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September 20, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: A Haunting Journey Through New York


Last week I asked: What place claims to be the Second Most Haunted Place in the United States?

Rolling Hills Asylum.

The Rolling Hills Asylum is located in East Bethany, south of Batavia in Genesee County.

The Rolling Hills Asylum

The Rolling Hills Asylum

The sprawling red brick building was built in 1827 as The Genesee County Poor Farm and in the 1950s it was a county home and infirmary.

For a short time it was an antique mall.

Over the years people reported strange occurrences of the paranormal kind.

Paranormal investigators found that it was indeed “haunted.”

In fact, it was declared the “Second Most Haunted Place in the United States” by Haunted North America and has been featured on many TV shows.

Genesee County Interpretive Nature Center

Genesee County Interpretive Nature Center

Recently Sharon Coyle, the owner, gave us a guided tour of the massive building.

It was fascinating with everything from a mortuary to a schoolroom to a museum.

According to Coyle, there have been more than 1,700 documented deaths in the building and probably many undocumented, plus the Asylum was built on a Native American burial ground.

We took the historic tour but there are a variety of offerings including “quarantine” tours that start at 7 p.m. and end a 4 a.m.

Paranormal tours and experiences have become very popular.

They fall into two categories.

There are the “scare ‘em” types that are popular at Halloween time.

More recently tours have taken a more scientific approach with tours led by paranormal experts with equipment to collect data such as EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) and to detect the presence of spirits.

There are such experiences at Casey’s Cottage at Mexico Point Park and one scheduled on June 29 at the new Starr Clark Tin Shop and Underground Railroad Museum.

 Holland Land Office Museum.

Holland Land Office Museum.

Located on Main Street in Mexico, the Tin Shop harbored runaway slaves and was where plans were made to transport them safely to Canada.

It would be interesting if the EVP picked up the voice of a runaway slave or of Jerry McHenry, the most famous of the slaves harbored in Mexico, New York.

Next to the Rolling Hills Asylum is the Genesee County Interpretive Nature Center which is on land that was once farmed by the people from the Genesee County Poor Farm.

The Nature Center has many displays including one that shows the inside of an active bee hive plus there are trails, educational programs, a butterfly garden and more.

There is a guide for the Turtle Pond Trail and some of the other trails.

No matter how many times John and I visit a nature center – and we have been to many – we always find something of interest and learn something new.

In Batavia, we toured the Holland Land Office Museum.

Batavia is called the “Birthplace of Western New York.”

The museum was once home to the Holland Land Purchase where more than three million acres of Western New York were surveyed and sold.

Like much of Western New York, the land was in the hands of land speculators who hoped reap a profit from land sales.

The museum has a variety of displays including vintage surveying equipment.

There are also changing displays.

One unique display is the gibbet (a gallows without a drop floor) where three condemned people were hanged.

Adjacent to the museum is the Peace Garden.

Peace Garden.

Peace Garden.

The gardens are beautiful but what made it special were the volunteers who were working on the gardens.

They invited us to share their lunch.

It was another one of those wonderful travel moments as we ate delicious sandwiches with new-found friends.

Travel Trivia Tease™: Where is the Seneca Iroquois National Museum? Look for the answer next week.

Mexico resident Sandra Scott and her husband, John, enjoy traveling and sharing that experience with others. She also writes everyday for Examiner.com (rotating on editions … Syracuse Travel, National Destination and Culinary Travel).

2 Responses “Sandra Scott Travels: A Haunting Journey Through New York”

  1. June 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

    First, I’d like to thank Sandra Scott for visiting Rolling Hills Asylum and taking the time to write the article about RHA. A couple quick corrections: there’s a typo regarding the number of deaths – should read 1,700 documented and thousands undocumented (an extra zero – oh, eel, it happens, right?) and EVP isn’t a piece of equipment. You may capture an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) on an audio recorder or on the audio portion of a video clip. Hope everyone comes out to visit very soon! We have 4 hr Detained Ghost Hunts and 8 hr Captive Ghost hunts (public hunts), 9 hr Quarantined Hunts (private) plus tours, Teen Hunts and Special Celebrity Events (check the August 2013 calendar for that one!!). Hope to see you all soon!

  2. Steve Yablonski
    June 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the note!
    – steve

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