50 Most Haunted Places in America
The cursed homes, creepy cemeteries, and haunted hotels you should visit... if you dare!
If you're on the hunt for your next haunt, there are plenty of destinations across the U.S. that contain enough tales of terror to inspire chills in even the bravest visitors. Whether you're an amateur ghost hunter or just looking for a great story to tell at your next dinner party, you'll want to read the fascinating stories of the most haunted places in America, such as the LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans or the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast in Massachusetts. Just make sure you're ready to meet these place's past residents before you go; rumor has it, they're a lot closer to this side of the veil than you might think!
The LaLaurie Mansion; New Orleans, Louisiana
If you've seen American Horror Story, then you're likely familiar with the story of Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a New Orleans socialite accused of torturing and killing slaves at her home in the city's French Quarter. In 1834, a fire broke out at the residence, and when officials responded to the scene, they discovered LaLaurie's mutilated slaves, who had been trapped in the attic during the blaze. When the townspeople caught wind of LaLaurie's crimes against humanity, they stormed the mansion in retaliation, forcing her to retreat to France.
Almost immediately, neighbors claimed to hear the phantom screams of LaLaurie's victims coming from the attic, as well as the image of a young girl fleeing across the mansion's roof. Centuries later, visitors to the city can still tour the outside of the home at 1140 Royal Street, although many report fainting or becoming nauseated as they pass by.
RMS Queen Mary; Long Beach, California
The RMS Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner, sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. It first served as a luxury ship that carried guests like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, and then as a World War II troopship. According to the lore surrounding the ship, it's still haunted by the spirits of those who died aboard, including one sailor who was crushed to death by a door in the engine room and another who was murdered in cabin B340. For a truly immersive experience, guests can book a room on the Queen Mary, which also houses a restaurant and plenty of other spooky excursions.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1; New Orleans, Louisiana
With those unique above-ground graves, New Orleans cemeteries have earned the nickname the "Cities of the Dead." And while it could seem impossible to rank this city's haunted cemeteries, locals might tell you that the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the eeriest of them all. The site is the final resting place of Madame LaLaurie (experts guess she either returned to New Orleans after her retreat, or that family members had her body shipped to the city after her death), as well as the renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
Laveau's tomb is easily recognizable, thanks to the hundreds of red Xs that cover its facade—a sign that visitors have made a wish and requested Laveau's help. Believers also say that the Queen of Voodoo appears on St. John's Eve (June 23) and can be identified by the knotted handkerchief she wears around her neck. Despite her watchful eye, vandalism became such a problem at this historic cemetery (a group was once even accused of trying to exhume Laveau from her grave in 1982) that since 2015, visitors are required to be accompanied by a tour guide.
The Shanghai Tunnels; Portland, Oregon
In the early part of the 19th century, there are rumors that Portland, Oregon, had a rampant problem known as shanghaiing, a form of human trafficking. According to local legend, swindlers would prey upon unsuspecting young men in saloons, which were often outfitted with trap doors for the victims to be directly disposed into a network of underground tunnels. Once in these underground tunnels, the men would be drugged, held captive, and eventually sold to ships as unpaid laborers. Though many have said it's all a myth, others believe the tunnels still exist underneath the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, containing the ghosts of the men who died while being held captive.
San Fernando Cathedral; San Antonio, Texas
The San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio is the oldest church in Texas, built in the early 1700s. Its grounds are plagued with rumored paranormal activities—something that can possibly be linked to the 1936 discovery of bones, nails, and tattered military uniforms thought to belong to three soldiers from the Alamo.
Figures in hooded, monk-like clothing are supposedly spotted on the premises on a regular basis, as well as the presence of a man dressed in all black who walks casually through the church's interior. The San Fernando Cathedral is still a functioning church, so you can stop by to attend a service… if you dare. Oh, and be sure to look at the walls on the backside of the church. According to San Antonio Magazine, visitors frequently report seeing faces in them!
The Stanley Hotel; Estes Park, Colorado
As the inspiration for Stephen King's 1977 novel The Shining, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is considered one of the most haunted places in the world. Rumor has it the original owners of the hotel, Freelan Oscar and Flora Stanley, haven't left the residence since they opened it in 1909. According to guests who have stayed there, Mr. Stanley frequently shows up in photographs, Mrs. Stanley can sometimes be spotted playing the piano, and, if you listen closely enough, you can often hear the sound of children's laughter echoing through the hallways. To catch a glimpse of the spirits yourself, you can book a room at the hotel, or, if you're too scared, you can take a tour during the light of day. (We don't judge.)
Dock Street Theatre; Charleston, South Carolina
Located in Charleston's historic French Quarter neighborhood, the Dock Street Theatre opened in 1736. And while the original building was destroyed by a fire just four years later, the theatre got a second grand opening in 1937, and a third in 2010, after a full-scale renovation.
With such a long and rich history, it's no surprise that ghosts reportedly roam the area. Theatre-goers have claimed to see spirits, ghostly shadows, and apparitions on stage. But two ghosts in particular stand out: Junius Booth and Nettie. Booth is believed to be the father of infamous presidential assassin, John Wilkes Booth, though he was nowhere near Charleston when he passed. And Nettie is believed to be a sex worker who frequented the hotel that once stood where the new theatre does.
Gettysburg National Military Park; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg witnessed the deadliest battle of the Civil War, with more than 51,000 men meeting their fate over course of the three-day conflict. Since most of these soldiers were never given a proper burial, it is believed that their souls still haunt the current-day Gettysburg National Military Park.
St. Augustine Lighthouse; St. Augustine, Florida
While the St. Augustine Lighthouse is visited by thousands of guests reveling in its beauty each year, there are a few visitors who stop by to catch a glimpse of the spirits that are said to haunt the premises, due to the high number of tragic events that have taken place there since it was built in 1871. For example, in 1859, one lighthouse keeper fell to his death while white-washing the building, and in 1873, three children (two of whom were the foreman's kids) died in a freak accident after a cart they were playing in broke, leaving them trapped, according to the St. Augustine Record.
Now, guests have reported spotting these unfortunate souls roaming the vicinity. One tour guide told the St. Augustine Record in 2014, "I've had a few arm hairs plucked off me in the basement of the keeper's house. Rather recently I had my ankle grabbed. That was pretty amusing since it was in the middle of my tour so it looked like I just randomly tripped over air."
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum; Weston, West Virginia
Ever since the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum opened in 1864, hundreds of patients have died in conditions that were deemed inhumane. At one time during the 1950s, 2,400 patients were crammed into the facility, which was meant for just 250 people. The asylum, which closed in 1994, also reportedly performed lobotomies and electroshock therapy on its patients. Perhaps that's why rumor has it that former patients of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum appear as shadowy figures, forever cursing the premises.
Moon River Brewing Company; Savannah, Georgia
The Moon River Brewing Company originally opened as a hotel in 1821, until it was converted into a makeshift hospital for yellow fever patients during the Civil War. Many people believe these yellow fever victims, the majority of them children, still haunt the second floor of what's now a popular brewing company. Unfortunately, visitors can't seem to drink their beer in peace without poltergeists taunting them. Stick to the main level to avoid the non-alcoholic spirits at this establishment.
Myrtles Plantation; St. Francisville, Louisiana
The Myrtles Plantation, established in 1796 by General David Bradford, was actually constructed atop an Indigenous peoples' burial site. But those aren't the only spirits to still reportedly haunt the land. The most infamous apparition is that of a former slave named Chloe, who, legend has it, got her ear cut off for eavesdropping. After that, she allegedly poisoned a birthday cake and killed two of the plantation owner's daughters and his wife. As a result, she was hung by her fellow slaves for her crime. Guests visiting the plantation these days report catching glimpses of her ghost, as well as several others who are still seeking justice for their deaths.
Winchester Mystery House; San Jose, California
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is the brainchild of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms rifle fortune. After a series of tragedies, including the deaths of her daughter and husband, Winchester allegedly visited a psychic to ask for help. Rumor has it the spiritualist told her that her family was being killed by the ghosts of gunshot victims, and the only way to escape them was to build a mansion full of booby traps. The heiress took this advice to heart and set off to build a sprawling estate that now features doors that open to 12-foot drops, staircases to nowhere, and sealed off rooms. It's a disturbing sight to behold and is said to be haunted by the desperate, grief-stricken woman's spirit.
Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast and Museum; Fall River, Massachusetts
While the case remains officially unsolved to this day, it is believed that on August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden bludgeoned her parents, Andrew and Abby Borden, to death with an ax. Decades later, you can pay a visit to the Bordens' famed residence, which now serves as a bed and breakfast where guests can view photos from the gruesome crime scene and stay in the room where Mrs. Borden was murdered. Apparently, these restless spirits can be bribed to leave you alone. To keep Mr. Borden at bay, all you've got to do is place a few coins on his bedroom bureau, according to the New England Today.
Eastern State Penitentiary; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was the first to subject its prisoners to solitary confinement, beginning in 1829. Hundreds of prisoners languished in these conditions. Some even had hoods placed over their heads as punishment for moving around their cells. Though the prison closed in 1971, tours are now offered year-round for those who would like to visit the souls who have stayed way longer than their original sentences. For an added thrill (or chill), head to the penitentiary during the fall for its Terror Behind the Walls, one of the top haunted houses in the country.
Devil's Tramping Ground; Chatham County, North Carolina
The devil is lurking in a wooded area about 50 miles south of Greensboro, North Carolina—according to local legend, that is.
There's a 40-foot clearing in the pine woods of Chatham County that has allegedly been devoid of vegetation for 300 years. Called the Devil's Tramping Ground, it's believed that the devil comes to this patch of dirt each night to plot evil deeds. What makes this wooded area even creepier is that scientists have tried to understand why plants don't grow here, but haven't found anything wrong with the site's soil, according to a USA Today affiliate.
And while it remains a fairly popular camping spot, it's said that those who stay the entire night are never sane again. If that sounds like something you're interested in, you can pitch your tent and wait for the action to begin.
Hotel Monte Vista; Flagstaff, Arizona
Guests have detailed numerous accounts of paranormal activity at the Hotel Monte Vista in Arizona. In fact, even actor John Wayne was reported to have spotted a ghost here. Built in 1927, this hotel has remained a fixture of Flagstaff's culture—which might explain why other celebrities like Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, and Anthony Hopkins have come to see the legendary establishment for themselves.
For the past few decades, there have been numerous sightings of ghosts at the hotel—including the spirits of two women who were thrown from the third floor and who now try to asphyxiate male guests, and the "Phantom Bellboy" who knocks on guests doors in the middle of the night with the promise of room service. The hotel is still open for business—so grab your paranormal tools and go check it out.
The town of Cahaba, Alabama
Famous ghost town and first capital of Alabama, Cahaba was abandoned at the end of the Civil War, leaving nothing but empty buildings and creepy cemeteries behind. During the war, the town housed more than 3,000 Union prisoners of war.
Now serving as an epicenter of paranormal activity in Alabama, Cahaba offers ghost tours year-round. And even that is somewhat of a miracle: Within the last decade, the town's fledgling welcome center was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Linda Derry, the town's historical archaeologist, says the area has been struck by lightning an inordinate amount. "They call it the curse of Cahaba," she told The New York Times.
Lincoln Park Zoo; Chicago, Illinois
One of Chicago's most popular tourist destinations is also one of its most haunted. And that's because it wasn't always a zoo—it was a cemetery. Back in the 1840s and '50s, the area that is now the Lincoln Park Zoo was the final resting place for more than 35,000 souls—most of whom were moved to another cemetery after the original one proved to be too close to the city's water supply.
As you might imagine, disturbing the peace of thousands of bodies did not go over well. One parapsychologist told Time Out that it is "without a doubt the most active site I've investigated." Since the zoo opened shortly after the bodies were moved, guests have reported significant levels of paranormal activity.
Mizpah Hotel; Tonopah, Nevada
Home of the famous ghost the "Lady in Red," the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada, opened in 1907 as one of the first luxury hotels in the state of Nevada. According to local legend, the Lady in Red was murdered in the fifth-floor hallway of the hotel and has continued to haunt the premises ever since. Since its renovation in 2011, guests have been able to stay in the Lady in Red Suite and order the Red Lady Bloody Mary at the hotel's restaurant.
The town of Sleepy Hollow, New York
As the setting of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sleepy Hollow, New York, is a must-see paranormal destination. One of the more infamous spirits to haunt the town is that of a statue known as the Bronze Lady. This sculpture sits in the local Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where she'll either haunt you forever or comfort you, depending on how you treat her.
Pittock Mansion; Portland, Oregon
Yet again, Portland proves to be one of the creepiest destinations in the U.S. In 1912, Henry and Georgiana Pittock started building their dream mansion here, though they only enjoyed it for a small amount of time. Four years after moving in, they both died within a year of each other. Now a public landmark, visitors have reported smelling roses in rooms without the presence of flowers and a childhood painting of Henry seems to move on its own throughout the home. Today, you can pay a visit to the mansion-turned-museum to see if you can sense the spirits of the Pittocks.
Queen Anne Hotel; San Francisco, California
What became the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco initially served as an etiquette school for girls in the 1890s. Those who stay in Room 410 can perhaps catch a glimpse of the school's late headmistress, Miss Mary Lake. When guests wake up in the morning, they often find that Lake has unpacked their clothes and made their bed. Even in the afterlife, she displays an astounding amount of etiquette!
Bullock Hotel; Deadwood, South Dakota
First established as a hardware store by Seth Bullock in 1876, this Main Street building in Deadwood was converted to a luxury hotel following a fire at the store in 1894. And apparently, Mr. Bullock hasn't left the premises since. According to hotel employees, Bullock, who died in 1917, is primarily there to ensure the hotel is still run in accordance with his values. Paranormal activity allegedly increases when staff members stand idle or start whistling or humming. If they do, he'll reportedly shake the plates and glassware and turn the showers on and off. Sometimes, staff members will even hear their names called out by a male voice when no one else is present.
Sallie House; Atchison, Kansas
As the legend goes, the Sallie House was originally the home of a notable Atchison physician, who also saw patients there. One day, he performed an emergency surgery (before anesthesia) on a six-year-old named Sallie whose appendix he feared could burst at any moment. However, Sallie died on the operating table, with her last memories being of a man she thought was torturing her. The story began to spread in 1993, when a young couple rented the house and the husband was repeatedly attacked, while his child and wife remained unharmed. If you're looking for an up-close visit with Sallie, you can participate in a self-guided tour in September and October, or a guided tour or overnight stay year-round.
The Whaley House; San Diego, California
The Whaley House has been a family home, a county court, a general store, a theater, a school, and more. But these days, it's best known as a haunted house. Over the years, many of the Whaleys died in the house, beginning with the Whaley's 18-month-old son, Thomas, who died of scarlet fever. Many people still report hearing tiny footsteps, crying, or giggling in the building. But Thomas is not the only spirit that reportedly roams the halls. If you're curious to meet one of the many Whaleys who still haunt this home, you can tour the now-haunted attraction.
Vulture Mine; Maricopa County, Arizona
The Vulture Mine was created in 1863, when Henry Wickenburg discovered gold in the area, which in turn led to the establishment of the surrounding mining town of Vulture City. However, in 1942, the mine was shut down because it was illegal to process gold during World War II. Quickly, Vulture Mine became a ghost town—literally.
According to The Arizona Republic, voices, orbs, and other paranormal activity plagues the abandoned town. Most people attribute it to the suspicious Hanging Tree, where it's rumored that 18 miners were hung after stealing gold during the late 1800s. And while no officials have backed up the legends, you're free to explore the abandoned town yourself.
House of Seven Gables; Salem, Massachusetts
The House of the Seven Gables was made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name. And while Salem is no stranger to spooky sightings, as the oldest restored home in the area, this is a mecca of spiritual activity.
According to rumors, since the home was restored to its original appearance, spirits have been drawn back, too. There are claims that various shadows have been seen throughout the house, including a little boy and a female thought to be Susan Ingersoll, a former owner of the home and a cousin of Hawthorne's. Interested in seeing the haunted house in person? There are guided tours daily.
Poinsett Bridge; Greenville, South Carolina
Built in 1820, Poinsett Bridge is believed to be the oldest bridge still standing in South Carolina. And while it may seem just like any old bridge, there has been a history of unexplainable occurrences there at night.
According to Travelers Rest Here, many locals claim they've been unable to start their cars when they go to leave the bridge at night, and then they see a light coming toward them, accompanied by a loud scream. "It never fails at night to see, feel, or hear something that would leave most paralyzed," one Greenville native told Travelers Rest Here.
Crescent Hotel; Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Crescent Hotel is so wrought with supernatural sightings, it's been dubbed "America's most haunted hotel." Built in 1886, the peculiar paranormal nature of this hotel was first publicized in 1997, when Marty Roenigk and his wife, Elise, purchased the building. Roenigk hired a medium, Carroll Heath, to read the building, and she's rumored to have helped him discover a portal to "the other side."
While you're free to stay at the hotel as a normal guest, they also lead nightly ghost tours, during which guests have repeatedly fallen faint at the same location that the supposed portal was discovered.
Pine Barrens; New Jersey
The most prominent legend regarding this section of land—which spans more than a million acres in southern New Jersey—is that of the Jersey Devil, a ghostly character that plagues the entire state.
According to local lore, the devil was born when Pine Barrens native Deborah Leeds found out she was expecting her 13th child. Leeds cried out, "Let this one be the devil!" And when the offspring arrived, it was: Her 13th child, the Jersey Devil, had leathery wings, a goat's head, and hooves. Since its birth in 1735, residents and visitors have reported seeing the creature in the trees and on the sides of the highway. He kills livestock and terrorizes motorists. At one point, as much as $100,000 was offered for his capture.
Red Onion Saloon; Skagway, Alaska
Opened in 1898, the Red Onion Saloon was an infamous brothel in Skagway during the Klondike Gold Rush. Visitors would travel for hours to this hot spot during the summer.
The most recognizable spirit here is Lydia, a woman who worked in the brothel. Visitors have reported hearing her footsteps as well as smelling the strong, lingering scent of her perfume. Her presence is so strong, in fact, that the police were once called to check out reports that a figure was running down the hall and into what was once the madame's room. But when authorities inspected the room, it was empty.
New Amsterdam Theatre; New York, New York
If you're interested in a Broadway show and a supernatural scare, pay a visit to New York's New Amsterdam Theatre, where currently, theatre-goers flock to see the musical Aladdin. The most famous ghost who roams the theatre's halls is Olive Thomas, a former Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl who died during her Paris honeymoon in 1920. It's rumored that her spirit traveled all the way back overseas to remain in the place she loved to perform. Her presence is so well-known at the theatre that many "fans" of Thomas have tried to stowaway after the show to get a glimpse of the ghost.
Calcasieu Courthouse; Lark Charles, Louisiana
Murderer Annie McQuinston, better known as Toni Jo Henry, is the only woman to ever be sentenced to death in Louisiana's electric chair—which may explain why she still haunts the halls of this courthouse, where she spent time in a holding cell before her death. She's said to lock doors, dim lights, and mess with electrical equipment. The locals are so afraid of her, in fact, that according to a local news station, they even have an unwritten rule where they don't mention her name in the building during election season out of fear that she'll mess with the voting process.
Detroit Masonic Temple; Detroit, Michigan
Spanning 14 floors, the Detroit Masonic Temple is the largest Masonic temple in the world. Built by George D. Mason in 1912, it's rumored to be full of secret staircases and hidden passages. While he was building the temple, however, one legend says that Mason went bankrupt and his wife left him, leading Mason to jump to his death from the roof of the temple. Others say he died from old age in the safe confines of his bed, but what's for certain is that this building is plagued by cold spots, shadows, and pranks that go unexplained. The finger of suspicion points to Mason!
Burying Point Cemetery; Salem, Massachusetts
The Burying Point Cemetery in the storied Salem, Massachusetts, is rife with the spirits of those involved in the Salem Witch Trials. Although none of the 19 executed "witches" are buried here (it was a common practice at the time to bury their bodies near the point of execution), it's still plagued with paranormal activity. One of the most infamous hot spots is the area of the cemetery closest to Murphy's Pub and Restaurant on Derby Street. Past owners of the pub have reportedly seen a Victorian woman in a powder blue dress, as well as the apparition of a boy with a picnic basket.
Sheffield Island Lighthouse; Norwalk, Connecticut
Completed in 1868, the lighthouse that still stands on Sheffield Island has seen some odd, unexpected occurrences. Archaeologist Karen Orawsky was working on the site in 1991, when she claimed that she heard "hypnotic and mystical" music with no apparent source. And long-time paranormal researcher Christine Kacyznski said there appears to be the spirt of a young girl, Abby, trapped on the island by the spirits of two fighting adults, according to San Diego Paranormal. If you're interested in meeting Abby yourself, the island hosts a Haunted Lighthouse tour every year.
Fort East Martello; Key West, Florida
Fort East Martello had originally been built as protection during the Civil War era, but if you visit it now, it's where you'll find what is perhaps the creepiest doll on planet Earth: Robert the Doll. He's dressed in a sailor suit, but his face is deformed, with hole-like scars, no nose, and black beady eyes. It's said that Robert was first given as a gift to a young Eugene Robert Otto in the early 1900s. Since then, Robert's been involved in some downright creepy stuff.
Eugene's parents said that they often heard Eugene talking to Robert and getting a response, and witnessed the doll speaking and changing his expression themselves. And when Eugene died in 1974, a young girl, who had moved into the home with her family, found Robert and was excited to have a doll to play with—until she started to claim that Robert was alive and wanted to hurt her. Now, locked up on display in the Fort East Martello Museum, it still doesn't seem like Robert's torment has stopped. But if you're doubtful, you're free to check out things for yourself.
The Omni Parker House; Boston, Massachusetts
While the Omni Parker House is full of historical significance for Bostonians, it's most well-known for its reputation as one of Beantown's most haunted hotels, according to Sam Baltrusis in Ghosts of Boston. It's haunted by none other than Harvey Parker himself, who is said to still roam the halls of the hotel he built.
"I first heard about the ghost of Harvey Parker when I began working here in 1941," a longtime bellman, John Brehm, told the Boston Globe in 1992. "They used to say he roamed the halls on the tenth floor annex. There were many stories, but one in particular happened around 1950. An elderly woman guest insisted she saw an apparition outside Room 1078. At first, it was a misty apparition in the air, then it turned toward her. She said it was a heavy-set older man with a black mustache. He just looked at her, then faded away. She came downstairs, a bit jittery, and security went up to the tenth floor. They check it out, but report they could find nothing."
Iolani Palace; Honolulu, Hawaii
Iolani Palace is Hawaii's own royal residence, but it's also a palace of ghostly proportions. Deemed a National Historic Landmark in 1962, the palace was built in 1882 and was home to Hawaii's last reigning monarchs, King Kalakaua and his successor and sister, Queen Liliuokalani. If you want to see the queen yourself, even though she's long passed, just head to the palace grounds in the early morning. According to Honolulu Magazine, the palace's security guards have confirmed that her ghostly figure appears often in the mornings.
Amityville Horror House; Amityville, New York
No, it's not just a successful horror movie—the actual Amityville Horror House lies just outside of New York City in the town of Amityville, Long Island. In 1974, Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family while they were asleep inside the house.
It was purchased by the Lutz family a year later, but they left less than a month in because of the unsettling paranormal activity present. They claimed to smell strange orders, noticed green slime oozing out of the walls, and saw a pig-like creature with red eyes staring down at them. They also said that the stepfather, George Lutz, woke up every morning at 3:15 a.m., the same time DeFeo carried out his murders.
Ohio State Reformatory; Mansfield, Ohio
The Ohio State Reformatory is the background of the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption and the building has a creepy history itself. For 94 years, it stood as a working prison where nearly 154,000 inmates came and went—but some never left. The third floor is one of the most haunted, and people say it's here that they see shadowy figures, hear voices and footsteps, and just have an eerie feeling of never being alone. Other areas that people are warned to avoid, according to ghost hunt manager Scott Sukel, are the subbasement, the chapel, the west attic, the admin basement, east and west cell blocks, and the solitary confinement hole (where many prisoners took their lives).
Grove Park Inn; Asheville, North Carolina
Opened in 1913, The Grove Park Inn was built by medicine-maker Edwin Wiley Grove, who moved to Asheville after hearing rumors of the healing powers of the town's air. While the inn has been visited by many famous figures, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and former President Barack Obama, the most long-lasting guest is the mysterious Pink Lady.
Still haunting the halls today, legend has it that a woman wearing a pink gown fell to her death from the fifth floor. In 1995, the inn's owners decided to hire a paranormal investigator to check things out, and he concluded that the Pink Lady spends most her time in Room 545, two stories above where she supposedly fell to her death. So, if you're ever in town and want to spend time with the Pink Lady herself, check out this room to get close to the ghost.
Don CeSar Hotel; St. Pete Beach, Florida
Built during the height of the 1920s Jazz Age, the Don CeSar Hotel is known for catering to the rich and famous. It was built by Thomas Rowe as a tribute to his long-lost love, Lucinda. And it's said the heartbroken Rowe has never left. Guests report seeing a man wearing an old-fashioned Panama hat and white summer suit who disappears when approached. And hotel employees have reported strange happenings on the fifth floor where Rowe had lived, like mysterious knocks on the door with no one there and swinging doors opening by themselves.
Peyton Randolph House; Williamsburg, Virginia
Though it's been restored several times over the years, the Peyton Randolph House was originally built in 1715 and is one of the most historic buildings still standing in Colonial Williamsburg. It's also sometimes referred to as the most haunted house in the U.S. According to Colonial Ghosts, every year on their ghost tours, guests have passed out or had medical issues when coming up on this home.
It's estimated that nearly 30 people have died in the house since it was first built, and many of their ghosts have never left. Even Marquis de Lafayette, the famous French general of the American Revolution, is reported to have felt a supernatural presence in this home, writing, "I considered myself fortunate to lodge in the home of a great man, Peyton Randolph. Upon my arrival, as I entered through the foyer, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It nudged me as if intending to keep me from entering. I quickly turned, but found no one there."
West Virginia Penitentiary; Moundsville, West Virginia
The West Virginia Penitentiary was decommissioned in 1995, but that hasn't stopped the rumors about this 1876 building being haunted. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, at one time, it held 2,000 prisoners, even though it wasn't designed to hold even half that number. Not only that, but many state-sponsored executions were held in the building before the state abolished the death penalty in 1965, and instances of violence and murder among prisoners were common.
It's said that because of its violent history, many tortured souls who died behind the walls of this penitentiary have never left. Former caretaker and now tour guide for the building, Tom Stiles, told the Gazette-Mail that even inmates used to complain about the penitentiary's paranormal presence.
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop; New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is wrought with ghost stories, and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is no exception. It was built during the late 1700s, and is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the French Quarter. It's said that pirate Jean Lafitte, who called the building home in the early 1800s, still roams the halls. While he doesn't interact with guests, he's often seen standing in dark corners, staring at people (which is more creepy, in our opinion).
There is also rumored to be a female ghost who haunts the second floor of the shop, though no one knows her background. But the hauntings in this building are so common that the shop even encourages visitors to send in their haunted stories so they can share the tales of paranormal activity online.
Kehoe House; Savannah, Georgia
Built in 1892 by William Kehoe, the Kehoe House originally housed the Goette Funeral Home, so it's not very surprising that the dead have seemed to stick around—especially in Georgia's oldest city. But the ghost experiences most visitors report are the sounds of children, which could be the result of the many children who have lived in this home over the years. Guests also report smelling old perfumes in the hallways and the feeling of someone touching them while they sleep. If you're curious about interacting with ghosts yourself, you can stay at the now-bed and breakfast.
Ledge Lighthouse; New London, Connecticut
The Ledge Lighthouse sits out in the Thames River, off the New London harbor in Connecticut, where it was completed in 1909. It's said to be haunted by a ghost referred to as Ernie, who many believe to have been a lighthouse keeper in the '20s or '30s. According to Astonishing Legends, it's rumored that Ernie's wife ran off with the ferry captain while he was working at the lighthouse, so he climbed to the top of the building and jumped to his death.
Despite the details of that tragedy, Ernie is apparently a helpful and playful ghost, so this may be one haunted place even the ghost-averse will actually want to explore.
Alcatraz; San Francisco, California
Notorious for being a hardcore prison for some of the most infamous criminals, including Al Capone and George Kelly, Alcatraz was "built to break the spirits of even the most rebellious criminals," according to Wild SF Walking Tours. So the fact that many prisoners' tortured souls still remain here is no surprise.
Cell 14D is said to be one of the most haunted, as it's where prisoners were sent for punishment. It's rumored that one prisoner was even found strangled in this room, after screaming that a creature with glowing eyes was trying to kill him the night before his death. Visitors also say they've heard crying and moaning in cell blocks A, B, and C, with one psychic claiming to encounter a malevolent spirit named Butcher, the same nickname of a man who was assassinated at Alcatraz in the 1940s. And for more lores and legends that will have you sleeping with one eye open, check out Boo! This Is the Most Famous Ghost Story in Your State.
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