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.
There is, however, a singular holdout in these otherwise colorless surroundings - The deep red brick of the Rolling Hills asylum.
Rolling Hills asylum has been bearing the grim winters of East Bethany, NY, for nearly a hundred years 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 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. Due to that, a cemetery was quickly formed on the property to lay those unclaimed to rest. Nearly all detailed records of the grave-site,
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.”, have been lost to the ages. The same can also be said of the graveyard itself. Having never been
listed on any property map or document from its day, the exact whereabouts of these graves remains unknown. 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. Thus making the exact whereabouts
of the old cemetery impossible to determine.
The questionable care provided by the asylum, and the poorhouse during its day (To be fair – 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 amongst 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.
However, of these matters we cannot truly say. Our work does not delve into the realm of spirits or theoretical energies. Our focus is that of history,
and in that regard, the story of the Rolling Hills asylum is a strange one. It goes without saying that anyone who reflects upon it will undoubtedly
experience an air of unease, especially when standing within one of its many dim corridors.
We froze while filming here last winter. Seriously, I don't think I have ever been colder in all of my life.
Christina, as usual, was able to suck it up far better than me and come away with the film you see below.
Afterwords, we went to a hotel, threw all the blankets we could find onto one bed, and passed out underneath.
The very next day we rose bright and early to film the "Castle on the Hill" entry, which I posted here some time ago.
If you missed that one, here's a link to it on my blog - Castle on the Hill