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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


A Night in Rolling Hills Asylum


On the afternoon of April 20, 2006, fellow Ghost Investigator Mike Worden, his brother Scott, friend Marge and I packed his SUV full of equipment and headed for Batavia, New York--through 300 miles of rolling farmland, an occasional city and a whole lot of nothing. Our destination was the former Rolling Hills Asylum, now owned and operated by Jeff and Lori Carlson as the Rolling Hills Country Mall. For almost two centuries, the complex of buildings housed the poor, orphans, drunks, TB patients, unwed mothers and the criminally insane--often in the same rooms, or even sharing the same beds!

This place beheld untold misery, and over one thousand deaths had been recorded within these walls. It certainly sounded like a prime location for ghosts, but could we find any proof for the claims of haunted activity?

First off, before you get all excited about "orbs" surrounding the building, the air was thick with bugs and dust, so that is what is being reflected by this flash picture I took just after we arrived. Our first surprise was the sheer size of the place. It doesn't appear very big from the outside, but the inside is a confusing maze of over 65,000 square feet of tunnels, hallways, rooms, ramps and endless staircases. We dropped all of our gear at "base camp" (the cafe), and were given an excellent tour of the building by Kirk, a member of the Rolling Hills Ghost Hunting Society.

To use Lori and Kirk's own words, the season's ghost hunting had been "dead" so far, but even as the tour was beginning strange sounds and passing shadows promised a very active night. (This wasn't the first time Mike and I had heard, "Things were very quiet until you got here!" I guess we just have a knack for stirring up things.)

A lot transpired over the next several hours, which will all get their proper treatment in my next ghost book, but I have to share one amazing encounter. When we reached the east wing of the second floor, we all felt an uncomfortable feeling. Marge didn't want any part of that area and decided to sit out that part of the investigation back at base camp. As Mike, Scott and I proceeded down the long corridor, I commented that it felt like we were walking into a gunfight. The atmosphere of confrontation was thick in the air.

What was also in the air were sounds, like banging and tapping, coming from the far end in the solarium. However, when we reached the solarium there was silence...but only for a moment. The sounds then started up again behind us, where we had just been. Following the sounds, we headed back down the corridor in the near-total darkness.

About halfway back, I was maybe 10 or 15 feet ahead of Mike and Scott when I encountered what I can best describe as an extremely threatening male presence--one that had a very nasty and old habit of targeting women. In a move unprecedented in my ghost hunting career, I suddenly felt the urgent need to get bewteen Mike and Scott, that I would be protected in the middle of their male energy. "Must be in the middle," I repeated over and over in my head.

Saying nothing to the two men about what I was doing or why, just as I stepped between them Mike came out with these remarkable words, "Have you ever heard of Monkey in the Middle?" He went on to describe the feeling that we were being manipulated into this position--the position of being in the middle of some very hostile male energies. Scott had been thinking the same thing.

I took a brief moment to voice my amazement at his choice of words, told them what I had just experienced and then moved quickly to get out of that wing. I have encountered many things that felt threatening, but this was personal and specific. These entities hated women, and I did not like the feeling.

Later when I mentioned to Lori that I had an unpleasant encounter in that wing, she said that they believe that area contains the angry spirits of two men who, "Hate women." Unfortunately, that wasn't news to me!

The investigation went on into the wee hours, and then Mike actually drove all the way home. I don't do sleep deprivation well and was something of a zombie the next day. The day after that I came down with a nasty upper respiratory illness I'm still fighting, so I haven't been able to go through all the video and audio yet.

Even if there isn't any photographic evidence, we did record plenty of inexplicable noises, and the confrontation in the east wing of the second floor personally convinced me that at least some of the inmates have not yet left the building. But why take my word for it when you can spend the night in the ayslum. Whether you have a ghost hunting group or want to take part in a public event, you can experience the mysteries of this place firsthand:http://www.rollinghills-ghosthunt.com/

Just be prepared...

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