Taken from the original Rolling Hills Website
The original "home" and meetup location for Soul Seeker United (SSU). The following is from Rolling Hills home page used for their ghost hunts. Blessings to Lori Carlson, RHPRC, her Family and the residents of Rolling Hills.
"Strange history and legends surround the old Genesee County Home in Bethany, New York. Rumors of figures in windows, strange noises, and eerie stories have circulated among local residents for over one hundred and eighty years. Many are convinced the souls of past residents still walk its halls. Historical records show over 1,750 occupants have died here. Many are buried on the property and in the adjacent Genesee County Park which was once a part of the County Home lands. The building has a long tormented history as a former poor house, insane asylum, orphanage, and nursing home.
Genesee County purchased this property in 1826 and opened its doors to the poor in 1827. They took in paupers, the insane, orphans, transients, unwed mothers, the elderly, and anyone who could not support and care for themselves. They were completely self-sufficient as they farmed on the 100's of acres owned by the county. By the 1950's, the property was used for a nursing home only. The residents were moved to the new facility in nearby Batavia in 1974.
The building sat empty for nearly 20 years...... It was then opened in 1992 as Carriage Village, a mall of unique shops. In 2002, Jeff and Lori Carlson purchased the property and in January 2003 renamed it Rolling Hills Country Mall. It became a co-op in January 2004 and they closed the mall in April 2007. The Carlsons live on the premises in one of the outbuildings converted from the old carpenter shop/maintenance barn to a 4 bedroom home.
Within weeks of purchase, Lori Carlson began noticing odd things. It began with unexplained noises from within the building at times nobody else was in there with her. Doors slamming, someone calling her name from down the long east wing corridor, footsteps clearly heard from above. And then....misty apparitions began appearing to her. For a non-believer, this was extraordinary. At first she felt she must just be overworked. (Losing her sanity!) But the sightings, voices, and footsteps continued. She then began to research the past of a property she knew almost nothing about before buying it. She knew of the nursing home, and little else.
She began her research by talking with Genesee County Historian Susan Conklin. What she found out astounded her! The history of the property dated back 100 years earlier than Lori first thought. The earliest history shows a stage coach tavern was located there from the late 1790’s serving travelers between Batavia and Warsaw and along Route 20. The owners of the tavern sold the property to Genesee County in December 1826.
Due to a mandate set forth by New York State in 1824, all counties in NY were charged with the care of their poor and told to find property to house them. The properties must have acreage for farming, be self-sufficient, and take this burden from the individual towns currently caring for the poor.
The Genesee County Poorhouse opened its doors in January 1827 to the first of these recipients of their care. During most of the 1800's new buildings were added and the county home continually evolved. Along with housing the poor, the Home also cared for the insane. A separate asylum, made of cobblestones had been built, but was later destroyed by fire. Orphans were brought to the Home, removing them from the streets of towns and villages where they were beggars.
The most amazing bit of information Lori came across was that for most of the 1800's, the insane, the orphans, the sick and dying, the aging, and the poor all slept, worked, and ate together. The overcrowding was a point of concern and a special investigation was conducted by NYS with the focus being on the Genesee County Home. This led to reform in the latter part of the century.
For Lori, this explained the strange events that were occurring on the property. After realizing the conditions most past residents lived and died under, she understood more about "why they were still here". The next step for her was to learn about the "afterlife" of which she had no solid belief in prior to living at Rolling Hills. This led her to a local paranormal investigating team. She joined the team in July 2004 in hopes that she could learn more about the field which would, in turn, help her to communicate with "her ghosts".
After realizing that there were many interested parties who wanted to also investigate Rolling Hills, Lori opened the doors to the public, holding ghost hunts in September, 2004. The ghost hunts continue today, even after the closing of the mall. These investigations will continue for as long as there are interested parties. Since the mall closing, Lori has renamed the property Rolling Hills Paranormal Research Center. Investigators from all over the US and Canada utilize Rolling Hills for their research into the unknown.
Rolling Hills is the first historical site in New York State to open its doors to the public for overnight ghost hunts. They've also been instrumental in helping other sites across the state follow suit. The expansion of locations available to paranormal researchers across New York is largely due to the success of Rolling Hills.
In light of the building's history, there exists many unsettled souls wandering the property and within its remaining structures. Is the place really haunted? Many believe so, including the current owner. But you must find out for yourself.
Again, thank you Lori Carlson, RHPRC, her Family and the residents of Rolling Hills.