Spine-chilling screams, eerie sounds, and ghoulish shadows. Oh my! Stay tuned if your perfect idea for a Friday night is watching Ghost Hunters reruns or Paranormal Lockdown! We’ve compiled a list of the most haunted places in America, including abandoned asylums, haunted hotels, and places with mysterious happenings.
To give you a tease, you can visit the creepy hotel that was the basis for Stephen King’s The Shining. It is said that King had multiple paranormal experiences while staying at the hotel and decided to write the book. Whatever you do, don’t stay in Room 237 when you visit!
And did you know that the White House is said to be haunted? (no, we promise this isn’t a political joke!) Several presidents and White House staff members have stories of seeing real ghosts or hearing ghostly voices. Ironically, there are many reports of seeing the ghost of President Abraham Lincoln.
So, pack your flashlight, EMF gauge, and a thermal camera (just kidding, unless you have those ghost-hunting supplies!), and prepare for some of the best ghost hunting in the United States. And maybe you can even do some ghost tours with the paranormal experts.
Ready to travel to the best creepy places in the US? Read on!
Most Haunted Places in the US
1. Ohio State Reformatory
Address: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905
If you visit the Ohio State Reformatory, you might feel like you’ve been there before. This old prison was the site of the movie Shawshank Redemption, but that’s not why it’s on our list.
Instead, the historical site has a long history of paranormal activity, beginning with the murder of a prison employee and his family. Then the warden’s wife died by the accidental discharge of a handgun, and the warden died of a heart attack in his office soon after. And throughout the years, almost two hundred prisoners died from tuberculosis or other illnesses.
So how does this make the Reformatory haunted, you ask? After these deaths, visitors to the prison swear that they hear the faint unintelligible voices of a couple talking from beyond the grave. Is it the warden and his wife?
What about the feeling people get when walking down the prison’s hallways and they think someone is behind them? The story goes that the ghosts of several former prisoners still wander the halls, and if you’re not careful, you might get jabbed by the nightstick of an old guard.
Whether a novice ghost hunter or an expert, the Reformatory has every type of tour to cure your supernatural curiosities, including private paranormal investigations. But, be prepared as it may be the most haunted place in America!
See Related: Best Places to Visit in the US
2. Stanley Hotel
Address: 333 E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Opened in 1909, the picturesque Stanley Hotel was designed to be a typical hotel; however, its ghost sightings and paranormal activity have made the hotel a popular destination for ghost hunters. In addition, the famous horror author Stephen King published The Shining based on his personal experiences at the hotel.
This book and the subsequent movie (the scary twin girls, “Here’s Johnnnnnny” and Redrum, anyone?) caused new fame for the once-quiet hotel. The hotel in the book by Stephen King was called the Overlook Hotel, but it’s the Stanley Hotel that is the true scary accommodation.
Because of the mysterious piano music and numerous supernatural sightings, many people find the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park one of the most haunted places in the United States. If you visit, you can have a consultation from the hotel’s in-house psychic or do one of their spooky hotel tours or Shining tours, both of which may keep you up at night. But whatever you do, don’t stay in Room 217 or 237!
3. Emily’s Bridge (Gold Brook Covered Bridge)
Address: Covered Bridge Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
There are more than 100 covered bridges in Vermont, but none quite as spooky as Emily’s Bridge in Stowe. This 50-foot bridge is known to be haunted by the ghost of a woman named Emily. As the story goes, Emily met her lover at this bridge to run away and get married, but when he never showed, Emily hung herself from the rafters.
This young woman’s suicide in the mid-19th Century caused a lot of fear, with Emily’s ghost supposedly clawing at the passing cars. If you like this sort of “excitement,” head to Vermont right now! Otherwise, you may want to ask Google maps for an alternate route.
And don’t think you can get away with walking across the bridge, as sweet Emily’s ghost is also known to scratch and claw at pedestrians’ backs. Even the most trivial hauntings include visions of a white apparition (is that you, Emily?) and footsteps along with strange voices from the tunnel.
See Related: Best Family Road Trips in the US
4. The Lizzie Borden House
Address: 230 2nd St, Fall River, MA 02721
If you’re looking to stay in a New England bed and breakfast with a free haunting and a spine-chilling history, you must stay in the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River. This B&B has quite a storied past beyond lovers’ quarrels.
The Borden House is named after Lizzie Borden, accused of murdering her father and stepmother with a hatchet at their house in 1892. While she was arrested and charged with the double murder, she was acquitted later that year. And unfortunately, no one else was ever charged with the deaths.
And regardless of whether Lizzie was guilty, she lives in infamy with this jump rope song:
Lizzie Borden took an axe. She gave her mother forty whacks. After she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.
Today, the Fall River house is a Bed and Breakfast where visitors can sleep in the same room where Abby Borden, the stepmother, was brutally murdered with a hatchet.
Employees and guests at the B&B have heard weeping, unexplained doors opening and closing, and muffled chatter from vacant rooms. As if that wasn’t scary enough, many have seen a ghost in Victorian-era clothing (is that you, Abby?) walking in the hall. The Borden house is easily one of the most haunted houses in America!
If you’re not ready to experience paranormal activity for an entire night, you can also visit the Borden House for one of their spooky tours.
5. Whaley House
Address: 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
If you feel like your family has had a run of bad luck, a trip to the Whaley House might change your mind. Thomas Whaley built this house (and now a museum) in the mid 19th Century on the site of San Diego’s first public gallows.
Poor Thomas didn’t realize the impending doom that would soon fall on his family. Soon after moving in, family members heard heavy footsteps, said to be from “Yankee” Jim Robinson, who was hanged at the gallows four years before Thomas built the home.
The beautiful Greek-revival Whaley House was also the site of several suicides and tragic deaths within the Whaley family. Although the house has been vacant since 1953, the Whaley family ghosts and the gallows’ ghosts still haunt workers and visitors today. There have been reports of apparitions, moving curtains, and sounds of children on the stairwell.
See, feel, and hear these creepy encounters for yourself. And if you don’t get enough excitement from one of the most haunted houses in the United States, this local spooky trolley tour will certainly give you goosebumps and if you want some other activities these are our favorite things to do in San Diego.
See Related: Best Day Trips from San Diego, California
6. Eastern State Penitentiary
Address: 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
From the outside, Eastern State Penitentiary looks like a European castle stuck in the middle of Philly. However, this castle-like building was once the most expensive prison in the United States, operating for almost 150 years.
Don’t let its royal appearance fool you. The prison took an extreme stance on solitary confinement and punishments, including once chaining a prisoner’s tongue to his wrists.
However, this prison is one of the most haunted places in America, with supernatural occurrences reported by many who visit. No one knows for sure which prisoners are doing the haunting, but the prison did house several famous inmates, including Al “Scarface” Capone and “Slick Willie” Sutton. Whether Scarface is one of the shadowy figures when you visit is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt someone is haunting visitors.
The sound of laughter and footsteps might be enough to make you run the other way. But if you’re brave enough, head to Halloween Nights, their epic Halloween festival! This abandoned 10-acre prison is transformed into an immersive experience with FIVE separate haunted houses. The Eastern State Penitentiary is easily the scariest haunted house in America!
7. Winchester Mystery House
Address: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128
The Winchester Mystery House stands out among the other homes in the San Jose area, although it wasn’t always that way. Before Sarah Winchester spent a whopping 7 million dollars on renovating the house between 1886 to 1922, it was a relatively simple 8-room farmhouse.
Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, head of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. After her husband died in 1881, she was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifle.
It’s said that a psychic told her to move west, buy a house and build nonstop. Whether that’s true or not is anyone’s guess, but that’s exactly what Sarah did until she died in 1922.
The home is exceptionally peculiar, with stairways that lead to nowhere, windows that don’t open to the outside, doors that open into walls, and more. So, what makes this home so creepy?
There are many experiences of paranormal hauntings at the Winchester Mystery House. The most common is in the grand ballroom, where visitors see the “Wheelbarrow Ghost” pushing a wheelbarrow full of coal or ash. Other visitors have seen shadowy figures resembling humans lurking around the corner or appearing in various windows.
Visiting this mysterious house is a must, but if you’re in for the time of your life, you must book a ticket to the show, Unhinged: Nightshade’s Curse. This show isn’t for the young or timid, as it’s said to be the Winchester Mystery House’s scariest show YET.
See Related: Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California
8. The Driskill Hotel
Address: 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
The Driskill Hotel looks relatively unassuming from the street in downtown Austin. Although it’s a lovely brick building in a Romanesque style, no one would ever think that this Austin landmark was a haunted hotel.
Built in 1886, the Driskill Hotel has been a destination for tourists of all kinds, but brides seem to be the leading apparition at this hotel. There have been two jilted brides that have died in Room 525, one in the early days of the hotel and the second one in 1991. Visitors to the hotel often report a ghost in Victorian-era clothing walking down the hallway (the first jilted bride), while others think they’ve seen the Generation X bride.
Other guests suddenly smell cigar smoke, while the hotel has been smoke-free for almost twenty years. In addition, many female musicians that stay at the Driskill have spotted a 19th Century cowboy with a cigar. This cigar-wielding cowboy supposedly selected Annie Lennox’s stage outfit while she was showering.
And a musician from Concrete Blonde wrote a song about him after dealing with his ghostly malarkey one night. Whether the cigar smell is from this 19th Century cowboy or the hotel’s founder, resident ghost Colonel Jesse Driskill, is anyone’s guess. But you can’t ignore that someone, ahem, some ghost, is haunting the visitors.
Want to see what all of the fuss is about? Stay at this haunted hotel and see what apparitions you come across. And if you don’t get enough of the supernatural at the hotel, try the Weird and Haunted History Walking Tour in downtown Austin.
9. Mount Vernon
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
You may not think about ghosts when you think about our nation’s first president, but you’d be surprised at the ghost stories visitors have reported from the former home of George Washington. This estate, Mount Vernon, was not only the first President’s home for seven years but also the final resting place for Washington and twenty of his family members.
The reports of Washington’s ghost start as early as 1890 when visitors to his estate slept in his room. Guests sleeping in Washington’s historic chamber reported being awakened by his apparition and couldn’t fall back asleep.
However, it’s not only the ghost of George that appears to visitors. Some have seen a woman on the stairs carrying a large punch bowl, while others have reported seeing an angry Colonel Harrison Howell Dodge.
Dodge was the Director of Mount Vernon for fifty years. These ghost stories are seemingly endless, but are the tales of this haunted house true? You’ll have to see for yourself!
Take a private tour of Washington’s spooky estate (maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of our first President?) and see Old Town Alexandria and other excellent historic sites.
See Related: Best Beaches in Virginia to Visit
10. Crescent Hotel
Address: 75 Prospect Ave, Eureka Springs, AR 72632
You wouldn’t have any idea that the gorgeous Victorian hotel with a mountainous backdrop was America’s most haunted hotel, but it’s true. Well, we can’t say it’s the MOST haunted because many of the hotels on our list are equally plagued by ghost sightings. However, it’s easily ranked as one of the creepiest hotels in the United States.
The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886 but has served several purposes since then, including a hotel, college, and hospital. The hospital’s founder was a poser who claimed he could cure cancer, and when people realized that he had no medical training, he was forced out of town. But, unfortunately, it’s said that his spirit never left, along with some of his patients.
The site is now a hotel again, but the building is haunted by young women and a bearded man in Victorian clothing. However, there have been many spooky ghost encounters at the Crescent Hotel, including a mysterious woman walking upstairs, a strange figure in a window, a girl’s face on a wall, and an unknown ghost at the end of the hallway.
If you can handle the spirits, you must stay at this haunted hotel. Chances are you’ll be greeted by some of the hotel’s resident ghosts.
11. House of the Seven Gables
Address: 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970
It should be no surprise that we have a site on our “most haunted” list in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is known for its Witchcraft Trials from the 17th Century, but the city is also famous for some spooky paranormal activity and is generally known as the most haunted city in the United States.
The House of the Seven Gables is the setting and inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book of the same name. Although Hawthorne never lived in the house, he often visited his cousin Susannah Ingersoll, who lived in this home.
While the outside of the house is beautiful (albeit spooky), visitors (including Hawthorne) have reported ghost sightings and paranormal activity on the inside. These reports include silhouettes in the shadows, lights flickering on and off, and water faucets turning on at will. In addition, when a psychic visited the house, she reported seeing a young boy playing near the gables.
To add further curiosity, someone recently discovered hidden rooms within the home, such as a dining room and an accounting room. This famous haunted house is a must-see if you’re in Salem, but if you want more spooky Salem sights, look at this local haunted walking tour.
See Related: Most Haunted Hotels in Salem, Massachusetts
12. Pine Barrens
Address: multiple access points in New Jersey
One of the largest parts of the state of New Jersey consists of the Pine Barrens. This ecosystem stretches over seven counties in the state and over one million acres.
During the colonial period, this area was home to several industries, including paper mills and sawmills. However, with the discovery of coal came the abandonment of industrial towns, leaving behind ghost towns in the wake.
Per local legend, a woman named Mrs. Leeds gave birth to her 13th child in 1735. Unfortunately, this unlucky number caused the child to be cursed. This was the beginning of the legend of the New Jersey Devil.
He was born with hooves, leathery wings, and a goat’s head. This child, the Jersey Devil, supposedly flew out of the chimney and into the Pine Barrens, where it killed livestock and has freaked out residents ever since.
The escapades of this devil have circulated local news stories while killing crops and animals. In addition, residents, including business people and police officers, have reported sightings.
13. St. Augustine Lighthouse
Address: 100 Red Cox Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32080
The 165-foot tower in St. Augustine seems like many other lighthouses in America, but its secrets prove otherwise. This historic lighthouse was built in 1874 and is still a ship’s navigation aid.
However, when you visit St. Augustine Lighthouse, you may experience some creepy supernatural activity, including hearing children playing (when no children are in sight) and seeing the ghost of a former lighthouse keeper who fell to his death while painting the tower. It’s said that the children playing are the ghosts of three young girls who drowned in the ocean.
Do you have what it takes to climb the 219 steps to the Observation Deck? Will you see the ghost of the lighthouse keeper? The more timid visitors will enjoy their Dark of the Moon Ghost Tour, while true ghost hunters may want to do the Dark of the Moon Investigation, where you can bring your own EMF readers or rent some.
And if you need more spooky stories, this creepy guided tour will tell you more bone-chilling stories about vengeful spirits and natural disasters in St. Augustine.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in the USA
14. The White House
Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
If you’re a guest at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, you may be surprised to experience some haunted happenings (no, we don’t mean anything political, haha!). For example, some visitors have seen an apparition of the old landowner before the White House was built, while other guests see more “presidential” phantoms.
It’s said to be haunted by the ghost of President Lincoln, roaming the second floor of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and scaring guests in the Lincoln bedroom. There are multiple spooky encounters, from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands opening the door to find Lincoln’s ghost to Prime Minister Winston Churchill getting out of a hot bath naked only to see the bearded president at the fireplace. In addition, President Reagan’s dog refused to enter Lincoln’s bedroom.
And in a truly horrifying story, the ghost of First Lady Abigail Adams is often seen in the East Room perpetually doing laundry. Guests at The White House have seen her with her arms outstretched as if she were holding clean sheets.
Unfortunately, while the White House is one of the most haunted sites in the US, you cannot stay unless you’re a VIP, but you can take this nighttime walking tour of the haunted places near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
15. Mizpah Hotel
Address: 100 N Main St, Tonopah, NV 89049
Reopened in 2011 after twelve years of being shuttered, the Mizpah Hotel is known as one of the first luxury hotels in Nevada. But, outside this high-end hotel, you’d never know its storied past.
It’s said that during the hotel’s early years, it was also used as a brothel. One particular woman was a year-round resident and had many guests in her fifth-floor suite over the years.
Legend says that a jilted ex-lover killed the woman in her room in a rage. However, many people believe that her soul never left the hotel.
While some people think the ghost’s name is Rose, she is referred to as the “Lady in Red,” and she haunts guests by whispering in unsuspecting men’s ears. As if that isn’t creepy enough, some guests report that she leaves peals under their pillows- possibly from her broken necklace from the night of her murder.
Although her exquisite suite was eventually split into three separate hotel rooms (502, 503, and 504), guests can get the whole “Lady in Red” experience (with elegant curtains and matching period furniture) by staying in Room 504. However, other hotel guests have said they’ve felt her spirit in Room 502 and also the elevator.
Whether you’re looking to feel the presence of the “Lady in Red” or just want to stay at this spooky hotel, you’ll have a good time for sure!
See Related: Cheap Things to do in Las Vegas, Nevada
16. Sachs Covered Bridge
Address: Waterworks Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325
You might be wondering how a bridge could be one of the most haunted places in America, but if you know the story behind Emily’s Bridge in Vermont, this one is just as spooky. The Sachs Covered Bridge connects Freedom and Cumberland Townships in Pennsylvania and was the site of several deaths during the Civil War.
The gruesome part of the bridge’s history involves three Confederate soldiers hanged for trying to pass as Union soldiers. The soldiers were hanged from the wooden support beams so that any other Confederate soldiers on the bridge would see the dead men.
Visiting the bridge in the daytime is a beautiful sight, with the water streaming below the bridge. However, nighttime brings a rather frightening atmosphere.
Visitors have reported seeing three heads floating on the bridge under the moonlight. It is said that these apparitions are of the three Confederate soldiers that died here.
Other visitors have detected cigar smoke when no one else is around, as if a Civil War general is still patrolling the area. And if those aren’t scary enough, others have felt a tap on their shoulder only to turn around and see no one.
If you want to use your EMF readers at the bridge and a couple of additional haunted places in Gettysburg, check out this Friday Nite Investigation small group tour.
17. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Address: 50 S River Ave, Weston, WV 26452
The Weston State Hospital, formerly the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, was a West Virginia psychiatric hospital in operation for 160 years. The asylum was a sanctuary for those suffering from mental illnesses beginning in the mid-19th Century.
As you can imagine, the asylum carries many wild stories, including a gold robbery, Civil War raids, and even the therapeutic effects of architecture. The hospital was initially designed to hold 250 patients, but as of the 1950s, it was severely overcrowded, with over 2,000 patients. The physical deterioration of the building caused the asylum’s closure in 1994.
Unfortunately, over the hospital’s long history, hundreds of patients died. However, it’s said that many of them are still living in some of the treatment rooms and wards.
Visitors have heard strange voices and seen various apparitions. Even expert ghost hunters have received high readings in certain areas.
If you feel brave enough to check it out, there are many options for using your ghost-hunting equipment, from private ghost hunts to middle-of-the-night group hunts.
See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit
18. The Biltmore Estate
Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
If you’re looking for one of the most haunted mansions to spend this Halloween, look no further than the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. George Vanderbilt II originally owned this 250-room haunted mansion, but it is now a one-of-a-kind luxury hotel and tourist attraction.
What makes the largest house in America so haunted? Many guests have claimed to see apparitions, while others have video evidence of doors slamming and other creepy things. Not to mention, the estate has numerous secret passages where people can get lost!
The most famous haunted story is about the hotel’s pool room. This 70,000-gallon swimming pool didn’t have a filtration system, so employees had to drain the water every few days and then refill it.
While employees at the estate deny the claims of a child’s death in the pool, there is no denying the numerous claims of weird happenings. Guests have reported hearing water splashing with no one in the water, while others have reported laughter coming from the pool’s drain.
Another common apparition sighting is George Vanderbilt himself. After he died in 1914, visitors reported seeing his wife speaking to his ghost in the library. Others have said that they’ve seen his apparition reading a book.
If that wasn’t weird enough, others have reported seeing a headless cat in the gardens outside!
Can you handle a night at one of the creepiest hotels in the US?
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