While researching our book Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums(available for purchase online—links in the bio blurb at the end), co-author Sam Queen and I had a wish list of the best ghost hunt locations in the United States. Due to budget and time constraints, not every location we wanted to visit could be included. Below, I list our top 10 picks for public ghost hunts that didn’t make the book.
I would also encourage readers to explore the websites of each location to discover a variety of non-ghost hunting activities that might appeal to you. Very often, these locations are nonprofits operated by foundations for the purpose of conserving the historic buildings. An easy and worthwhile way for the public to lend their support is by taking a historic tour, photography tour, or attending a class offered at the facility. Now that I’ve said my piece, get your ghost gear strapped up and let’s go hunting!
10. Rolling Hills Asylum East Bethany, New York
A former workhouse, with the oldest part of the building dating back to 1828, Rolling Hills has seen its share of unfortunate residents—it also served as an insane asylum. At some point, it was turned into a nursing home, before finally being shut down in 1974. This was the first ghost hunt Sam and I ever attended, and it sparked the idea for our book. We experienced crawling shadows rushing towards us on the second floor hallway, collected EVPs, and saw flashlights turning on and off on their own. This is an extremely famous and well-documented facility and ghost hunters will have full access to the building—and even get to spend time in the morgue. Think about those poor souls kept in there throughout the winter, unable to be buried until the ground thawed.
One of Rolling Hill’s most famous former residents is Roy Crouse, who was institutionalized by his family when he was around 12 years old, and who died there at the age of 52. Roy is thought to have suffered from gigantism, and his 2.3 meter (7.5 feet) shadow has been seen throughout the building. While I do not believe I saw Roy, I did have two weird experiences that possibly involved him. The first was during a tour of the facility. No one was behind me, yet I felt something pinch the meaty piece of flesh behind the back of my left arm. A few hours later we were in the Green Room, where the owner, Sharon Coyle, was showing us how to use a piece of ghost hunting equipment called Frank’s Box, designed to allow communication with the dead. I posed the question, “Roy, did you pinch me upstairs?” A response immediately came through the radio: “Green jacket. Midget.” I was wearing a green jacket, and I am just over a meter-and-a-half (five feet) tall. Obviously a midget in Roy’s eyes!