Not for the Faint-Hearted: Supernatural Encounters and Eerie Haunted Places in New York State

6:35 pm  |  07.11.2021

From the glittering Big Apple to the idyllic mountain scenery of the Adirondacks and Catskills and from the mighty Niagara Falls to the relaxing beaches on the Great Lakes: New York State has a lot to offer. 


Few people know, however, that ghosts are at work here in many places. At these nine locations on the Haunted History Trail, you will repeatedly encounter inexplicable phenomena and beings from the parallel world.

Rolling Hills Asylum – Greater Niagara

Full moon over the Rolling Hills Asylum

The Greater Niagara region is mainly famous for the legendary Niagara Falls, which you can marvel at up close on a boat trip to the foot of the thundering water. Also worth a visit is the city of Buffalo, which has seven buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright in addition to a revamped waterfront district and has given the world the Buffalo Chicken Wings with their popular spicy red sauce. The Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, built around 1827, is known to American TV viewers from series such as “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters” and is considered one of the scariest haunted houses in the USA. Over 1,700 people have died in this poor house in the course of its dark history. It is quite possible that you will encounter one or the other lost soul on a guided ghost tour, a historical tour, or a night ghost hunt.

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Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum – Chautauqua-Allegheny

There are repeated reports of strange occurrences in the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse.

The Dunkirk Lighthouse has been safely escorting boats and ships on Lake Erie and the Erie Canal since 1827. The lighthouse is still in operation – despite the lively ghost activity. Nobody knows for sure whether the inexplicable apparitions are connected to the war exhibits in the local museum or whether they are the souls of former lighthouse keepers. It’s best to get an idea for yourself as part of a guided or private ghost hunt. Afterward, head to the beaches on Lake Erie, find more carefree thoughts at the National Comedy Center’s Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum, or attend lectures and events on arts and humanities topics at the seasonally open Chautauqua Institute.

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Historic Palmyra William Phelps General Store & Historic Palmyra Historical Museum – Finger Lakes

The William Phelps General Store was built-in 1826.

Palmyra, the cradle of Mormonism, is around 35 km southeast of Rochester. The small town was founded in 1789, making it almost 40 years older than the Erie Canal. Local attractions include the Smith Family Farm and the “sacred grove,” where Joseph Smith said he had his first visions. In between, there are countless ghosts and ghosts because Palmyra is considered the most haunted place in the Finger Lakes region. The Palmyra History Museum presents 23 rooms filled with antiques and the William Phelps General Store, a kind of time capsule from 1826, and also organizes daily ghost hunts and regular special events to observe the paranormal phenomena.

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Fort Ontario State Historic Site – 1,000 Islands-Seaway

Inexplicable incidents even occur at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site during the day.

A must for history fans and hobby ghost hunters is Fort Ontario on Lake Ontario, one hour north of the college town of Syracuse. The first plant was built in 1755. Today the fourth fortress is located here, which stands on the remains of its three predecessors. Hundreds of people have lost their lives here. 77 of them are buried on the site – so it’s no wonder that there are supposed to be strange noises and inexplicable apparitions even in daylight. You can look around on your own during the day or explore the fort as part of a guided ghost tour at night. Afterward, you should definitely plan some time for a sightseeing boat trip on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The countless islands in the river are home to dozens of lighthouses and several spectacular “castles”.

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Hyde Hall – Central New York


The antiqued rooms of Hyde Hall are haunted again and again by ghosts.

Cooperstown was once the home of American author James Fenimore Cooper and calls itself the cradle of baseball. Find out everything about the sport and its heroes in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Hyde Hall was built in the early 19th century for wealthy landowner George Clarke. It is said that Clarke and several other ghosts regularly make themselves known through footsteps, knocking noises, and sudden appearances. The television series “Ghost Hunters” even documented the supernatural incidents in the mansion as part of a Halloween special. New York State Historic Site, also a National Historic Landmark, offers daytime historical tours from May through October. Ghost tours can be arranged upon request. Alternatively, you can join other ghost fans who hope for paranormal experiences here at night.

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Haunted Saratoga Ghost Tours – Capital-Saratoga

The Batcheller Mansion Inn, a stop on the Haunted Saratoga Ghost Tours tours.

The enchanting Saratoga Springs welcomes visitors with magnificent architecture, a lively city center, remarkable art, and cultural scene, and renowned thoroughbred races. The city is also a hotspot for ghost hunters and friends of psychic encounters. From May to November you can hear historical facts and haunted stories on the tours of Haunted Saratoga Ghost Tours. And who knows – maybe you will catch a glimpse of the shadow of the house spirit Old Smoke in the Canfield Casino or meet Angeline, the “Witch of Saratoga”, or Hattie, who is still haunted by her old restaurant.

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