The end of summer means two things; back to school and preparing for Halloween. Before we know it, warm summer days will be behind us and the nip of fall will fill the air. Last year, I wrote an article about 10 of the Most Haunted Places in America. This year, I wanted to take it further and explore more haunted stories in locations around the United States.
I asked some of my favorite travel bloggers about the spookiest, most haunted, creepy places they have visited during their travels. Read on to learn about the country’s most chilling ghost stories and spooky ghost-riddled locations.
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Most Haunted Places in the US
Our list of haunted stories is organized alphabetically by state. If you are feeling brave, scroll down to learn about America’s most haunted places.
The Town of Jerome: A hot spot for paranormal activity
Founded in 1876 and located about two hours north of Phoenix, Jerome was once a large mining town with over 15-thousand residents. However, when the mine closed in the early 50s the town’s population dropped to under 50 people almost overnight.
Considered America’s largest ghost town, Jerome is a hot spot for paranormal activity. Hundreds of people visit each year hoping to spot a ghost or have a supernatural experience.
From tragic mining accidents to murder, the city has seen lots of death. So much in fact, that the cemetery ran out of room to bury people. Where’d those bodies end up? They were burnt and the ashes were dumped on slag piles, which were later used for concrete aggregate to create the city’s sidewalks.
When a city has a gruesome history like Jerome, it’s bound to have an eerie reputation.
Remember that as your walking around exploring. If you’re interested in learning more about Jerome’s strange past, there are daily tours which offer information about the town’s history and the ghost stories surrounding it. — Timpani Woodson blogs at Like the Drum.
The Town of Tombstone
When Ed Sheifflin set out to prospect for silver in the hills of southern Arizona, many told him all he’d find was his own tombstone. Well, he ended up finding a mine that produced over 32 million ounces of silver, and the infamous town of Tombstone was born.
At its peak in 1888, Tombstone featured over 100 saloons, a dozen gambling halls, and several thousand licensed prostitutes.
Perhaps the most notorious (and now most haunted) establishment was the Bird Cage Theatre, which served the vast visceral needs of its residents being part saloon, bar, theatre, brothel, and gambling hall. The Bird Cage, now a museum that hosts ghost tours, is still riddled with over 100 bullet holes that are a testament to its rough and often violent history.
It is reportedly a hot spot of paranormal activity today, luring ghost hunters from around the world to investigate reports of wandering spirits of prostitutes and cowboys. Many visitors have reported hearing laughter and music, and smelling cigar smoke and whiskey from inside the quiet and dusty Bird Cage Theatre museum.
What’s more, a prostitute named Margarita is thought to still roam the Bird Cage after being the victim of a brutal murder. She was stabbed repeatedly by a double-edged stiletto knife from a jealous prostitute named Gold Dollar after allegedly flirting with Billy, her regular client.
Gold Dollar was never charged for the murder because the murder weapon couldn’t be found. Incredibly, 100 years later the stiletto was found and is now on display in the Bird Cage museum! — Amanda Keeley-Thurman blogs at HotMamaTravel
Check out tours in Tombstone:
1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs: (The most haunted hotel in America?)
A lot of places claim to be haunted, but the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa isn’t kidding! The restored and expanded resort is known as THE most haunted hotel in America, bar none.
Built in 1886, the manor house served as the Baker Cancer Curable Hospital in the 1930s. It was a “wellness retreat” run by conman Norman Baker. Sadly, many guests never checked out, and none were ever cured.
Orbs and wisps are the most common phenomenon, but some guests have had much darker experiences: hands grabbing from a bathroom mirror, blood-soaked walls, and faces appearing in walls. Perhaps the most chilling is the nurse seen pushing a gurney down the basement hallway at 11 pm. That is precisely the time deceased patients were moved to the morgue, which was (you guessed it) in the basement.
While most of the Crescent’s spirits are from Baker’s era, the mischievous Michael was an Irish stonemason who fell to his death during construction. He likes to play with the lights and knock on the walls; ghostly pranks that have been caught on film by crews from the Travel Channel.
Of course, there are nightly ghost tours! Guides share stories of the spirits guests have seen, including a patient named Theodora, and “Doctor” Baker himself. In the newest experience, Flickering Tales, ghost stories and eerie tales from the Ozark hills are shared around the campfire at the Crescent Moon Theatre, where who-knows-what lurks in the woods just beyond the fire’s glow. — Rob & Ann blog at TravelLatte
- Location: 75 Prospect Ave, Eureka Springs, AR 72632
Winchester Mystery House in San Jose
This haunted story requires a journey south of San Francisco to discover the wonders of the supernatural Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Once the personal residence of Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, widow, and heiress to the Winchester Arms fortune, this architectural gem has attracted over 10 million visitors since the doors opened in 1923.
During the lifetime of Sarah Winchester, the mansion was under constant construction. For 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, construction crews were constantly building, tearing down, adding to, and completely renovating the once 8-room farmhouse. From 1886 to 1922, the small farmhouse grew to accommodate 2,000 doors, 6 kitchens, 10,000 windows, 13 bathrooms, and sprawl over 24,000 square feet.
After her young child died of a childhood illness and her husband from tuberculosis, it is said that Sarah visited a Spiritualist medium. Legend says that the medium told her that the ghosts of those who died at the hands of her husband’s guns would come and haunt her. And unless she continually had work done on her house, the spirits were going to kill her.
For over 30 years, the Winchester Mansion grew and today, visitors can witness the madness of the task. Doors that open to solid walls; stairs that lead nowhere; windows that display Sarah’s love/fear of the number 13. Open your mind to the weird and get shook with a visit! — Rachelle Gordon blogs at Adventure is Never Far Away.
- Location: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA | Hours: The Winchester Mystery House is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm.
Queen Mary in Long Beach: Paranormal Ship Walk
When the RMS Queen Mary took her maiden voyage in 1936, she was the ultimate luxury ocean liner. She made 1,001 transatlantic crossings before being retired to Long Beach, California in 1967, where she now serves as a floating hotel. It is also said to be haunted, and in fact, was voted one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America by Time magazine.
Among the ghosts reportedly seen on the ship is an engineer who died in the ship’s engine room, a “lady in white,” and various children located throughout the ship including the First Class swimming pool.
You don’t have to spend the night onboard to check out the hauntings! The Queen Mary offers several tours that explore the ship’s haunted past and paranormal activity.
The Haunted Encounters Tour is offered in the daytime, but if you are looking for more of a scare visit at night when you can go on the Paranormal Ship Walk or participate in a Paranormal Investigation. On this nighttime tour you’ll get to be part of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) recording sessions and visit closed-to-the-public areas of the ship, including the Engine Room, Boiler Room, Isolation Ward, Wheelhouse and Captain’s Quarters.
If you are visiting the Queen Mary around Halloween time, don’t miss Dark Harbor – a scary nighttime experience with six terrifying mazes, nightly live entertainment, secret bars, and roaming ghouls. — Gwen Kleist blogs at Healthy Travel Mom.
- Location: 1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA | Hours: There are many things to do on the Queen Mary, but for tours here is the current schedule: Glory Days: 11:15 AM – 6:16 PM; running daily every hour on the : 15’s. Haunted Encounters: 12:30PM – 6:30PM; running daily every 2 hours on the :30’s. Paranormal Shipwalk: Offered at 8:00 PM Sun-Thurs., and 8:00 PM & 9:30 PM Fri. and Sat.
Check out haunted tours in Long Beach:
The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park was made creepily famous in the movie based on Steven King’s book, “The Shining.” But, the hotel doesn’t need Hollywood to make it creepy.
The Stanley Hotel has had so many paranormal investigators, television shows and researchers prowl its hallways, rooms and underground spaces, that it became overwhelmed and has stopped accepting investigation requests.
Many ghosts are said to haunt the hotel, some have stories of their lives and deaths, some are anonymous. Take the Stanley Night Tour (previously “The Spirit Tour”) to learn the many stories and the idiosyncratic ways in which each ghost is said to haunt.
I am a bit of a skeptic regarding ghosts, but I took the tour and it was very interesting. Our guide had pictures on her cell phone she had supposedly taken over the years and that other people had sent her capturing ghosts in mirrors and green spectral orbs floating around.
To me, the most convincing evidence that strange energy fills the place comes from my friend who used to work as a maid there. One night after she’d cleaned the large dining room and ballroom, where ghosts and orbs reputedly reside, she unplugged the vacuum cleaner, but a few seconds later, it started running on its own, without electricity.
She also claimed to have physically felt the presence of a ghost in the elevator with her. So if you’re looking for ghosts, the Stanley Hotel may be one of your best bets for encountering one! — Shara Johnson blogs at SKJ Travel.
- Location: 333 E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park, CO
Fort East Martello Museum in Key West
Paranormal experts rank Key West the third most haunted city in America behind New Orleans and Savannah.
Key West is known as the Sunset Capital of the World and the only place in America you can snorkel on a living coral reef, but it has a dark and checkered past. You see, the dead can’t cross the water, and Key West is an island.
What’s more, the little plot of land has had more than its share of tragedy. From smallpox outbreaks to captured slave ships, more people were dying on Key West in the 1900s than were being born. Perhaps that’s why there’s so much paranormal activity.
One story involves Robert the Doll, who lives at the Fort East Martello Museum. Apology letters adorn the wall surrounding his glass enclosure from visitors who took his photo without permission. They bore his curse, facing one catastrophe after another until there was nothing left to do but beg for forgiveness.
The fort also holds the chilling tale is of Count Carl von Cosel. The good doctor fell in love with his patient Helen de Hoyos. When she died of tuberculosis under his care, he was heartbroken. “Death do us part” wasn’t good enough. He mummified her and kept her as his bride for seven years, eating dinner together every night and even sharing a bed. The world was shocked when the truth came out.
Are these gruesome stories unrelated, or is there spiritual power trapped on this small island? One thing is certain. The fun at Key West doesn’t stop at sunset. — Jenn and Ed Coleman blog at Coleman Concierge
- Location: 3501 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL | Fort East Martello Museum is open 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily.
Check out haunted tours in Key West:
Savannah, Georgia is considered to be one of the most haunted places in America. Picturesque and charming on the surface, the city hides many mysterious and dark stories underneath. Among the most haunted places in Savannah is a 150-year-old Bonaventure Cemetery, located just a short drive from the Historic District.
As you take a walk through the cemetery, you’ll discover many large tombs, impressive sculptures and enormous gravesites, all among the Moss draped live Oaks, that give the cemetery a spooky vibe. It’s the final resting place for many well-known people in Savannah. Politicians, artists and writers are among the people buried at Bonaventure, however, the most visited grave is the one of a little girl named Gracie.
Gracie was the only daughter of W.J. and Frances Watson, who managed Pulaski Hotel, one of the fanciest in the city. The little girl was often seen running around the hotel and quickly became very popular among the guests, who were charmed by her playful personality. Sadly, at the age of 6, Gracie fell ill with pneumonia and died 2 days before Easter. The grief-stricken family could not bear to stay in Savannah, full of memories of their little girl and moved away soon after she got buried at Bonaventure Cemetery.
Before they left the city, they commissioned a local sculptor to make a life-size monument to be placed at her gravesite. Many people touched by her story leave flowers and toys for Gracie’s ghost to play with and it’s believed, that if you try to remove them, she will shed tears of blood. Due to a large number of visitors, Gracie’s grave is now fenced off to protect it, but some claim the iron fence is there to contain Gracie’s playful spirit. According to many, Gracie’s spirit lives on and the ghost of the little girl has been seen running around Johnson Square, where she used to spend her time. — Aga Goodman blogs at Traveling with Aga.
Location: 330 Bonaventure Rd, Thunderbolt, GA
Hamilton-Turner Inn in Savannah
Savannah, Georgia is one city you will always find on any list of America’s most haunted places. The city is riddled with ghost stories and sightings, thanks to its catastrophic history. From the Civil War to Yellow Fever to fires and multiple unsolved murders, it’s no wonder Savannah is haunted.
One example of Savannah’s ghostly reputation is the Hamilton-Turner Inn, which was made famous by the bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The Hamilton-Turner Inn is mentioned in the book as being the location of raucous parties, and it’s one such party’s fatal ending that created one of the inn’s ghost stories.
The previous owner, Dr. Francis Turner was known for his lavish parties, in which his children were relegated to upstairs. One night, while the children were playing and trying to catch glimpses of the party, one of them fell down the stairs to her death. To this day, there are rumors that one can hear a girl’s laughter and billiard balls rolling down the hallways at night.
Even before the death of Dr. Turner’s daughter, Samuel Hamilton owned the mansion. Hamilton was an art collector and as such, had a guard on duty every night. One night, the guard was shot in the back of the head. The murder was never solved. Another ghost sighting is of a cigar-smoking man on the rooftop, leaving some to wonder if it isn’t that same guard at his post.
Today, the Hamilton-Turner Inn is a 4-star, luxury hotel. But if you stay overnight, be prepared for some eerie sights and sounds. –– Jordan Cierra Bradford blogs at the TheSoloLife.
Location: 330 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA
Check out haunted tours in Savannah
- Savannah Ghost & Vampire Tours
- Savannah: Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour
- Savannah: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour
- Haunted Savannah Pub Crawl
The Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago
The Congress Plaza Hotel would have to be one of the most haunted hotels in Chicago. It’s also massive, taking up a whole block on Chicago’s South Michigan Avenue. Built in 1893 it has a shady past. Al Capone once called it home and is thought to still do so. The hotel lobby was where America’s first serial killer, Dr. HH Holmes, picked up his young female victims before they met their gruesome deaths.
Numerous ghosts are said to reside at the hotel. The 12th floor of the North Wing is the most haunted. This is where Karel Langer roams the halls. He was a six-year old boy thrown from a window of the hotel by his mother. She also threw his brother out before following to her own death.
Hobo Peg Leg Johnny makes his home in the South Tower. Room 666 is meant to be so haunted that is has been sealed shut for our own protection. Unlike room 441 which is open for guests to stay; do so at your own risk. Security is called to this room more than any other in the hotel.
If you visit the ballroom you may have a ghostly woman whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Or experience the phantom gunshots that have been heard by many. — Sara McCleary blogs at Belly Rumbles
- Location: 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Check out haunted tours in Chicago:
Stull Cemetery in Lecompton
I don’t normally set out to see haunted places in person, but since I went to the University of Kansas they practically don’t let you graduate unless you’ve made the trek to visit Stull.
Located between Lawrence and Topeka, Kansas, Stull Cemetery is believed by many lovers of ghost stories to be one of the Seven Gate of Hell. The Devil opens the portal and appears here on Halloween night each year (though some versions of the legend claim he appears twice a year). He holds court and visits the grave of his former lover with whom he had a child in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Supposedly the Pope will not fly his plane over Stull because of the Satanic activity that happens here.
The cemetery is also said to be the inspiration for Gillian Flynn’s novel Dark Places.
To visit, you’ll need a car. Most come from Kansas City, Lawrence, or Topeka, though anyone on a cross-country road trip can make sure to stop by. Just be warned that locals do not like people visiting, so be prepared for a possible confrontation if you come on Halloween night. — Stephanie Craig blogs at History Fangirl
Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky
Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a beautiful example of early 20th century early Tudor Gothic Revival style architecture located in Louisville. It is listed on the National Historic Register and faced the threat of being torn down.
During the building’s existence, it became known as one of the “most haunted places on earth.” Waverly Hills Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, the history of its past employees and patients, as well as the education of the public on the history of tuberculosis and the effect on the area.
The WHHS now runs tours and organizes a Haunted House and a Christmas Laser Light show to raise funds to accomplish their goal.
Address: 4400 Paralee Drive, Louisville, Ky 40272
The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter
Early 1800s mansion where serial killer Madame Lalaurie had a torture chamber.
The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter has a dark history. Known as one of the city’s most haunted locations, the mansion has a terrible past and as a result, ghost stories abound.
One of the most notable relates to a brutal woman who tortured people she kept as slaves. Madame Delphine LaLaurie regularly starved and chained them up while performing cruel experiments on them which involved breaking their bones and drilling holes in their heads. Spirits of Madame LaLaurie’s tortured slaves have been spotted on balconies and staring out the windows at passersby.
To get away from the dark shadows that the horrible Madame LaLaurie cast over the building, the new owner decided to turn it into apartments. Residents have reported hearing disembodied screams and footsteps throughout the night, resulting in the mansion’s reputation as being the haunted house on Royal Street.
The apartments failed, the mansion was sold and it was transformed into an all-girls school. The spirits made themselves known immediately. The girls were physically assaulted by the entities of the mansion and frequently developed scratches and bruises all over their bodies.
Nowadays the house is privately owned, but ghost tours in New Orleans regularly pass by, telling the dark tales of the mansion’s cruel paranormal past. Be sure to carefully check the windows when you’re at the LaLaurie Mansion to see if something’s looking back at you. — Crystal blogs at Wandering Crystal
- Location: 1140 Royal Street, New Orleans
Check out the tours for LaLaurie Mansion & Haunted New Orleans:
- New Orleans: 5 in 1 Ghost & Mystery Evening Tour
- French Quarter: Ghost Tour
- New Orleans: Voodoo & Cemetery Tour
- Ghosts and Spirits – New Orleans Evening Walking Tour
Salem Witch House in Salem
It should come as no surprise that Salem, Massachusetts is regularly referred to as one of America’s most haunted places. It was the site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and witness to the executions of 20 individuals who were accused of witchcraft.
Because of this evil and painful history, it’s no wonder that many of the spirits of the dead still hang around spooky Salem. There are a great many scary stories of hauntings and sightings in this witchy city, but those that are connected to the witch trials maybe most intriguing.
One such haunted spot is the Salem Witch House. This is the only remaining building in Salem that has direct ties to the 1692 trials. Once the home of Judge Jonathon Corwin, who helped send victims to the gallows, the home not only looks suitably creepy from the outside, but tales of the building’s hauntings abound.
The negative energy of the place and the owner’s deeds remain, undoubtedly influenced by the tragic deaths experienced both inside and outside the home. In fact, Judge Corwin and his wife experienced personal tragedies of their own, with 8 of their 10 children dying before adulthood.
Some visitors to the Witch House have reported odd experiences including intense cold spots, drafts of cold wind, ghost sightings, and some even claim being touched by ghost children.
Want to know if it’s true? Come visit Salem for yourself! — Amy Hartle blogs at Two Drifers
- Location: 310 Essex St, Salem, MA
- Salem: Haunt and History Guided Night Tour
- Salem: 1692 Witchcraft Trials Walk
- Salem: Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour
- Salem: Grave Matters Cemetery Tour
Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston
With the amount of history that Boston has, it should come as no surprise that lots of places are considered to be haunted. One of the highlights of every ghost tour in Boston has to be the Omni Parker House Hotel. Located at 60 School Street, it’s known for both having the best Boston cream pie in town and being the most haunted hotel in Boston. The Omni Parker is also America’s longest continuously operating hotel and established in 1855. In its 160+ year history, there have been hundreds of reports of strange happenings- sightings, smells, noises, and more.
The tenth-floor annex is said to be one of the most haunted. In addition, elevator number 1 repeatedly visits the third floor and opens its doors – with no passengers and no call button pressed. Rumor has it Room 303 was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel and movie Room 1408, though it hasn’t been proven.
Fanatics say that King stays at the Omni Parker House when he’s in Boston. Keeping with the haunted history of the third floor, Charles Dickens used to live in a room there. He later donated a large mirror to the hotel that remains in the mezzanine to this day. Visitors have reported seeing Dickens in the mirror. Are you brave enough to take a look? — Danielle Benjamin blogs at Wanderlust on a Budget
Check out haunted tours in Boston:
- Boston: Haunt and History Night Tour
- Boston: Ghosts and Gravestones Tour
- Boston to Salem “Witch City” Day Trip
King’s Tavern in Natchez, Mississippi
King’s Tavern, the oldest structure still standing in Natchez, is said to be the most haunted restaurant in Mississippi.
There have been several ghost sightings, including Madeline, who was a waitress at the tavern and the owner’s mistress. As the story goes, the tavern owner’s wife stabbed Madeline to death after learning of their affair.
The tavern, which closed in 1817 and became a private residence, has been the site of several paranormal occurrences including a shadowy figure appearing in mirrors, the sounds of a baby crying in the empty rooms upstairs and the discovery of skeletal remains of two men and one woman in the chimney, which some assume belong to Madeline.
A jeweled dagger was later found in another fireplace, which is said to have been the murder weapon. While the restaurant is no longer operational, the building is for sale for those daring individuals interested in crossing the threshold to take a peek.
Address: 613 Jefferson St, Natchez, MS 39120
The Amityville House
The Amityville horror, a traumatizing story that has been listed as the top 10 haunted places in TIME magazine, is undoubtedly one of the most haunted houses in the world. In fact, it is so haunted that there are several movies based on the true story of what happened there.
It all started in November of 1974 when Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family (2 parents and 4 siblings) in their sleep. A history of past troubles including drug abuse is believed to be the cause of the cold-blooded action.
Unsurprisingly, the house was emptied out and wasn’t occupied until a little more than a year later, when a family known as the Lutz decided to take a look at it. At the end of their visit, the family completely fell in love with the place and decided to purchase it, despite knowing its brutal history. They only lasted 28 days in the house.
Slowly after moving into their new place, strange things began to happen. Eyes peering from outside the windows, noises of footsteps, green liquid leaking from the walls, and many more inexplicable things. Eventually, the relationships between the family began tearing down. They were getting into arguments and the kids were fighting all the time. And on Day 28, the Lutz family decided to leave the house temporarily but never returned in the end. — Sean Lau blogs at Living out Lau.
Location: Ocean Avenue (Originally 112 Ocean Avenue and then changed to 112 Ocean Avenue)
Haunted Carolina Inn In Chapel Hill
Built in 1924, the quaint Carolina Inn, located on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, has been welcoming guests for 95 years. However, there is one guest that does not want to leave the comfort and luxury of this four-star Inn.
Dr. William Jacocks loved this university hotel so much that he decided to use the Inn as his retirement home, and rented room 256. Guests have reported seeing a well-dressed man in a hat and a long-blue coat walking the hallways and trying to get in rooms.
Before hotel renovations in the mid-nineties, guests would notice oddities in their room such as they would be locked out, rumpled bath mats, and the smell of fresh flowers even though there were no flowers in the room. After renovations, Dr. Jacocks original room became parts of four new rooms. Electronic locks were installed, but on occasion, the locks jam. Coincidence? You decide. — Leigh Powell Hines blogs at Hines Sight
- Location: 211 Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC
Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa
Cain’s Ballroom is a music venue in Tulsa, Oklahoma where you can enjoy many bands and live performances. It has been a popular place for entertainment since its beginnings in 1924.
Spectators aren’t the only ones who hang out at Cain’s Ballroom. There are many who have reported unusual experiences with ghosts and spirits.
People claim Cain’s is haunted by Bob Wills. Bob was a country music star who performed regularly at Cain’s. Cain’s is even known as his home. There’s a sign above the stage that reads “Cain’s Home of Bob Wills”. He loved performing here so much, that people say his spirit made it his home for his afterlife.
People also report sightings of multiple women. Some say they are referred to as Jane, Chloe or “a lady in red”. Employees and patrons have claimed they have heard and felt mysterious things while at the venue.
Also reported were sights of orbs, hot and cold spots and lights turning on and off by themselves. — Dylan Myers blogs at familytravelgo
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia doesn’t just look haunted, many people say it is one of the most haunted places in America. Paranormal investigations teams flock here so often that a special booking option has been created so that a staff member can accompany each team during after-hours investigations.
Opening in 1829, the facility was built based on the approach that prisoners should be isolated to reflect on their actions. Eastern State highlighted the “penance” portion of “penitentiary.” Contributing to the silence, guards wore socks over their shoes so that prisoners didn’t even know when others were around. The isolation caused many prisoners to lose their minds. Others suffered terrifying punishments and their spirits have never left.
Beginning in the 1940s, guards and others began reporting on the apparition of ghosts. The prison closed for good in 1971 but was re-opened to the public in 1994, first as specific tours, eventually as the museum it is today. While those who work here do not want to discuss whether Eastern State Penitentiary truly is haunted. Visitors report hearing voices or feeling the temperature change suddenly. The catwalk has been the scene of multiple apparitions. Al Capone, who was a prisoner here, reported that a ghost visited him nightly.
If you don’t want to hunt for ghosts but would like a good scare, visit “Terror Behind the Walls,” a haunted house with six attractions, held on the grounds during the fall. Even if you don’t see a ghost, Eastern State Penitentiary is a site not to be missed. — Annick Lenoir blogs at The Common Traveler
Location: 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Check out tours in Philadelphia
Old City Jail in Charleston
No visit to Charleston, South Carolina is complete without a tour of the Old City Jail. Built in 1802, it operated as a jail until it was decommissioned in 1939. During that time, the jail was used to house everyone from pirates to murderers and even Union prisoners of war during the Civil War.
Even Lavinia Fisher believed to be the first American female serial killer, and her husband were imprisoned at the jail. Thousands of people had served time at the jail, often in deplorable conditions that are believed to have killed more than a hangman’s noose.
A squat building with darkened grey brick walls, the jail sits next to the sidewalk, wrought-iron bars over the narrow windows and doors. When you enter, dimly lit hallways stretch out into the darkness punctuated by the red glow of emergency exit signs and an eerie feeling that you are being watched.
Ghostly encounters are numerous, especially in the “Dark Room” located on the top floor of the jail. While taking part in a ghost tour, my attention kept being drawn to one corner; a shadow that just did not belong and moved independently of any light source seemed to flit at the edge of my vision.
Later that night I looked at photos that I had taken, shocked by the glowing balls of light that were prominent in some of the images. Perhaps it was a visit from some of the prisoners that have never left. — Kristal blogs at Adventure Dawgs
- Location: 21 Magazine St, Charleston, SC
Check out these Haunted Tours for Charleston:
- Haunted Jail Walking Tour in Charleston
- Haunted Charleston Ghost and Pub Walking Tour
- Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour
- Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour of Charleston
Bell Witch Cave in Adams
The Bell Witch is local lore and legend in Tennessee but it’s creepy enough to be appreciated by anyone. The Bell Witch Cave is located near Nashville – about an hour away in Adams, Tennessee – on the old Bell family land near their cabin.
To this day, the Bell Witch legend is still somewhat a mystery. In 1817, the Bells started experiencing strange and unusual behaviors surrounding their home and land. Things such as strange-looking animals, knocking on the doors, the sound of chains being drug on the floor, choking sounds, and more. What started as just weird sightings and sounds, eventually grew strong enough to have a voice and gave itself a few different identities; the most popular being that of Kate.
The torture from Kate went on for years and ultimately led to the death of John Bell and the end of Betsy Bell’s engagement (apparently the entity’s main goals). Legend has it that the Bell Witch never left though due to strange happenings in Adams and near the cave. The cave and land are privately owned but tours are available in the Summer and in October. — Ashley Hubbard blogs at Wild Hearted
- Location: 430 Keysburg Rd, Adams, TN
The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane
Since its opening in 1914, The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington has had its share of interesting guests including Amelia Earhart, John F. Kennedy, and Taylor Swift. But it is a DIFFERENT type of guest that MANY people find most interesting of all…those guests that just don’t like the idea of checking out.
In 1920, Ellen McNamara, a guest of The Davenport Hotel, was feeling ill and decided to take a walk to clear her head. It is unknown exactly what happened next, but McNamara somehow stepped out onto the glass ceiling of the mezzanine and fell to her death on the marble floor below.
There were so many questions about her death at the time: Why was she walking on the roof? Was her misstep accidental?? Was she pushed?? And McNamara seemed just as confused as the other party-goers.
In fact, it seems that she is still searching for answers. Davenport employees claim to have seen a woman wandering the mezzanine wearing a flapper dress asking “where did I go?” and staring off over the balcony. But don’t worry about Mrs. McNamara being sad and lonely, the other Davenport ghosts are sure to keep her company.
She can wander the halls with the mysterious disappearing doorman, the ghostly valet, or even Mr. Davenport himself, who continues to patrol the haunted hotel at night in order to create the perfect stay for his guests. In fact, it seems he makes their stay a little too perfect…they never want to leave. — Jessica Perkins blogs at From Orchard Slope
- Location: 10 S Post St, Spokane, WA
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1864 as a state hospital for the mentally ill. While the asylum was originally considered a pioneer in the humane treatment of the mentally ill, it was later reported to be significantly overcrowded with poor sanitation, insufficient lighting, and no heating.
It accommodated a variety of patients, including alcoholics, drug addicts, epileptics, and women who’d deserted their husbands. Treatments spanned from bloodletting to electric shock therapy to insulin coma therapy.
It even became home to the state lobotomy project in the 1950s. Different wings of the hospital housed different types of patients, including deviants and the criminally insane. There was also a women’s ward and a Civil War wing.
The long, sordid history of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and reports of paranormal activity makes it one of America’s most haunted locations. Staff members and visitors claim to have seen apparitions and heard unexplained voices and sounds, and folks have come to be familiar with specific ghosts on specific floors.
The asylum eventually closed in 1994 when another hospital became the official state facility, but the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum currently runs tours for the brave and curious. — Jordan Campbell blogs at GlobalDebauchery
- Location: 71 Asylum Dr, Weston, WV
What haunted locations in the United States have you visited? Have we missed one of your favorites? Please let us know in the comments below.
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