Ghost Adventures: Letchworth Village is NOT the Village of the Damned

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My family just finished watching tonight’s episode of the show Ghost Adventure that was shot on location at Letchworth Village in Haverstraw, New York. For the record it’s “Have-er-straw“, not “Hay-ver-straw” like it was pronounced on the show.

We were super excited when we heard that a show was filmed at Letchworth. My daughter heard that Ghost Hunters from the SyFy Channel were the ones that shot on location. We are huge Ghost Hunter fans. We have been watching the show for many years. We were disappointed to hear it wasn’t Ghost Hunters but a show on the Travel Channel we have never heard of before called Ghost Adventures

After watching the show tonight we feel that the show did Letchworth Village a injustice. We feel like the show portrayed Letchworth Village more like the Village of the Damned rather then what it really is – a series of beautiful, decaying buildings that might house the sad spirits of the people who once lived there. It is NOT an evil place!


My family has walked the grounds of Letworth Village many times. We never enter any of the buildings because it’s against the law. You are allowed to walk the grounds during the day, but not at night. The local Police patrol the area often (and I suspect after tonight show they will do it even more frequently). They will not hesitate to arrest trespassers. Especially considering over the past few years teens have set fires to some of the buildings.

Part of Letchworth Village was turned into a Middle School and Junior High School. It is illegal to trespass on their grounds. In fact they have gates that are closed to keep people out.

The buildings are NOT safe either. I heard there is asbestos in the buildings too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also contained lead paint since they were built long before lead paint was found to make people sick.

I know they interviewed a lady who onced worked there and a couple who have explored the grounds on numerous occasions. What they failed to do was interview people who walk the grounds regularly. Letchworth is a popular location for people to take their dogs for a walk or a leisurely morning stroll.

My family, including my husband and children, have walked the grounds of Letchworth many times and have never experienced anything “evil”. We’ve heard strange sounds, oddly enough coming from the building the men spent the night in on the show.

We have walked close to the buildings, even peeking into windows from time to time, and have never experienced anything that would make a afraid to be there. Personally I always feel very sad when I am there. Overwhelmingly sad. I don’t know if I feel sad for the residents who suffered there and who were abandoned by their families. Or I feel sad because the buildings at Letchworth are beautiful and left to rot.

I did find it amusing that the one fellow they interviewed on the show had a spirit follow him home (or at least he/she came through on his car radio). We had a spirit follow us home two years ago. In fact I mentioned that in the post I wrote about Letchworth last night BEFORE the show aired.

The spirit that followed us home was not malicious or evil. We sensed the it was a child because the things he/she would do around our home were playful. It only lasted for about three weeks then it stopped.


My family believes in ghosts and spirits. We had some unusual things happen over the years, but never anything that would make us fearful. We believe the spirits are simply beloved family members coming to pay us a visit. Our son was especially sensitive to spirits when he was a toddler. He told me that my mother (he called her Nanny) passed away about 20 minutes BEFORE I received the phone call from my father that my mom had passed away. There is more to the story (she visited him a couple of more times after she passed on… I’ll leave that for another post).

My point is that we believe in ghosts and spirits and what lingers around Letchworth Village are NOT evil like the show made viewers believe they are.

Our concern is that the show is going to make people flock to Letchworth Village seeking evil spirits. If you want to come and see the beautiful architecture of the stone buildings that still remain, by all means, please do. Just please don’t come to Letchworth Village thinking that you are going to stumble upon demons and evil entities.

My family has a rule when we visit Letchworth Village – RESPECT. We respect the grounds. We respect the buildings. We respect the random artifacts that we come across and most especially we respect the residents that once lived there. If you visit we hope that you will do that same. Feel free to speak to the spirits that remain. Say “hello” and wish them a good day. They were people once too, just like you and I.

We are sorry that Ghost Adventures portrayed Letchworth Village in a bad way. We understand that they needed to have drama and spooky effects to sell the show, but they could have done it in a less menacing way.

If you would like to learn more about Letchworth Village simply Google it. You’ll find a lot of websites that talk about the location. Always remember to take what you read with a grain of salt. Not everything you read is the truth.

If you would like to read more about my thoughts on Letchworth Village, or look at some more photos that I took there, you are welcome to read my other post, http://www.shescribes.com/2011/10/letchworth-village-sad-decay-or-haunted-homestead.html.

FYI… if you love photography, Letchworth Village is a wonderful place to photograph. And if Ghost Hunters wants to come and do an investigation PLEASE DO! I’d love to meet you guys. 🙂


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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  1. hammertom says:

    I agree with you about Letchworth being a sad place. I have no first hand knowledge of what went on up there but am familiar with the area being a 41 year old N. Rocklander for life. Growing up we knew it was where the “retards” lived and had no need to ever enter the grounds. Then I remember the publicity in the early nineties that shined a spotlight on the terrible conditions there that, I assume, led to it’s closing. Since then I have been through parts of the village randomly and remember being impressed with the beauty of the buildings there. Their robust architecture and detail to the fine construction and materials used are a testament to the pride with which planners viewed the village. So we can tell it all started with the best of intentions. What happened later is another story.
    Haunted by Spirits? perhaps. Haunted by feelings and perspectives? undoubtedly

  2. not an evil place? a place where the disabled and physically and mentaly retarded where physical abused and neglected? yeah, sure, that’s not evil. and it sounds like you are very biased when it come to ghost/paranormal tv shows. Ghost Hunters are a bore and haven’t been relevent in a long time. their methods are inaffective and boring (for TV entertainment standards). give Ghost Adventures a try. They can be crude, annoying, even downright ignorant at time, BUT, they do produce results with their actions and methods. and they’re willing to try experimental tools, which is awesome

  3. I honestly don’t care if that show brought a damper on your town but, it showed us how those people were treated and the abuse that they had to live through. If keeping human rights is not abuse than what is? You might have walked the grounds and not felt evil but, ask the patients and see if the ground that you walk on again is the same. I sure as hell know it wouldn’t be for me.

  4. I believe that some places are haunted, either by the spirits of people who lived there or at least by memories and experiences that are so strong that they can affect people today.

    That said, reality shows (in general, not just paranormal) are not about reality. They are about entertainment, sensationalism, drama and conflict. It wouldn’t serve their purpose to talk to people who walk their dogs there and have never experienced anything frightening.

    To Ladon and Sydnii – I’ve never been to Letchworth Village, and I didn’t see the television program, however, I think you misunderstand what Kimberly was saying in regard to “evil.” Certainly, some of the things that reportedly occurred in that place were evil, however, from what Kimberly has told us in here posts about Letchworth, it’s not the people who did those bad things whose spirits remain, but rather it’s the victims. Their spirits seem to be looking for the happiness and love that they didn’t necessarily get during their corporeal lives.

  5. I watch Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. The episode at Letchworth Village was typical of the GA investigations. They always find the “evil” and tormented spirits and this was no exception. I was disappointed that Ghost Hunters didnt do a show there, I’m sure the results would be different.

    I have a family member that lived at Letchworth and I now work with people that were once residents there. My family member wasn’t put there by the state like GA said hapened in the show. He was placed there by the family because the doctors said it was best for him. Put him with his own “kind”. There weren’t group homes and day programs like there are now, the alternatives didn’t exist then. He went on to work in a local store and a post office and then a group home. He went home with the family for holidays and vacations as did many of the other residents. While some awful things happened to some of them there, many have fond memories of Letchworth and can name all the cottages they lived in over the years. Many of the staff were caring and dedicated people. The system sucked and the disabled paid the price. We now see the civil rights violations, but Letchworth was built when women didn’t have the right to vote, desegregation wasn’t given a thought. Letchworth Village became its own subculture. Even the residents had a class system.

    I agree with Kimberly, the grounds are beautiful, the buildings are beautiful. It is far from being totally abandoned since there are churches, civic groups and offices among the buildings still in use. It is a peaceful place and spooky at times. GA represented Letchworth Village in typical fashion, a sensational den of evil. Somewhere between the beauty and the evil is real Letchworth.

  6. Yes an injustice was done , I walked the halls there 45 yrs. ago and for many years after . My mother taught there , I stayed with her at work during the summer’s .yrs. later I was a volunteer . NOBODY adored the kids there as much as my mother . I have many pictures . My mother’s eyes looking at the kids will show just how proud she was of them .
    I still remember the names of her students . I played with them as a child myself . Sad to see what the place has become , its apart of history . No torture ! I see the films and others see scray place falling apart , I see the rooms they way they were back then . Sure many of the building were old , even back then , later the new hospital and classromms were built .
    My mother in 1960’s use to bring some of the kids home to our house , many with down sydrome to see how they reacted to a normal household , she wanted them to enjoy the outside world of the institution , she brought groups to malls and parks and many places of fun ,she and her aids would have 10 kids many wheels chairs at the malls “, or day trips ,back then my mother knew many could be taught , she worked very hard with them ,back then many were thought to be unteachable , my mother knew many could be , she taught well enough for many to go into group homes years later.
    Today people with down syndrome live and work on their own .Some of the kids were not born retarded , little Angie ended up there because her dad tossed her down the stairs and she suffered brain damage , Forest was born with a very large head filled with fluid , my mother loved him, taught him for yrs. and he passed away from the fluid on his brain with my mother holding him . Ki Ki in a wheel chair was my pal , I let him pull my hair , it made him laugh . The crib cages were for protection so they did not climb out , but I assure you , even I would go see the kids in the cribs , little Danny in the crib was 3yrs. old yet still the size of a baby . Others had more sever brain damage .
    The kids loved my mother and she loved them . Yes some of the kids had thin legs because they could not walk , no muscle tone ,wheel chair bound , not because they were starved ! Some had no arms and no legs , yet you would see a staff member going down the hall holding the handle of a little red flyer wagon with a child born with no arms or legs smiling taking her ride down the hall .
    Some had to wear helmets because they would bang their heads against the wall , it prevented them from hurting themselves . They hit their heads because of their retardation not because they were tortured !

    If you drove around the village in the 60’s many of the older kids or adults would walk the grounds , always wave to cars passing by , we all gave each other the Nixon peace sign ” . If there were any aids that did any thing bad they would have been fired immediatly . It was a large facility. The staff I knew there for decades were all good people . Many parents came to visit .
    My mother who gave decades of her life to teach them was even buried with pictures in her coffin that the kids at letchworth had drawn. ,

    In my home is a painting of a snowman painted by an adult resident who sold his paintings at shows they put on , She bought it from him ,kept this painting ( her favorite ) because she was in such ” awe” that he painted so well , she was very proud of the students acomplishments . I know that the other teachers , hospital staff were kind to the residents and knew the residents individual personalities as well .

    It took good hearts to work there . Sorry about any bad apples that may have been hired ,I have very fond memories . The only Evil is made up on TV , If Letch worth is haunted , its haunted by good people .