Rolling Hills Asylum

Rolling Hills Asylum 

A biting wind cuts through the barren branches of dormant trees. They lightly wave as a wisp of fresh snow is carried off of the roof and into the air, dancing in small whirlwinds before finally dissipating into a fine powder and scattering invisibly to the landscape. There is no color here, not in the dead of winter. All has turned to a sea of white, flowing endlessly outward through ashen-barked trees until it meets with the pale sky. In the midst of this bleak vista stands the cold red brick of the Rolling Hills asylum.

This asylum has been bearing the grim winters of East Bethany, NY, for nearly two centuries now. Its original title was “The Genesee County Poorhouse”, a facility built to provide care to those of the community that could not care for themselves. It opened its doors to the less fortunate on January 1st, 1827, and it quickly proved to be of great service to the county, necessitating several expansions and additions throughout the years to properly house the number of residents it was faced with. In 1828 a stonework annex was constructed to house “lunatics” and others deemed too dangerous for interaction with the other residents of the poorhouse.

Sadly, being an establishment which was created to serve those who had no one else meant that when a resident passed away, they often had no family to claim them. Thus, a cemetery was quickly created on the property to lay those unclaimed to rest. Nearly all detailed records of the graves have been lost to the ages, save for a preceding from 1886 that reads “The burying ground we have improved by building a fence in front and grading and leveling the ground as much as could be done without injury to the graves.”. Having never been listed on any property map or document from its day, the exact whereabouts of the cemetery remains unknown to this day. Most of the land here has grown back to a natural state - Tall grasses, underbrush, and even forests now stand on much of the former poorhouse property. Due to this, the cemetery may well remain lost to the annals of history.

The questionable care provided by the asylum and the poorhouse during its day (many mental healthcare facilities from this era struggled to provide proper care for their patients), coupled with the phantom cemetery where countless of these poor souls were laid to rest, has come to make the Rolling Hills asylum a hot-spot of sorts among paranormal enthusiasts. A theme that seems to run strong here is that of “shadow-people”, unexplained figures standing at the far end of corridors, or tall slender forms walking through doorways at the corner of one's vision.

Of these matters we cannot truly say, as our work does not delve into the realm of spirits or theoretical energies. Regardless, anyone who reflects long upon the history here at Rolling Hills will undoubtedly experience an air of unease, especially when standing within one of its many dimly lit corridors.