The macabre – especially if it’s thrilling or just plain chilling – is something that tends to fascinate, well, everyone basically. Perhaps it’s the allure of the possibilities of life after death, or maybe even the romantic thought of ghosts waiting for long-lost loves to return, but often it’s the basic creep factor that comes into play whenever someone mentions a “haunted” locale. Some hauntings appear as pure folklore, something quaint to amuse avid connoisseurs of the mysterious and otherworldly. In other instances, cases of paranormal activity have been scientifically documented, and have been reported by so many reputable people, over such a long period of time, that it becomes harder to question the validity of such events.
This list is composed of a little from both of these categories, and comprises some well-known as well as lesser-known haunted places throughout the United States. Some of the places mentioned here are rather tame (if you can call seeing and hearing dead people tame), while others represent the presence of more malevolent paranormal activity. Virtually all of the houses, hotels, and abandoned sites mentioned here are open to the public in one capacity or another, so they make for great excursions for those interested in chasing a few thrills or documenting these supernatural occurrences for themselves.
1. Adams Grove Presbyterian Church, Dallas County, Alabama
Built in the mid-19th century, this abandoned Greek Revival church has claimed enough paranormal activity to have several research groups conduct investigations.
2. Auburn University Chapel, Auburn, Alabama
After this chapel was used during the Civil War as a hospital, it seems to have acquired the ghost of a former Confederate soldier named Sydney Grimlett. He is now said to reside elsewhere on campus, haunting the theater troupe that used to use the chapel as a theater.
3. Dr. John R. Drish House, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
This old plantation house, built in 1837, displays some rather intense hauntings – such as the central tower appearing to be engulfed in flames, when in actuality there’s no fire whatsoever.
4. Kenworthy Hall, Marion, Alabama
Built in 1860 as the main showpiece for the plantation of Edward Kenworthy Carlisle, the house’s top tower room is said to be home to a young woman who can be seen peering through a window, supposedly waiting for her love to return from the Civil War.
5. Oakleigh, Mobile, Alabama
This antebellum house, built in 1833, exhibits a great deal of paranormal activity, from the ghost of a woman in the front parlor to furniture moving around, the sound of voices, and glimpses of shadowy figures.
6. Sturdivant Hall, Selma, Alabama
Built for Colonel Edward T. Watts in 1856, the house is reported haunted by its second owner, John McGee Parkman, a banker who died during an attempted prison escape.
7. Bird Cage Theatre, Tombstone, Arizona
With reports of hauntings starting as far back as the late 19th century, this is one of America’s oldest paranormal sites. Activity features laughter and shouting, along with music.
8. Pico House, Los Angeles, California
Built in 1870, this magnificent former hotel is reportedly haunted by the victims of the Chinese Massacre that occurred at this location in 1871, an event that resulted in the deaths of around 20 people.
9. Linda Vista Community Hospital, Los Angeles, California
Now abandoned, this hospital’s current building dates to 1924 and is the site of various hauntings, many of them reportedly malevolent – due in no small part to the traumatic deaths that have occurred here.
10. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California
Reputedly haunted by a slew of famous people, including Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Cliff, the hotel also exhibits the ghosts of unknown persons, cold spots, and mysterious phone calls.
11. Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California
This notorious prison complex housed some of the nation’s most infamous criminals. Screams and the sounds of fights, plus the sound of slamming doors and footsteps have all been reported.
12. Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
Built by Sarah Winchester, whose husband was the founder of Winchester Rifles, this sprawling mansion – which boasts false staircases, dead-ends, and doors that lead to nowhere – is haunted by Mrs. Winchester.
13. Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colorado
This hotel features many ghosts, from a little boy who drowned in the hotel’s pool in 1936 and a maid who sometimes straightens up the rooms, to the sobbing ghost of a heartbroken man.
14. Osgood Castle, Redstone, Colorado
Built in 1903 for the fuel and iron baron, John C. Osgood, the house is said to still be his home, as his ghost has apparently been sighted many times over the years.
15. The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
The original inspiration for Stephen King’s, The Shining, this hotel is the site of an extensive range of paranormal events. Many members of the staff report hearing parties in the ballroom when in fact it’s empty, while many guests have reported seeing ghosts in their rooms.
16. New London Ledge Lighthouse, New London, Connecticut
This lovely little lighthouse in the middle of the Thames River is said to be haunted by a former lighthouse keeper who leapt to his death from the roof.
17. Fort Delaware, Pea Patch Island, Delaware
Confederate soldiers who were held as prisoners here during the Civil War are said to still haunt the complex.
18. Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Florida
This opulent hotel is apparently haunted by several individuals, including a mobster who haunts the elevators and several different female figures throughout the hotel.
19. Moon River Bewing Company, Savannah, Georgia
Employees of this Savannah establishment claim to have had numerous paranormal encounters, many of which have manifested in physical attacks.
20. Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Boise, Idaho
In operation for just over 100 years, this prison has had plenty of time to accumulate a wide range of ghosts and other paranormal events.
21. Independence State Hospital, Independence, Iowa
This mental institution, opened in 1873, is still in use. Staff and others report hearing disembodied screams, walking through extreme cold patches, and feeling as if they’re being watched.
22. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky
Featured in various paranormal television shows, including Ghost Hunters, this sanatorium was the site of the death of hundreds of people, mainly due to tuberculosis.
23. Magnolia Plantation, Derry, Louisiana
Built in 1840, this house and its surrounding plantation has been said to be haunted by numerous former slaves of the plantation.
24. The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana
One of the nation’s oldest plantations, with the house dating back to 1796, at least a dozen different ghosts have been repeatedly reported here, including one who was murdered.
25. Joshua Ward House, Salem, Massachusetts
Dating back to 1784, this house is apparently haunted by Giles Cory, one of the people convicted and executed during the Salem Witch Trials.
26. The Witch House, Salem, Massachusetts
The only building left in Salem that connects directly to the infamous Salem Witch Trials, it is said to be haunted by many of the witch hunt’s victims.
27. Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts
Site of the murder of the parents of Lizzie Borden, who were murdered with an axe, this house is reputed to exhibit a great deal of paranormal activity. Lizzie Borden, who was accused of the murders, was later acquitted and lived out her life in another neighborhood.
28. Big Bay Point Light, Big Bay, Michigan
Built in 1896, this lighthouse is said to be haunted by former lighthouse keeper William Prior, who hanged himself on the property.
29. Minneapolis City Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota
In 1898, John Moshik was convicted of murder and hanged at city hall, and ever since his ghost has haunted the premises.
30. Rowan Oak, Oxford, Mississippi
This mid-19th century Greek Revival house was the home of William Faulkner and is said to be haunted by his ghost.
31. Epperson House, Kansas City, Missouri
Said to be one of the most haunted houses in the country, the building is now part of the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Figures of former owners have been seen and strange music heard, plus lights are seen to be turned off by the apparition of a hand.
32. Lemp Mansion, St. Louis, Missouri
Built in 1868, this mansion is now an inn and is said to be haunted by three members of the Lemp family who all committed suicide.
33. Proprietary House, Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Once home to the Royal Governor of New Jersey, this 18th century house is home to a couple of apparitions in the form of a little boy and woman, and visitors report hearing voices and being grabbed.
34. Seabrook-Wilson House
During the Revolutionary War, this mid-17th century house was a tavern that was used by British spies. Multiple ghosts, including Captain Morgan, have been reported here.
35. Highway 666, New Mexico
Known for some disturbing paranormal activity, this highway features ghost hitchhikers, cars passing with no drivers and a phantom gas truck that attempts to drive people off the road.
36. KiMo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Built in 1927, the theater is haunted by the ghost of a little boy who died in 1951 during an explosion. His spirit tends to be mischievous, so actors try to appease him by putting out donuts before performances.
37. Farnam Mansion, Oneida, New York
Previous owners, as well as pets, have been seen throughout this house – now a bed and breakfast. Voices, shadowy figures, phantom animals, and the sound of footsteps have all been recorded.
38. Brown Mountain, Burke and Caldwell Counties, North Carolina
Home to the legendary Brown Mountain Lights, sightings of these lights date back as far as the 13th century in Cherokee folklore. Various scientific investigations have tried to explain the lights but no one has yet unraveled their mystery.
39. Liberty Memorial Building, Bismarck, North Dakota
This early 20th century houses the North Dakota State Library, whose stacks are said to be home to what employee have named the “Stack Monster.” This apparition has been seen several times, has spoken the names of employees, and has caused doors to open and close.
40. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Built in 1829, this prison is said to be haunted by hundreds of former inmates and employees, with the Guard Tower and Cell Block 12 hosting the most paranormal activity.
41. General Wayne Inn, Merion, Pennsylvania
Dating back to 1704, this tavern and inn is said to be visited by the spirits of many individuals from various points in its three centuries of history, including Edgar Allen Poe.
42. Old Charleston Jail, Charleston, South Carolina
Operating from the beginning of the 19th century until the mid-20th, this jail is supposedly haunted by one of the nation’s earliest known female serial killers, Livinia Fisher.
43. Loretta Lynn Plantation House, Hurricane Mills, Tennessee
The house and the area surrounding this small town are said to feature a wide range of paranormal events, mostly in the form of soldiers from the Civil War.
44. Ferry Plantation House, Virginia Beach, Virginia
While the current house was built in 1830, the area it sits on was inhabited as far back as 1642. The house boasts at least 11 ghosts, including those who drowned nearby, as well as former residents and slaves.
45. The Octagon House, Washington D.C.
Built in 1801, this is claimed to be the city’s most haunted residence, the building is apparently haunted by the daughters of the original owner, Colonel John Tayloe III, as well as former slaves.