He said his interest in possible hauntings first came from “large, historic homes” such as Wadsworth Homestead and through stories told by members of the town. Parish has been compiling stories ever since. He heard a number of stories of “ghosts, legends, what people remember,” during his time as president of the Livingston County Historical Society.
“When I became involved with the museum, there was still an older generation in Geneseo that remembered stories, and you have to listen very carefully to what went back two, three generations,” Parish said.
But the spooky accounts continue to pour in today.
His personal favorite takes place on Lima Street, where a merchant was murdered while walking to meet his lover in 1830.
Rumor has it that animals still get nervous walking in the place of his death, and a rosebush blooms every year in the spot where his lover was waiting for him - where he never arrived.
As for the Geneseo campus, Monroe Hall is supposedly crawling with spirits, with numerous sightings and stories since the 1970s. Cleaning staff members have often heard their names called, and two students have reported seeing ghosts inside of their dorm rooms.
There are multiple theories surrounding these frequent sightings. Some say the ghost is a student who fell in a hole and died while the hall was originally being built.
“One of the theories is that, immediately to the west of Monroe, down the hill is an ancient Oneida cemetery,” and their spirits regularly inhabit Monroe, Parish said.
Others have endearingly named the spirit Eric and claim he has done activities such as move furniture, turn computers on and off and make soup for the residents.
Ghosts also supposedly reside in Erie and Ontario Hall as well as the sorority house of Alpha Kappa Phi. Locations on Center Street, Lima Street and Main Street all have reported sightings of spirits, such as the Wadsworth Homestead and Big Tree Inn.
Geneseo students are also involved in many of the tales in Parish's book, such as “A Memory of York Road.” Others have originated the stories, such as in “Ghosts on Geneseo's Second Street,” in which a student recounts spotting a ghostly pair of lovers running down the street behind him but disappearing when he turned around.
Parish called himself “skeptical” about these stories, but said people “must keep their minds open.”