New York Does it Right with Haunted History Trail

While popular haunted places in the Midwest struggle to gain recognition and help from local governments and mainstream business/tourism organizations, one state is getting it right. When I began researching legends in Upstate New York, I came across this website, and I was surprised to discover that the website was the result of cooperation across more than a dozen local tourism bureaus. Whenever the subject of haunted places or tours is discussed with community leaders in my home state of Illinois, it is usually in hushed tones, as if they are speaking of porno theaters or international crime rings. Despite the benefits of paranormal tourism, for example, a number of years ago local church leaders in my hometown petitioned the public library board to shut down a friend’s ghost tour, which she had ran successfully in cooperation with the library for years, because it was allegedly “occult” related.

IMG_0941Haunted History Tour of New York State is an effort by dozens of public and private organizations, including the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp., Livingston County Office of Tourism & Marketing, Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau, Oneida County Tourism, New York State Tourism (creator of the popular “I Love New York” campaign), and many others. Their website and brochure offers a guide to over 30 different locations across the state, many of which have appeared on paranormal-themed television shows. The website also has an audio tour, haunted road trips, and a calendar of events.

“I Love New York” is proudly displayed on the cover of their full color, professionally designed brochure. “The trail offers serious ghost hunting locations that cater to investigative teams, as well as seasonal ghostly-themed events for the paranormal-curious,” it explains. “From the great spirits invoked by early Native American tribes, to the first Dutch settlers who carefully avoided haunted places, New York has harbored centuries of hauntings that simply can’t be explained. Explore the trail to hear New York’s bone-chilling history and meet ghosts from the past.”

This acknowledges that legends and lore can be a great way to create interest in local history, not to mention generate local tourist dollars. There is always concern that promoting alleged hauntings attracts vandalism and other criminal activity. No one can stop people with bad intentions from doing bad things, but what you can do is try to remove opportunities for mischief in a controlled, carefully supervised environment in which people can satisfy their curiosity about the unknown. I believe this was effectively accomplished with the Haunted History Tour of New York State, and I hope other states follow suit.


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  1. Thank you so much for acknowledging our efforts to promote paranormal tourism in New York State! We appreciate that you have shared our program with your readers!
    Kelly Rapone, Trail Founder/Administrator
    Genesee County Chamber of Commerce
    210 East Main Street, Batavia NY 14020


  2. Kelly Rapone deserves kudos for this project! All involved are extremely grateful to Kelly for her hard work on the Haunted History Trail of New York State! Now – please visit and explore our sites!
    Ann Cooper
    Columbia County Tourism Department
    401 State Street – Hudson – NY – 12534


  3. The success of Haunted History Trail has been amazing. When we attend trade shows we can barely keep up with the number of people who come to the booth. It is truly worth a visit to New York State just to meet our ghosts!
    Susan Hawvermale
    Orange County Tourism in the Hudson River Valley


  4. agirlnamedkylie says:

    I work at Rome Capitol Theatre, and we love our paranormal tourists! We were so tickled to have our site featured on the Trail. Thanks to all responsible for their hard work, and to you, Michael, for helping to promote the Haunted History Trail!



  1. […] Haunted History Trail was created out of a sense of need by my organization. We needed a platform to be able to market […]


  2. […] local legends and ghost stories are a good way to promote an interest in tourism. As states like New York have discovered, tourists interested in the paranormal are an untapped resource. Thousands of people each year […]


  3. […] than a dozen local tourism bureaus in New York State had banded together to create and promote a Haunted History Trail. Now, in New Jersey, I stumbled upon Paranormal Books & Curiosities, a store catering to fans […]


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