Halloween tends to bring out the spooky when it comes to décor, fashion, and, best of all, the quest for spine chilling experiences. Across the Finger Lakes and in surrounding areas, there are places where legends of hauntings and mysterious happenings abound. Whether you’re looking to spot a real ghost, experience a bit of the area’s history beneath the dark of night, or just partake in some made up haunted fun, there are plenty of uncanny and unnerving experiences to discover in our region.
Here are some haunted experiences to check out if you’re in the mood for the eerie and mysterious:
For some ghostly action, head to Palmyra, which has been featured on The Ghost Finders and visited by a number of ghost detectives, seekers, and more. The five historic museums of Palmyra bring a number of spooky events. Starting in September, for thrill seekers and history buffs who want to get started early on that Halloween vibe, join the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt in honor of National Ghost Hunting Day on Sept. 28. Ghost hunting teams investigate paranormal activity throughout the town, teaming up with investigators from across the world via live streaming. Later in October, Palmyra is also host to Historic Palmyra’s Famous Cemetery Walk and the Para Expeditions Ghost Hunt at Historic Palmyra, where participants will go on a guided tour of the area and learn about paranormal activity as well as be given opportunities to connect with those from the beyond. For tickets, dates, and times, check here.
Featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, the 1890 Museum in Cortland annually hosts Spirits in the Castle, where participants join up with Knightime Paranormal to investigate the Victorian-era stone castle known as the Wickwire Mansion. Learn about the death of Chester Wickwire and hunt for ghostly occurrences in this haunted mansion. For something a bit more theatrical, the museum is also host to Séance Revealed, where the participating audience is led in a Victorian séance. Following the séance, the curtains are thrown back as performers reveal the tips and tricks for creating paranormal happenings. For tickets, dates, and times, check here.
You’ll step into the past when you visit the Genesee Country Museum any day of the year, but during Spirits of the Past Theatrical Tours the historic village is transformed into a place where ghouls rule. Throughout the evening, you’ll be entertained by spine-chilling historical accounts, folklore, and literature, all of which will be explored and performed by costumed characters by the flicker of candlelight. For tickets, dates, and times, check here.
Spend the evening learning about spooky folklore, local crimes, and more by participating in the Haunted History of Seward House tour across the grounds of Seward House and through downtown Auburn, led by guides garbed in costume to really set the tone of this chilling expedition. For tickets, dates, and times, check here.
A more recent addition the New York State’s Haunted History Trail, Belhurst Castle, with its amazing lake views and grand presence, is also believed to be haunted. While there’s no specific tour, you can try to catch a glimpse of Isabella, an opera singer that legend says perished at the castle and has been said to still roam the grounds, by booking a room, a spa service (named Isabella Spa-Salon after the famous specter), a wine tasting, or a reservation for dinner. For more information, check here.
At night, there’s nothing quite as creepy as walking through a cemetery. But in the daylight, it’s not quite as frightening, which makes this daytime cemetery tour a family-friendly event. Participants of the Historic Ithaca Cemetery Tour will learn about the cemetery’s evolution through time and hear tales about storied residents. For tickets, dates, and times, check here.
Although not officially haunted—though the historic mansion certainly sets the scene—Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua comes alive with spooks during its annual Haunted Stroll through the gardens. Snacks can be purchased at this family-friendly event. For more information, check here.
Experience All Hallows Eve in Corning when you take a walk through the historic village, spooky buildings, and creepy exhibits. There are activities for kids, movies, treats, and plenty of thrilling fun to be had by all. For more information, check here.
Whether your love of Halloween involves realistic frights or spooky fun, the Finger Lakes offers eerie historical settings, crisp, fall air, and an array of options to embrace the ghostly side of the season.
For more haunted hot spots throughout New York, visit HauntedHistoryTrail.com