The Amityville Horror House. (Eyes on the lawn statues...)
October is when all the ghosts and ghouls come out to play. When supernatural forces are shaken from their dusty slumber to spook and scare the living. In honor of all the “spirits” that live among us, here is our list of the most haunted places in New York State:
1. “THE AMITYVILLE HORROR” HOUSE, LONG ISLAND
Thanks to the book “The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson and the 18 films based on the book (yes, there are up to 18 now...), 112 Ocean Avenue in suburban Long Island is one of the most frequently visited (by apparently the living and the dead) locations for depictions of suburban hauntings. Its Dutch Colonial architecture, which unfortunately, in certain lights resembles a ghoulish face grinning menacingly, remains close to the top of the American popular consciousness. But what actually is said to have happened?
In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his parents and his four siblings. This much we definitely know is true. The house’s history after that is much more paranormal. The next year, the Lutz family moved in, having paid a vastly reduced cost for the house in light of its history. After 28 days they left, claiming they experienced antagonistic supernatural phenomena during their stay. George Lutz, the father, claimed he woke up at 3:15 every morning, the time the killing supposedly took place. Green slime is said to have oozed out of the walls, there were cold-temperature spots, and perhaps least subtle -- on the part of the ghosts -- was the sight of a pig-like creature with red eyes at the window.
2. GURNSEY HOLLOW CEMETERY, FREWSBURG
Gurnsey Hollow Cemetery can only be reached by travelling down a long dirt road into the woods of Frewsburg, New York. Once you get far enough into the woods and can no longer see a familiar landmark, the cemetery will come into view. It is said that in the late 1800s a gang of local townsfolk chased a mentally-disabled seven-year-old girl into the cemetery and, in the darkness of night, stoned her to death. Other people say she was hanged by them on a large stone cross that sits on top of a hill in the cemetery. The girl was then buried there, and they say she still haunts the grounds. People who have visited the cemetery report many strange phenomena, such as seeing strange orbs in the night, hearing a child’s laughter, footsteps following them, and even being scratched by some phantom force. Could the little girl be taking her revenge from beyond the grave?
Photo Credit: New York Paranormal
(It should be noted that while I was typing the above credit, just a few seconds after uploading the photo, for the first time EVER my computer screen "jumped" down TWICE in the middle of typing....Officially freaked out. - ADR.)
3. LETCHWORTH VILLAGE, THIELLS
Built with the best of intentions, Letchworth Village was founded by the 19th century businessman and Quaker, William Pryor Letchworth. The idea behind the village was to provide a more compassionate and nourishing environment for those who were, at the time, considered “feeble-minded.” Instead of the high-rise asylums and dilapidated almshouses, which often amounted to incarceration for those with mental issues, Letchworth Village was intended to be a self-contained 2,000 acres of small cottages sustained by its own working farm. The residents would be given the opportunity to be more productive and learn vocational skills while still under the care of leading medical professionals.
The project, after its completion in 1911, started well. The village grew to 130 buildings for 3,000 patients. As many as 10,000 locals worked there at one time. It was the leading facility of its kind in the country. This success begot its downfall. By 1935, the village had reached its capacity for patients but more kept coming, overwhelming the facilities and the staff. While still doing good work, the village came to be known for its abuses and neglect from as early as the 40s. The village’s problems devolved even further and gained nationwide notoriety when Geraldo Rivera took people inside it with his award-winning expose “Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace."
Click image to purchase "Unforgotten: Twenty-Five Years After Willowbrook" (video)
His documentary showed children lying naked on the floor in their own feces, moaning, and patients crammed together in rooms with no one to care for them. The village was closed in 1996 but today it appears to have been deserted for much longer. Vines and branches smother the neoclassical columns; inside the buildings, the walls are covered in graffiti and sloughing paint, and broken cabinets and glass litter the floors. Some people claim the psychic pain caused here lingers and infects the land.
4. DURAND EASTMAN PARK, ROCHESTER
By day, the 977-acre, lush, green Durand Eastman Park in Rochester, which is flanked on the north by Lake Ontario and contains several of its own clear, quiet lakes, is considered an enjoyable, relaxing space for families, hikers and lovers of nature. But the park has also become known for a darker reason: the Lady in White. It is said that long ago, before the area became a public park and was mostly farmland, a reclusive woman lived there with her daughter. One day, the daughter went out and never returned. Some said she ran away with a boy, some say she was killed. Regardless, her mother spent the rest of her days roaming the land for her daughter and it is said that this did not stop with her death.
To this day, there are reports of unusual sightings, particularly at night. A woman is sometimes seen coalescing out of the mist, sometimes she is old and thin, sometimes she is accompanied by her dogs. It is claimed that she is particularly aggressive towards men who are disrespectful to women. You can pay a visit and decide for yourself.
Earlier this year, a storm ripped off branches from an old tree in the park. Some believe the damage left behind a fairly haunting image of The Lady in White...
5. ROLLING HILLS ASYLUM, EAST BETHANY
In 1826, Genesee County decided to purchase a large plot of land and its building in East Bethany to set up the Genesee County Poorhouse. Within a couple of years they built a solitary confinement building for some of their more disturbed populace. Over 1,700 bodies are believed to have been buried on these grounds in unmarked graves. The almshouse was eventually abandoned and came to be called the Rolling Hills Asylum.
According to those who sell tickets for entry, Rolling Hills Asylum is home to many ghosts, one of whom is 7-foot Roy who arrived at the asylum as a 12-year-old suffering from gigantism. He is described as the friendliest ghost. On the other hand, there’s also mean Nurse Emmie who was, by all accounts, a terrible Satanist. How colorful.
Video: "Rolling Hills Asylum talk with Roy". WATCH THIS!!!