If you are on the lookout for urban legends, haunted places, or haunted hayrides in the Rochester area this Halloween season, we have you covered! Below are some of the most haunted places in Rochester NY. Also included are nearby haunted locations and Halloween haunted houses.
Perched on Lake Ontario’s southern shore, Rochester is known for both its industrial history and creative revival, especially when it comes to the city’s busy downtown district. Filled with remnants of the past, the city and its surroundings are also home to a number of spooky sites for you to check off your paranormal bucket list.
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The following haunted places in the city of Rochester, NY, are must-stops on any Upstate New York ghost tour, especially if you’re ready to trade the state’s small towns in for a bustling metropolitan destination.
The Fox Sisters: A Rochester Ghost Story
Rochester’s Place in Spiritual and Haunted History
The Fox sisters were three sisters from Rochester, New York are considered to be the founders of the Spiritualist Movement in the US in the mid-1800’s.
The urban legend goes like this: the Fox sisters grew up in a house that had a reputation for being haunted. There were strange “rappings” or “knockings” that tortured it’s dwellers.
Fed up by whatever was responsible for the noises, the youngest of the sisters (just twelve years old at the time) challenged the ghost. She said the ghost who communicated with her was the spirit of Charles Haynes; who had been murdered in the house and buried in the cellar.
After this incident, the two younger Fox sisters became instantly famous for talking to the dead. They used “rappings” to convince their older sister and others that they were communicating with spirits. They all enjoyed success as mediums for many years.
In 1849, the Fox sisters demonstrated their spiritualist rapping at the Corinthian Hall in Rochester. This was the first demonstration of spiritualism held before a paying public and inaugurated a long history of public events featured by spiritualist mediums and leaders in the United States and in other countries.
The Fox sisters were by far, the most famous mediums of the time, giving séances for hundreds of people. Then, it all fell apart, and the sisters were exposed as frauds.
There is even a book written about the Fox Sisters; Rich in historical detail, Rochester Knockings novelizes the rise and fall of these most infamous of mediums.
11 Haunted Places in Rochester NY
The City of Rochester sits on the southern shore of the massive Lake Ontario; one of the Great Lakes. It is the fourteenth largest lake in the world at 193 miles long, 53 miles wide and 726 miles of shoreline; for a mightly 7,300 square miles. There is more than a cold breeze blowing off the lake! There is a haunted side to this New York town and below we explore the most haunted places, XXX
Whether you are looking for abandoned places in Rochester NY for a good scare or want to book one of the best ghost walking tours in the United States, below offers plenty to get you in the Halloween mood!
1. Durand Eastman Park & The White Lady
Located along the Ontario lakeshore, Rochester’s Durand Eastman Park is an idyllic daytime destination for the whole family. Benches, walking paths, picnic areas and even an on-site golf course invite city dwellers to tune out and enjoy a crisp autumn day or balmy summer evening.
However, once dusk falls and the park empties, its haunted past is drawn out by looming shadows, dark wooded hollows, and the legend of The White Lady, a ghost of a woman rumored to float along the local pathways she once knew.
While the origins of her story are largely unknown, there are a number of stories associated with the White Lady’s fate, all of which touch on waiting in despair. Taking on an entirely different context at night, the ruins of an old snack stand in the park add to its air of mystery- while they don’t necessarily have anything to do with the ghost sightings, they’re a perfect backdrop for any scary story, as they are often called the White Lady’s Castle.
Address: 1200 Kings Hwy N, Rochester, NY
2. Union Tavern
Located in the part of the city known as Seabreeze, the infamous Union Tavern has withstood centuries of history, housing the extended Woodman- Bradstreet family throughout the 1800’s. The home remained a private residence until the 1930’s, before taking on a number of roles, including apartments and restaurants.
These days, the Tavern serves up a full dinner and drink menu, inviting guests to absorb the atmosphere over hearty meals and beers on tap. According to its current owners, the Tavern’s ghosts still frequent its grounds, and sightings include the figure of Lavinia Bradstreet, Captain Samuel Waldo Bradstreet’s beloved wife.
Even if you don’t catch sight of a spirit, the Union is a necessary Rochester pit stop for anyone who loves local eats and the cozy environment of a classic tavern.
Address: 4565 Culver Rd, Rochester, NY
3. Auditorium Theatre
Dating back to 1928, the Auditorium Theatre can be found just east of Rochester’s city center. Sporting a vintage neon sign, the towering structure was originally designed as a Masonic Temple, as evidenced by its sweeping arches and somewhat intimidating facade.
As a popular local entertainment venue, the theater continues to host touring performances, meaning patrons can step inside its historic interior to take it in for themselves.
Whether it’s eerie whispers, backstage apparitions or ghostly figures, paranormal activity has been reported numerous times within the theater. Ghosts or no ghosts, this local fixture’s imposing architecture and grand stage give you plenty to look forward to when visiting Rochester’s architectural curiosities.
Address: 885 E Main St, Rochester, NY
4. Mt. Hope Cemetery
Located minutes away from the Genesee River, Rochester’s Mt. Hope Cemetery was opened in 1838, and is the final resting place for over 300,000 people. Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony are buried at Mt. Hope, and the burial ground is known as the country’s first municipal cemetery. While the area is perfect for a morning walk under canopies of autumn leaves, as the day winds down, its haunting aura becomes undeniable.
The cemetery arose from a 19th century need to bury cholera victims, adding to its paranormal edge. Unexplained light sources and unidentifiable sounds are among the strange happenings reported at Mt. Hope, and the grounds’ haunted reputation dates back to Native American populations that once presided over the area. While you may be a tad too spooked by the ghostly activity to visit at night, Mt. Hope does provide a bit of respite for reflection, strolls and headstone-reading during the day.
1133 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester, NY
Rochester Haunted Houses
If you want a good fright in October, below are the scariest haunted houses in Rochester. This is your chance to encounter ghosts, zombies, ghouls and other horrors. These attractions aren’t meant for the young or faint of heart, so if you’re looking for some more tame fall fun, check out our guide to the best apple picking in New York. For everyone else, these haunted houses in Rochester are good for an eerie evening.
5. Castle of Horrors
If you are looking for Halloween haunted attractions, the best haunted house is the Castle of Horrors. It is known to be the scariest haunted house!
The 2020 theme is “zombie” infection. The haunted house comes with a story that widespread panic has hit the streets of Rochester that reports of riots, random acts of violence and cannibalism have erupted all over the world. Head to the Castle of Horrors for safety or to find more terror!
Address: 900 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14605
6. Dark Matter Scream Works
You can also visit Dark Matter Scream Works at The Mall at Greece Ridge. It is Rochester’s only true indoor scream park with 5 Unique Haunted Houses; Blood Manor, Contagion, Circus of the Damned, Phobias and House of Krampus. Five distinct separate haunted houses for one price.
Address: 296 Greece Ridge Center Dr, Rochester, NY 14626
7. Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks
Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks has been offering ghost walking tours for 19 seasons. If you’re looking for reals ghosts and a good scare, this is the tour to book. Their tours take you through the REAL haunted Rochester, share Rochester’s unique history and infamous ghost stories for an unforgettable experience. The tour guides are famous for interacting with ghosts.
8. Rochester Haunted Hayride
VerHulst Farms Haunted Halloween Hayride is open every Friday, Saturday & Sunday in October except Halloween Night. The haunted hayride is approximately 35 minutes and includes a Haunted corn maze at the end of the ride.
Opening night for the 2022 season is Friday, September 30. The ticket booth opens at approximately 6:30 pm Tickets and are sold until 10:30 pm Friday & Saturday and until 9:30 on Sunday.
Address: 5161 Ridge Rd. West Spencerport, NY 14559 (7 miles west of Greece Ridge Center Mall)
Check out their Facebook page for all the details!
9. Haunted Tours Rochester NY
Rob Pistilli is founder of Monroe County Paranormal Investigations is the perfect local expert to book a haunted tour with. Pistilli and his team are not only well versed in the long and storied past associated with the Rochester area but also spend their free time investigating paranormal happenings locally.
Get your ghost-hunting equipment ready and join one of the their many ghost hunts with real paranormal investigators!
10. Haunted Hotels in Rochester
To truly have a perfectly scary day in haunted Rochester, you must end the day with a stay at a haunted hotel!
Days Inn by Wyndham Rochester Downtown
A TripAdvisor user reports that the Days Inns is creepy and haunted. It’s been reported that some guests hear someone whispering their name in the middle of the night. Other guests report waking up around 3am each night during their stay.
Is the elevator haunted? At least one guest thought so and decided to take the stairs. But on the stairs, they felt like something was watching them and had the sensation they were going to be pushed down them.
11. Haunted Places in Nearby Niagara Falls
If you are interested in expanding your ghost hunters tour or planning to check out Niagara Falls after visiting Rochester, the 1.5 hour drive won’t disappoint. There’s much more to the city (in both New York and Ontario) than just its famous falls.
Olde Angel lnn
Located just across from Youngstown on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, the Olde Angel Inn has been the subject of local lore for decades. Established towards the end of the 18th century, the inn hosted plenty of weary travelers and was rebuilt after the War of 1812.
A bone-chilling story of a Canadian officer killed within the inn’s walls in the 1820’s still permeates the inn today, contributing to reports of paranormal activity throughout the building. Captain Swayze is said to still roam the inn, keeping guard over the British flag that graces the roof of the building.
The Inn itself is a local legend, a thoughtfully preserved destination for any overnight stay near Niagara Falls and your firsthand introduction to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Old Town district- be sure to catch the inn’s live music showcases throughout your stay! As you might expect, Halloween seasons an especially popular time to visit.
Address: 224 Regent Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Drummond Hill Cemetery
In keeping with the military theme, don’t miss Drummond Hill Cemetery, located a few miles to the south in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Home to the remains of soldiers of multiple nationalities who lost their lives during the War of 1812, the normally peaceful cemetery morphs into an otherworldly environment as night crawls over the grounds. Floating lights and orb-like entities have been reported, and regular visitors are no stranger to peculiar feelings that follow them as they weave in between the gravestones.
No matter what time of day you pay Drummond Hill a visit, the cemetery is sure to provide insight into the local toll of the War of 1812 and complement a day spent exploring haunted places in Rochester NY, as well as Niagara Falls.
Every weekend during the month of October the Lundy’s Lane Museum offers walking tours of Drummond Hill Cemetery. The tour includes the site where soldiers from the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, as well as a depiction of the many famous settlers, buried at the cemetery.
Address: 6110 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Read About More Haunted Locations in the U.S.
- Haunted Stories Behind the Most Haunted Places in America
- 10 Most Haunted Places in America
- Haunted Hollywood
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.