The Legend of Rolling Hills Asylum Bethany NY



  • Rolling Hills Asylum has quite a bizarre history, if I don't say so myself. In it's lifespan, the building has been an insane asylum, poor house, poor farm, nursing home, tuberculosis ward, orphanage, school , ward, antique co-op, and craft mall. Quite a history since the property has settled for over a hundred years now. The history of the building has records of over a thousand people who have died on the property. The mall, opened on the weekends has a number of strange occurrences. People report having their clothes tugged on by an invisible force they can't explain. Many people have seen shadows of people moving through out the building when it is known the building to be locked up and empty.

    Genesee County purchased this property in 1826 and opened its doors to the poor in 1827. They had taken to paupers, the insane, orphans, unwed mothers, the elderly, and anyone who could not support and care for themselves. They were a complete a self sufficient, as they farmed on the 100's of acres of owned by the county. By 1950, the property was used for a nursing home only and the residents had been moved to a new facility in nearby Batavia in 1974. By then the building sat empty for twenty years. By 1992, it was reopened as Carriage Village, a mall of unique shops. By 2002 Jeff and Lori Carlson purchased the property and in January of 2003 they had renamed it the Rolling HIlls Country Mall. But problems arose and in 2007, the mall had closed. Today, the Carlsons live on the premises in one of the outbuildings converted from the old carpenter shop / maintenance barn to a four bedroom home.

    What Lori and Jeff Carlson didn't realize was the history and unexplained things going on in the home. Back when the Genesse County Board of Supervisors had established the Poorhouse, the staff had did their best to keep unsafe patients away from the general population, but there were many problems . As a result, a solitary confinement cell was constructed in the building and those who lived there were often referred to as inmates. Some of the spirits of these disturbed souls are thought to inhabit the halls of Rolling Hills. One tragic story involves that of an inmate who once lived at Rolling Hills Asylum, by the name of Roy. Roy had suffered from gigantism, which is a physical deformity that left with protruding facial features, large hands, and feet, and a height of over 7feet tall. Roy was the son of a prominent banker, and his physical appearance was an embarrassment to his family. When Roy was 12, he had been dropped off by his family at the Genesee County home and was left there until his death at the age of 62. Roy had liked opera music and was generally kind to others. Today his hulking shadow is said to be witnessed by visitors who report seeing him lurking throughout the building.

    Other personalities weren't as harmless as Roy though. In the infirmary wing, there is a nurse known for her cruelty. Emmie Altworth, or better known to others then, as Nurse Emmie was hated and feared not only by the inmates, but by the staff too. Rumors began circulating that Nurse Emmie was involved in the dark arts and was performing black magic to satanic rituals in Rolling Hills. Many people had reported that outside the cafe area, of apparitions have been seen of an old woman who has been seen going into the women's restroom. On the second floor of the East Wing, the sound of foot steps and sliding can be heard coming from above, but there is no third floor. A man with a goat tee mustache as a apparition has been seen walking around too in the facility. Shadows are seen in the early mornings of three and five AM on the first and second floors of the East wing.

    One particular site of the building is the main kitchen which is in the basement. When the facility was operating as an orphanage and as a asylum , food animals were slaughtered and butchered on site here. During the TB epidemic of the 1940's, when the morgue was full, bodies were put in the meat freezers. It's said that sometimes nearly dead patients were put in the freezer to die. This is where the negative feelings are encountered in the first freezer unit.


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