Paranormal Tourism- Say Hello to the Haunted History Trail of New York State

by Karen on October 31, 2013

in Education, History, Museum Issues, Museums in the News, Shopping, Travel and Tourism

Happy Halloween! If you like to get spooked or are curious about ghost encounters, then paranormal travel and tourism might be for you. Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Rapone, Tourism Marketing Director for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Promotion Agency in Batavia, NY, and Founder of the Haunted History Trail of New York State.

Haunted History Trail of New York State
Explore the Haunted History Trail of New York State this Halloween and throughout the year.

Genesee County, NY is home to The Rolling Hills Asylum, featured on SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters and Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. The Rolling Hills Asylum is also listed as the second most haunted place in the U.S. by Built in 1827 as the county poor house, the property has also served as an insane asylum, orphanage and nursing home over the years, with over 1700 documented deaths. Many of these people went unclaimed and are buried on the Asylum grounds.

Rolling Hills Asylum
Rolling Hills Asylum, in East Bethany, NY is considered one of the most haunted locations in the U.S. The Asylum is open for tours and ghost hunting.]

In talking with Kelly, the Genesee County Tourism Agency focuses most of its marketing efforts on family activities and events, so the big question was how to include the famous Rolling Hills Asylum in the mix, which caters to a different type of traveler? With New York State History going back to the 1600s with Dutch colonial settlers and Native American inhabitants beyond that, it is a hotbed of ghost stories and legends. So the idea was born- let’s make a Haunted History Trail of New York State to help both the leisure curious and paranormal investigative travelers easily plan their trips.

The Haunted History Trail of New York State just launched in September 2013 and is already an immensely popular travel tool. Twelve tourism agencies across the state signed on to participate and 8 more counties will be joining the trail in 2014. You can explore the trail by region or by experience including Haunted Inns, Ghost Hunts, Guided Tours, Ghostly Events, Creepy and UFOs. As you wander through the map, you can pull up information on each location and listen to an audio tour that introduces you to the paranormal activity at that site, then easily request travel guides to that region of New York State to plan your trip.

When I asked Kelly whether she has experienced ghost encounters, she said no, but it is her wish to stay in a haunted inn on the trail at some point. I also asked her if she remembers visiting museums as a child and how that impacts her work today as a tourism marketing director. Kelly says she remembers visiting the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, NY as a child. Known as the Birthplace of Western New York, settlers came here starting in 1800 to purchase land. Kelly says she liked to wander into the museum and look up families who settled the area. There was something inspiring about seeing those documents first hand.

Below is a list of some of our favorite Haunted Trails and Travel sites. When you are ready to plan your trip, remember to use’s Travel section to book your airfare, hotel and rental car needs. A percentage of your purchase amount becomes a free donation to your favorite museum or related organization. You can also shop for your favorite Ghost Hunters DVDs and merchandise at the SyFy Store and NBC Universal Store through
Ghost Hunters DVD Collection
Shop for Ghost Hunters DVDs, gear and gifts through

Some of Our Favorite Links to Explore Paranormal Travel:
The Haunted History Trail of New York State
Visit Genesee County, NY
Northern Ohio Tourism- Ghostly Things to Do
Alabama Ghost Trail
Wikipedia List of Reportedly Haunted Locations in the United States (Listed by State)
Haunted North America

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