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September 13, 2019 - 2:15pm

Information from a press release:

Along the Haunted History Trail of New York State, you will find the largest collection of haunted and Halloween events statewide.

Three sites on the trail are in Genesee County: the historic Seymour Place building at 201 E. Main St. in Downtown Batavia, home to GO ART!; Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany; and the Haunted Bergen House, built in 1858 and located at 6571 W. Sweden Road, Bergen.

More than 500 events -- from authentic ghost hunts and paranormal investigations to staged haunted houses and Halloween hayrides -- can be found on the Haunted History Trail's online event calendar, offered now through the end of October.

Ghost hunting is offered year-round in historic Palmyra and its William Phelps General Store, with special events in the fall.

Home to all things paranormal, 365 days a year, the Haunted History Trail features more than 90 authentically haunted locations across the state. These locations offer investigations, ghost hunts, guided tours, and other experiences that allow visitors to interact with the haunted side and seek out spirits during a dining experience, special event, or overnight stay.

But, during the "spooky season" in the time leading up to Halloween, the trail opens its offerings to all forms of haunted events -- from the serious spirits right down to the spirited pretenders.

"We see a lot of attention this time of year due to the season and the nature of our trail," says Kelly Rapone, administrator of the Haunted History Trail.

"People are seeking out opportunities to be scared -- whether that's on a guided tour that tells them about ghost sightings and the history behind them or experiencing a jump-scare as they go through a haunted house. We want to be their resource for all things haunted."

While many of the trail events lead up to Halloween as the major fall holiday, Sept. 28 also marks a holiday celebrated by select Haunted History Trail partners. It's "National Ghost Hunting Day," established in 2016, which "recognizes and celebrates the novice, curious and expert execution of ghost-hunting methods."

Several trail locations, including Palmyra's William Phelps General Store, East Bethany's Rolling Hills Asylum, and the Haunted Hinsdale House in Hinsdale, participate on that date in the "World's Largest Ghost Hunt" -- an international phenomenon that brings people together from across the globe to take part in a night of paranormal investigations.

Themes for the 2019 event will include historic preservation, celebrating haunted towns, and exploring cultural diversity within the ghost-hunting field around the world.

To learn more, visit the Haunted History Trail of New York State's website here.

To view the online trail brochure, click here.

About the Haunted History Trail of New York State

It is the only statewide ghost tourism initiative in the United States. It was created in 2013 by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with tourism promotion agencies across the state and with support provided by Empire State Development's I LOVE NEW YORK program under the Market NY initiative.

The Haunted History Trail of New York State features more than 90 haunted locations found within almost every region of New York State. Guided ghost tours, paranormal investigations, haunted dining and overnight stays are available on the trail, with many of the attractions tying back to New York's local history.

(Photo from Haunted History Trail of New York State website.)

December 6, 2014 - 8:07pm


Two cast members of the SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters "Ghost Asylum," a new show from Destination America, ham it up after filming a take for a segment of the show that will include Batavia.

Crew members couldn't discuss the details of the episode. At least one scene will be from Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe on Jackson Street. I'm under the impression there are other scenes being taped at other locations in the county.

September 8, 2014 - 9:35am
posted by Cathy DeBellis in paranormal, LIVE.
Event Date and Time: 
November 7, 2014 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Spend the evening at GCC's Stuart Steiner Theatre, with one of the world's most visible and prolific paranormal investigators as he takes you through the haunts, ghost stories, and the evidence from some intriguing paranormal hot spots around the globe.  A sigh language interpreter for the hearing impaired will be available. 

Tickets can be purchased and/or reserved by contacting the GCC Box Office in person, by phone at (585)345-6814, or by email at [email protected].

April 2, 2010 - 3:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, paranormal, union hotel.


The Union Hotel in Corfu was built in 1828 and was once a stagecoach stop for travelers. It looms near the main junction in the village and was recently painted charcoal.

Shayne Poodry bought the hotel at an auction last fall and has been busy sprucing it up. It already had a popular bar and bowling alley inside. Now it has a restaurant and a banquet room, too.

Upstairs there’s a dance hall and the owner’s quarters. He’s had workers helping him with renovations and at least one unseen “guest,” maybe more.

People say it’s haunted. It certainly looks like it could be. Poodry just knows weird things happen at his place.

corfuhotel03.jpgHe remembers hearing stories about it growing up, but that was neither here nor there when the opportunity came along to buy it.

He soon found out his TV could turn on by itself. Once he got out of bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and when he came back to bed, the television in the corner of his office was on.

“I never leave the TV on,” he said. “I was taught that -- you know when you’re growing up and the ol’ man says ‘turn off the lights, you’re wasting money.’ So I always make sure it’s turned off.”

Maybe even he could leave the TV on once -- but twice, no way.

“I was watching TV in bed one night, and just as soon as the lady says ‘Jay Leno is next,' and they start playing the music, when he does his monologue, the TV in the office turns on,” he recalled.

corfuhotel04.jpgIt was unsettling, made him think “What’s going on here?”

Another time, he was doing renovation work with a young helper and both of them heard a door slam mighty hard.

“Like the guy was mad at his ol’ lady and got up and slammed the door shut,” Poodry said.

Through a friend, he found out about a group of paranormal researchers in Buffalo who team up with a guy named John Crocitto to scout out strange phenomena. Crocitto has a radio program “Beyond Ghosts,” which is described as an “interactive paranormal radio show."

A Web production of paranormal happenings at the Union Hotel is in production. It will be unveiled Saturday, April 10, during a paranormal exploration event at the hotel with Beyond Ghosts. All are welcome.

Not long ago, Crocitto was invited to the Union Hotel with a couple of his colleagues to explain what he does at places like the Union and why. As for Poodry, he’s ambivalent about the whole ghost thing, but does see some marketing opportunities!

Crocitto’s cool with that, but he’s more interested in seeing “if there’s really an afterlife.” He thinks the universe to so complex, that anything is possible, including inexplicable fluctuations of electromagnetic fields and happenings that transcend or defy our limited understanding.

corfuhotel05.jpgOn a tour of the hotel, we climbed the creaky staircase and peered into all the little rooms and then went into the huge ballroom. That’s where they keep remodeling hardware for the time being. It was poorly lit and none too welcoming, but there were no odd occurrences. And least not upstairs.

A whoosh, BLAM is heard downstairs. The bartender rushes to close the front door, which is seldom used because most people enter at the side door, where the bar is.

“The door just opened and slammed by itself!” she exclaims, shaking her head. “I’m telling you, strange things happen here.”

Crocitto proceeds to educate us about the paranormal, which simply means “outside of normal.” He says:

Things don’t have to be old or dead to be haunted; objects can contain the spiritual energy of the person who owned it.

Some ghosts are “residual,” they are like a “looped tape” that keeps playing over and over whether you are there to see it or not. Like a woman who walks across the room, she just keeps repeating the same action nonstop.

corfuhotel10.jpgSome instances are known as "intelligent haunting," like a TV turning itself on, in which a paranormal occurrence seems to be specifically aimed at someone.

There is no set of rules or scientific proof in researching the paranormal. Most people who take it seriously don’t claim to know what’s it all about or why strange things happen, nor do they necessarily care.

They simply enjoy the hunt and the process of capturing clues with infrared cameras and high-tech tape recorders, etc., afforded nowadays.

Ghost hunters, for lack of a better term, don’t try to “convince” people that such things are paranormal. They are sincere and serious about checking out reports of paranormal activity. It wouldn’t be fun or interesting to fake this stuff, they said. Just like deep-sea exploring for sunken treasure, they do it for the thrill of the hunt and, just maybe, the find.

“We were in the Buffalo train station, which is definitely haunted,” Crocitto said. “I was sitting down and all of a sudden my lap got cold and I heard a child’s voice say ‘hello.’ It gives me chills just thinking about it.”

He played the audio recording. It sounded cavernous, tinny, picking up the sounds of nothing but fidgeting. Then a breathy, whispery child’s voice utters “hello.”

corfuhotel02.jpgLater we sat at a table in the banquet room, described as “ground zero” for odd occurrences at the Union Hotel. With only the glow of computer screens for light Crocitto, his cohort, Ryan Willard, and techie Brandon Bristow show a video.

It was shot in complete darkness with a stationary infrared camera focused on of the end of a hallway near a staircase. If you look very carefully, you see a shapeless, shadowy mass dart across from right to left.

In a still picture, shot at a mansion in WNY, Willard shows the transparent image of a young boy with a Dutch Boy haircut dressed in old-fashioned clothes standing in front of a tall window.

“It isn’t voodoo,” Crocitto said, in answer to a question about dabbling in the occult. “And I don’t see it conflicting with my spiritual beliefs. I’m Roman Catholic. I don’t think the paranormal is occult, of the Devil. But I’m not afraid of the Devil anyway … bring it on. The Lord protects me.”

This from a man who is a trained scientist, a biologist (who’s seen his share of ghoulish sights in the laboratory and the morgue).

“Most scientists I know believe in God,” Crocitto said.

Willard agrees.

“It would be really depressing if they didn’t,” Willard said.


July 14, 2009 - 6:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, Bethany, Rolling Hills, paranormal.

Some think the old county building on East Bethany Road is a dilapidated relic that invites mischief making. Certainly, it's got a sterling reputation for creepiness, which is exactly why a California couple sees gold.

Sharon and Jerry Coyle of Huntington Beach met with local officials two weeks ago to discuss buying the now-closed Rolling Hills Paranormal Research Center and turning it into a place that could attract tourists worldwide.

Bethany's town council talked about the broad outline of the ideas at Monday night's meeting.

"It's where ghosts go to square dance," said Clerk Debbie Douglas.

"It's paranormal all right," said Justice Tom McBride.

The 19th Century building was once Genesee County Poor Farm and an insane asylum. Its dank catacomb-like recesses have welcomed cable TV film crews scouting for ghosts. Purportedly some firefighters get creeped out by the place.

Lynn Freeman, president of the county Chamber of Commerce, said he knows folks who won't even drive by it.

But Freeman says the Coyle's plans are clever, elaborate and multifacted. He was briefed on them by the Coyles when they met here with the Bethany Town Supervisor and Economic Development Council members.

"Any new business that enhances Genesee County is good," Freeman said.

The Coyles' wish list includes:

  • Renovating the building and bringing everything up to code;
  • Getting it listed with the Governor's Office of Film and Television so it can be widely available for media exporsure;
  • Lobbying for its placement on the National Registry of Historic Buildings;
  • Opening the old poor house section as a museum;
  • Working with historians, archeologists, college students and others to research the property, including doing high-tech ground probes in search of paupers' graves;
  • Cross-promoting the supercenter with other local businesses such as Darien Lake Theme Park and Resort, Batavia Downs Casino and Racetrack and parks and forest authorities;
  • Building audio and video bays to enable the study of paranormal activities;
  • Having a 24/7 Web cam set up in some areas to capture paranormal activity for study and research;
  • Offering tourism activities such as a wine-and-cheese festival, kite festival, harvest festival with "haunted hayrides," movie showings, picnics, concerts, art shows, seminars and tours for youth groups;
  • Creating an English garden for weddings and the like and planting lavender, sage and rosemary to harvest for essential oils and other products;
  • Having a hostel for men and one for women who are traveling the region, like on a trip to Niagara Falls;
  • Offering tours and learning opportunities for youth groups;
  • Selling a variety of things like food and beverages, coffee mugs, T-shirts, flashlights and audio/visual equipment.

The complicated project would be expensive, but no one has talked dollars and cents yet. The supercenter would be the Coyle's primary source of income. The couple is researching grants, low-interest financing, tax incentives, Empire zone benefits, etc.

"It has the potential to increase tourism to the area, thus generating revenue for regional and statewide businesses and additional tax revenues," writes Sharon Coyle in a letter distributed to key people.

But to make any of it reality would take local, county and state support.

"It's better than letting it deteriorate and have kids breaking into it," said Bethany Town Clerk Douglas.


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