The tragedies in a country’s history can be told through its hauntings. Ghost stories are entertaining, but they usually trace the outline of past, dark events that cause people to experience so-called hauntings today. These tragic events seem to stamp a sort of bad energy into an area. Trapped spirits in a haunted location either seem to do the same things over and over again like a video on loop or actively engage with human visitors.
Whatever might cause these paranormal occurrences, there’s an endless number of haunted houses, hotels, prisons, lighthouses, and cemeteries across this country. We’ve gone through all of them to create our list of the 10 most haunted locations in the US.
Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA
The first prisoner walked through the gates of Eastern State Penitentiary in 1829. Built to resemble a castle, it tried to force its prisoners into a state of penitence by completely isolating them from both guards and other prisoners. This system of solitary confinement was unique at the time and lasted until 1913. Eastern State would eventually close in 1971, and as one might imagine, many prisoners died within these walls, leaving behind nearly 200 years of negative spiritual energy. Designed in long, straight cellblocks radiating out from a central hub, the views down these hallways are spine-chilling.
Paranormal investigators flock here because there have been reports of strange occurrences on the grounds of Eastern State Penitentiary since about 1940. Be especially careful in cellblock 4, which is known for noises and sightings of ghostly faces.
Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel is one of the most notoriously haunted hotels in America. It even inspired Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. The reported hauntings are so frequent that there are multiple, known paranormal hotspots throughout this building. During a stay in 2017, John Mausling and his wife, Jessica Martinez-Mausling took a photo that would show two ghostly girl apparitions, though there were no girls with them on the day they took the photo.
The Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, LA
Constructed in 1796, it is said that 12 ghosts haunt this former antebellum plantation. A historical anecdote details the death of an enslaved woman named Chloe who attempted to poison the owner of the plantation and instead poisoned his family. Chloe was killed and is reportedly seen haunting the grounds, both in photographs and as an apparition.
Today it is a popular site for paranormal investigators and spooky thrill seekers. You can stay in one of the 18 available rooms in the bed and breakfast or enjoy public and private tours. National Geographic even called Myrtles Plantation “The South’s spookiest house.”
Pennhurst Asylum – Spring City, PA
Pennhurst Asylum was a mental hospital that closed in 1986 after decades of underfunding, neglect, and abuse. It housed 3,500 people at one point and the spirits of distressed patients are said to still haunt this vacant structure.
People who work on the grounds frequently report hearing voices, experiencing cold spots, and seeing apparitions. Some people have even reported being pushed down flights of stairs. A&E hosted the world’s longest paranormal investigation within the walls of Pennhurst Asylum, which brought a team of investigators inside the abandoned hospital for two straight weeks.
The White House – Washington, D.C.
The house at the heart of the nation’s capital may be one of its most haunted houses. Over the years, numerous visitors, residents, and staff have reported hearing unusual noises and seeing apparitions. Reportedly, the halls and bedrooms are haunted by the spirits of Abigail Adams, David Burns, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman, and Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln is a particularly active spiritual resident. First ladies Grace Coolidge, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, and Eleanor Johnson, as well as Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Winston Churchill all claimed they saw Lincoln’s ghost or felt his presence. Ronald Reagan told guests in 1986 that their dog barked at the entrance to Lincoln’s bedroom and refused to enter.
RMS Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA
The Queen Mary has been a luxury ocean liner, a military vessel, and is now a hotel and museum. Having served so many purposes over its life, the ship has seen its share of human tragedy. As if magnified inside this ocean-going vessel, the stories of haunted occurrences over the years have accumulated. Its notoriety as a paranormal hub has led them to offer ghost tours and a seasonal haunted attraction.
The most haunted parts of the ship are Stateroom B340, the Mauritania Room, the Mayfair Room, the first-class swimming pool, boiler room #4, and hatch door #13. Guests, passengers, and staff have reported seeing several ghostly figures throughout the ship and lights going on and off. Overnight passengers have experienced blankets pulled from their beds while they slept and mysterious knocking on their doors at night.
Gettysburg Battlefield – Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg was one of the most significant battles of the American Civil War. More than 50,000 soldiers died in three days in July of 1863. Most of the soldiers weren’t properly buried or claimed by family members. With that concentration of death and suffering, it’s no wonder that people claim this area is haunted.
There have been numerous reports of hauntings over the years, in locations all over the area. There are even some incredible videos of paranormal occurrences, like this video of battlefield apparitions. Both history buffs and paranormal enthusiasts alike can agree that Gettysburg has a creepy, haunted vibe.
Waverly Hills Sanitorium – Louisville, KY
This imposing structure opened in 1910 and served as both a Tuberculosis hospital and a nursing home. While in operation, over 600 people died within its walls. It finally closed again around the early 2000s and has attracted scores of paranormal investigators seeking evidence of spiritual habitation.
There have been stories of paranormal encounters throughout the building, including voices, slamming doors, screaming, and ghostly footsteps. The fifth floor is said to be especially active because two nurses died in room 502 in separate incidents, so it is home to a number of reported ghost encounters.
The Bell Witch Cave – Adams, TN
The haunted history of this cave has lasted more than 200 years. Kate was a witch who began to terrify the Bell family in 1817. After tormenting them for several years, in 1921 she retreated into the cave near their property and has been said to haunt it ever since.
Thought to be one of the first significant American ghost stories, it was intriguing enough that President Andrew Jackson visited the Bell family for an exploratory trip. Jackson reportedly said “I’d rather fight the whole British army than deal with the Bell Witch.” in 1986, two reporters from the Tennessean intended to spend the night inside the cave for a Halloween story but ran out, terrified by growling and screaming noises coming from deep within. This story is also said to have influenced The Blair Witch Project.
Lizzie Borden House – Fall River, MA
In 1892, Andrew and Abbie Borden were murdered in their home with a hatchet. Their daughter Lizzie was the main suspect but was eventually let off. Many people report that the house is haunted by Lizzie, her father, and her stepmother. Visitors reportedly hear creaking footsteps, children’s laughter, and sometimes see a face in the basement. It’s such a popular destination for ghost-seekers that you can even rent the Andrew and Abbie suite on Airbnb.
What do you think of our list? Did we forget any significant haunted locales? Email us at email@example.com to let us know. And, to read about more spooky locations across America, check out America’s Creepiest Tourist Attractions.