Halloween on Ambush Lane in Churchville cover

Paranormal Activities: Our Favorite Haunts for 2023

There is something about October that piques our interest in paranormal activities. From storytelling and investigating to fascinating displays, these day trips encourage you to explore the other side of Rochester.

For families with little ones looking for something more sweet than scary, check out the RMSC’s Family Fun Day: Tricks & Treats and enjoy a few fall- and Halloween-themed boat or train rides. Find musical tricks and treats when the RPO OrKIDStra performs Spooky Symphonies on October 29 at Hochstein.

And I’m thrilled to add The Landmark Society Ghost Walk back to the list after a few years on pause.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Paranormal Events

Genesee Country Village and Museum Spirits of the Past guide
Genesee Country Village and Museum Spirits of the Past witches
Genesee Country Village and Museum Spirits of the Past undertaker
Genesee Country Village and Museum Spirits of the Past house
GCVM Spirits of the Past

1. GCVM’s Spirits of the Past

Genesee Country Village
October 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 & 29, 2023

From their website: Get ready for a ghoulishly good time!  As you depart from the Toll House with your guide, the once familiar and welcoming Historic Village becomes eerie and ominous. Beware – what frightened us in the 19th century may inspire dread today. As you make your way through candle-lit mansions, down cobblestone paths, and through moonlit orchards, beware—what you fear most may lurk right around the next corner. This year’s Spirits of the Past Tours feature the spine-tingling theme of “Fears & Phobias.” What frightened us in the 19th century may still be inspiring dread today… Beware of gravediggers, creepy crawlies, sinister souls, visitors from another world, and more. Brave souls who pass through the Toll House will be guided in groups of 20–22 with a guide and will enter scenes in a variety of historic buildings. But beware—the unexpected experiences may not be limited to just inside the Village’s buildings.

Check out their September After-Hours Adventures: Ghost Stories and Spooky Saturday events, too!

30 day trips within 30 minutes of Rochester: Mount Hope Cemetery
Walking tour of Mount Hope Cemetery

2. Mount Hope Cemetery Walking Tours

Mount Hope Cemetery
Saturday, October 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2023

Undertakers, Wakes, & Tears: Mourning Rituals in 19th Century America

October 7, 2023, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Learn about the Victorians’ complex relationship with death and the socially accepted but somewhat curious rituals and customs used to express their grief.

From the Beyond: Tales of Melancholy, Grief, and Tragedy

October 14, 2023, 12:00–1:45 p.m.

Unimaginable circumstances! Unexplained phenomena! Unfortunate events! Unbelievable superstitions! These are just some of what affected Mount Hope Cemetery “residents” during their time among the living.

Escorted tour groups will depart from the north gatehouse every 15 minutes starting at noon, and the last tour group will depart at 1:45 p.m. (8 groups total). Tickets are $15 for members and non-members. Please choose your preferred time slot when purchasing a ticket and arrive to check in at the north gatehouse (at the entrance on Mount Hope Avenue across from Robinson Drive) about 5-10 minutes prior to your ticketed departure time. Send an email to tickets@fomh.org if you have questions.

The tour will last approximately 90 minutes. The route includes paved, cobblestone, & unpaved roads, grassy areas, and hills (degree of difficulty = 3 out of 5). This event is not recommended for children younger than 10 years. Please do not bring dogs or other pets.

Parking on cemetery roads is permitted except in front of the north gatehouse, as posted. Within the cemetery, you will likely have to park some distance from the gatehouse and walk back to check in. You may also find parking in the neighborhoods around the cemetery, such as Robinson Drive on the other side of Mount Hope Avenue. We expect high attendance for this event, so please allow extra time to find parking.

Fall Foliage at Mount Hope Cemetery

October 21, 2023, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Enjoy the beauty and color of Mount Hope Cemetery’s trees as they prepare for the winter season.

Mischief, Murder, and Mayhem

October 28, 2023, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Meet some permanent residents who bent, broke, or enforced the law or whose lives met an unfortunate or grisly end.

Powers Farm Market
Powers Farm Market

3. Haunted Houses and Hayrides

Various dates, times, locations

Several places offer haunted hayrides during Halloween, ranging from family-friendly to scary-as-h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

Hayrides

Powers Farm Market
Pittsford, the least scary
Daily, Sep 1–Oct 31, 2023
From their website: Our Halloween-themed hayrides are a seasonal favorite. With special effects and spooky surprises, you’ll encounter ghosts, witches, skeletons, graveyards, and more! Although we consider these rides family-friendly, discretion is advised for children.

VerHulst Haunted Hayride
Spencerport, the scariest
Weekends, October 1-30, 2023
From their website: No reservations, first come, first served, not recommended for children aged eight or younger. The experience takes approximately 30 minutes, including the Haunted Corn Maze. There can be long wait times, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Haunted House

Nightmare Manor at South Town Plaza
Henrietta
Weekends beginning September 29, plus October 30–31

Special events also include:

Saturday, October 21, 12 p.m.–3 p.m.: Treat Fest Kids Day. **Tickets available onsite ONLY** Come to experience Nightmare Manor with the lights on and the scary stuff off! We’ll have kid’s activities and fun HALLOWEEN MUSIC! Tickets are $10 for kids 12 and under. Adults are FREE!

Saturday, October 21: RIP Auto Hearse Club. See Rochester’s spookiest rides.

Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4, 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.: Lights OUT! See Rochester’s scariest haunted attraction in The DARK. Walk through the dark hallways of all our themed areas with nothing more than a glow stick. This event will sell out! There are no discounts or group rates for this event. 

Rochester Museum Science Center
Rochester Museum Science Center After Dark 21+

4. RMSC After Dark: Villain’s Ball

Rochester Museum & Science Center
Saturday, October 28, 2023
Adults 21 and over

From their website: Disguise yourselves as your favorite villains (or as your favorite goons) and join us this spooky season for an enchanting Ball honoring those characters we all love to hate!

Memorial Art Gallery stained glass
Memorial Art Gallery

5. MAG’s Museum of the Dead

Memorial Art Gallery
Friday, October 27, 2023
Adults 21 and over

From their website: Fall in love with art, fortune tellers, music, monsters, and more! Enjoy a night in the museum with 5,000 years of world art in our collection, party under our enchanting skylight, sit down to hear your fate, treat yourself to food and drink from Brown Hound Downtown (cash only), enjoy a movie, and show off your creative costume—and win prizes! Learn about the most haunted places in ROC from Monroe County Paranormal Investigators, experience a live concert on the only full-size Italian Baroque organ in North America, and more!

The Spooky Season at The Little
Images from The Little Theatre – Facebook

6. Spooky Season at The Little

The Little Theatre
Various Dates

From their website: Spooky Season will return in October 2023! From crypts to cryptids, ghouls to ghastly gargoyles, The Little’s Spooky Season is here to fill your October with harrowing, haunting films and events! From classic horror to modern family-friendly fare and international frights to 90s-witchy vibes, we hope you join us to celebrate the most beautiful time of the year in the house of silent shadows!

The NeverEnding Story – Oct 1

The Devil’s Backbone – Oct 2

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster – Oct 4

Hot Fuzz – Oct 7

The Cabin in the Woods – Oct 9

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood – Oct 13

Night of the Living Dead – Oct 14

Hereditary – Oct 16

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark – Oct 19

Eraserhead – Oct 20

Killer Klowns from Outer Space – Oct 21

Wendell & Wild – Oct 22

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Oct 22

Santa Sangre – Oct 23

A Tale of Two Sisters – Oct 25

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror – Oct 26

The Craft – Oct 27

Halloween Double Feature – Oct 28

Casper – Oct 29

Pumpkinhead – Oct 29

Nosferatu with Live Score – Oct 30

The Exorcist: Extended Director’s Cut – Oct 31

Rolling Hills Asylum
Rolling Hills Asylum

7. Rolling Hills Asylum

East Bethany
Events all year, amped up in October

RHA has been featured on Ghost Hunters and several other prominent investigation television series. Their website has a year-long events calendar that includes guided and self-guided walking tours, public, private, and group ghost hunts, themed dinners, and special events. Learn more about RHA at The Haunted History Trail of New York.

Paranormal Tree
Spooky tree

8. Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks

Locations Vary
Multiple 2023 Dates, Times & Locations in October, downtown Rochester and suburbs

Guided walk themes include Ghosts of Mt. Hope Ave., Jack the Ripper in Rochester, Spirits of Sea Breeze, Lady in White, Phantoms of Fairport, Haunts of Henrietta, and Lilac Legends.

From their website: If you’re looking for REAL ghosts, you’ve come to the right place. Our tours take you through the REAL haunted Rochester, sharing Rochester’s unique history and infamous ghost stories for an unforgettable experience. Experience the first tours in Rochester to interact with the ghosts and let you in on the action!

Learn more about The Union Tavern at The Haunted History Trail of New York.

Find More Ghost Walks

Palmyra: Public Ghost Hunt with Haunted Real Estate Investigators

Photo from Landmark Society event page

9. Landmark Society Ghost Walk

Returning for its 27th season, The Landmark Society’s Halloween-season walking tour highlights macabre events, personalities, and places in Rochester’s history.

Ghost Walk is a nighttime guided walking tour. Follow lantern-bearing guides down the dark streets of a historic neighborhood and encounter ghosts from Rochester’s past—each with an authentic gory event to relate.

All tours start at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word at the corner of East Avenue and Goodman Street. The tour is about an hour, with groups leaving every fifteen minutes between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21.

Advance tickets ($22) are strongly encouraged to give you the best choice of tour times and avoid a lengthy wait at the event. Online ticket sales will close at 1 p.m. on each tour day. However, a limited number of tickets will be available for all tours at the door on a first-come, first-served basis for $25.

Self-Guided Paranormal Activities

Roadside Attractions Skeleton Army Canandaigua Canandaigua Country Road 4
The Skeleton Army

10. The Skeleton Army

Haunted Housel on CR-4

Hopewell [get directions]
Sep 15–Oct 31, 2023
Mon–Thu, 3–9:30 p.m.
Fri–Sun, 12-9:30 p.m. (plus Monday, October 9)

Head out to Hopewell near Canandaigua for this fantastic Halloween display! Over 200 skeletons (humans, horses, dinosaurs, and dogs!) are marching on the home, heavily defended by trees. Friday through Sunday, find your way through the scary corn maze if you dare!

Admission fee is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and children under five are free.

White Ladys Castle
The White Lady’s Castle

11. The White Lady’s Castle

Durand-Eastman Park
self-guided

Driving on Lake Shore Boulevard, you’ll find a little parking lot across from Lake Ontario, between Log Cabin Road and Zoo Road. Park and look up the hill to this view of the White Lady’s Castle.

Well, not a castle—it was a dining hall for beach-goers, torn down in the 1930’s. Atlas Obscura does a beautiful job of telling the story of the White Lady, her daughter, her vengeance, and her two white ghost dogs.

So take a walk and see if you can find any rumored apparitions of the White Lady searching for her daughter. Rumor also has it that this story inspired the 1988 movie The Lady in White. And don’t forget the White Lady tree!

Learn more about Durand Eastman at The Haunted History Trail of New York.

Fox Sisters plaque
Hydesville

12. The Fox Sisters

Hydesville, near Newark
self-guided

You can make a pilgrimage to Hydesville in Wayne County to visit the birthplace of The Fox Sisters and Spiritualism. It was on this site, in the Fox Family cottage, where Kate & Maggie Fox first made contact with the spirit of Charles B. Rosna on March 31, 1848.

Their story has been widely attributed to the beginning of the Spiritualism movement and the creation of Lily Dale, the World’s Largest Center for the Science, Philosophy, and Religion of Spiritualism. Lily Dale was incorporated in 1879. The Fox cottage had been moved to Lily Dale in 1915 piece by piece but burned down in 1955.

Learn more about The Fox Sisters at The Haunted History Trail of New York, smithsonian.com, and Crooked Lake Review.

Paranormal Investigations

TIP: If you’re looking for support with your paranormal activities, CITY News, in an interview with Monroe County Paranormal Investigations, said they are “dedicated to investigating the truth behind the paranormal, and they operate with a healthy sense of skepticism. This isn’t about the spooky and scary, but a look into the real and normal lives of some of Rochester’s paranormal investigators.”

(585) Magazine also interviewed M.C.P.I

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What are your favorite paranormal activities?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

4 thoughts on “Paranormal Activities: Our Favorite Haunts for 2023”

  1. Who can I contact with a picture of what I believe is a portal in my old home and ghost pictures of my pet who passed in 2013. I want someone to view photos.

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