As we creep closer toward Halloween, you might be looking for somewhere to get spooked -- and we know just the place. The Haunted History Trail of New York State holds 400 years of history, so you're bound to find tales of lingering ghosts and otherworldly apparitions. Here are some spots where you might just have your own ghostly encounters -- don't say we didn't warn you.
Head to Albany and experience the free New York State Capitol Haunting Tours inside the gorgeous Romanesque Revival/Neo-Renaissance building. You may just run into the night watchman who died here during the fire of 1911. Staffers think he continues to make his rounds, allegedly hearing the sounds of his keys jangling down the corridor and doorknobs curiously turning on their own.
Hyde Hall may be picturesque, but it is believed by some to harbor a sinister curse placed on it by a former lady of the house. Even more intriguing is the episode of Ghost Hunters that features the house; in it, the team captures creepy footsteps, dark masses, and disembodied voices. Mansion tours are $12.
Best known for its artist-in-residence program, Yaddo Gardens ($10) in Saratoga Springs is a beautiful, sprawling area with a melancholy feel. It is believed that the spirit of the owner’s four children, who all died at a young age, wander the grounds. Historical artifacts aren't the only thing visitors will find at the Historic Canfield Casino and adjacent Saratoga Springs History Museum: There have been unexplained occurrences like doors slamming shut on their own, objects inexplicably moving around, and a subtle lavender scent wafting through the exhibit space that soon disappears. Tours are priced at $10.
Cobleskill's formerly abandoned Grapevine Farms is now a sprawling country shop, cafe, and wine cellar where eerie encounters -- like the sight and sound of children running -- have been reported in some areas of the property. Also in Cobleskill is The Bull’s Head Inn, the town’s oldest building, where its resident spirit is believed to be the former owner, Mrs. John Stacy. There are suspicions that she throws glasses and silverware from the tables, particularly near the bar area.
Brave enough to sleep overnight with a specter or two? Consider bunking up at Allegiance Bed and Breakfast, a beautifully restored and decorated Victorian-era home with an extremely inviting atmosphere. Although former guests have reported seeing ghosts walk through walls, the hauntings here tend to be benign.
For oddities and peculiarities, make your way to the Dr. Best House and Medical Museum ($5 donation) where you’ll be treated to a fascinating and blood-curdling look at early medical devices and paraphernalia. You’ll also hear tales of supernatural sightings and activity, including the sound of the victrola playing in an otherwise empty house.
Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany is a truly unsettling experience. Considered to be one of the most haunted sites in all of the United States, the property was originally established in 1827 as the Genesee County Poor Farm, becoming home to society’s outcasts. There are more than 1,700 documented deaths on site; many bodies were left unclaimed and were buried in unmarked graves on the premises. These days, the doors are open for a variety of tours and experiences -- like the daring eight-hour self-guided hunt ($65).
Located next to Cazenovia Lake, Brae Loch Inn has 12 rooms. There have been strange sightings of a ghostly figure in a long blue dress offering to show guests to their rooms before disappearing down the long hallway. Others have experienced the feeling of having someone sitting at the foot of the bed or a comforting presence lightly stroking their arm.
Glen Sanders Mansion is now a top destination for weddings, but those in search of spirits claim to have communicated with three pre-abolition era slaves in the restaurant and kitchen area, which dates back to the original structure built in 1658. The ghost of Debra Glen, former matriarch of the mansion, is also said to roam the halls, overseeing events.
Ghost hunters visiting Napanoch's "paranormal hotel" come in search of its previous owners and hotel guests. The recorded activity that has taken place at the Shanley Hotel includes rocking chairs moving on their own, the sound of children laughing upstairs, whistling and footsteps on the stairs, and moving apparitions throughout the home.
Here, visitors can step back in time at the Wm. Phelps General Store, where Phelps family members continue to inhabit the space that has been turned into a museum; some make it known that they do not like having strangers going through their personal items. Palmyra Historical Museum also holds tales of unsettled spirits who met tragic ends within its walls. Admission is $3 for both locations.
In the town of Elbridge, diners at the Wayside Irish Pub may be joined by a number of the venue’s frequent ghosts -- including a young woman named Sara who hung herself on the third floor, as well as a shadowy male figure dressed in a soldier’s uniform.
The former Owego Town Jail now houses Calaboose Grille, where patrons -- who dine in the old cells -- have reported hearing the shackles and seeing glimpses of the spirits of the chain gang who built the foundation of the building.