As the sun sets and the moon takes center stage, the land of the free transforms into a hauntingly eerie domain. From the chilling winds whistling through the historic alleyways to the faint whispers echoing in grand, ancient halls, America’s rich tapestry of history has birthed countless tales of the supernatural.
Whether you are a thrill-seeking adventurer or an avid historian, this land’s mysterious past often entwines with stories of spirits that linger and tales of ghostly happenings. Our great nation, which has seen wars, political revolutions, and myriad triumphs and tragedies, has its fair share of specters that roam the night, refusing to be forgotten. As the nation’s history books teem with brave heroes and dark villains, so do its creaking mansions, abandoned asylums, and ancient battlegrounds with the ghostly echoes of the past.
In this article we will take you on a spine-tingling journey through the spectral side of American history. From the foggy shores of New England to the sweltering bayous of Louisiana, we will explore the abandoned corridors, dimly-lit graveyards, and haunted homesteads where the paranormal is just another layer of America’s complex identity.
So, arm yourself with a flashlight, muster up your courage, and let’s embark on this supernatural adventure through time and space. Don’t forget to keep an open mind, as we dive into the chilling tales of these ghostly destinations. The stories you are about to discover may very well linger in your thoughts long after you’ve put them to rest.
The Haunted Gettysburg Battleground (Gettysburg, PA)
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, holds an important place in American history as the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The Gettysburg Battleground is now considered to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. With such a high number of casualties, it’s no wonder that spirits are said to linger.
Among the most infamous haunted locations within the battlefield is Devil’s Den, where visitors report seeing the ghost of a barefooted man with long hair and a floppy hat. Other haunted locations include the Daniel Lady Farm, Tillie Pierce Inn, Jennie Wade House, and Cashtown Inn. Each of these places has its own tales of apparitions and unexplained phenomena.
Paranormal enthusiasts and historians alike are drawn to Gettysburg for its storied past and the chilling ambiance that envelops the battlefield. It’s a place where the echoes of history are almost tangible, and the spirits of the fallen are said to continue their eternal march.
The Haunted Myrtles Plantation (St. Francisville, LA)
Nestled within the charming town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, Myrtles Plantation presents a picturesque facade that belies its ghostly reputation. The plantation is notorious for its many chilling tales, including the haunting by a ghost named Chloe. Chloe was a slave who, according to legend, was hanged by other slaves after poisoning the plantation owner’s family.
In addition to Chloe, the grounds are believed to be built on an ancient Indian burial ground, and the spirit of a young girl who died in 1868 is said to roam the premises. A particularly eerie figure known as the ‘Ghost of the Stairs’ has also been captured in photographs.
Visitors to the Myrtles Plantation have recounted unsettling experiences such as hearing children’s laughter, witnessing apparitions, and encountering objects that move on their own. The rich history of the plantation, intertwined with stories of loss and tragedy, makes it a compelling location for those drawn to the unknown.
The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO)
Perched amidst the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado, the Stanley Hotel boasts breathtaking views and a hauntingly intriguing history. Often referred to as America’s most haunted hotel, the Stanley’s ghostly reputation includes stories of Freelan Oscar Stanley, the hotel’s founder, who is said to be seen dressed in formal attire on the premises.
One of the most infamous spots within the hotel is Room 217, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former housekeeper. Guests have reported experiencing strange occurrences such as items moving on their own and the feeling of an invisible presence. The fourth floor of the hotel is also notorious for ghostly activity, including phantom footsteps and giggling children.
The Stanley Hotel’s eerie atmosphere and haunting tales were the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” The author himself had a paranormal experience during his stay, which fueled the creation of his famous literary work. The hotel embraces its haunted heritage, attracting both curious thrill seekers and avid fans of King’s fiction.
Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA)
Within the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Eastern State Penitentiary stands as a gloomy reminder of the past. This gothic structure, with its towering walls and narrow cellblocks, has a haunting aura that sends shivers down the spines of visitors. The penitentiary is most famous for the shadowy figures that are said to lurk in the corners of cellblocks, with Cellblock 4, Cellblock 12, and Cell 49 of Block 7 being particularly notorious.
The harrowing tales of former inmates and the harsh conditions of their confinement seem to have left an imprint on the prison. Visitors and ghost hunters have reported sightings of shadow figures, hearing eerie whispers, and feeling cold spots. One of the most famous spirits believed to inhabit the prison is that of Al Capone, who is said to have been tormented by the ghost of James Clark, one of the victims of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Eastern State Penitentiary, with its rich history and countless stories of anguish and despair, offers an unparalleled experience for those interested in the paranormal. As one of the most haunted places in America, it continues to captivate the imagination and beckon to those who dare to explore its shadowy halls.
The Bell Witch Cave (Adams, TN)
In the serene countryside of Adams, Tennessee, the Bell Witch Cave hides a chilling secret. It is said to be haunted by the vengeful spirit known as the Bell Witch. The legend traces its roots back to the early 1800s when the Bell family allegedly became the target of this sinister entity. The spirit tormented the family, focusing its wrath particularly on the Bell’s youngest daughter Betsy. Whispers, eerie sounds, and violent episodes were common.
As the legend grew, the Bell Witch was said to possess clairvoyant abilities and effortlessly mimic voices. It is believed that the witch was actually the spirit of a disgruntled neighbor, Kate Batts, who had a dispute with the Bell family and cursed them. The haunting reached its peak with the mysterious death of John Bell, which many attribute to the witch’s malevolence.
Today, the Bell Witch Cave and the surrounding areas draw in numerous visitors seeking an encounter with the paranormal. Many have claimed to hear disembodied voices, capture strange apparitions on camera, and experience unexplained cold spots. The Bell Witch Cave remains an eerie reminder of the past, where the lines between legend and reality blur.
RMS Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA)
Anchored in Long Beach, California, the RMS Queen Mary is an ocean liner that casts an imposing figure. With a history as a luxury liner, troopship during World War II, and now a floating hotel, the ship has seen countless lives pass through its hallways. In 2008, Time Magazine named it one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America, and for good reason.
The ship is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of those who perished onboard. The most famous apparition is the “Lady in White”, often spotted dancing in the Queen’s Salon. Additionally, the spirit of a young girl named Jackie is said to be heard giggling and singing in the ship’s pool area, where she allegedly drowned.
Other areas of the ship such as the engine room, state rooms, and the infirmary are also rife with reports of paranormal activity. Visitors and staff have reported strange noises, apparitions, and sensations of being touched by unseen hands. The RMS Queen Mary continues to fascinate ghost hunters and history enthusiasts alike, offering a glimpse into a bygone era through both historical grandeur and spectral whispers.
The Haunted Crescent Hotel (Eureka Springs, AR)
Perched in the Ozark Mountains of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the historic Crescent Hotel is often dubbed as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” It is believed to be haunted by several spirits, including that of a woman named Theodora, a cancer patient from the time when the hotel was used as a hospital.
One of the most chilling apparitions is that of Michael, a stonemason who fell to his death during the construction of the building. His ghost is said to haunt Room 218. There is also the spirit of a woman who plunged from the roof, and her apparition has been seen in the gardens and at the bottom of the cliff where she fell.
Guests and staff have reported eerie experiences, such as objects moving on their own, unexplained cold spots, and ghostly figures. The Crescent Hotel embraces its haunted history, offering ghost tours for the intrepid seeking a brush with the other side.
Bonaventure Cemetery (Savannah, GA)
In Savannah, Georgia, a city known for its historic charm and hauntingly beautiful locales, Bonaventure Cemetery stands out as a place of both serene beauty and whispered tales of the supernatural. Draped in Spanish moss, the cemetery is adorned with gothic statues, ornate gravestones, and centuries-old live oaks that create a picturesque, albeit eerie, setting.
There is no shortage of ghost stories associated with Bonaventure. Among the most famous is that of “Little Gracie Watson,” a six-year-old girl who died of pneumonia in the 1880s. Visitors have reported seeing her apparition playing between the graves or hearing the soft sound of a child’s laughter. Some have even found fresh flowers or toys moved on her grave as though arranged by unseen hands.
Another tale revolves around the statue of Corinne Elliott Lawton, who is said to have tragically drowned the night before her wedding. The statue, remarkable for its mournful expression, is rumored to weep or change expressions, especially under the light of a full moon.
The White House (Washington, D.C.)
As the residence of the Presidents of the United States, the White House in Washington D.C. is not only central to American politics but is also reputed to be home to several ghostly residents. Among the spectral figures, Abraham Lincoln’s ghost is the most famous. He has been sighted by numerous people, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who claimed to have seen Lincoln’s ghost by the fireplace in his room.
Another notable phantom is that of Andrew Jackson. His boisterous laughter and angry tirades have been reportedly heard in the Rose Room, which was his bedroom during his presidency. The ghost of Abigail Adams has also been seen floating through one of the hallways, seemingly carrying something in her arms, believed to be reminiscent of when she used to hang laundry in the East Room.
Visitors and residents of the White House have also reported cold spots, eerie sensations, and even the feeling of being watched. It’s an iconic building steeped in history, and many believe that the spirits of the past are very much alive within its walls.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Louisville, KY)
Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium was once a hospital for patients suffering from tuberculosis. With countless deaths occurring within its walls, it’s no surprise that the sanatorium is considered one of the most haunted locations in the US.
The infamous “Death Tunnel” or “Body Chute” is where bodies of deceased patients were transported, and many claim to hear footsteps and whispers here. There is also the ghost of a nurse known as Mary, who allegedly hanged herself in Room 502. Shadow figures, dubbed as “Shadow People”, are commonly seen darting across corridors and rooms.
Visitors also report seeing the ghost of a young boy named Timmy, who is known to play with balls that are left around the hospital. The sheer volume of suffering and death experienced at Waverly Hills has left an indelible imprint, and the building continues to be a hub for paranormal activity.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, WV)
Once a beacon of hope for the mentally ill, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, is now an ominous shadow of its former self. The building, which operated from the mid-1800s to 1994, witnessed countless tragedies and suffering, which many believe led to the hauntings that are reported today.
Among the numerous reports of paranormal activity, visitors claim to have heard disembodied screams and seen apparitions of former patients wandering the hallways. In particular, the spirit of a girl named Lily, who is said to have died in the asylum, is often seen playing with balls and dolls. Another notable apparition is that of a former patient named Ruth, who is said to scratch or attack anyone who nears her room.
As one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in America, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has become a favorite destination for ghost hunters and history enthusiasts. Its tragic past and the echoes of those who suffered within its walls continue to haunt this once grand establishment.
The Queen Anne Hotel (San Francisco, CA)
San Francisco’s Queen Anne Hotel, a Victorian-era beauty, harbors not only historical charm but also a spectral resident. The ghost of Mary Lake, the former headmistress of a girls’ boarding school that occupied the building in the 1890s, is said to linger.
Guests have reported encountering Miss Lake in Room 410, which is believed to have been her office. She is known to be a friendly ghost, sometimes unpacking guests’ belongings or tucking them into bed. Her apparition, as well as her perfume, have also been detected throughout the hotel.
With its ornate architecture and gentle haunting, the Queen Anne Hotel blends the elegance of a bygone era with the mysterious allure of the unknown. Whether seeking luxurious accommodation or a brush with the paranormal, the Queen Anne Hotel is a San Francisco gem.
The Bullock Hotel (Deadwood, SD)
In the heart of Deadwood, South Dakota, The Bullock Hotel exudes the charm and mystique of the Old West. The hotel’s founder, Seth Bullock, was Deadwood’s first sheriff and a prominent figure in the Wild West. Even in the afterlife, it seems that he is not quite ready to leave his beloved hotel.
Guests and employees of the hotel have reported numerous encounters with Bullock’s ghost. From apparitions of a tall man in old-fashioned cowboy attire to objects moving inexplicably, the specter of Seth Bullock seems to keep a watchful eye over the property. Some have claimed to feel an unseen presence in their rooms, while others have heard the sound of phantom footsteps and whispering voices.
The ghost of Seth Bullock is generally considered to be benevolent, with some believing that he continues to serve as a protector of the hotel. His indomitable spirit is very much a part of the allure that draws visitors to The Bullock Hotel, seeking both history and hauntings.
The Haunted Sallie House (Atchison, KS)
In Atchison, Kansas, an unassuming house on a residential street has become infamous for its paranormal activity. The Sallie House, named after the spirit of a young girl named Sallie, has been the site of a myriad of chilling encounters.
Reports include mischievous actions such as objects moving or disappearing, and more malevolent experiences like scratches appearing on visitors’ bodies. The apparition of a little girl is often seen, and toys are sometimes moved or played with by unseen hands.
The history behind Sallie’s presence is uncertain, but her spirit is believed to be trapped in the house. Some speculate that she harbors anger due to a tragic event in her life. The Sallie House stands as a testament to the mysteries of the spirit world, capturing the imagination and fears of those who dare to enter.
The Amityville Horror House (Long Island, NY)
On the south shore of Long Island, New York, stands a house that became synonymous with terror – The Amityville Horror House. After the gruesome murder of six family members in 1974, the Lutz family moved into the house and soon claimed to experience horrifying phenomena.
The family reported instances of objects moving by themselves, walls oozing with slime, and chilling cold spots. They also claimed to see a demonic pig-like creature with red eyes, and experienced inexplicable personality changes.
Though there is controversy regarding the veracity of the claims, The Amityville Horror House remains emblematic of haunted houses and continues to be the subject of fascination and fear.
The Joshua Ward House (Salem, MA)
In Salem, Massachusetts, The Joshua Ward House stands as an imposing reminder of a dark chapter in American history. Built on the site where Sheriff George Corwin, notorious for his role in the Salem Witch Trials, once lived and was subsequently buried, it is believed to be haunted.
Many claim to have encountered the spirit of Sheriff Corwin himself, along with the specters of those who fell victim to the witch trials. Visitors have reported cold spots, strange smells, and seeing apparitions appearing in mirrors.
The Joshua Ward House continues to bear witness to the tormented souls that remain entangled in Salem’s history, reminding us of the importance of reflection and understanding.
The Emily Morgan Hotel (San Antonio, TX)
Visitors report a range of ghostly phenomena, including strange sounds, cold spots, and apparitions of former hospital patients and staff. The floor that once housed the hospital’s psychiatric ward is particularly active.
With its stunning architecture and rich history, The Emily Morgan Hotel offers an unforgettable stay for both the living and the dead.
The Haunted Biltmore Hotel (Coral Gables, FL)
The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, is synonymous with opulence, luxury, and a dash of the supernatural. Built in the 1920s, the hotel boasts stunning Mediterranean architecture and has seen a host of famous guests, from Hollywood stars to gangsters.
Among its ghostly residents, the most notorious is the spirit of mobster Thomas “Fatty” Walsh, who was murdered at the hotel in 1929. Guests and staff report seeing a shadowy figure in a tuxedo, as well as experiencing unexplained cold spots, the smell of cigar smoke, and elevator malfunctions.
With its grandeur and rich history, the Biltmore Hotel invites guests to immerse themselves in a bygone era, with the possibility of a spectral encounter.
The Pfister Hotel (Milwaukee, WI)
The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is an icon of Victorian opulence. The grandeur of the hotel, which opened in 1893, is matched only by the tales of its resident ghost – the spirit of Charles Pfister, the hotel’s original owner.
Many guests, including professional athletes who often stay at the hotel, have reported seeing the figure of an older, distinguished-looking gentleman watching over the premises. Others have experienced unexplained phenomena, such as flickering lights and mysteriously moving objects.
As you walk the halls of the Pfister Hotel and take in its lavish elegance, don’t be surprised if you feel the watchful gaze of Mr. Pfister himself.