorium)(Tioranda)
7 Craig House Lane
Status: Former High End Psychiatric Hospital; Abandoned; No Access to Buildings or Grounds
This gothic house was first built in 1859 by the Civil War General Joseph Howland who called the house Tioranda. In 1915 Clarence Slocum, a Scottish doctor converted the house into the first privately licensed psychiatric hospital in the United States.
Dr Slocum created a treatment center more like a 5-star resort where the rich and famous could get therapy coupled with such pursuits as golfing, fine dining and art. Patient rooms were never locked and there were no bars on the windows.
Many famous people were treated here including Frances Seymour – the mother of Jane Fonda – who committed suicide there, Rosemary Kennedy – after her failed lobotomy, Marilyn Monroe and Zelda Fitzgerald for the whom the facility is most famous for treating.
Zelda suffered from schizophrenia – and possibly borderline personality disorder – and, unfortunately, could not be cured. Zelda was transferred to the Highland Hospital in North Carolina in a catatonic state where she burned to death in a fire being unable to escape from her locked room in 1948.
Frances Seymour wasn’t the only person to end in life inside the walls of Craig House; although she was the most famous. That combined with some questionable fires and patients staying for days rather than months led to the closure of the hospital in 1999.
Most of the furniture and such has since been sold but according to people who have been inside the building it is immaculate and looks almost as someone just left and will be back any minute.
The current owner is working on transforming the house and grounds into a high-end hotel and resort.
There is an abandoned church/school and hat factory also on the grounds.
Apparitions of former guests and staff. Hazy forms have been seen looking through the curtains to the outside world.
Feelings of being watched, not being alone and being followed. Intense empathic feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loneliness.
Disembodied voices and other unexplained noises including footsteps, crying and laughter.
Other activity: cold and warm spots; unexplained breezes; light anomalies and objects moving on their own such as doors opening and closing.
Submission by the Property Owner, Sharon Coyle
Rolling Hills Asylum Located in western New York 40 minutes from two major airports, Rolling Hills Asylum is a hot bed of paranormal activity. Disembodied voices, doors slamming, footsteps, sounds of furniture moving, full body apparitions, shadow people, touching, lots of class A Evp’s, and more! The property was established on January 1, 1827 as the Genesee County Poor Farm. Over the years it has operated as a poor farm, infirmary, orphanage, tuberculosis hospital, nursing home, and more. Residents and Inmates ran the gambit of widows, orphans, disabled, mentally unstable, murders, and more. Over 1700 bodies buried in unmarked graves. Come out and investigate this very, haunted and active location! Open year round. Historical & Flashlight Tours, Public & Private Ghost Hunts, Daytime & Night-time Opportunities, special events, and more. We have been featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventurers and Paranormal Challenge as well as SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters. Website : http://www.RollingHillsAsylum.com/
Sharon Coyle, Proprietress Rolling Hills Asylum E. Bethany, NY 14054 VM Only: (585) 502-4066info@RollingHillsAsylum.com
Opened in 1927 in response to a government directive that all municipalities had to have facilities designed to take care of people who were incapable of taking care of themselves. The facility was known as the Genesee County Poorhouse and took patients ranging from drunks to unwed mothers to outright criminals. It became a working farm with over 200 acres and every able-bodied person was expected to work. The county was responsible for burying those who had no family and a graveyard does exist on the property but the exact location has been lost as time went by. The facility was closed in 1974 with the patients being relocated to Batavia. By that time the building had served as both an insane asylum and a nursing home. The building remained abandoned until 1992 when it was re-opened as a mall called “The Carriage House”. It has since been used as a paranormal research center and gives paranormal tours today.
Apparitions have been seen in the windows by people outside of the building as well as by those inside the building. The apparition of a man who was once one of the tallest men alive who lived his life in the asylum.
Unexplained noises are heard in the building including cries, screams and laughter. Phantom conversations have been heard as well as reports of being touched by cold hands.
Other activity: doors and windows opening and closing on their own, shadow figures, objects moving on their own, light anomalies and mysterious knocks.
(Richardson Olmstead Complex)(Buffalo Psychiatric Center)(Hotel Henry Urban Resort)
444 Forest Avenue
Status: Former Insane Asylum; Former 3 Star Hotel; Closed
Built between 1872 and 1880 the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was built in the Kirkbride – center administration building with 2 wings one for the male patients and one for the female patients with the most violent housed at the end of the wings – style and considered state of the art for it’s time.
Patients worked on the surrounding farm or at domestic tasks such as cooking or laundry and were encouraged to make use of the large landscaped surrounding grounds.
By the turn of the century the facility, designed for 600 patients, was averaging a population of 1,800 patients. Overcrowding was a constant problem for all asylums in North American and Europe at the time.
The name of institute was changed to Buffalo State Hospital early in the 20th century.
Previous to the invention of anti-psychotic drugs both insulin-shock and electro-shock therapies were frequently used on the mentally ill; especially those suffering from schizophrenia. These were considered state of the art treatments at the time. Only a few pre-frontal lobotomies were done at this hospital.
In 1965 the Nicholas J Strozzi building was opened with 520 beds and many of the patients were transferred out of the aging Kirkbride building to it. This building is still an active psychiatric center today working with both in and out patients - there are only 185 beds available now – this is where psychiatric patients from the general hospitals are transferred.
During the 1990’s the Kirkbride building was used less and less for treatment of the mentally ill and more and more as an administrative center. In 1997 the New York State Office of Mental Health released the building from it’s possessions.
In 2006 a society was formed to restore the old building which began with fencing it in and adding 24-hour security. In 2008 restoration and stabilization of the buildings began. In 2013 plans to convert the building into a hotel and museums were revealed.
In 2017 the Hotel Henry opened in the center of the Kirkbride Building with a conference center and 88 rooms. This was the beginning of a new life for the building and campus; that is until the Covid-19 Pandemic hit. In February of 2021 the hotel was forced to close down due to falling revenues because of the Pandemic.
According to the Hilton Hotels website – Hilton helped manage the Henry Hotel – the hotel will re-open in 2030.
Ghost Tours have been offered at this location but it is unclear whether they are being offered now that the hotel was closed.
The former institution is said to be haunted by it’s former patients and staff.
I have been on the site personally and will list my experiences at the end of this section.
The tunnels between the buildings are said to be the most haunted area of the complex.
Apparitions of former patients and staff; pale faces watching the windows; shadow figures; objects moving on their own; electrical issues; disembodied voices including hearing your name called; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen presences; unexplained sounds; cold spots; empathic sensations of unease, fear, sadness, anger and confusion; time slips; unexplained mists and feelings of being followed and watched.
The hotel section seems to have been cleared out quite well leaving only a feeling of residual energy that hangs in the ether and it probably unnoticeable by most people.
The far eastern wing – the women’s most violent section – has energy so violent and disturbing my wife could not approach it. I was, even, unable to completely shield myself from it and developed a slight headache and nausea. The end of the other wing – the male section – was slightly disturbing but there was no comparison with the female wing.
Shadow figures moving in the buildings – usually peeking out of the window or moving very quickly and not visible for more than a second or two.
Disembodied voices and whispers including hearing my own name multiple times.
Pale misty faces briefly seen in a couple of windows.
One brief touch on the right hand by something unseen.
Empathic feelings of unease and feelings of being watched and not wanted.
107 Delaware Avenue
Status: Former Luxury Hotel; Heritage Property; Being Repurposed
By <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sullymon54" class="extiw" title="wikipedia:User:Sullymon54">Sullymon54</a> at <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/" class="extiw" title="wikipedia:">English Wikipedia</a>
The first Statler Hotel was built on the corner of Washington Street. It was later renamed the Hotel Buffalo and has since been demolished. It was the first hotel in America to have a private shower or bath in every room. It was closed in 1967 and demolished in 1968.
The new Hotel Statler – the location this article is about – was opened in May of 1923. The hotel was built with 18 floors and 1,100 rooms; more than all the other hotels in Buffalo, at the time, put together. When it opened rooms could be had for as cheap as $1.50 a night.
For 2 decades the Statler was the only luxury hotel between New York City and Chicago and as such it hosted lavish parties for the rich and famous. After World War II the number of people staying in the city could not fill the hotel rooms and some floors were converted to offices.
In 1954 Hilton Hotels bought out Statler Hotels. In 1984 the last hotel room was closed and the building was renamed Statler Towers. In 2000 an attempt to convert the building into condos failed and it went bankrupt.
In 2011 the current owner bought the building – which was apparently in such bad shape some floors were about to collapse and many of them were filled with water.
The lower floors have now been refurbished and can be booked for weddings and other events. The building will be closed in 2022-23 while the upper floors are converted to condos.
Paranormal investigations have taken place in the past. There are none scheduled in the foreseeable future but that could change at any time.
Its very difficult to nail down the reasons for this hotel to have become so rife with paranormal activity. Perhaps its because the suggested reasons for the haunting deal with notoriously distasteful subjects that certainly would have been very hush hush when the hotel was open.
Namely the mob and suicides.
It is rumored that the mob had a financial presence in the hotel from day one. Buffalo provided the perfect place to deal with ‘special problems’ away from prying eyes in Chicago and New York City. This is said to have left behind some residual energy as well as a number of guests who may have checked in but never checked out.
Hotels are often plagued by suicides. If you kill yourself at a hotel your family won’t have to clean the mess. Stories say the Statler had more than its fair share of jumpers; some even suggest there is something on the upper floors that gives a fragile mind an extra push.
Paranormal activity recorded here:
Apparitions of former guests and staff; people are seen falling from the upper floors but fade into nothingness before they meet the ground; shadow figures; touches from unseen presences; an elevator that likes to go from floor to floor even when no one is in it – it may or may not take you to the floor you requested or it may not – it seems to prefer floors that the highest paranormal activity is reported on (2,11,18).
Of course, with 18 floors even ghosts would have to take the elevator.
Objects move on their own; phantom footsteps; disembodied voices and conversations; time and dimensional slips; unexplained noises of all kinds from whispers to screams to loud bangs; cold and warm spots; light anomalies; feelings of unease, not being wanted and not being alone.
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Lorryh&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Lorryh (page does not exist)">Lorryh</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
This home is one of the few surviving examples of Phillip Hooker’s work – a 19th century American architect – and was built for George Clarke between 1817 and 1834. It was named after the ancestral home of the Hooker family Hyde in Cheshire, England.
The house is considered historically significant because it was built using both English and American architectural methods.
Clarke purchased the land in 1817 as they were adjacent to his wife’s lands. The house took so long to build due to financial issues and Clarke’s battles for his inheritances in New York Courts. In 1824 he received his final inheritance from his father allowing him to complete the house.
When ownership of the house was passed to New York State there were funds available to restore the mansion. It had fallen into a state of disrepair and was very nearly demolished.
In 1964 a group called The Friends of Hyde Hall was formed to save the house and restore it’s grandeur back for the specific purpose of having the public enjoy it. In 1988 they were granted a 30 year lease on the property which was extended in 2018 to another 30 years.
The house is open seasonally and sponsors several events; it can also be booked for private events through the website above.
Paranormal investigations can be booked during October – for groups of 10 or more – and Orange County Paranormal runs 1 or 2 investigations a year as well. They also have a ghost tour in the mansion in October where you can hear the stories of the hauntings.
The most famous ghost at Hyde Hall is that of Jenny Worthington who passed away young and was immortalized in an 8 foot tall 400 pound portrait commissioned by her husband; John Worthington. Even after John got remarried, he still left the portrait hung in the house.
Eventually, the new wife took the portrait down – can you blame her – and immediately paranormal activity started in the house.
Years later the portrait was donated to Hyde Hall. One night after it had been taken down for renovations the shutters swung open in the dining room – where the painting usually hangs – tripping the motion alarm.
Jenny hangs out in the dining room to this day. When the house is open or closed the staff doing it always says “good morning” or “good night” to Jenny. Disrespect her at your peril.
The apparition of George Clarke is seen through the house in his gold, green and red bathrobe. Even ghosts need to be comfortable; and it was said to be his favorite.
Edward Steers is still seen on the dock after he ‘accidentally’ shot himself there after having his marriage proposal rejected a second time by a lady working at Hyde Hall.
A woman in a long braid down her back dressed in a Victorian dress is often seen in the house especially on the stairs. She is most often seen by children and usually is somewhat transparent. No one could identify her until a staff member found an old photo that matched her exactly.
A worker alone in the house heard a mayday call come through on the radio. This may be related to George and Susan Clarke who lived here and were killed together in a plane crash.
Other Reported Activity: disembodied voices; phantom sounds of a party like ice clinking in glasses and laughter; objects moving on their own; touches by unseen presences; light anomalies; empathic feelings of unease and feelings of being watched.
79 Bennet Common Way
Status: Former Hotel; Former School; Severely Dilapidated Building; Formerly Abandoned; Completely Demolished
The main building of this location was originally built by HJ Davison Jr in 1893 on a 22 acre site. He was publisher from New York City and was hoping to cash in on fad of New Yorkers travelling upstate to the new resorts being built. Unfortunately, the hotel/resort, called Halcyon Hall, never caught on and by the early 20th Century Mr Davison was looking for a new owner in order to avoid financial ruin. He closed down the hotel in 1901.
Bennett College (an all-girls school in Irvington, New York) was looking a new home and purchased the property in 1907. They built a chapel, stable, dormitories and other buildings on the site and used the main building for classes. The school originally taught young ladies the 4 years of high school as well as 2 years of college with diplomas in such fields as domestic sciences, equine studies, interior design and others. Shortly after moving to the Millbrook site the high school courses were dropped and the school only offered 2 year college courses. Many daughters of prominent families in the area were educated at Bennett College during its 90 year history.
By the 1970's separate schools for boys and girls were beginning to fall out of fashion at the college level. Already strapped financially the college tried its best to convert to a co-ed school by upgrading the campus to meet State education standards and attempting to co-join with another school. These attempts would eventually fail and completely bankrupt the college. Just after the fall semester began in 1978 the school was forced to close its doors forever; the girls enrolled were transferred to another college.
All furniture, books and equipment were transferred to the town’s library for safekeeping. In 1985 all archives from the school were donated to the Millbrook Library for historical significance. In 1993 the building was put on the National Register of Historic Places.
Halcyon Hall would never re-open again and suffered major damage due to the elements. With the heat turned off the water pipes burst in the winter causing the most significant damage. Today, the building is considered very dangerous and a tree even grows inside the building. It is completely fenced off. It was scheduled for demolishment in 2012 and then again in 2014 to make way for a park but the building still stands.
There were many attempts to convert the building into uses such as condos in the 1980's but all would eventually fail due to financial issues. Ownership was eventually transferred over to the Mechanics and Farmers Savings Bank but that bank failed in 1991. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation then took over ownership.
The Thorne Family bought the property in 2014 with the hopes of creating a garden and park. While the building does still stand, they are, apparently, still the owners.
Update: The building was completely demolished in the fall of 2022.
There is said to have been suicides in the history of the school; young ladies who couldn't handle the stress of their studies or found themselves pregnant out of wedlock. The apparitions of these girls are still seen wandering the halls and rooms of the abandoned building.
The property is also said to be cursed (The Curse of Halcyon Hall) as everyone who has owned it was eventually brought to financial ruin.
Other activity: feelings of being watched both inside the building and on the grounds from the empty windows; light anomalies; mysterious mists; electrical disturbances; doors opening and closing on their own; feelings of unease and distress; disembodied voices and, rarely, physical contact with the living including pushes, tugs and pulls.
1 Laveta Place
Status: America’s Only Legally Haunted House; Residence
A Reminder this Property is not only Private but also Someone’s Residence. Do Not Approach the Property or Bother the Owners.
History and Paranormal Activity
This 3 story Victorian house was built in 1890. It stands at the end of a cul de sac and commands truly breath-taking views of the Hudson River from almost every window.
Based on the latest real estate listing the interior is just as stunning as the views provided.
It was last sold in March of 2021 for nearly 1.8 million USD and is currently valued at just over 2 million for the tax rolls.
Just like living in paradise, right? Hmmm. . .
Just one little issue, this perfect little piece of paradise is the only legally declared haunted house in the United States. But the ghosts are friendly so that’s ok; apparently not.
Prior to the 1970’s there are no reports of any ghosts or paranormal activity in the house or on the property. The house was left abandoned for part of the 1960’s and this may have provided the living impaired to move in.
No history of a murder or premature deaths; it’s possible no one has ever even breathed their last inside this house.
After the period of abandonment, the Ackley family – hence the house’s name - bought the house and moved in. They had some paranormal experiences including the husband – George - seeing a set of disembodied moccasin wearing feet walk by him in the hallway above the staircase, the wife – Helen – saw an apparition wearing either a Colonial or Revolutionary war uniform while she was painting the entryway; even their daughter – Cynthia – ,who was a teenager at the time, had her bed shake until she politely asked them to stop so she could sleep.
The house was also known as the neighborhood “haunted house” by the kids living in the area.
On a side note, I lived in one of these neighborhood haunted houses for a while as a kid but we, also, learned to live with the doors slamming on their own, the bathroom door locking itself – this is why I can pick a bathroom door lock to this day lol – so I completely understand where this family is coming from.
Hell, my bed shakes almost every night now I just ignore it or tell ‘them’ to stop it.
This is not the Amityville Horror house or the Conjuring House.
Helen Ackley even wrote an article for Reader’s Digest in the 70’s entitled “Our Haunted House on the Hudson” thus passing the story into a forever written format.
In 1989 it became time for the Ackleys to downsize and sell the house. Jeffery and Patricia Stambovsky put an offer in on the house and it was accepted and the down payment was put down.
Now the Ackleys say they mentioned the haunting multiple times during all of this but the Stambovskys say it was never mentioned and when they found out they wanted their down payment back. Yah, no, legally if you change the mind after the down payment the seller keeps the money.
So off to court it went saying the Ackleys didn’t represent the house properly and that said ghosts would decrease the value of the house. The State of New York said “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware” buying a house is hard enough without adding ghosts into the mix.
So off it went to the New York Supreme Court – yah, can you say tenacious – where it was ruled because the issue was reputational and not physical caveat emptor didn’t apply. The haunting had been reported in a National publication and could not be reversed.
In other words, according to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, this house is legally haunted.
The down payment was returned to the couple who had proved incredibly stubborn; and the house was eventually sold to someone else. The house has gone through numerous owners since then – which has been called unusual – many of them creative people like a screenwriter and a musician but no one has said anything about ghosts or paranormal activity since the Ackleys.
The Ackleys have never retracted their claims.
This case is still taught in many law school classrooms in the United States and other Countries.
Let this be a lesson for everyone selling a haunted house – especially in New York State – that disclosure is your best friend apparently.
Did my family disclose the house we lived in was haunted when we sold it? Hmmmm. . .
Hudson View Drive
Status: Former Psychiatric Hospital, Partially Demolished, Partially Repurposed
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Hviola&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Hviola (page does not exist)">Hviola</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
By the latter part of the 19th Century the State run insane asylum in Utica was beginning to become overcrowded and the Governor set up a study to look at the possibility of opening a new hospital to service New York City and the surrounding areas in the Hudson River Valley. In 1866 a large parcel of land was gifted to the State near the city of Pooghkeepsie which would eventually be accepted.
In October of 1871 the new Hudson River State Hospital For The Insane was opened and admitted 40 patients. Construction, however, would continue for another 25 years before the institution was completed.
When finished the main building was designed as Kirkbride Plan building (as were many State run asylums in the 19th Century) and was a virtual twin to the asylum built in Danvers, Massachusetts.
The construction, which was originally slated for a cost of $800,000, went grossly over budget almost immediately. Although many criticisms were leveled at the project, including by the New York Times, construction continued until 1895 when the money simply ran out at a total of $1,200,000 and so the hospital’s final plans were never completed.
A Refrigeration Plant was built in 1948 and a Tuberculosis Hospital was built in 1951. In 1971 the two wings of the main building were shut down as the floors were collapsing.
By the 70′s, though, the patient population had begun to drop (from 6,000 to just over 1,000) due to the invention of drugs which helped patients live outside of institutions. By the 1990′s large portions of the hospital were closed down but not demolished due to intervention of the State Historical Society.
The Hudson Valley Psychiatric Center opened nearby in 1994 and the hospital was closed down and abandoned in 2003.
In 2005 the state sold the property to the Empire State Development Corporation who planned to convert the site into condos and a hotel. This project failed due to a moratorium on construction and financial reasons. In 2007 the South Wing was struck by lightning and set afire – it is unclear to this day whether that wing can be saved the damage was so great.
The property sat still abandoned and falling apart for a while. It was fenced off and posted as ‘No Trespassing’ and for sale. Another development company has interest in converting it to low income housing, as well Wal Mart had said they would like to buy the property but was held back by the town and there are possibilities of preserving the site for historical interest.
In 2007 a fire started by lightning did considerable damage to the main building. In 2010 there were 2 more fires that the Fire Dept called deliberately set. In 2018 the main building had another fire.
In 2013 an unnamed buyer did buy the property with the intention of repurposing it into a mixed use community called Hudson Heritage. They plan to save some of the buildings and demolish other ones. In 2016 the demolishment of some of the outlying buildings began.
Apparitions of former patients and staff. Feelings of being watched, not wanted, unease and fear as well as empathic sensations of pain, sadness and extreme depression.
Faces are seen looking out of the windows of the buildings. Disembodied voices. laughter, screams and sounds of crying. Doors and windows that open and close on their own.
Objects moving on their own as well as disappearing and reappearing. Touches, pokes and pushes from invisible presences.
Shadow figures are seen roaming the grounds and buildings. Light anomalies, unexplained mists and electrical disturbances are also reported.
East Side of Call Hollow Road Between Camp Winaki Road and Anthony J Morina Drive
Status: Historical Cemetery
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:GeekOnTheWing" class="mw-redirect" title="User:GeekOnTheWing">GeekOnTheWing</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Every patient who died while under the “care” of the Letchworth Village Rehabilitation Center whose family did not claim their remains between 1914 and 1967 is buried here. They number over 900 and they are stories claiming there are many more buried in unmarked graves.
Many of them are children, yet all they were given to remember them was a metal T with a number printed on it.
In 2007 a plaque was erected at the site which gives a name of everyone buried here. This exists only because volunteers painstakingly went over years of hospital records matching names to numbers.
The inscription on the memorial is both simple and thought provoking “Those Who Shall Not Be Forgotten”.
The cemetery is owned and cared for by the City of Stony Point. Relatives can erect head stones at their expense over their loved ones remains but as of 2021 most of the graves are still marked only by their number. The volunteers who care for the cemetery leave many mementos on the graves – including toys for the lost souls of the children.
One question stands out from all the others. Why did the institution with access to a massive campus bury their patients over a mile away in dense woods? What were they hiding? I fear the answer is both obvious and terrible.
The apparitions of children – and a few adults – have been seen; usually in the surrounding woods and less often in the cemetery itself. They are said to be very solemn and just watch the visitors to the cemetery. Many of the children are just as shy as they were in life and hide their faces when their gazes are met.
Contrary – frankly completely opposite – to the Letchworth Village site the energy here is almost calming. Almost as if, despite being buried like some dirty secret, the souls here finally found some peace they never found while alive.
Or maybe it’s the love given to the lost souls that they never received from their families and caregivers.
Other Activity: electrical disturbances; disembodied whispers; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone.
Dating back to the 1870’s this one of the oldest operational amusement parks in America. It has 25 rides and numerous games and has been described as the ultimate trip into nostalgia.
There are 3 ghosts in the park. All of them were guests who died there. According to the tv show Ghost Hunters none of them bear the park any ill will and have stayed on due to their love of the park.
Jack – a man who loves to stay at the Royal Hotel. He is most commonly seen in the bar and is known for opening and closing doors.
Abby – who is described as both a little girl and a “woman in white”
Scott(ie) – who is heard whistling in Playland and Treasure Land. His ghost has been seen in the attic of Playland.
On the offered Ghost Tours objects have been seen moving and flying on their own including wood and coins. The coins are thought to be due to the ghost of a former owner named Bill who refused to let anyone else handle the money during his time.
Letchworth Village Road
Status: Former Residential Institution for the Developmentally Disabled; Abandoned; Partially Demolished; Public Access to the Grounds
By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/7327243@N05">Doug Kerr</a> from Albany, NY, United States - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/6580769155/">Letchworth Village - Rockland County, New York</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Warning this article contains stories of harm being done to children and other innocents. Reader Discretion is Advised.
Opened in 1911 – with only the first phase of construction completed – this 2,362-acre (nearly 4 square miles) facility was designed to be the answer to the giant overbearing gothic asylum system. It was the dream of William Pryor Letchworth who died before the facility was finished.
The facility was designed for all ages, but throughout it’s history those 16 and under were majority of the population.
There were separate living and training facilities for all ages with able body adults expected to work on communal farms ensuring the feeding of every patient. No structure was to exceed 2 storeys or 70 patients. All patient housing was required to be 200 feet from one another and a playground was built for every dormitory.
The grounds dividing the buildings were designed to provide leisure areas for the patients and get as far from institutionalization as possible. No more over crowded under staffed asylums and poor houses.
There was also a hospital, dining halls and staff housing on site.
In 1921 the developmentally disabled had been put into three categories by the hospital administration: the morons, the imbeciles and the idiots. The last category was considered untrainable and unsuitable for work – males were subjected to intense labor including farm work and shoveling coal – and, therefore, of no use to the State and should be excluded from the facility.
No mention was made of what should be done with such patients although the doctor who wrote the report was probably thinking tossing them in the Hudson River was suitable. As you can see the dreams of Letchworth were dying rapidly.
In 1921 there were 1,200 patients and the facility was already becoming overcrowded but attempts were still being made to follow the policies it was created under. By 1935 the facility had reached the maximum recommended population.
By the 1950’s the population was over 4,000 and no attempts were being made to follow any plan at all.
Families were just as guilty as the staff and administrators; records indicate they just abandoned their relative at the facility and never returned. Letchworth had become a dumping ground for the unwanted just like the asylums and poor houses it was supposed to replace.
The 1950’s was also the beginning of highly illegal experiments on humans; mostly children. The polio vaccine was tested on one 8-year-old boy – for whom giving consent was an impossibility due to his mental condition – and when no side effects appeared 19 other children were injected.
The brains of the deceased were also kept preserved on site for “study”.
In 1972 Geraldo Rivera did an in-depth investigation of 3 facilities for the developmentally disabled including Letchworth and – for the first time – brought in cameras and showed people the truth. Patients – mostly children – lived in absolute squalor and without going into details the conditions were called “the worst conditions I’ve seen in my life” and “well below the minimum to support human life”.
There are also numerous stories of staff-on-staff violence including physical and sexual assault.
By the end of the 1970’s efforts were made to move the population into group homes or more modern facilities in the State. The population began to decrease – obscenely, patient mortality was used to best effect in showing how well the facility was doing in decreasing the population – and the remaining patients finally got some semblance of privacy.
In 1996 the institution finally closed leaving numerous buildings at the mercy of nature. Most people who were workers at Letchworth refuse to speak about what they saw and did.
The site remains mostly intact and the sports facilities – mostly playing fields – are used by the public. In fact, that is the biggest reason why the site hasn’t been repurposed is that the locals don’t want to lose their free sports fields.
There are still many who deny anything untoward – much less abusive – ever happened at the facility and in this world of cancel culture and alternative facts only makes the truth of tragedies like this more horrible and easily repeatable.
Anyone can walk the grounds of the former facility but entrance into any building is strictly forbidden.
The most common supernatural occurrence at this site is a powerful and almost life draining energy that hangs over it. People have described the energy here as despair, torture, horror, insane, terrifying, despondent, draining, dark and yes, pure evil.
There are numerous reports of dark entities – what some call demons – and intelligent dark energy at this site. Many people have been attacked by things unseen here or seen forms of complete darkness in the buildings and on the grounds. Some stories tell of tentacles of pure blackness reaching out of the buildings seemingly looking for more victims.
Paranormal Activity Reported Here: apparitions of former patients and staff (anything from full bodied to misty forms); shadow figures; crawling patches of darkness; time slips; possession; dimensional slips; cold and warm spots; unexplained winds; objects moving on their own; doors and windows opening closing on their own; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; scratches and bruises by unseen entities; disembodied voices and whispers; phantom screams, whispers, crying, laughter and breathing; empathic sensations of hysteria and feeling trapped; physical symptoms of nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and headaches; electrical disturbances including batteries draining in minutes or seconds; unexplained mists; unexplained thoughts of doing harm to yourself and others; light anomalies; unexplained sounds from knocks to loud bangs; phantom footsteps; being pinned to the ground or walls and unable to move; feelings of not being alone, not being wanted, being actively hated and being watched and the list goes on and on.
Please be respectful should you enter this site; the souls trapped here have been through a Hell we could never imagine.
(New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica)(Utica Psychiatric Center)
1213 Court Street
Status: Former Psychiatric Hospital; Abandoned; Grounds are Accessible but Buildings are Not
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:RachelNichols2077&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:RachelNichols2077 (page does not exist)">Andrey Volk</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
This facility opened in 1843 and was the first state owned facility for the treatment of the mentally ill in New York State as well as being one the first opened in the USA. It was built in the Greek Revival Style with money provided both by the state and contributions by the good citizens of Utica.
The asylum’s first director, Dr Amrariah Brigham, was one of the founding members of the American Psychiatric Association and, therefore, strongly believed in treating mental illness in ways other than simple confinement. He believed that the patients would benefit from fresh air and working on the facility’s farms and other areas. This is one of the first hospitals to use this treatment.
This facility gave birth, so to speak, to the “Utica crib” which was redesigned after a French design. Patients were put inside the bed with walls on the side much like a crib except the cribs had a hinged lid that could be locked. The patients were, basically, imprisoned in there. The method was highly criticized (put people in a cage and they begin to act like animals) but many patients with whom the treatment was used on claimed that they got the best rest of their lives while sleeping in the crib. There were, however a number of deaths in the cribs – mostly from heart attack and stroke.
In 1887 all the Cribs were removed.
Almost from the beginning this hospital was overcrowded and underfunded. The rate at which patients were cured and released back to society began to fall steadily. As with many other similar institutions of the late 19th and early to mid 20th Century stories of brutal and inhuman treatment of patients began to surface here.
In 1977 the original older buildings were abandoned, but today they still stand silent and boarded up. Some are used for holding records of the New York State Office of Mental Health. Some of the newer and more modern buildings on the property are still used today for psychiatric and other medical care.
Occasionally the State does allow people inside the buildings for tours. In the past these events have resulted in hundreds being turned away as so many people showed up. Other than that this is private property, although the grounds can be entered.
There are multiple reports of almost every type of paranormal activity possible.
These reports include: apparitions of former patients and staff, shadow figures, feelings of being watched, not wanted, extreme unease, physical and psychological illness and being followed, empathetic sensations of sadness, misery and madness, disembodied voices, screams, cries and laughter, phantom footsteps and other unexplained bangs and noises, electrical disturbances, windows and doors opening on their own, unexplained lights and orbs, mysterious mists, lights going on and off on their own as well turning in in rooms and areas that no longer have electricity, touches, pokes and pulls by invisible presences, possession etc.
122 State School Road
Status: Former Residence; Former Reform School; Former Prison; Formerly Abandoned; Being Repurposed
The original building on this site was a manor house which is now well over 160 years old.
The property was acquired shortly after World War I with the idea of converting it to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center by the City of New York. This dream was never realized; and the property sat uninhabited until it the City traded the land to the Dept of Social Welfare (now Social Services) for Randall Island so the City could build the Tri-Boroughs Bridge.
Randall Island had been one of the first attempts to get juvenile offenders out of the adult prison system. It succeeded in this aspect but basically created just a prison for young offenders with no attempts to meet their special needs – even on something as basic as nutrition – or at rehabilitation.
The State Training School for Boys removed the older boys and focused on training boys aged 10 – 15 so they could become valuable members of society as adults. With some ups and downs the system worked much better than the old one.
In the early 1970’s – as part of the movement of deinstitutionalization moving through the Country – the reform schools were moved away from Social Services and given to the Division of Youth. Three Reform Schools were soon closed down completely including Warwick.
In 1977 the facility was re-opened as the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility and quickly reached its target population of 400. By the mid-1980’s under the “war on drugs” policies the population blew up to over 1000. By the end of the 80’s the opening of many small prisons got the population down to 750 where it stayed.
The prison had many great programs including carpentry, a program where inmates training seeing eye and guide dogs and even a guard who brought all the stray cats in the area for the inmates to take care of. In the State’s infinite wisdom, the guard was fired for bringing in the cats but reinstated when the union – successfully – fought the decision.
The prison was closed down in 2011 and remained mostly abandoned until 2022 when plans to convert the area to a park and light industrial area went into effect.
The facility was open for overnight supervised “ghost hunts” in the past but it is unclear if these events will continue into the future.
Activity Reported: a powerful dark energy hovering both outside of the facility and inside the buildings; apparitions of former inmates both from its time as a prison and as a reform school; shadow figures; cold and hot spots; touches, pulls and pushes by unseen presences; mysterious mists; disembodied voices; phantom screams, laughter and crying; unexplained noises; objects moving on their own including doors opening and closing on their own; electrical disturbances; light anomalies and feelings of unease, nausea, not feeling alone, being watched and not being wanted.
(Willard Insane Asylum)(Willard State Hospital)(Willard Drug Treatment Campus)
7116 County Road 132
Status: Former Psychiatric Complex; DOC Facility; Abandoned Dilapidated Buildings
The address given is for the Drug Treatment Center which occupies part of the campus that was once the Willard Asylum. This is a Department of Corrections facility for low level offenders with drug addiction issues. Do not approach this facility without express permission or you will have a very bad day to say the least.
Once upon a time there were tours of the remaining – non DOC – part of the old asylum. These tours were at the discretion of the drug treatment campus. The last tour we could find happened in May of 2016. Right now, it says there are no tours planned for the future – hopefully, at some point, the tours will open again as that is the only way the public can gain access to this site.
Again, this is DOC property now and cannot be entered without express permission.
This area was first purchased in 1853 for the purposes of constructing the Ovid Agricultural College; it consisted of 440 acres. The school opened for classes in December of 1860 which was the worst time it could have – all men of college age were away fight the Civil War and certainly not enrolling in college.
Dr Sylvester Willard, the then Surgeon General for New York, had recently discovered the conditions in the almshouses – basically 19th century homeless shelters – was atrocious with the mentally ill and developmentally being treated worse than animals – kept in cages, some chained since childhood etc.
Dr Willard have the revolutionary idea that these unfortunates should be treated. While the massive asylums – of which this is one of the first ones – of the late 19th and 20th centuries were certainly not Hawaiian vacations they were an improvement over the conditions faced by the mentally ill in the early 19th century.
Dr Willard proposed the bill to create this asylum – a bill that was signed by President Abraham Lincoln shortly before his assassination – but died of typhoid before it was put into law. The asylum naturally was named after him.
The first building constructed was done so based on the Kirkbride style – one wing for male patients and one wing for female patients with the most violent put the furthest away from the center where the administration would be – although, unfortunately, this historical building was demolished in the 1980’s.
The first patient was Mary Rote – a deformed and mentally disabled woman – who had spent the last 10 years chained up in an almshouse. She arrived, in chains, in 1866.
By 1869 all 200 beds were filled in the main building and other outlying buildings began to be built. By 1890 – the campus now being called Willard State Hospital – there were over 70 buildings and 2000 residents.
As with the many similar – the majority of them being much worse than Willard – institutions or State Hospitals Willard saw a downward trend in population beginning in the 1970’s as new drugs were being invented and smaller group homes became the norm. In 1995 Willard released its last patient and closed down.
That same year a portion of the campus was reopened as the Willard Drug Treatment Campus run by the DOC (see above).
Also, in 1995 the famous suitcases were found in the asylum’s attic. Hundreds of suitcases brought by patients when they were admitted. The contents of the suitcases brought into focus a lot of personal stories of individuals who came to live here. The suitcases were never returned, most likely, because the patient died at the hospital and there was no one to claim the personal belongings and the staff didn’t want to just throw them away.
There is a large graveyard on site where the buried – 5,776 people - are simply identified by numbers losing all of their individuality to the state in the end. Many other former patients were cremated. There is an effort being put into finding out who actually died at the hospital but it is severely hampered by lack of records. It is thought over 20,000 people died here during its history.
Apparitions of former patients and staff, shadow figures, disembodied voices, screams, laughter, crying and calls for help, feelings of helplessness, loneliness, being watched and not being alone, poltergeist activity including windows and doors opening and closing on their own and objects moving on their own, unexplainable noises including bangs and other loud and abrupt sounds, time slips, light anomalies, electrical disturbances, touches, tugs and pulls by unseen presences, cold and warm spots and virtually anything else paranormal related.
Although pretty much anything paranormal has been reported here it has not been reported at the frequency of other similar abandoned institutions. There seems to be a preternatural solemnness and quiet to this site.