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Hidden Hauntings: Bonito Lake

Bonito Lake was once Bonito City, back in 1885 when the city was filled with outlaws, murders, and massacre. Before it was demolished and hidden away with thousands of gallons of water, Bonito City was no stranger to bloody confrontations and tragic endings.

A prosperous family was nearly wiped out over scorned love, an interrupted theft that left eight dead, happenings like these set a truly high standard for violence, when during those ‘wild west’ days of New Mexico’s history.

The Story

Bonito City began as a tent-filled mining camp in the 1870s during the gold rush. By 1882, it was populated with janky log cabins on both sides of Bonito Canyon. Some of the earliest families in the area were the Zumwalts, the Skinners, and the Bournes.

Supplies to the city were hauled in by wagon at that time, a mule guiding the residents’ food source carefully over precarious cliffs and across dry plains all the way from Las Vegas or from the trading posts at White Oaks and Lincoln.

The town was starting to prosper and even boasted a saloon run by Peter Nelson, a school, a general store, a post office, many log and plaster homes, tent lodgings, and even a two-story boarding house operated by Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Mayberry — who would soon be involved in one of the most grisly crimes in Bonito City.

The Murders

The couple had three children, Johnny, Eddy, and Nellie. The murders began in the early morning hours of May 5th, 1885 before the sun rose. A quiet and not-so-well-liked laborer named Martin Nelson, spurred by greed and madness, gunned down four members of the Mayberry family as well as three other bystanders.

Nelson was a miner who came into town looking to get rich, just like everyone else. Most people in town saw him as a drifter who was up to no good, however. Following his arrival, a wave of thefts occurred and his reputation was cemented.

Several historical articles were written about the massacre, but details vary on the motive. Some say Nelson was jealous of the family’s success — others say he was madly in love with Mrs. Mayberry and lost his mind.

One of the earliest versions of the murders was written in a booklet titled ‘Mayberry Murder Mystery of Bonito City.’ It was written in 1938 by a man named A.L. Burke.

Burke wrote that his account came from John H. Skinner, the only surviving witness to the crimes. Burke speculated that Nelson lost it around 1 in the morning, and headed towards the upstairs bedroom shared by the two Mayberry brothers. He knocked softly and Johnny answered, met with the end of a .38 caliber rifle. He beat Johnny with the butt of the gun as he tried to resist, shooting him again in the process. Eddy was next, who was shot and killed as he sat up in bed.

When a hotel guest rushed to their aid, he was shot in the head and his body was thrown atop those of the boys. Mayberry himself was making his way from his bedroom when Nelson shot him in the heart. He then turned his weapon on the youngest Mayberry, Nellie. Mrs. Mayberry was the last of the family to die, shot in the chest, and left for dead.

Burke wrote that the occupants of a nearby cabin were too afraid to open their door to Mrs. Mayberry as she made her way outside, leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind her. Martin followed her and killed her, throwing her into an irrigation ditch.

Peter Nelson, the saloon owner and not at all related to the murderer, ran from his bar and tried to wrestle the rifle out of the hands of this madman. He was also shot and killed.

Nelson then turned his rifle on a man named Herman Beck, who had opened the door of his grocery to see what all the noise was.

Each story ends with Nelson being shot and killed by an onlooker.

Regardless of the slightly differing accounts, many people perished that day at the hands of Nelson. One account even says that Nellie was spared by Nelson but only after she promised to watch when they hanged him.

According to Burke, the morning after the shootings, the seven victims were laid out in a row in Pete Nelson’s saloon. The killer’s body was laid in another. The Mayberry’s and Nelson were buried on the hill outside of Bonito City. According to local legend, Nelson was buried head first to ensure that his spirit would not rise and walk the earth.

‘The violence, the blood, the macabre scenario that will forever haunt that beautiful lake is difficult to comprehend.’

Lydia Sanchez, Historian and Author

For the next 15 years, the Mayberry Hotel stood empty as a reminder of the bloodbath. It was then that it was considered haunted — the bloody footprints were said to still be visible and that muffled shots could be heard coming from the hotel.

When the town was dismantled about forty-five years later, the remains of the victims were moved to the cemetery at Angus. Even though their bodies had been relocated, it is said that their spirits remain where their beloved town once stood.

photo shows a view of the water from the shore
Such a tranquil setting — it’s hard to believe the horrors that happened a century ago beneath the water. Source: Vecteezy

Hauntings at Bonito Lake

Sitting in Lincoln National Forest is a placid and peaceful reservoir. Bonito Lake is a popular place to go to enjoy the outdoors and has been a favorite since it was filled up.

However, it’s not all fun and games at this recreational lake. Most say the entire area, including the water, is teeming with ghosts — including that of a mass murderer.

Many believe that the ghost of Nelson himself haunts the reservoir, lurking about the beaches and under the water, pulling people into the depths. As you read earlier, only the victims’ remains were moved to another location —  most believe that Nelson’s body remained buried at Bonito Lake.

Visitors have reported seeing the apparition of a man in period clothing wandering the shores and vanishing. Some have even seen his face floating underwater, watching the world go by from inches below.

Some visitors and locals report hearing disembodied voices and giggling when the shores and water are empty. Perhaps these are the Mayberry children, enjoying the reservoir just as any other kids would.

It’s strange to think that the remains of an entire town lie beneath the murky waters of Bonito Lake — even stranger to think about the entities that are said to still remain there.

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Winchester’s Mystery House: Magnificence or Madness?

Sarah Winchester’s 24,000-square-foot mansion is one of America’s most fascinating architectural feats — and one of the most haunted.

Legend says the heiress was driven mad by the victims of “the gun that won the west.” Do those spirits linger there today, or is there something else haunting this labyrinth of a house? 

Sarah Winchester

Born in 1839, Winchester grew up in New Haven, Connecticut — the daughter of a successful carpenter who allowed her to study foreign languages, music, math, and science.

Her intelligence and beauty gave her the pick of eligible bachelors in town, and on September 30, 1862, she married William Winchester. 

At the time, he was poised to take over his father’s textile factory; however, William had grander plans. In 1866, he founded the Winchester Repeating Arms company.

photo shows a winchester rifles early ad that states buying a winchester rifle will sure leave you satisfied.
A Winchester Rifles old-time ad. Source: Wikimedia Commons

That’s when the trouble started. 

In June of that year, Sarah gave birth to their first child: A little girl named Anne. But something was wrong. Anne’s little body wasn’t processing nutrients, and she died six weeks later, having slowly starved to death. The couple was devastated.

William found his business to be a welcome distraction. 

Between 1873 and 1916, the company sold over 700,000 Winchester rifles. Able to fire 15 shots in a row, the Model 73 was a killing machine, earning it the nickname “the gun that won the west.”

But William’s success was cut short. He died of tuberculosis in 1881, leaving Sarah a 50% stake in the growing company. 

After donating a large sum of money to a hospital in New Haven, the grieving widow took the rest of her money to San Jose, California, where she purchased 40 acres of land. 

The land included a modest, eight-room house.

Chilling Rumors

Over the next 36 years, Sarah transformed her California cottage into a massive, seven-story Queen Anne Revival.

There was no master plan, no architect. Changes were made on a whim, and sometimes entire wings were constructed only to be torn down again. 

Construction went on constantly between 1890 and 1900. The larger the house became, the more people talked. 

Who was this mysterious, wealthy widow? Why was she spending all of her time building a massive mansion in the middle of an economic depression? She had no children. The only other person who lived in the house was her niece.

It didn’t help that Sarah was a private person, opting to stay at home rather than rub elbows with the California elite. And her staff were fiercely loyal. No one uttered a word about what happened in that house, even after her death. 

So the public gossiped and the newspapers published stories.

The San Fransisco Chronicle claimed “the sound of the hammer is never hushed” because Winchester believed the end of construction would bring about her death — but most people believed the heiress was trying to appease the vengeful victims of Winchester rifles. 

They say she visited a medium before leaving Connecticut. The woman told her the Winchester family had blood on their hands, and that she would suffer the same fate as her husband and daughter if she didn’t make amends.

“Go west,” the medium said. “Continuously build upon a house to keep the spirits at bay.”

The medium piece has never been proven, but we know Winchester held seances in the mansion late at night, often emerging with new plans the following morning.

Was she communing with angry ghosts, allowing them to guide her? Or was she contacting her long-dead husband and daughter? 

Spiritualism was in fashion then, used to cope with the immense grief caused by disease and war. And Winchester was known to be superstitious.

Regardless of whom or what she was contacting, she may have opened a portal to the spirit world — one that remains open today.

The Winchester Mystery House is Born

Winchester died of heart failure in her sleep on September 5, 1922. She was 83. 

When the news broke, all construction on the house ceased — the decades-long project finally finished.

Sarah left the majority of her fortune to charity. The rest went to her beloved niece, Daisy. 

But the house, which wasn’t mentioned in her will, was auctioned off to the highest bidder: A former roller coaster designer named John H. Brown. 

Brown and his wife, Mayme, opened the mansion for tours a mere five months after Sarah’s death. It had been such a secretive place for so long, the public was eager to pull back the curtain — but the tours resulted in more questions than answers.

There were staircases that led nowhere, doors that opened to frightening drops, rooms without floors, and a recurring theme: 13 hooks, 13 drains, 13 windows in the 13th bathroom.

photo shows the outside of the winchester house with a painted door about 10 feet up on the side of the house

A door to nowhere at the Winchester Mystery House. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Every twisting hallway and dark corner presented a new, odd feature, and the rumors surrounding the house only grew.

In fact, the legend of the haunted mansion became so popular that Harry Houdini stopped there on a nationwide tour to debunk spiritualism. 

He was, after all, an expert illusionist. He could easily identify a trick of the light or sleight of hand. And he wanted to prove that mediums were nothing more than con-artists cheating grieving women out of money.

But — after visiting the seance room at midnight — Houdini admitted that even he couldn’t explain away the oddities. He called it “a house full of mysteries,” and the name stuck.

Nearly a century after Houdini’s visit, the public is still enamored with the Winchester Mystery House — and its resident spirits.

Lights flicker on and off. Visitors and tour guides have felt phantom tugs on their clothing and heard footsteps where no one is walking. 

There’s a famed “wheelbarrow ghost” that pushes a wheelbarrow full of coal around the basement, and a spectral figure of a worker named Clyde.

But the most commonly seen ghost doesn’t have a name. It’s just a shadow, peering through one of the mansion’s many windows. One blink and it’s gone. 

Could it be Sarah Winchester, still overseeing her passion project? Or is it one of the vengeful spirits that haunted her while she was alive? Maybe it’s something else entirely — something trying to keep the public from discovering its secrets. 

In 2016, the preservation team discovered a new room. It had been sealed off following the Earthquake of 1906, which destroyed a portion of the home and trapped Sarah in the process.

The room was filled with perfectly preserved Victorian furniture, clothing, paintings, and a very creepy doll. Who knows what other secret passages are hiding in the walls of this maze-like mansion? 


Over 12 million people have passed through the Winchester Mystery House since it opened. Ghost hunters, mediums, skeptics, and historians alike have attempted to make sense of it.

They’ve all come up short.

For now, the mansion’s secrets remain buried with its mistress — private in both life and death. The rest of us can only marvel at her legacy.

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Paranormal Road Trip: America’s Most Haunted Part 1


War. Murder. Tragedy. Scandal. Pure insanity. Ask why America is haunted, and those are probably some of the the answers you’ll get. The US has a stygian history, one that’s full of madmen, inflamed passion, and more than a couple of oddballs. Why are there so many ghosts in the USA? Well, America’s most haunted locations are remnants of the country’s darkest days. From every corner, America has its fair share of spooks. From a socialite with a shocking secret, to a witch with a vendetta, to a gruesome tragedy in a small Iowa town, all the way to a long-dead President still trying to preserve the union. America’s most haunted locations are full of bizarre tales and there’s a good chance one of those spots calls your town their home.

Each story reveals another chilling piece of America’s past — a past these spirits aren’t willing to let us forget. In this article, we’re going to explore some of America’s most haunted locations. We’re also going to give you an idea of why some places are haunted, and why there are so many ghosts in the USA. So, stick around, grab your Google Map and start sketching it out, highlighting places you want to visit during a dark tourism road trip. 


Paranormal activity ranges from unexplained lights, sounds, and odors to the appearance of full-bodied apparitions. It often occurs when someone has died or invested a lot of time and emotion – a lot of energy – onto a spot. Hauntings have been around for thousands of years. The British Museum recently uncovered a tablet that suggests hauntings date as far back as 1,500 B.C.E. The pocket-sized stone provides instructions for an exorcism. Over a thousand years later, the great authors of the Roman Empire recorded ghost sightings. And centuries after that, a German family reported being tormented by a poltergeist (the German word for “knocking spirit”). Since America is a relatively young country compared to the rest of the world, so are its ghosts and ghost stories. But the question remains, “why is America so haunted?” The majority of the most haunted locations are tied to the 19th and 20th centuries. It was a time of strife, of social disorder, of mass panic, and blind ambition. A time when folks’ lesser demons got the better of them. Americans have always been passionate and during those chaotic years, that zest led them down some dark roads. Most hauntings in America date back to this period. Perhaps that’s why they’re still so active, and why so many Americans believe in them. Two out of every five Americans believe in ghosts, and nearly one-in-five reports they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost. If you’ve been to any of these locations, chances are you have been too.



San Jose, California
The stunning facade of the Winchester Mystery House. Source: Flickr
Originally an eight-room farmhouse, Sarah Winchester’s Victorian mansion is now one of America’s most fascinating architectural feats. It contains stairways that dead-end at the top, doors that open to frightening drops, and several other odd features. Construction went on constantly from 1886 until Winchester’s death in 1922 — all without a plan or blueprint. Rumors flew that the heiress was following the advice of a psychic: Move out west and continuously add onto a house to protect yourself from the angry ghosts of men murdered with Winchester rifles. Perhaps even spirits get lost in the maze-like mansion. Today, guides and guests have reported hearing strange noises and seeing a man pushing a wheelbarrow in the basement. It seems whatever vengeful ghosts may have haunted Sarah during her lifetime have left, however. Modern psychics say the house’s energy is peaceful. This is one of America’s most famous haunted spots, to the point that it has been featured in multiple TV shows, including as the surname of the brothers from Supernatural. The movie’s topic was explored in the 2018 cult movie hit – starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke – called “Winchester.”


Often called the “first planned city in America,” Savannah is a popular tourist spot with a long and checkered past. Its deep roots have earned it top billing on several haunted lists, so it should come as no shock that our first three locations call the waterfront city home.


If you wandered into this Savannah bar in the 1750s, you’d likely wake up on a ship hundreds of miles offshore. The Pirates’ House was a popular watering hole for sailors, criminals, and all-around desperate men looking for money. Legend says they would drag drunken patrons through underground tunnels and sell them into slavery on the sea (a century later, the same heinous acts occurred in Portland). The building is a highly-rated restaurant now, with a much cleaner reputation. However, it hasn’t completely shed its past. Staff have seen ghostly sailors and heard boot steps on the wood floors. There’s also a general feeling of being watched as if someone is waiting to grab and haul you away. The haunted bar inspired the book, “Treasure Island,” in which the main character is said to have died in Savannah after drinking too much rum.


This burial ground’s beautiful stonework and landscaping have made it the most photographed cemetery in the country, but its beauty is marred by tragedy and grief. For decades, people have brought toys and other offerings to the grave of “Little Gracie” Watson, hoping to appease her troubled spirit. The six-year-old died of pneumonia in 1889, leaving her parents grief-stricken and childless. 
Springtime in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. The azaleas are in bloom, Spanish moss hangs from the mighty southern oaks. Source: SBVR
One year after her death, her father commissioned a Georgia sculptor to carve an ornate marble statue that would sit atop her tombstone. It shows the little girl sitting primly in a chair, looking out at the other plots. The resemblance is both striking and spooky. Visitors have reported seeing bloody tears drip from the marble eyes. Gracie’s ghost has also been spotted playing in nearby Johnson Square.


This bed and breakfast is known for more than its homemade cookies. Guests often hear or see the spirits of children playing. The Kehoe Family twins are said to have died in the house, though the cause remains a mystery. One rumor suggests they got stuck in the chimney while playing and weren’t discovered until it was too late. However, the presiding belief is that the hauntings are “residual,” meaning the children that lived there played so often that the sounds are imprinted in the walls, replaying over and over after their deaths. There has never been negative energy associated with the home. In fact, the inn is a popular romantic spot for honeymooners.


Jefferson County, Kentucky This Kentucky back road has nothing to do with headless horsemen; its legends are even more gruesome. Local lore says victims who venture down this pitch-black road late at night will see a pair of headlights in their rearview mirror, quickly drawing closer. It’s a haunted hearse known for sending innocent drivers hurtling down a 30-foot embankment to their deaths. If they avoid the hearse, they’re sure to hit Cry Baby Bridge, where mothers are said to have thrown their disabled or bastard children over the rail to be free them. Babies’ cries and the wailing of mournful women still echo through the night. Finally, those fortunate drivers who manage to avoid both the hearse and Cry Baby Bridge might find that they traveled through a time warp. What feels like ten minutes on Sleepy Hollow Road can turn into hours. That little tidbit — combined with its isolation, violent curves, and steep drop — makes this stretch of pavement one of the most dangerous haunted roads in America.


Mansfield, Ohio This former prison is so haunted that it’s become a training ground for up-and-coming ghost hunters. It’s one of America’s top ghost locations — one of its most haunted spots.  Constructed in the late 1800s, the Ohio State Reformatory originally housed minor offenders. The hope was that they would be “reformed” through reflection, religion, and education, but those progressive ideals were thrown out the window when the facility transitioned to maximum security.
The corridor of the Ohio State Reformatory. Source: Flickr
The influx of violent criminals led to overcrowding, stricter rules, and severe punishments. At least 200 inmates died during the prison’s 104- year run. Some died from diseases caused by horrid conditions, while others died by suicide or murder. Their bodies remain at the prison cemetery, and many people believe their spirits are trapped there too. Want to know more? You can actually tour the reformatory. 


Salem, Massachusetts Opened in 1637, this burial ground is the second oldest cemetery in the country. It’s also the final resting place of Salem Witch Trials Judge John Hathorne — though many people claim he isn’t “resting” at all. Hathorne’s ghost has been spotted in person and in photographs. He never showed remorse for his role in the unjust executions of 19 women, so it may be karma that keeps him trapped in Salem. He isn’t alone. Legend says the ghosts of the “witches” linger at the cemetery too. Their bodies were dumped there due to the superstition that it was unlucky to touch a witch. Visitors have reported hearing voices and feeling sudden cold spots while walking through the old graveyard as if they are surrounded by tortured souls.


Atchison, Kansas When Tony and Debra Pickman moved into 508 N. 2nd St. in 1993, they noticed their dog started growling at nothing. It was odd, but not concerning. Little did they know, far worse things were about to happen. Fires started spontaneously, objects moved on their own, there were cold spots in the house, and they could hear voices. Tony was personally attacked by the energy haunting the house. It would scratch at his chest and abdomen but never touch his wife or baby. It seemed to especially hate men. The Atchison home is said to be haunted by a 6-year-old girl named Sallie who was tortured and killed by a male doctor who attempted to remove her appendix without anesthesia. Others believe there’s an even angrier spirit lurking within the walls. The trauma of the Pickmans’ experience is still so fresh that visitors have to sign a waiver in case of injury.


Weston, West Virginia This hellish mental hospital was haunted long before it was forcibly closed in 1994. Originally built to house 250 patients, the Weston State Hospital (now called the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) had grown to 2,400 by the 1950s. It became a jail for society’s “untouchables,” taking in alcoholics, independent women, and homosexuals. At the peak of overcrowding, violence was rampant, conditions were horrendous, and doctors performed excruciating procedures that left patients permanently disabled or dead (don’t google “icepick lobotomy” unless you want nightmares). With over 2,000 souls buried in the hospital cemetery, is there any question as to why ghost sightings began long before the facility closed? Today, you can visit and tour this “national treasure.”


Flagstaff, Arizona At least seven different spirits haunt this 95-year-old Flagstaff inn. Opened in 1927, the Hotel Monte Vista welcomed a wide range of guests throughout the 20th Century. There were celebrities, like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, but there were also plenty of criminals and oddballs. In 1970, a bank robber who’d been shot in pursuit stopped at the Monte Vista bar for a final drink before bleeding out at the counter. And in the 1940s, two prostitutes were reportedly murdered and thrown from the window of Room 306. Staff believe the women still linger there. Men have woken up to the feeling of hands on their mouths and throats, choking them. And that’s only one of the dozens of odd happenings that go on there.


Fall River, Massachusetts On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally murdered in their home. Though Andrew’s daughter, Lizzie, was immediately suspected, she was acquitted the following year. The house — now a bed and breakfast for lovers of the paranormal — is reportedly haunted by several different spirits. Guests have heard disembodied noises, including creaking footsteps, and seen or felt apparitions.
The entrance to the infamous Lizzie Borden House. Source: Flickr
Could it be Andrew and Abby, seeking justice after all these years? Some people believe Lizzie, herself, haunts the house from time to time. And others claim to have seen and heard the spirits of two children who were murdered by their mother at the house next door. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, the house is certainly creepy. It’s been restored to look exactly like it did that fateful morning, taking visitors back to the moment before the hatchet struck down. You can actually stay and book a room at the Lizzie Borden House. 


St. Louis, Missouri Stay overnight at this bed and breakfast and you’re sure to run into at least one member of the Lemp Family. Three of its members — William Sr., William II, and Charles — died by suicide in the former mansion. William II’s illegitimate son also passed away in the house. He had been locked in the attic all his life due to his shameful parentage and the fact that he had Down Syndrome. The spirits of all four men have been spotted lurking in different areas of the inn, spying on unknowing female guests and kicking at the door of William Sr.’s old bedroom. In fact, the sheer amount of paranormal activity has landed the restaurant and inn on several “most haunted” lists over the years. William II’s unnamed son is the tamest of the ghosts. He can often be seen looking out the attic window mournfully, still yearning for freedom and love, even in the afterlife.


St. Augustine, Florida If you want to see a full-bodied apparition, you’ll want to head down to Florida, where three girls have been haunting the St. Augustine Lighthouse since they were tragically killed in 1873. In 1953, Lighthouse Keeper James Pippin moved from the large keeper’s house to a much smaller property, swearing “the big house was haunted and he would not stay another night in it.” Around a decade later, a man renting the property said he woke to find a little girl standing by his bedside. When he blinked, she disappeared. Modern-day tour groups have seen them too. Sometimes a little girl will walk along with the group or sit alone on a nearby bench. One blink and she’s gone.


Amityville, New York Horror lovers are likely familiar with 112 Ocean Avenue. That’s the address where Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed his parents and siblings in their sleep in November of 1974. Three years later, George and Kathy Lutz gained national attention for the “horrors” they experienced after buying the home in 1975: odd odors, green slime oozing from the walls, levitation, devilish creatures, cold spots, flying objects, and more. The ghostly activity became the subject of a novel and several movies, though the validity of their story has been questioned over the years. Some people believe the house was haunted prior to the murders and DeFeo was led to madness by an evil presence that still lingers there today. Others believe the house is haunted by the tortured spirits of his victims. Either way, the house has made Amityville famous, drawing visitors from all over the country. At one point in the late 1970s, the “Ocean Avenue” sign was removed in an attempt to keep people away from New York’s most haunted home.


San Antonio, Texas If you don’t remember the Alamo, the spirits who reside there will make sure you do from now on. The San Antonio fort — which Davy Crockett and roughly 200 other Texans defended for almost two weeks before they were overtaken by General Santa Anna and his men — has been haunted since the day it fell in 1836. When Santa Anna ordered his men to destroy the fort and its Franciscan church, the men returned defeated. They claimed they encountered “six diablos” carrying flaming swords. Many people believe these were the spirits of former monks defending their sacred mission — and it worked. The church and surrounding plaza are now protected historical sites dedicated to the battle, but the spirits haven’t left their posts. There have been reports of spectral figures, disembodied voices, loud bangs, and the sound of horses.


Asheville, North Carolina George Vanderbilt’s 175,000 square-foot summer home is one of North Carolina’s most popular tourist sites, drawing over a million people to Asheville each year. With its 70-foot-high banquet hall, 65 fireplaces, and grand indoor “winter garden,” there’s no question as to why people wish to stay there — including ghosts. Guests have claimed to see the spirits of George, his wife Edith, and even a headless orange cat idling around the estate. At night, they hear the sounds of party-goers laughing and clinking glasses, only to find there’s no one around. If that isn’t enough, one of the smaller properties nearby is said to be haunted by the vengeful ghost of a murdered prostitute, along with several other people who were hanged there before it became a forestry school.


Long Beach, CA This 1,000-foot-long passenger ship was the triumphant successor to the ill-fated Titanic. She spent three decades transporting the rich and famous across the Atlantic before being docked on the California coast in 1967. But, like all success stories, this one has a dark side. The ship is reportedly haunted by over 100 spirits — the most infamous being the spirit of Stateroom B340, where paranormal activity is so frequent and intense that some members of the crew refuse to go inside. Experiences range from hearing odd noises to seeing a full-bodied apparition looming over the bed in the middle of the night. There have been so many negative reports that the room was closed to the public for over 30 years before being reopened as a “haunted attraction” in 2018. The key comes with a warning: Stay at your own risk.


Villisca, Iowa
Source: Flickr
Around 7:30 a.m. on June 10, 1912, Mary Peckham grew concerned that her neighbors — the Moore Family — were being eerily quiet. After a series of phone calls, Marshal Hank Horton entered the house. When he walked out, he said he had found “somebody murdered in every bed.” Despite the odd and gruesome clues left at the scene — and the crazed confession of a traveling reverend — no one was ever convicted of the crime. In the 109 years since that fateful night, the house has played host to many overnight guests — from paranormal investigators to skeptical journalists hoping to debunk Iowa’s most haunted location. Odd occurrences are common. One tour guide reported hearing footsteps, slamming doors, and people talking upstairs when the house was empty. He’s also seen objects move on their own, including a rocking chair. While the members of the Moore Family were “eerily quiet” that morning in 1912, they haven’t been in the years since.


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Sunset at Cemetery Ridge looking toward Seminary Ridge and across the field of Pickett’s Charge. Source: Illinois News
Gettysburg marked the deadliest battle of America’s deadliest war, claiming 7,000 lives and wounding another 33,000 soldiers between July 1 and July 3, 1863. The violent confrontation turned the quiet fields of Pennsylvania into a veritable hell on earth. In the aftermath, the dead outnumbered citizens 12:1, and thousands of injured men were left to suffer in the sickly July heat. Over 150 years later, tortured soldiers are still battling there. You can hear the sounds of cannon fire, men cheering, and rushed whispers. You may even feel hands on you, pushing you toward the fray. America’s most violent and deadly battle has turned into America’s most haunted battlefield.


Estes Park, Colorado Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel is known for its famous visitors: Stephen King and Elizabeth Wilson. Wilson was the Chief Housekeeper of the hotel in 1917 when she suffered a terrifying injury in Room 217. She was lighting the acetylene lantern, when it exploded, causing her to fall through the floor and break both ankles. Modern-day visitors have seen Wilson’s ghost enter the room at night to tidy up. Almost 60 years after the lantern incident, famed horror author Stephen King booked the same room for him and his wife, Tabitha. They were the lone guests at the hotel, and their experiences inspired the 1977 book and 1980 classic film, The Shining.


New Orleans has battled Savannah for the title of “Most Haunted City in America” for decades. With ties to slavery, voodoo, and murder, the Louisiana city is certainly teeming with spirits.


The history of this 10,000 square-foot mansion in the French Quarter is not for the lighthearted. Its infamous owner — Madame Delphine LaLaurie — beat, tortured and killed slaves in a room upstairs (later named “the torture room”). The gruesome acts have made the property New Orleans’ “most haunted house,” and even inspired a season of the FX show “American Horror Story.” No one is entirely sure who the spirits are. Some believe the tortured slaves still linger there, as many guests hear pained moans coming from the old torture room late at night. Others believe LaLaurie herself haunts the property. Phantom footsteps echo through the house, accompanied by strong, negative energy. LaLaurie fled after an angry mob stormed the house. Perhaps karma brought her right back.


Known as the most haunted location in New Orleans, this cemetery is the burial site of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Laveau died in 1881, having spent her long and successful life treating the rich and famous with natural remedies. Her spirit has been spotted at the cemetery and around the city in the years since. Legend says she’s still using her powers to help people who visit her tomb. Simply draw an “x” on her grave, turn around three times, knock, and yell out your wish. If she grants it, circle the “x” to signify she helped you, and place an offering of gratitude at the base of the tomb. Be wary, though. She may be kind and generous to people who believe in voodoo, but non-believers have been attacked near her gravesite.


This downtown condo building has a past that seems like it was ripped out of a classic novel. In the late 1800s, the 3.5-story home was purchased by a Turkish immigrant with a mysterious past and a hoard of cash — so the legend says. He quickly became the Jay Gatsby of the French Quarter, throwing lavish parties while the rest of the south struggled to recover from the Civil War. The glamour, of course, didn’t last. One stormy night — date unknown — a band of men entered the Sultan’s Palace and slaughtered the Turk and all his guests with bladed weapons before disappearing into the night. The house has undergone renovation after renovation in the years since, but one thing has remained consistent: residents report seeing a man in middle eastern clothing moving around at night.


Chicago, Illinois
A view of Chicago from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Source: Flickr
Chicago has an unfortunate history of disrespecting burial grounds. Years of vandalism and theft have caused intense paranormal activity at Bachelors Grove Cemetery, and zoo animals have perturbed the spirits of the old Chicago City Cemetery. Yes, zoo animals. The Lincoln Park Zoo, which opened in 1868, was built over a cemetery that had closed a decade earlier due to its proximity to the main water supply. Though the majority of the bodies were moved at that time, more than a few corpses were still present when construction on the zoo began. An estimated 12,000 bodies still remain under the attraction’s walkways and exhibits, so there’s no question as to why people have reported seeing “Victorian-era ghosts” on site. One ghostly figure is said to hang out near the lion exhibit. Was her grave there or does she just enjoy big cats? We may never know.


Middletown, Ohio Visitors who walk down the empty hallways of this former school often feel strange, like someone is watching them. What’s responsible for the activity? Many people believe the spirits are tied to two train crashes that happened near the property — one on July 4, 1895, and the other on July 4, 1910. The 1910 crash killed 24 people. Dozens of others were treated at a makeshift triage center in the field that would eventually house the school. Others, like Darrell Whisman, believe the spirits are friendly former students who have passed on. Whisman bought the school, which was closed in the late 90s, in 2004. Regardless, ghostly encounters are so common that Poasttown Elementary has its own slogan: When you leave, you believe.


South Carolina If you see a man wearing all gray clothing on the beach at Pawleys Island, it’s time to go home. Locals call him “the gray man,” and any time he’s spotted, it means a violent hurricane is about to blow through the area. His origins are unknown, but one theory is that he was traveling to Charleston to see his lover when he was killed trying to outrun a storm. Since then, he’s dedicated his eternal afterlife to protecting others from suffering the same fate. The ghostly figure has been predicting storms since 1822. There’s even a photograph of him standing on a bridge during Hurricane Florence in 2018.


Tuscaloosa, Alabama Pay attention to the tower of this old Tuscaloosa home. You might see Mrs. Drish burning candles late at night, mourning her long-lost husband. Dr. John Drish was a notorious gambler and alcoholic, and it was the alcohol that led to his tragic death one night in 1867. Mrs. Drish placed lit candles around his casket and told her servants she wanted the same candles placed around her casket when she died. When that day came — 17 years later — the candles were nowhere to be found. A short time after her funeral, a local called the fire station to report a large fire in the Drish House tower. When they arrived, nothing was burning. The phantom fire has appeared several more times over the years.


San Francisco Bay, California
San Francisco police and Coast Guard patrol boats circle Alcatraz Island in response to a call from Warden James Johnston as rioting breaks out in the impregnable “Rock.” Source: History Extra
America’s most infamous prison has its fair share of interesting tales — from daring escapes to Al Capone’s prison band — but did you know that it’s also haunted? “The Rock,” as it came to be known, was a maximum-security prison island with strict rules and even stricter punishments. Cell Block D was used for solitary confinement, a euphemism for torture. Perhaps that’s why 14D is the most active paranormal spot in the building. Visitors say they can feel extreme cold and negative energy all around them as if they’re surrounded by spirits — or something else. A prisoner mysteriously died in the cell after screaming that a demon with yellow eyes was trying to kill him. The prison closed in 1963 due to the overwhelming cost of operations. By the time it became a tourist attraction in 1973, it had been abandoned for years. For the souls still trapped there, that may have been the worst form of “solitary” yet.


Adams, Tennessee Most of the haunted locations in America are known for vague paranormal activity: odd noises, odors, moving objects. Sometimes it’s a guess as to who the spirit is. That isn’t the case with Tennessee’s Bell Witch Cave. The infamous Bell Witch tortured the Bell Family from 1804 until 1820, focusing the majority of her curses and abuse on the patriarch of the family: John Bell. The stories of her torment were so widely-known that then-future president Andrew Jackson stayed on the property to investigate. He reportedly said, “I would rather face the entire British Army than spend another night with the Bell Witch.” After John Bell’s death, the witch disappeared for several years but promised she would be back. Odd happenings have occurred on the farm, on and off, in the centuries since — specifically in the cave where she’s said to reside.


Goodsprings, Nevada Clark Gable, an old miner, and an unlucky gambler are among the spirits said to haunt this 109-year-old saloon. The Good Springs restaurant and bar looks like something out of an old western, complete with three bullet holes in the wall. The newspaper clipping below says a cheating gambler was shot during a card game in 1915. The wall fared better than he did. It could be his spirit that at least one bartender has seen sitting at the end of the bar — or maybe it’s famed actor Clark Gable. In January of 1942, Gable spent three days smoking and drinking at the saloon as he waited to find out if his wife, Carole Lombard, had survived the Mount Potosi plane crash. Both he and Carole are said to linger at the Pioneer, where employees have turned part of the back dining room into a memorial.


San Diego, CA Despite the fact that a man had been publicly executed on the property, Thomas Whaley began constructing his dream house in 1856. The two-story Greek Revival became the heart of San Diego by the late 1800s, serving as the theater, courthouse, general store, and government office — by day. By night, it was occupied by the Whaleys and a phantom guest. The family told the San Diego Union they heard heavy, phantom footsteps throughout the house. While they could handle the odd noises, the home’s negative energy was far more harrowing. After losing a son to Scarlett Fever and a daughter to suicide, Thomas Sr. packed up and moved his remaining loved ones to a new house downtown. He died in 1890, having never gone back to the home that held his hopes and dreams.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania When Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829, it was hailed as a shining example of modern prison reform. It’s now remembered as a torture chamber. Inmates were kept in solitary confinement 24 hours a day and fed through a slot in the door, with only a Bible and manual labor to occupy their time. It was enough to drive anyone crazy, and those who did go insane were punished for it — very harshly. At least three cellblocks are known for paranormal activity. There are shadows, voices, phantom footsteps, apparitions, and aggressive energies that seem to completely overtake you. For some, even death is a prison.


Williamsburg, Virginia
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Perched on the outskirts of Colonial Williamsburg, this 329-year-old college earned the nickname “Alma Mater of a Nation” for its strong ties to America’s founding fathers and major wars. Any place entangled with the birth of America is bound to host a few spirits. Sure enough, wounded soldiers kidnapped Native Americans, and a stressed-out former student is said to appear on campus late at night, giving the living students plenty of creepy stories to tell at parties. Students and staff agree the Wren Building earns the “most haunted” title, as it was used as a hospital during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. There’s also a crypt below the classrooms where former Virginia Attorney General John Randolph is buried. His spirit may be hiding out in Wren to avoid the vengeful spirits that are said to haunt his former home, the Peyton-Randolph House. With that much death surrounding it, it’s no wonder there are reports of phantom footsteps in the halls.


Guthrie, Oklahoma Not all ghosts are seeking revenge. Some just want to have a little fun, like the ghost of the Stone Lion Inn. Guests at this century-old inn are often visited by a childlike figure tucking them into bed at night. The young spirit also likes to play with toys, cause a ruckus, and jump on beds in empty rooms. The 3-story Greek Revival served as the Houghton Family mansion before being turned into a funeral home, a boarding house, and eventually a bed and breakfast. Augusta Houghton, who was still a child when the family’s nursemaid accidentally poisoned her while treating her whooping cough, is said to linger on the property. Her mournful father, F.E. Houghton, can also be seen from time to time.


Washington, D.C. It should come as no surprise that the 229-year-old mansion that’s housed every president since John Adams is haunted. Members of the Lincoln Family are the most frequently-sighted ghosts — spotted by everyone from Grace Coolidge to Winston Churchill. Perhaps it’s because a grieving Mary Todd held seances in the Red Room in an attempt to contact their son Willie, who died in the house. It seems she was successful. Members of the Grant administration reported seeing Willie’s ghost lingering on the grounds. President Lincoln, himself, hangs around the Lincoln Bedroom, the Yellow Oval Room, and the Oval Office. It’s said that his ghost appears during times of great turmoil, which could explain why there were several sightings during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. If Honest Abe isn’t seen then he’s heard — pacing back and forth — still plagued by the state of the union 150 years later.


America’s haunted history is as vast and complex as the country itself, and this list only scratches the surface. Look out for part II of our most haunted locations list, coming soon! In the meantime, you can visit https://usghostadventures.com/blog/ to find in-depth information about hauntings in the U.S. and around the world. You can also follow US Ghost Adventures on Facebook and Instagram for daily content that’s both bone-chilling and fascinating. If reading isn’t enough, join us for a live ghost tour in your city!

Sources Cited

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Williamsburg’s Most Haunted

Williamsburg is one of the oldest cities in Virginia and the country. With its roots running deep into centuries passed, the city went from a small colonial town to the bustling historic city we see today. To some, Williamsburg might be just another haunted city but it’s truly unique in its history. Williamsburg is a bit of a living history museum, with most of the structures in the city surviving from when the city was just in its infancy. That means most buildings in Williamsburg are over three-hundred-years old. Three centuries! Williamsburg has seen the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and even prohibition when most of its taverns and pubs shut down legal operations and started to be frequented by less-than-savory characters in its speakeasies.

Surviving colonial structures have been restored to as close to their original as possible, with later buildings being constructed to fit the appearance of the rest of the city. Visitors to Williamsburg are instantly transported to 19th-century America, inundated with historic architecture and phantoms of the past — figuratively and literally.

In Williamsburg, previous residents and their ghosts still roam. Reminders of the history that is held deep within the city’s streets, seeping into the brick and mortar of each and every building. Walk through the parkways and alleys of this town, look into the lead paneled windows and think of all those that watched the world go by through them before — maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of something other than your reflection.

Without further adieu, let’s get into the most haunted locations in Williamsburg — the churches, houses, and cemeteries that have given Williamsburg its wildly haunted reputation.


The Public Hospital, Williamsburg’s first mental asylum. Source: Wikimedia

Your everyday public hospitals were once also used to house those needing extensive psychiatric care. ‘Public Hospitals’ were America’s first mental asylums, providing treatment to countless patients around the country.

Williamsburg’s public hospital was no different — it saw hundreds of patients, doctors, and families coming and going. In its early history, the hospital was tainted with the mistreatment of its patients, some being treated worse than inmates in the state’s prison system. Patients endured cruel and unusual punishments, long periods of isolation and confinement, and their small, barred cells had only a single window for light to peek through.

Patients were shackled to the walls and slept on the floor or on dirty straw-filled mattresses if you can call them that. On top of their horrific living conditions, patients were forced to take immense amounts of drugs. Some were dunked in cold water with their hands and feet bound in order to rid their bodies of their disorders. Others were jolted with currents of electricity to remove ‘negative energy’ from their scared and abused bodies.

How could this have happened? What is the timeline of Williamsburg’s public hospital?

During the long history of the public hospital, various treatments were tried. These all appear to be the same that were implemented at various other institutions across America. Some of these treatments are strange and ineffective at best, and deadly at worst.

In 1841, John Minson Galt II became the public hospital’s superintendent and changed the conditions of the asylum dramatically. He worked in the hospital for over twenty-one years tirelessly to improve the lives of the patients he thought should be treated with care and respect.

Unfortunately, the Battle of Williamsburg started shortly after he started and Galt was forced from the hospital when Union soldiers took it over.

This devastated the humanitarian, and many believe that he took his own life in the anguish of his forgotten patients.

He overdosed on laudanum, a very strong opiate, and was found dead in his home located on the hospital grounds. The compassionate healer had ingested such a massive amount of the medication that many vessels in his brain had burst, leaving a large pool of blood on the wooden floor. Soon after his death, the Lee family moved into Dr. Galt’s former home.

Mrs. Lee wrote, “I could do nothing to get the blood stain out of the floorboards. No amount of scrubbing would remove it. We finally had to pull up the soiled portion and replace it with fresh wood. I was shocked to find the very next morning, the stain somehow made its way onto the new flooring! My children are frightened. They wake me most every night claiming a man is in the upstairs room where Doctor Galt died.”

Years after the Lee family left the former Galt home, it was torn down. However, there is evidence that the ‘good doctor’ still remains on the grounds where he lived and worked.

When the home was torn down, locals believed that Dr. Galt’s spirit just moved over to the neighboring asylum.


The spire of the Bruton Parish Church towers over the streets of Williamsburg. Source: Flickr

The Bruton Parish Church is the oldest surviving building in Colonial Williamsburg with construction completed in 1683 — over 300 years ago. It served as a makeshift hospital during the Civil War and later became a mass burial site for about one hundred soldiers killed during the Battle of Williamsburg.

Surrounding the church is a gorgeous cemetery with graves marked from the 17th century all the way up until the 20th century. Each grave carries its own story and the story of the person buried beneath it. From unknown Confederate soldiers to one of the church’s colonial reverends and his wife who died too soon, the adjoined Bruton Parish Church Cemetery is truly a melting pot for the dead.

The Bruton Parish Church is located in the restored area of Colonial Williamsburg. It was established in 1674 by the consolidation of two previous parishes in the Virginia colony and remains an active church today. The building was constructed somewhere between 1711 and 1715 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. It truly is a shimmering example of colonial religious architecture.

Reverend Robert Hunt served as the first chaplain of that primitive chapel all those years ago. He was described as an honest and courageous man, even bringing harmony and acting as a peacemaker when men would quarrel.

When learning about the history of the church, one will find some pretty strange stories surrounding it. Remember the colonial Reverend we mentioned earlier? The one buried in the adjoined cemetery with his wife? Well, when Reverend Jones and his wife were expecting their first child, complications arose during labor and the doctor informed him that his beloved wife would not survive their baby’s birth.

While she was on her deathbed, he proclaimed his undying love for her and told her he could not live without her by his side. He asked her to wait for him so that they could be together in heaven, and had her buried in the church cemetery.

Three months later, Reverend Jones was riding into town in a carriage with a tombstone he had made for her grave. During this time, witnesses saw his wife roaming the church and cemetery grounds, even sitting in one of the church pews, plain as day. The only problem is, she was dead and buried months ago.

Not only was Reverend Jones bringing a tombstone to mark his late wife’s grave, but he would arrive with someone else — his new wife.

Almost immediately upon the arrival of Reverend Jones, people continued to see the apparition of Mrs. Jones in the church and the graveyard, only now she was seen crying and wailing, angry over his broken oath to her.

To add insult to injury, Reverend Jones had his new wife’s grave plot placed between him and his first wife. The Joneses are still buried in the Bruton Parish Church graveyard.

Ludwell House

The Ludwell-Paradise House. Source: Flickr

Also known as the Ludwell-Paradise House, the Ludwell House was the first place that Reverend Goodwin obtained when they launched Williamsburg’s restoration project. It’s got unmatched Georgian brick architecture which was constructed for Philip Ludwell III in 1755.

The home has remained a private residence since Philip owned it. Philip was a prominent Williamsburg resident — he owned the Green Spring Plantation in James City County and was well-traveled, visiting London frequently.

While Philip lived a full life with many trials and tribulations, successes and tragedies, the tale of the Ludwell House focuses on his second daughter.

In 1767, Philip’s health failed him — he passed away in London, leaving Lucy Ludwell, his second daughter to inherit the Ludwell home. Lucy was living lavishly in London (say that five times fast) with her husband John Paradise (hence the name) so the Williamsburg home was rented out to residents when the Paradises weren’t staying in it. While she was in London, the home etched a colorful history and bore witness to the American Revolution and a handful of colorful tenants.

John Paradise was a linguist and scholar, as well as a friend to many, including Thomas Jefferson. Even with all of that success, he and Lucy were financially unsuccessful. As a result, his death in 1795 left Lucy destitute — she soon packed her bags and returned to her Williamsburg home.

Lucy was a member of London’s social elite. She was unconventional and a bit eccentric, but her social savvy allowed her to gain many friends and colleagues. After she was left with nothing when her husband passed, her return to her childhood home was a fresh start — but you can’t take London out of the girl. Her old life followed her and she continued to fascinate those around her. With time, people became more and more unforgiving of her unusual behavior. She was a suspected thief that wandered around the streets with servants as if she were royalty. It took some time, but the people of Williamsburg eventually decided that Lucy needed to be put away. They committed her to the Public Hospital and ripped her from her house, trapping her within the asylum walls for two years.

Now, we all know of the atrocities that occurred in asylums of Lucy’s day — this one must have been particularly bad, because after two years of living in it, Lucy committed suicide.

Her ghost is said to haunt the upper floors of the Ludwell home, endlessly wandering the halls and using the tub to bathe over and over again. The sound of running water and footsteps are most often reported. Lucy is known to have bathed multiple times a day, perhaps she was suffering from some sort of OCD, however, we’ll never know for sure.

It’s sad, really, that Lucy was so heavily judged for her strangeness — was she actually a threat to society, or was she just an eccentric lass with an imagined life.

Jones Cemetery

A peek at the Jones Cemetery Plot. Source: Flickr

Remember Revered Jones and his broken promise to his wife? The Jones Cemetery sits as a reminder of the hurt that Rev. Jones caused his wife. With his and his first wife’s graves separated by his second wife, one can see the betrayal laid out before them. Witnesses are said to see the spirit of Jones’ first wife wandering the grounds of the cemetery and sitting in the adjoining Bruton Parish Church’s pews.

Some even hear the church organ playing late into the night and even the disembodied cries of Reverend Jones’ broken-hearted first wife are heard echoing the cemetery around dusk.


The Public Gaol. Source: Wikimedia

In this two-story brick prison located near the east end of the city of Williamsburg, the incarcerated woke up to their fellow occupants — bloodthirsty pirates and traitors to the country abound. When Williamsburg became Virginia’s capital in 1699, city officials realized the need for a jail. Initial specifications kept the building small and simple, it was never intended to house thieves or murderers.

At its inception, then, the Public Gaol only had three rooms: two for inmates, and one for the gaoler. But officials soon realized that the city’s population of wrongdoers was larger than they’d estimated; a thirty by twenty foot building simply could not support all the runaway slaves, thieves, tories, and spies that had been sentenced to be put behind bars. An exercise yard was therefore added in 1703, a “Debtor’s Prison” in 1711, and then a separate brick dwelling for the jailer, or gaoler, in 1722.

Unsurprisingly, the jail was an inhumane environment with freezing cold cells, terribly unhealthy food, typhoid outbreaks and ‘Gaol Fever.’

The Public Gaol was infamous for its inmates — including Blackbeard — yep, you read that right. The terrible Edward Teach, a.k.a., Blackbeard the Pirate. After Blackbeard and his crew were captured, they were taken to Williamsburg to stand trial and were held in the public gaol in 1704.

These days, the spirits of inmates are said to still be locked up in the jail. The apparitions of two women are commonly seen lurking in the jailer’s quarters upstairs with the sounds of their animated conversations and heavy footsteps heard echoing down below.


The Facade of the Peyton-Randolph House. Source: Wikimedia

Williamsburg’s Peyton Randolph House is notoriously active with ghosts. It boasts more than just a couple of titles including the most haunted home in America, the most original house in Williamsburg, the most haunted place in Williamsburg, and the most haunted home on the entire east coast.

The Peyton Randolph House is featured on nearly every ghost tour around Williamsburg and remains one of the most infamous structures in the town. Freak accidents, murders, war, and mysterious natural illnesses have claimed about thirty lives in the home since it was built in 1715.

Some buildings in Williamsburg are well over 200 years old, making it the perfect destination for history buffs. But one building in Williamsburg is famous for this and more sinister reasons. 

The Peyton Randolph House has quickly become one of the most popular haunted destinations in town. This historical site attracts history buffs and those with an affinity for the strange.

Of course, as with almost any building in colonial Williamsburg, there comes hauntings. As for the Peyton Randolph House, voices are heard inside, objects move on their own, and visitors, including the famous French General of the American Revolution Marquis de Lafayette, have felt hands touch them or even push them, sometimes down a flight of stairs.

In 1824, Lafayette returned to Williamsburg, where he had spent some time during the Revolutionary War. During his tour through the US, he stayed at the Peyton Randolph house in Williamsburg. He wrote:

“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. The nights were not restful as the sounds of voices kept me awake for most of my stay.”


The former Ware House. Source: Colonial Williamsburg

The Kimball Theatre was once known as The Ware House during the Civil War. It was owned by a recently widowed woman named Mrs. Ware. In the aftermath of the Battle of Williamsburg, the once peaceful streets of this colonial city were littered with wounded men and bodies of the dead. The combined loss on both sides exceeded 4,000. Mrs. Ware had taken in a wounded Confederate soldier she had found outside her home and did her best to care for him.

He later died inside the home. She covered his body respectfully and called for help. When a Union contingent arrived, her home was commandeered and used as a field hospital. The Ware House was one of fifteen private residences used as a hospital in the aftermath of the battle.

Mrs. Ware welcomed the men in and informed the officer that she had a dead Confederate soldier in her home. As the commanding officer inspected the body, he slowly peeled back the blanket covering the man’s face to find the mangled remains of his younger brother. The two Virginia men had joined opposing sides at the outbreak of the war. The surviving brother was shocked and heartbroken to discover that his brother was cut down in the same battle. The surviving officer was later killed in the war. To this day, two men wearing Civil War uniforms are seen wandering through the grounds that was once the former Ware house and Civil War hospital. 


A storefront in Merchants Square. Source: Foreman Pro

The story surrounding this marketplace happened shortly after the Civil War in Williamsburg’s Merchant’s Square. Along Henry Street was a small, white home that belonged to the Moore family. Thomas Moore inherited the home from his older brother who had been killed in the war. Thomas had a reputation as a womanizer and one day he came across a lovely lass named Constance Hall. Constance and Thomas spent every day together gallivanting through town, and enjoying each other’s company.

Their relationship was no secret — and it continued on for three months until Constance’s husband caught wind of the affair!

Mr. Hall, believed to have been away during these three months, found out upon his return to Williamsburg. He was furious. He stormed into the Moore Home, killed Thomas, and left. The neighbors then saw him return to the home with Constance, whom he had threatened and forced to help him hide the body. The couple hid Thomas’s body in the basement and were seen exiting the front of the home. Neighbors knew something was wrong when they had not seen Thomas Moore for several days. The police entered and searched for Thomas in his home. They eventually found his body in the basement. The Hall couple were the immediate suspects and placed under arrest. Mr. Hall confessed to the murder in exchange for setting his wife Constance free. Mr. Hall spent the rest of his life behind bars. Constance, ostracized and whose reputation was tarnished, immediately fled Williamsburg and was never heard from or seen again. As for Thomas Moore, he spends the rest of his afterlife roaming the streets and stores in Merchants Square.

His apparition is reported wandering around the streets of Merchants Square and also in the Moore home.


The infamous George Wythe House. Source: Flickr

The haunting tales of the George Wythe House begin in 1753 when it was constructed for the enjoyment of the colonial elite. The brick mansion was given as a gift to George from his father in law. George Wythe was America’s first law professor and a mentor to President Thomas Jefferson. The home served as a headquarters to General George Washington and the French Lafayette before the Battle of Yorktown.

The hauntings here involve a past resident, Ann Skipwith and her husband Sir Peyton Skipwith, the two were friends of the Wythes. During the late 1770s, the Skipwiths enjoyed extended visits at the home with the Wythes until 1779 when Ann Skipwith died — her body was then buried in the Bruton Parish graveyard, laid to rest and almost all but forgotten by time…

So, what are the three most prominent and most told stories about Lady Skipwith and her death?

The First Story

The first tells that Ann died during a miscarriage and spent her last moments in George’s arms.

The Second Story

The second story is even more tragic and claims that Ann took her own life in the bedroom she shared with her husband. This version paints George as a womanizer. One night at a ball down the street at the Governor’s Palace, the couple had a heated argument in which Ann accused George of having an affair with her sister. She ran home completely devastated and committed suicide in the marital bedroom. After her death, George is said to have married Ann’s sister, and many believe that Ann’s jealous soul remains in the home.

The Third Story

The last story says that Ann’s husband left her side at the ball and was flirting with other women in attendance. Ann ran from the ballroom, George caught sight of her and followed her out. She ignored him, leaving the palace. He decided to stay at the party and did not follow her home. Storming into the carriage, she lost one of her red shoes and returned to the Wythe house with one shoe, where she ran up the stairs and slammed the door. At the Wythe House you may hear the sound of a woman running up the stairs, the sharp clack of a heel followed by the sound of a dull thud as from a bare foot.

Ann was miserable in her marriage, and as a colonial woman, had no escape from her situation. It is possible that taking her life would provide the only true freedom from life with her husband, in which case suicides were underreported during colonial times as it brought dishonor on a family. It is also possible that Ann’s husband killed her and attempted to cover it up with childbirth as cause, to marry her sister. Regardless of the reasons, Ann’s ghost is said to still wander about the Wythe home and gardens, appearing as a full-bodied apparition to visitors. One visitor claims to have witnessed Lady Skipwith’s wardrobe door open all on its won.

Colonial Williamsbug is a living reminder of what America once was. The ghosts that haunt the city are not-so-living reminders of what the city once was — a melting pot of all types, veterans of the Civil War, slaves returned as freed men and women, men who contemplated the freedom of America and signed a document to solidify it, and where a British-ruled colony found emancipation from a controlling government. If you’re lucky enough to visit this historic city, make sure you keep an eye out for the spirits of the people who made America what it is today!

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Savannah and its History of Hauntings

When one thinks of Savannah, what is often conjured in the mind is horse-drawn carriages clomping along brick roads passing intricate antebellum architecture, sultry summer vacation days drifting idly by like a kite carried in the Southern wind, the Atlantic rhythmically lapping at the pristine sand, tanning on the beach, and sipping cocktails that languidly melt in the sun. Of course, this part of Georgia is renowned for its historical sites, sprawling beaches and its array of regional seafood and thirst-quenching beverages. But after the sun sets and the tourists have tucked in for the night, Savannah takes on a much darker, more sinister complexion. Besides being a vacation mecca, did you know that Savannah is also arguably the most haunted city in the United States? What is it about this quaint city that has spawned so many tales of ghostly apparitions and manifested the most haunted places in Savannah? Join us as we explore them!

History Equals Haunted:  The Long History of Savannah and its Hauntings

Ghosts are bookmarks in time, indelibly etched into the fabric in which they were created. Ghosts are the phantasms of history, of lives lived and lost. Savannah is a very old city, and it is out of this background that produces so many of these hauntings. Savannah has been the setting for battles in both the Revolutionary and Civil War. It was a harbor for pirates, and a bastion for slave-traders and outlaws. Looking over this expansive history it is little wonder that this city is Ghost Capitol, USA!
General Oglethorpe, the Founder of Savannah. Illustration for The Southern States of North America, profusely illustrated from original sketches by J Wells Champney (1843-1903) (Blackie, 1875).
General James Oglethorpe who not only founded Savannah but also laid out the town in a grid pattern.
As we dive into the origins of this city, we soon begin to understand that the history of Savannah is the history of America itself. Shortly after February 12, 1733, when General James Oglethorpe and settlers from the ship Anne landed at Yamacraw Bluff, Georgia would become one of the 13 original colonies that would become the backbone in the formation of America. But the foundation on which Savannah is built, well, that may make the easily startled uneasy.

Savannah’s Haunted Squares:  Wright Square

When General James Oglethorpe laid out the town of Savannah in a grid pattern, he designed it with greenspaces in mind. Although many of Savannah’s peaceful squares are adorned with beautiful Southern live oaks draped in ubiquitous Spanish moss, you’ll find that Wright Square isn’t one of them. Moss refuses to grow on any of the trees in the square. Many claim that the moss won’t grow in any areas where ghosts linger. If that’s true, then Wright Square has good reason to be moss-free, since it’s also known as the Hanging Square.
photo shows a large statue in Wright Square towering over the foliage
Wright Square is a beautiful park today but once served as Savannah’s final destination for convicted murderers.
In the early establishment of Savannah, Wright Square was not an enjoyable place to be. In fact, this square was where the gallows were located in the city. It’s where some of Savannah’s earliest convicted criminals met their untimely death. Alice Riley was hanged there for committing the first murder on record in the city of Savannah way back in the year 1735. A few days before she died, Alice gave birth to a baby that was quickly taken from her. It is said her spirit still wanders Wright Square in search of a newborn baby to claim as her own. For more on Savannah’s haunted squares, check out our article about Madison Square!

Savannah’s Haunted Cemeteries:  Built on the Bones of the Dead

Savannah has been called the “City Built Upon Her Dead.” This slogan may seem a little melodramatic, but it’s actually quite true. The popular historic district was literally built over graves that were once a part of Colonial Park Cemetery. Before settlers buried their dead on this site, this area served as the burial ground for the Native Americans that lived in what would become Savannah. It is rumored the unevenness in the sidewalks is caused by subsiding graves. Colonial Park was established way back in 1750 and quickly tripled in size, attributed to the Yellow Fever outbreaks that plagued Savannah throughout its history. 
photo is an illustration of nuns acting as nurses and taking care of children who are suffering from yellow fever
Yellow Fever quickly spread through Savannah and claimed many of its residents. Source: The Daily Beast
  • The Great Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1820 killed as many as 700 people. Another outbreak in 1876 killed 1,066 Savannahians. Because so many were dying at once, those bodies were often buried in mass graves. 
  • Colonial Park is the site of at least one such mass burial. Many believe victims of these Yellow Fever epidemics are bound to this earthly realm in ghostly form because their lives were cut tragically short. 
Savannah, USA - July 22, 2010:  Colonial Park served as Savannah€™s cemetery for more than a century and contains over nine thousand graves. Established in 1750, by 1789 it had been expanded three times to reach the current size of six acres.
Over 9,000 graves are located in Colonial Park. Source: Southern Belle
It must be said that these kinds of mass burials often tend to create restless spirits, in search of eternal repose in a more comforting location. However, it must be noted, that over a century ago Colonial Park was a very popular ritual site for the practitioners of hoodoo, a type of voodoo performed in the Southern states. Who knows what kind of doors were opened that couldn’t be closed when they staged their dark arts?  The most famous ghost story to come out of the cemetery is the story of Rene Rondolier. Rene was an imposing seven-foot tall child killer who terrorized Savannah in the early 1800s. A lynch mob exacted their justice on Rene and hanged him in the cemetery. However, soon after Rene was hanged, more children were found murdered. Could it be Rene was still killing from beyond the grave? To this day, Rene’s ghost is still seen walking through the cemetery, or hanging from the “Hanging Tree,” which still stands. 

Savannah’s Haunted Battlefields: Ghosts of the Battles Waged in Savannah 

Ghosts are also produced from the sudden loss of life in extremely stressful situations. To walk the bloody fields of past wars is often unsettling, but many say it’s not just a feeling, but a reality in Savannah. Catastrophic conflicts abounded here throughout the centuries. These fatal clashes have left their mark on America’s most haunted city. From the Siege of Savannah in 1779, where 240 were killed, to the American Civil War’s Savannah capture by General T. Sherman that claimed over 200 souls, these conflicts have left a lingering spiritual residue and souls of unsettled soldiers haunt the land and homes of the bloodstained ground of Savannah.
photo shows two large grassy mounds with small openings as doors in the front
What is called a ‘hot shot furnace’ at Fort McAllister. Source: Flickr
Fort McAllister is said to have been haunted ever since the Civil War battle over Savannah. Visitors to the battlefield, along with people who work there, have reported seeing ghosts dressed in Civil War regalia, moaning over their wounds or claimed to have heard the residual sounds of artillery seemingly recorded in the environment itself.

Savannah’s Catastrophes and The Ghosts They Made 

photo shows an illustration of the great fire of savannah
An early account of the fire that swept through Savannah in 1820, ‘The Great Fire of Savannah’
Savannah is known for its splendid 19th century architecture, but little survives from the 18th century. The reason for this is two great fires that ravaged this city. In 1796,  a fire swept through the town killing dozens and leaving thousands homeless.  The outbreak of disease in 1820 was accompanied by additional devastation on the morning of January 11 when a rapidly spreading fire broke out in a stable. The blaze destroyed 500 buildings before dwindling that afternoon. The untimely deaths resulting from these fires is said to have perplexed the deceased, many ghosts seemingly going about their daily routines, oblivious to the fact that their lives were consumed in flame over two centuries ago. 

Savage Slavery

Until the start of the Civil War, Georgia’s “First City” was heavily dependent on slave labor. The bustling port city of Savannah played an integral role in the Atlantic slave trade. Stories suggest those once enslaved still seek vengeance against their captors. One of the most infamous stories recounts the sinking of French ship Grietely. The vessel arrived in Savannah in 1854 to pick up 71 escaped slaves. The ship sank while exiting Savannah Harbor. Sailors still say they feel a force pulling them off course and claim to hear disembodied voices speaking in French and the African dialect of Bantu.
photo shows a large oak tree and fountain in one of savannah historic squares
Savannah is well known for its haunted squares and parks, most of which are built atop mass grave sites. Source: Flickr
Beautiful Calhoun Square is the only one in Savannah that still has all of the original structures surrounding it still intact. The square itself is allegedly the site of a massive unmarked slave burial ground. Visitors to the square often report feeling uneasy or experience oppressive emotions in some sort of sympathy with humanity who had lost their lives in the savagery of slavery. In the late 1700s to early 1800s, Savannah was one of the leading exporters of cotton. Men known as cotton “factors” worked along the bustling riverfront, and it’s where they set the prices for cotton worldwide. Factor’s Walk is an area of Savannah that contains old brick storage buildings called the Cluskey Vaults. There is speculation that these vaults were used to store slaves who had just recently been brought in at the port. Today, the Cluskey Vaults are the haunts of ghosts and shadow people, with full-bodied apparitions regularly seen in this section of the city.
photo shows a house front painted a very light blue with red shutters
A gorgeous example of haint blue, believed by African enslaved people as an effective deterrent against spirits. Source: Flickr
An interesting side-note, but those who were brought in chains as slaves to Savannah feared this city because of its ghosts. Because of this, there’s an old tradition in the South of painting one’s porch roof a color colloquially referred to as Haint Blue. Haint is an old term for ghosts from which derives the word “haunt.” Haint blue is a light shade of sky blue and traditionally ghosts couldn’t enter a building with the porch painted this color because slaves believed ghosts couldn’t cross water, so painting one’s roof haint blue would confuse spirits and, thinking it was water, would keep the ghosts at bay. One example of this practice of painting the porch a light blue is to be found in the Owens-Thomas historic slave quarters. The first floor’s ceiling is painted haint blue, and according to tradition is the oldest surviving example of haint blue paint in the entire country!

Haunted Historic Houses of Savannah:  Beautiful But Ghostly

Savannah is an excellent walking city and as you stroll along its streets you will undoubtedly pass a myriad of haunted houses. Here are a few of the houses said to be inhabited by ghosts.
photo shows a huge pink brick mansion
The oldest surviving mansion in all of Savannah, built in 1771. Source: Savannah for 91 Days
The Olde Pink House The aptly named Olde Pink House is one of Savannah’s many taverns, but for over three hundred years, the bright pink mansion was known as the Habersham House. Strangely enough, the bright pink color of the Habersham House was an accident. The Habershams originally intended the house to be white. The house was built with red bricks, which were overlayed with white plaster. Savannah’s climate, with its rain, heat, and humidity, caused the bricks to bleed through the paint, giving the house a pinkish color. The Habershams had to continually repaint the house white to restore the intended color. Their efforts were futile, and the color constantly bled through. Finally, in 1920, one of the later owners decided to permanently paint the house pink, settling the matter once and for all.  This house sits on Abercorn Street, right on Reynolds Square, built by the influential Habersham family around 1771. The building has been through quite a few hands and has lived through some of Savannah’s worst times. The Habersham House stood strong through a massive fire in 1796, while over 200 other buildings were destroyed. The house also survived three wars and was seized by occupying forces twice. Several owners of the house kept slaves, many of whom were children. It was common for the children to contract Yellow Fever and die during childhood. The spirits of the slave children still live on in the house, and patrons of the bar have caught a glimpse of their apparitions playing in the basement. They’ve been known to knock down cutlery and lock the bathroom doors. The ghost of James Habersham Jr. also resides in the house, and is generally seen during the colder months. He tends to be pretty friendly, and most staff encounter him at some point. Mrs. Habersham is said to be in the house as well. Unlike her late husband, she’s not a jovial and often hisses at customers when they make too much noise in the restaurant.
photo shows the ornate abercorn house. it's got two balconies and lots of wrought iron detailing
The House at 432 Abercorn. Infamous home built in 1868 to Civil War veteran General Benjamin T. Wilson. One of the most talked about haunted homes in Savannah. Source: Flickr
The Wilson House This pink tavern is not the only haunted house on this street. Walking by 432 Abercorn Street, you may not realize you are in front of one of the most haunted houses in Savannah. This home was originally constructed in 1869 for the Wilson family. It is whispered that the home was constructed atop a Native American burial site. It is said that the builder of the house killed his daughter soon after the house was built. In recent times, the home stood empty for roughly 40 years on one of the most sought-after lots in the entire city. The house actually had an owner for all those years…she just refused to live it! It has been said that a triple murder took place within this home. There is also the rumors that Anton LaVey attempted to purchase the house to use it as the East Coast branch for his organization, the Church of Satan. 
photo shows a large brick house with a double staircase out front
Built when the U.S. was just a tot, the Davenport House provides us with a vision into historic Savannah. Source: AWA
The Davenport House Two different ghost stories surround The Davenport House, located on 324 E State St. One involves the spirit of a ghost cat, who roams the halls and can be seen running from one room to the next. The next story involves a little girl seen playing in the attic. Many guests have spotted a little girl peeking around corners or skipping down halls, but when employees have investigated nobody was there.
photo shows a pub with an awning that says '17Hundred90'
The facade and entrance of 17Hundred90. Source: Flickr
17Hundred90 If you find yourself ambling near 307 E. President St., be sure to check out the former house turned into a restaurant and inn called, appropriately enough, the 17Hundred90 Inn. There are at least three ghosts which are believed to haunt this location.  Anna is the most well-known.  Guests staying in room 204 frequently report strange happenings such as jewelry or clothing being mysteriously moved from one place to the other.  Some have experienced being nudged or having bed covers moved.  She always seems to be a friendly spirit yet always wanting to make her presence known.  According to local legend, Anna was a bride of an arranged marriage who fell in love with a sailor in the early 1800’s.  She is said to have thrown herself to her own death from a third-floor window onto the brick courtyard below, just as the sails of his ship left her sight and headed down the Savannah River to the sea. Some suggest that she was pushed from the window by her angry husband-to-be out of enraged jealousy. A boy named Thaddeus is sometimes seen on the ground floor of the restaurant and tavern.  Thaddeus leaves shiny pennies lying on the tables, bar and the desk.  He too is a friendly spirit who is sometimes experienced as a warm unexplainable presence. Of a less friendly nature is a spirit that sometimes roams the kitchen area of the inn.  The clinking sound of metal bracelets is often followed by pots and pans being tossed about or spice jars being thrown at unsuspecting kitchen workers. Some have suggested that this ghost is a voodoo priestess who enacted her arts on this site! Bradley Lock and Key is one of the lesser-known of Savannah’s haunted locations, but that doesn’t make it any less spooky! The shop, situated at 24 E. State St, was founded by the Bradley family in the 1800s. The founder’s son was friends with the famous illusionist, Harry Houdini, and even named his son after him. The shop is currently in the hands of the fourth and fifth generation of Bradleys. It’s been rumored that Houdini’s ghost haunts the place, very appropriate indeed for a person that in life was an expert lockpicker and escape artist. . Ghostly Pirates?
photo shows the pirates house in black and white
The storied Pirate’s House. Source: Wikimedia Commons
If you’ve ever wanted to see the oldest surviving building in the state of Georgia, head on over to The Pirates’ House on 20 E. Broad Street. The Herb House portion of the building was constructed in 1734 and is still standing today. The Pirates’ House has tunnels beneath it where pirates used to come and go from the river. The Pirates’ House currently operates as a restaurant popular with many tourists, but back in the mid-1800s, privateers reportedly targeted drunken men at the bar, knocked them over the head, and then hauled the unconscious men through tunnels below the house and out to sea. When the men awoke, they found themselves forced to work aboard pirate ships as imprisoned sailors. They were tossed overboard if they refused! The spirits of many of those sailors are said to haunt the building today. Moans originating from the tunnels and the sounds of boots echoing across wooden floorboards have been reported. From a literary standpoint, the tavern would be made famous in a Robert Louis Stevenson book called Treasure Island. Although from Scotland, Stevenson was enamored by Savannah and the ghost stories associated with this city.  Plan Your Next Ghostly Vacation  Ghosts are as much a part of Savannah as fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits. Of course, we are only scratching the surface of all the ghostly hauntings occurring within this old town, but this article gives an adequate overview of some of the encounters that await you. Whether you come for the weather, food, or history, be sure to tour these and other haunted hotspots in Savannah. You will get a glimpse into the past, a past that helped shape America and one that has made Savannah into Ghost City, USA!

Gettysburg: The Generals and The Villains

The Civil War was a divisive time in the history of the United States. It was fought over economic philosophies and the rights of states. Nothing was clear in this war and because of this political ambiguity this war literally pitted brother against brother, showing that even within a family the reasons for this war was not a simple one yet people were willing to fight and die for the Northern cause as well as the cause of the South. It was at a small, unassuming Pennsylvania town, on the dates of July 1 through the 4th, in the year 1863, that these emotions and ideological beliefs that divided a Nation caught fire and became a crucible known now as the Battle of Gettysburg. Within this fiery furnace, nearly 57,000 soldiers lost their lives in a battle fueled by hatred, mistrust, and familiarity. The scar left on this country can still be seen to this day, in the cemeteries and monuments that attest to those who served on both sides of this War Between the States. It is out of this volcanic cauldron that took so many lives in such a brief period of time with so much emotions attached that many of the souls lost on that field of war linger still, a haunting reminder of man’s inhumanity against man. Gettysburg’s ghosts are derived from all the qualities of the human heart, both the good and the bad.

Gettysburg is considered by many to be one of the most haunted places certainly in the United States but arguably maybe even the world. There is a sure mythology attached to those who fought in and around the town of Gettysburg. In this mythmaking, mortal men became nearly revered as gods and those who were cast as villains took the shape of veritable demons. But it is this extreme that makes up the hauntings witnessed in and around the town of Gettysburg.   

The Ghosts of Soldiers: The Battle Still Rages in the Afterlife

It seems to be true that old soldiers ever die. At least at Gettysburg. Possibly the most haunted location in Gettysburg is a boulder-strewn area known as Devil’s Den, which has a reputation for being one of the most active paranormal hotspots on the battlefield. The fighting in this area was so intense that the entire location surrounding Devil’s Den became known as the Valley of Death. 

Devil’s Den

Image Source: Devil’s Den

Possibly due to the geology of this area, Devil’s Den seems to act as a conduit between the world of the dead and that of the living  

On the second day of battle, July 2nd, 1863, the area around Devil’s Den saw extreme fighting between approximately 7,900 men. The crevices of the boulders were used by Confederate sharpshooters who fired at the Union Army on top of Little Round Top. By the time the battle ended over 2,600 men had been killed in the area in and around Devil’s Den. So many Confederates were killed in between Devil’s Den and Little Round Top that it was often referred to as the Slaughter Pen. A creek running in between Little Round Top and Devil’s Den became known as Bloody Run because it literally ran red with blood that fateful day. Unfortunately, a heavy rain on July 4th, 1863, caused the creek to flood drowning a few wounded soldiers being taken to the field hospital.

It is at Devil’s Den that many people report batteries being drained of their power or odd noises or even voices recorded as an EVP. But some witnesses have professed other spiritual activity. The ghost of the sharpshooter Alexander Gardner is one of the phantoms often witnessed at this site. Seen sneaking behind rocks, when approached the spirit simply vanishes. 

Oddly, a rather frequent sighting in the Devil’s Den area is that of a disheveled young man. Always described as barefoot, wearing shabby clothes, and a floppy hat, he often approaches people and tells them “What you’re looking for is over there” while pointing towards the small creek known as Plum Run. He then promptly disappears leaving those that have encountered him befuddled. This odd ghost has made a name known for himself colloquially as the Helpful Hippy.

But not all haunting at Gettysburg are by foot soldiers of low rank. Indeed, many ghostly generals have been seen throughout the area that comprises Gettysburg. One of these ghosts appear to be that of Samuel Wylie Crawford, who was a United States Army surgeon and a Union general in the Civil War. He served as a surgeon at Fort Sumter, South Carolina during the confederate bombardment in 1861, the birth pangs that would bring to fruition the Battle Between the States. He transferred to the infantry early in the war and led a brigade at Cedar Mountain which routed a division that included Stonewall Jackson’s unit, though it was later driven back. He was severely wounded at Antietam and returned to action at Gettysburg, where his division drove the Confederates out of “the valley of Death” beside Little Round Top, with Crawford dramatically seizing the colors and leading from the front. Although this was a relatively minor engagement, Crawford tried for years to become officially acknowledged as the sole savior of Gettysburg, but without success. The preservation of the battlefield, however, is largely due to his efforts. This may be why his spirit remains, to ensure that this solemn battlefield is respected and revered. Out of respect for this man, the government commissioned a fitting memorial to this man, and in 1988, a statue of Crawford was dedicated at Gettysburg depicting him clutching a bullet-riddled American flag. 

Samuel Wylie Crawford

Samuel Wylie Crawford. Image Source Crawford

One of the many generals who may still be haunting Gettysburg, Samuel Wylie Crawford still appears to stand guard over this field of battle 

Crawford, however, survived the Battle of Gettysburg. One person who did not yet is seen still is John Fulton Reynolds, a man who was a career United States Army officer and a general in the Civil War. One of the Union Army’s most respected senior commanders, he played a key role in committing the Army of the Potomac to the Battle of Gettysburg and was killed at the start of the battle. On the morning of July 1, 1863, Reynolds was commanding the “left wing” of the Army of the Potomac, a sniper fired from the woods and the general fell from his horse with a wound in the back of the upper neck, or lower head, and died almost instantly. Today there are the witness reports of the ghost of a horse and rider whom many consider to be the spiritual residue of the souls of Reynolds and his trusty steed. 

James Johnston Pettigrew was mortally wounded at Gettysburg

James Johnston Pettigrew. Image Source: Pettigrew

It appears several Confederate generals still dwell within the confines of Gettysburg as well. James Johnston Pettigrew was an American author, lawyer, and soldier. He served in the army of the Confederate States of America, fighting in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and played a prominent role in the Battle of Gettysburg. Despite starting the Gettysburg Campaign commanding a brigade, Pettigrew took over command of his division after the division’s original commander Henry Heth was wounded. In this role, Pettigrew was one of three division commanders in the disastrous assault known as Pickett’s Charge on the final day of Gettysburg. He was badly wounded during the assault and was later mortally wounded during a Union attack while the Confederates retreated to Virginia near Falling Waters, West Virginia, dying several days later. Yet, his spirit did not peacefully transition to eternal rest, nor did he choose to return to his beloved South. Instead, his ghost is said o remain in the North, at the field of Gettysburg, where so much of his attention in this life was focused. 

William Dorsey Pender, a general who was killed at Gettysburg and whose ghost is still claimed to roam the fields

William Dorsey Pender. Image Source: Pender

William Dorsey Pender was a General in the Confederacy in the American Civil War serving as a Brigade and Divisional commander. Pender was mortally wounded on the second day of Gettysburg. On July 1, 1863, his division moved in support of Maj. Gen. Henry Heth’s division. When Heth’s men became engaged in the violence of war, uncharacteristically for the normally aggressive Pender, he did not immediately charge in to assist Heth, but took up positions on Herr Ridge and awaited developments. In Heth’s second assault of the day, Pender was ordered to support Heth, but Heth declined the assistance and Pender once again kept his division in the rear. For the second time in the day, Heth got more than he bargained for in his assault on the Union troops. He was wounded in action and could not request the assistance from Pender he had earlier refused. Pender was ordered to attack the new Union position on Seminary Ridge. The 30-minute assault by three of his brigades was very bloody and barbaric. In the end, Pender’s men forced the Union troops back in and through Gettysburg. On July 2, Pender was posted near the Lutheran Seminary. During a Union attack, Pender was wounded in the thigh by a shell fragment fired from Cemetery Hill. Pender was evacuated to Staunton, Virginia, where an artery in his leg ruptured on July 18. Surgeons amputated his leg in an attempt to save him, but he died a few hours later. Many tourists have seen a ghostly figure of a Confederate General, propped up on a crutch and missing a leg, surveying the field from Seminary Ridge. Could this be the ghost of General Pender, reevaluating his offense move that cost so many men their lives? 

Collateral Damage: Civilian Heros 

War claims more than just combatants as victims. Too often civilians are caught in the crossfire and are casualties of a war they were not part of. This is illustrated most startling in the figure of the young Jennie Wade. 

Jennie Wade. Image Source: Wade

Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed at Gettysburg and who is still seen in ghostly form. This statue is situated outside the Jennie Wade House

Mary Virginia Wade was born in Gettysburg in 1843. She was called Jennie. In 1863, just 20 years of age, she found herself in a no man’s land between Union and Confederate troops. Even though this was a perilous situation, Jennie served her country by providing water and food to weary Union Soldiers and well as tending to those who were wounded in battle. During the first two days of the battle, a cannon ball landed in the dividing wall in the attic, but it didn’t explode. While many bullets hit the outside of the house, none came inside. However, sometime during the third day of the battle, a stray bullet that was shot by a confederate soldier, holding his position in the Farnsworth House attic across the street, came through two wooden doors of their home, striking poor Jennie in the back as she was baking bread in the kitchen for the famished troops. Jennie was the only civilian killed in this bloody 3-day battle, and she was remembered as a martyr to the cause, an example of courage and patriotism. Her ghost, witnessed both in the house now referred to appropriately enough as the Jennie Wade House and in the battlefields around her home, possibly an environmental residual replay of her care for those wounded in battle, is a testament to this young lady who served her country by providing for those who were hungry and thirsty as well as nursing others who were injured. In war, all give some. Jennie gave all. When soldiers came to take her body, her mother insisted in having Jennie put in the cellar, until it was safe to move her. Soldiers stayed with the body until she could be buried in a temporary burial spot. Finally, Jennie’s remains were buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery with honor. Her grave is commemorated by a lovely statue and an American flag.

Elizabeth Thorn, although pregnant, still took compassion for the unburied dead

Elizabeth Thorn Statue. Image Source: Thorn

Another hero of the Civil War is also a woman. Although she wasn’t killed in this War, her spirit still resides, presiding over the graves of those whom she helped bury. Her name was Elizabeth Thorn. When the shadow of war befell Gettysburg she was 6 months pregnant, and her husband was off fighting in another campaign. She was alone and vulnerable, but she thought of others before she thought of herself. Her vocation in this conflict was respect and the burial of the dead. With a war that took nearly 57,000 lives, death and burial was a too common theme. Ms. Thorn’s husband was caretaker of the Evergreen Cemetery. While he served his country, his wife took in upon herself to serve in his stead. Soon the cemetery itself would become a battle ground. No ground in this town was safe from the ravages of this inundating war, not even the final resting place of loved ones who had passed many years before this bloody conflict that pitted brother against brother.

It must be noted that the task to give proper burial of the battle’s dead fell largely on the shoulders of this pregnant woman. Elizabeth Thorn found herself with the daunting mission of burying Gettysburg’s dead, burying nearly 100 Union soldiers’ remains in the Evergreen Cemetery. Today, there is a statue of a pregnant Elizabeth, which serves as a memorial to her and all women who offered service and support during the battle and its aftermath. It may be her ghost that is still seen moving about this cemetery, going from headstone to headstone, often times carrying a lantern that appears like a ghost light in the foggy nights. It has been said, too, that the cry of a newborn baby is sometimes heard within the confines of this cemetery. Even in death, Ms. Thorn still maintains the role as caretaker of the cemetery and mother. 

Whether stranger or friend, the students at this college came to the aid of all in need

Gettysburg College. Image Source: Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College was founded 31 years before the Battle of Gettysburg was waged and sits just adjacent to the infamous battlefield. Since the college stood directly in the midst of the Battle of Gettysburg, it was only logical to use this massive structure as a make-shift hospital in order to care for wounded soldiers. This such hospital was unique in that it cared for troops of both the North and South. It is interesting to note that upon forces taking control of the college, students rushed to the aid of soldiers wounded in battle. Every hallway and room within the college was occupied by an estimated 700 Confederate Soldiers. 

For a month after the Battle of Gettysburg, the college continued to serve as a Confederate hospital and prison camp for captured Union soldiers and officials. Surgeries also continued well after the war, taking place in Penn Hall and the surrounding fields, while the dead remained scattered outside, hurriedly buried to avoid the spread of disease.

While the sounds of cries of anguish still abound in and around this school, Gettysburg College stands as a testament to the decency that remains even at a time when inhumanity rages around you.

Rosa Carmichael: The Evil of Gettysburg

Shackles in the dungeon presided over by the orphanage’s authoritarian, Rosa Carmichael  Image Source: Carmichael

War is indeed an inhuman condition that brings out the bestial in men. But these men, for the most part, are not evil, they are simply doing their duty in a cause for which they are serving. Sometimes evil does exist and is chased from the darkness until it is brought to light. With all of the violence and hostility that transpired on the bloody fields of Gettysburg, there may not be a more wicked person found than in the guise of a woman by the name of  Rosa Carmichael. She was to care for children left without family after the Civil War. She was to shelter and protect these innocent lives who were torn from their families by the terrors of this conflict. Instead, she became a bad dream to these children. Located on the edge of the original battlefield, the Children’s Orphanage should be seen as a tribute to those who suffered after the war and well after, even if they were too young to take part in the tragedy that struck our nation. The wages of war are often paid out to the most innocent, collateral damage in a war between the States. 

 After the Civil War, there were children left without families, homes, and necessities. Children were taken in by relatives, neighbors, or left on the street. After a local petition, the Children’s Orphanage was opened in 1868 and housed 22 displaced children. A year later, the count grew to 60 children, overcrowding the two-story building. Accommodations were made and a new wing was added, but by 1870 nearly all funding was depleted. With the number of children in the building, a disciplinarian was hired. Her name was Rosa Carmichael.

Just six years into her appointment, Carmichael was charged with numerous accounts of cruelty and aggravated assault inflicted on her innocent orphans. The abuse was the main action that led to her indictment. The original file was based on a 16-year-old boy’s escape from the orphanage, in tattered clothing, no shoes, and missing part of his arm. This boy also told the story of two girls who were forced to wear boys’ clothing while being locked in shackles in a veritable dungeon. You see, the dream of the orphanage had become a nightmare for those who had lost parents in the war, confined in a building that no longer sheltered and protected them but was a place of torture. Some children, denied food and water, found that by drinking the drainage of sewage that flowed thought the basement they could at least stay alive. 

As Carmichael’s trial continued, the revelation of her punishments were dragged out into the light, and her abuse allegations grew crueler and more regular against the children she was commissioned to serve. She even hired an older teenager to beat the children who misbehaved. Carmichael reportedly even locked a 4-year-old boy out in the cold of winter in an outhouse. He was released when neighbors heard his tormented screams. Carmichael was also said to have had girls stand on desks in one position until they passed out from exhaustion. Indeed, it was proven that Carmichael had a 5’ x 8’ dungeon built in the basement of the orphanage, equipped with shackles and torture devices which lead to an unknown number of children’s’ deaths.

Although adamantly claiming slander & falsehoods, Rosa Carmichael was charged and removed from her position, as well as being banished from the town. The orphanage eventually closed in 1878. The orphanage was ultimately turned into a Civil War Museum. It is claimed that many visitors to the old orphanage hear the crying and footsteps of children echoing in the halls. Laughter has also been heard within these walls, while some guests have felt tugs on their clothing. Spectral children in worn clothing have been spotted throughout the building when no children had been on the premises. It is rumored that the infamous Rosa Carmichael has been seen peering out of windows and walking the grounds behind the house. The shackles have been heard rattling when no breeze is active in the basement. The overall ambiance of the building is said to be an overwhelming sadness and a feeling of despair. If the ghost of Carmichael still remains in this world, unable to pass over, this limbo of the museum in which her soul resides may be the purgatory needed for her to overcome her transgressions on this life in order to cross over to the next. 


Coleman, Christopher K. Ghosts And Haunts Of The Civil War: Authentic 

     Accounts Of The Strange And Unexplained. Barnes and Noble, 2003.

Murphy, Jr. Ronald L. On Ghosts. Camonica Books, 2016.

O’Neil, Bill. The Great Book of Pennsylvania. Independent, 2019.

Reardon, Carol and Vossler, Tom. A Field Guide to Gettysburg. University of  

     North Carolina Press, 2017.

Roberts, Nancy. Civil War Ghost Stories and Legends. Independent, 2016.

Rowland, Tim. Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War. Skyhorse, 2011.

Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg. Mariner Books, 2004.Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage. Harper Perennial, 2003.

America’s Haunted Hospitals and Asylums

An old Victorian decrepit cemetery, a dingy, barely habitable house in the outskirts of town with the reclusive hermit, and the ever attention-grabbing – lightning dragging, stormy night wrestling, moan infested – mental hospital. In the ghost business, we call that Yahtzee. The trifecta on which movie franchises are built on. Fortunes and careers breakout the champagne with just one of those. You only need one for a proper scream. Well, in today’s horror filled, nightmare inducing blog we’ll dive deep into the murky plunkers insane waters of the last of that legendary grouping — Nurse Ratchet’s swinging pad, colloquially known as the mental asylum or the coco-for-cocoa puff house, the Eagle’s ever-present Hotel California; “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.” Let’s talk about haunted mental asylums. We’ll give you the skinny on these lobotomy infested madhouses, a quick intro on their barmy history, and a wild re-cap on why most are basically gateways to hell as far as ghosts, spooks, demons, and the likes are concerned. So, stick around and find out all about the most haunted mental hospitals in the US.

Why are Mental Hospitals/Asylums Haunted?

Old-time mental hospitals were the sort of places that made Arkham Asylum look like Club Med. By comparison the Joker’s pied-a-terre was positively charming. These were places that were run, in most part, by crockpot loons that made the inmates go: “dude, you need a valium.” No self-respecting doc wanted a job at an asylum. And the staff, in most parts, were picked from what detritus the street left. “You there, on the street, nursing the bottle of firewater, how would you like a job?” The desperate on their last dime. The sort of folks that had run out of job opportunities, had run out of rope, and had rap-sheets that were miles long. We’re talking sadists, convicts, malcontents, masochists, the worst demons of humanity — and then there were the outstanding doctors or hospital supervisors; most didn’t even have a degree and some were even illiterate and failed at locating the funny bone in Operations. 

Why are mental hospitals scary? Why are asylums haunted?

Well, did you know that the word asylum comes from the Greek Phrase “without the right of seizure”? It was a place that implied safety, refuge, the whole nine-yard. The reality is somewhat different — and to this day, with places like the infamous Federico Mora Hospital in Guatemala still operational – that shameful history, those ludicrous practices, are still very much active. 
  • Most places had 1 nurse for every 30 to 40 patients.
  • They were only a minority of mental hospitals that actually had any sort of decent founding – money flow. In most cases patient care was partly taken care for by donations — and those weren’t consistent. So, as a result, most hospitals were understaffed, overcrowded, and dilapidated. Patients in rags, sleeping on the floor, sitting on plastic chairs, using what they could to wipe their rears. 
  • The general consensus, when it came to patient care, was, drug them up, sedate them and hope they don’t cause a fuzz. To what point? Most mental hospitals tended to turn a blind-eye to the use of illicit drugs by their patients. 
  • Then there was the abuse. All manner of physical abuses happened daily in mental hospitals —- particular for female patients.  An odd turn, considering that studies have confirms that 50-80% of people who suffer a sexual abuse are later diagnosed with a mental illness. In other words, your safe heaven against sodomy, is most likely the very same spot you will once again be sodomized.
  • The treatments — Today, most mental institutions have Federal mandated policies and are supervised by the State. No quack doctor experimenting with people’s heads. A couple of years back, before mental health reformation statues – and the reason why there are so many closed down institutions of this kind, the ‘Deinstitutionalisation” movement – those assurances were a bit flexible. That’s code for doctors who could do just about anything as long as they thought it would help the patient. Most just got their jollies from being grade A monsters and being paid for it. Folks, when they think about mental hospital practices, they instantly flash to lobotomies – and sure docs’ were performing so many of those that they might as well have come to work wearing an ice-cream frock and twiddling a gelato scoop around. Nonetheless, lobotomies, compared to some of the practices these “innovators’ ‘ got up to were tame.
  • As far as psychosurgeries and other experimental treatments they were humane by comparison. Practices included bleeding, vomiting, purging, “the fixing of humors”; forced female hysteria treatments which in many cases included rape; electroconvulsive therapy i.e shock therapy; trephination or holes puncture into the head; mystic rituals including exorcisms; patients strapped into straightjackets and dunked for hours into ice water baths; insulin coma therapy as a way to rewire the brain;  fever theory — which included infecting patients with syphilis and malaria; spinning to induce brain clogs; mesmerism. And those were just the ones documented thoroughly, in other words the ones that were common. These types of institutions attracted the worst of the worst, each with their own take on incredibly inhumane procedures that in most cases shredded the soul and mutilated the body. 
Given those criteria, and the fact that mortality rates in mental hospitals were staggering, is it any wonder these institutions became magnets for ghosts and the paranormal?

The Most Haunted Mental Hospitals/Asylums in the United States.

So, let’s get this party started. Grab your virtual ghost detector, your OUIJA board, and let’s get cracking. PS, if you want more info on each entry visit our ectoplasmic-filled hub at US GHOST ADVENTURES. Also, grab a Lily Doll, or a perfectly acceptable two-year anniversary gift, the ever needful Bloody Ax for defense— now that’s couple therapy in action!

Rolling Hills Asylum – 11001 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany, NY 14054.

photo shows the facade of the rolling hills asylum. it has red brick with five trees surrounding the front.
A look at the Rolling Hills Asylum. Source: Flickr
Before being known as the Rolling Hills Asylum, this quaint property was called The Genesee County Poor Farm. It was established in 1827 as a center of refuge and support for widows and their children, orphans, minor criminals, elderlies, the disabled, mentally ill, or vagrants. By 1871, Rolling Hills had become a working farm with more than 200 acres. Records indicate that the county buried unclaimed dead bodies on the property. The facility closed in 1974. Yes, you read right — there’s a huge unclaimed cemetery on the spot. Oh joys, oh joys, EMFs meters are going to fritz out.  Rolling Hills Asylum has been the subject of numerous documentaries, paranormal investigations, and ghost hunts. Visitors have recorded seeing a hulking shadow lurking throughout the building. Another haunting is that of Nurse Emmie. It was rumored that she performed satanic rituals and black magic on the residents — to better them. She is seen walking the halls laughing like a loon with cackle-like swagger. In the old morgue, items can move about, disembodied voices are heard, and visitors report being shoved down onto the cold tile.  Rolling Hills Asylum is known as the second most haunted site in the United States. 

Pennhurst Asylum – Spring City, Pennsylvania

photo shows the facade of pennhurst in black and white, the grassy overgrown walkways leads up to the front doors and porch.
The walkway up to Pennhurst…Source: Flickr
Pennhurst State School and Hospital, known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic was an institution for mentally and physically disabled individuals that opened up in 1908. From its beginning, the school’s history of mistreatment and abuse was widely known. Pennhurst quickly became a quick-fix for the state to casually segregate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the rest of society. Not only those folks, but folks that simply didn’t fit into the mold. Most patients spent their days and nights tied to metal cribs in horrid conditions. Uncontrollable patients were drugged up to the gills, or chained to their beds. Pennhurst closed in 1987. Years later, the property was purchased by a businessman who turned it into a haunted attraction that opened in 2010. Visitors can hear children’s cries and laughs echoed in down lonely hallway. Old medical implements – still on the property, cause the guys from Queer Eye refuse to give the place a make-over – are moved about. Visitors have also felt a hand on their cheek, a little push on their shoulders, or a tugs on their jackets. Others have experienced the heebie- jeebies as if a spirit used their body as a highway.  

Waverly Hills Sanatorium – 4400 Paralee Dr, Louisville, KY 40272

photo shows a side view of waverly hills, the dusk lighting relfecting on its many windows. the sky is purple
Waverly Hills at dusk. Source: Flickr
The sanatorium opened in 1910 as a two-story open-air pavilion to accommodate 40 patients for treatment of TB initial cases. In August 1912, tuberculosis patients from the City Hospital were sent to temporary tents on Waverly Hills grounds while the construction of the hospital for advanced cases underwent. By 1914, the hospital’s total capacity increased to 130 patients. From 40 to 130 — so the orderlies got creative, TETRIS-creative with accommodations. A new five-story building opened on October 17th, 1926 making Waverly Hills one of the biggest tuberculosis sanatoriums worldwide. Due to the antibiotic drug streptomycin, the TB cases lowered, so the patients left were sent to a sanatorium in Louisville. Waverly Hills closed in 1961.   The old sanatorium operates as a ghost tour attraction — cause, this is America and that sort of thing is normal — By the way, did we mention we own the Lizzie Borden House? If you can’t beat them, you might as well join them. Anyway, back to Waverly. Visitors can expense spine-chilling encounters like voices in empty rooms, followed by unexplained physical sensations. On the fifth floor, visitors have sensed the presence of a specter , that of a nurse that committed suicide. Sightings of a shadowed man in white wandering the corridors are commonly reported. Timmy, a ghostly boy who likes to play ball with visitors, frequently appears in hallways. Waverly Hills, too, is believed to be one of the most haunted places in America. 

Linda Vista Community Hospital – 610-30 St. Louis Street, Los Angeles, California

photo shows a patient room in linda vista, there is a checkered tile floor and an old doctor's chair with a light above it
An inside look at Linda Vista. Source: Flickr
The Linda Vista Community Hospital opened in 1905 to serve employees of the Santa Fe Railroad. It was initially called the Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital. The hospital expanded and turned into a big campus joint. By the late 1970s, railroad workers began to use conventional medical-insurance policies, so the hospital went downhill, no one really used it. Then gangs became a fixate of the LA scene. The hospital began treating gunshot wounds and stabbings as East LA became a war zone. The hospital’s funds were cut, resulting in less staff to treat patients. The quality of care declined and in 1991, the hospital ceased operations. In 2011, the abandoned hospital was purchased and turned into an apartment complex for senior citizens called Hollenbeck Terrace. Before renovations, the old hospital became a popular filming location for films, TV shows, and music videos. During productions, reports of unexplained phenomena started making the rounds. Moving shadows, cries in the night, and unexplained humming, the works. Three lurking spirits have been sighted on the spot: a little girl prowling the surgical room, a young woman pacing the third floor’s hallways, and an orderly making his daily rounds.

Alton Mental Health Hospital – 4500 College Avenue, Alton, IL. 

photo shows a hospital hallway with mint green walls and locking doors.
The halls of Alton Mental Health Hospital. Source: USGA
Founded in the early 1900s, this mental facility was famous or infamous — it’s all a matter of perspective — due to rampant patient mistreatment. Including: electrode shock therapy, and cold water treatments. In 1912, the State Board of Administration visited Alton looking for a site to build a new hospital for the insane. By July 1917, the construction ended and patients were brought in from other hospitals. The castoffs. Hydrotherapy and Electroconvulsive Therapy became common treatments at Alton. By 1959, the patient population increased to 1,775 with an initial capacity of 1,084. Overcrowding led to more abuse and neglect. The Department of Mental Health gained control of the hospital in 1961, changing its name to Alton Mental Health Center. Currently, it is a forensic services provider, housing 200 court-ordered patients.  Today, the old hospital is still operational— that means that patients and staff are victims of all manner of ghostly experiences. Frightening sounds, disembodied voices, slamming doors, and an ethereal whispering voice asking “who is that?” to pretty nurses.  A photo taken by a nurse showed a shining orb with a vision of a man’s face in agony.  Ghost investigators who have visited the hospitals have been literally pushed out by spirits into the streets.

Taunton State Hospital – Hodges Avenue, Taunton, Massachusetts.

photo shows the facade and dome of the taunton state hospital
The Taunton State Hospital dome. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Taunton State is a psychiatric hospital that was originally known as the State Lunatic Hospital — what a name. It opened its doors in 1854. Taunton housed notorious serial killers Anthony Santo and Jane Toppan. The hospital included over forty buildings located on a 154-acre property. The campus was structured and designed following the Kirkbride system proposed by psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride. His theory conceptualized that to effectively take care of the mentally ill; the buildings must promote natural light exposure and air circulation. The main part of the hospital closed in 1975. The remaining buildings either fell into disuse, collapsed, destroyed by fire, or were finally demolished. However, the newer buildings on the campus persisted and in 2012 the place was transformed into the Women’s Recovery from Addiction Program and a substance abuse program center. Malignant paranormal activities abound in the hospital. Those buildings still in use are spots for horrifying screams, apparitions, mysterious bangs, bloodstained handprints, and moans. Also, the ghost of a man in a white coat constantly appears lurking the grounds of the Goss building’s third floor. 

Eloise Complex – Westland, Michigan

photo shows a large red brick building with many windows overlooking a green grassy area.
The Kay Beard Building of the Eloise Complex. Source: Flickr
Eloise was a psychiatric complex that remained operational from 1839 to early 1982. It started as a poor house and farm to later develop into an asylum, sanatorium, and hospital. It was named the Wayne County Poorhouse, and in 1979 it officially became the Wayne County General Hospital Eloise Complex. The complex had 78 buildings on 902 acres, housed 10,000 patients, and a staff of 2,000. The psychiatric division closed in 1982. It was the largest psychiatric facility in the United States. Only the “D” – the Kay Beard Building – building remained active until 2016. In 2018, Wayne County sold the Eloise Complex to developers for just one dollar to build senior and emergency housing — one dollar, almost like they wanted to get rid of it…  Visitors have reported weird occurrences on the hospital grounds while visiting the property years after it closed. Folks have found medical waste materials such as jars containing human body parts and drawings of odd medical procedures pop out of the ground. Paranormal investigators have even visited the grounds and claimed to have seen the ghost of a woman in white on the upper floors.

Northville State Hospital – 41001 W Seven Mile Rd, Northville, MI 48167

photo shows the northville state hospital with a layer of fog settling over it
A layer of fog settles over the Northville State Hospital. Source: Opacity
The Northville State Hospital was considered the largest psychiatric facility of the decade. It remained open from 1952 to 2003. The hospital consisted of 20 buildings distributed over 453 acres. When the state started to cut funds for the mental health programs, Northville became overcrowded with more than 1,000 patients. Original capacity? Only 650. By the 1980s, the hospital’s condition was horrendous. Patients were treated poorly and it was rumored that they were used as test subjects for vile experiments. Sexual assaults were a daily occurrence. By May 16th, 2003, Northville closed. The state tried to sell the property, but buyers backed out when they discovered that the land was heavily polluted with chemical waste. In 2018, only the 8-story tower was demolished. The hospital is known to hold all manner of nasty paranormal activities— the awful events that took place really did a number on it. Despite the fact that the police guard against trespassers, curious folks have managed to enter the premises. Inexplicable sounds, moanings, shadows lurking in the halls, and loud screams are the norm— few who enter manage to actually stay the whole night.

Old Tooele Hospital (ASYLUM 49) – 140 E 200 S, Tooele, UT 84074

photo shows a hospital bed in an abandoned room, there's dust all over the floor and the window is broken out
The Old Tooele Hospital has now been converted into Asylum 49, a truly haunted attraction. Source: Unsplash
This entry on our phantasmagorical merry-go-round was constructed as a family residence by Samuel F. Lee back in 1873. By 1913, the Lees moved out, and the County transformed the house into a home for the elderly called the County Poor House. Later, the County decided to turn it into the Tooele Hospital, serving as a healing place for the sick and mentally ill. In 2001 the new Tooele Hospital was built —  half of the space became a nursing home The other half became a haunted attraction called Asylum 49 Nurses who worked at the nursing home have reported being spooked several times by weird stuff. Many patients also stated how they were attended by a nurse dressed in white. But the nurses on staff never wear white. The hauntings include shadowy figures that have crawled up onto the ceiling, orbs, and a spiritual portal — really macabre Ghostbuster level activities. Former hospital patients’ spirits still wandered the corridors. Also, Samuel Lee’s ghost waltz about and is sometimes accompanied by his young son Thomas, who loves playing jokes on the visitors. 

Danvers State Lunatic Asylum – Danvers, Massachusetts

photo shows a castle-like structure over a grassy field, there are lots of windows, brick, doors, and towers.
One of the more aesthetically creepy hospitals, Danvers. Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Danvers State Hospital, originally known as the State Lunatic Hospital, was – you guessed it – a psychiatric hospital. It was built in 1874 and opened in 1878. The facility held 40 buildings for a maximum of 450 patients. Between the 1930s and 1940s, overcrowding became a serious issue. Over 2,000 patients were housed at the asylum. Funds were solicited to build more quarters and hire more staff, but money was denied. Consequently, patient care went downhill fast. Patients lived in their filth, treatments stopped, and symptoms got worse. Shock therapies, straitjackets, lobotomies, and drugs became the go-to policy to keep patients under control. The hospital closed its wards in early 1969. By 1985, the majority of the asylum was either in ruins or abandoned. The rest of the hospital was permanently shut down on June 24, 1992. In 2005, a residential developer bought the property and demolished most of the buildings that were left. The renovations turned the land into the Avalon Danvers Apartments Danver´s gothic design is said to be the actual inspiration for Batman’s Arkham Asylum. That alone is worth the price of admission. When the asylum shut down and the apartments went up paranormal activities skyrocketed Residents and visitors have recorded ethereal voices, flickering lights, and slammed doors.Visions of former patients have been seen prowling the halls, and a creepy atmosphere sensed on the grounds as well — all of this has lead real-estate agents to dub the property as “it has a spirit of its own. One of a kind. Really homey.”

Byberry Mental Health Hospital – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

photo shows a huge brick structure at the back of a forest
Byberry watching over the forest. Source: Opacity
The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry was a psychiatric hospital located on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mentally ill and criminally insane patients were housed at the facility. The first buildings were built around 1907 and mid-1920s, while the newer ones between 1940 and 1953. The hospital had over fifty buildings as the patient population grew rapidly, exceeding its capacity. By 1960, the loony grouping had reached over 7,000. The hospital’s conditions were dismal and poor. Accusations of patient abuse and inhumane treatment were frequently made. Documented photos have shown dozens of naked men bunched up together, and human feces lining the hallways. Patients were continuously abused, neglected, and tortured. The atrocious hospital finally closed in June 1990. Byberry stayed abandoned, it was vandalized from 1990 through June 2006 when it was finally demolished by a developer company. A priest wasn’t handy that day so no Holy Water was sprinkled on the land. Guess what it became? That’s right, single homes retirement community. Tons of horror stories creep out of this facility. Legend says that a mentally-deranged spirit resided in the catacombs beneath the buildings, with a large knife, fervent to slash the throats of trespassers. Also, as if that wasn’t enough, residents constantly complain about “that racket” — human-like howling and night-time scream. At least it’s not hoodlums playing that damn ZZ-Top.

Essex Mountain Sanatorium – Verona, New Jersey

photo shows the front entrance of the essex hospital.
The path all of Essex Mountain Sanatorium’s patients took. Source: Opacity
The Essex Mountain Sanatorium’s history began as The Newark City Home, a children’s reformatory established in Verona, New Jersey in 1873.  Unfortunately, on January 9, 1900, the home was burned down. A separate “cottage system” was later built for boys and girls. The “Newark City Home for Girls” was laid on the highest point in Essex County, on October 30, 1900. Due to lessening enrollment, in 1906, the cottage was phased out, and the building was unused. for a couple of years On January 21, 1908, the building was refurbished as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, orphaned children, and the mentally ill.  Back then all those people were bunched together — peas in a really bizarre pod. Since TB cases kept increasing, 11 new buildings were built in 1917. The facility practiced shock therapy treatment, full-frontal lobe lobotomies, and physical beatings on all of its patients. Patients were poorly cared for and could be found laying on filthy cement floors. When Streptomycin, an antibiotic drug that cured Tuberculosis, was discovered in the early 1950s, intakes began to drop. Consequently many wards were closed.  In 1977, the sanatorium shut its doors and since then it has been completely abandoned.  Although the asylum is guarded and trespassing is forbidden, ghost hunters have been granted permission to explore the old site. “Get out” by god knows what has been heard, ghostly children wander on the 3rd floor, apparitions out of nowhere, and a wheelchair seemingly moves on its own — basically just another Tuesday when it comes to haunted mental hospitals. Stay tuned for part two to find out about the other hauntingly historic hospitals and asylums that made the cut for our ‘Most Haunted’ list! In the mean time, check out our blog or maybe you’d be more interested in getting up close and personal with spirits in your city with one of our ghost tours!

Haunts & More Await You: Pennhurst Asylum

Pennhurst Asylum was once known as the Pennhurst State School, or the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic — a name that truly shows its age. It was built to house people with physical and mental disabilities in Southeastern Pennsylvania. After 79 years of pure controversy, it finally closed its doors on December 9th, 1987. You may be wondering, what exactly happened at this infamous asylum to cause such drama and suffering over its almost century-long tenure? Read on to learn all the gritty details and find out what makes Pennhurst Asylum so haunted!


In 1903, a growing number of physically and mentally disabled people were in need of care and housing in the Spring City, Pennsylvania region. The Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the creation of the asylum that same year. More than 4,000 patients were in need of a proper care facility, and Pennhurst Asylum was intended to create a haven for these people and give them the specialized care they needed.

photo shows pennhurst's administrative building, a tall, stately brick building with two trees surrounding its outside walls.
The Pennhurst Asylum’s Administration Building. Source: Flickr

Two buildings were constructed, one was for the educational and industrial departments, the other was for the custodial and asylum department. The institution was required to house no less than 500 patients, or inmates as they were called, at a time.

From 1903 until 1908 the first buildings were being constructed on the 634-acre property. Dining halls, kitchens, store rooms, cottages, teacher’s homes, laundries, and power stations were also created alongside the main housing units. The Pennhurst Asylum campus is massive, a small city all on its own with over 30 buildings.

The buildings were designed by Phillip H. Johnson, had two stories, and were made of terracotta, granite, and red brick. They were all connected with fireproof tunnels and walkways used for transporting residents from building to building.

On November 23rd, 1908, ‘Patient Number 1’ was admitted to the hospital. Within four years, Pennhurst Asylum was overcrowded and under the pressure of the state to start admitting immigrants, orphans and even criminals, as prisons were also becoming too full.

Residents were admitted and classified into mental categories of ‘imbecile or insane,’ into physical categories of ‘epileptic or healthy’ and into dental categories of ‘good, poor, or treated teeth’ upon their arrival. Residents were then assigned a job, such as shoe making, farming, laundry, sewing, painting, or mattress making to name a few.

Mental Health Misunderstood

In 1913, the knowledge and awareness of mental health disorders was highly misunderstood. State legislature declared that disabled people were unfit for citizenship and posed a menace to the peace, and thus recommended a program for custodial care. Furthermore, legislature desired preventing the ‘intermixing of genes’ of those at the asylum and the general population. Pennhurst’s Chief Physician quoted Henry H. Goddard, a eugenicist:

“Every feeble-minded person is a potential criminal. The general public, although more convinced today than ever before that it is a good thing to segregate the idiot or the distinct imbecile, they have not as yet been convinced as to the proper treatment of the defective delinquent, which is the brighter and more dangerous individual.”

Henry H. Goddard

A heartbreaking and completely irrational statement. The treatment of patients, especially those who had more severe disabilities were treated horrendously. Conditions at the asylum were finally exposed in 1968 when a local news station aired a five-part report on Pennhurst Asylum. Again, in 1981, a Time magazine article described Pennhurst as having a history of being understaffed, dirty, and violent. In 1983, nine asylum employees were indicted on charges of slapping and beating patients, including those in wheelchairs, and arranging for patients to fight one another.

The Halderman Case

On May 30th, 1974, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the current and former residents of Pennhurst Aslyum. The lawsuit argued that patient rights were violated at Pennhurst and that those who caused their suffering should be held responsible.

After a 32-day trial, U.S. District Court Judge Raymond J. Broderick found that Pennhurst was indeed overcrowded, understaffed, and lacked the programs needed to care for residents. He found that various forms of restraints were used as a result of the lack of staff, including seclusion rooms, physical restraints, and even psychotropic drugs. The environment of the building was found to be hazardous, to the extent that it was ‘not only not conducive to learning new skills, but it is so poor that it contributes to losing skills already learned.” Residents were also found to have been abused by other residents and staff.

photo shows a decrepit room with peeling paint and mold on the walls
A nurse’s room at Pennhurst Asylum. Source: Flickr

The reporters who first broke the story about Pennhurst were completely horrified by the conditions. Bill Baldini, the young reporter who headed the story, said:

“We started shooting, and my crew was mortified, I mean, I had trouble keeping them on the job, because they were literally getting sick from what they saw.” Children were tied to beds, residents were emaciated and naked. Wards of infants and children from the age of 6 months to 5 years were clustered together in metal cages. Some people were even left to lie in their own waste for days on end.

This abusive and negative energy left an imprint on Pennhurst and the land it sits on, and this is evidenced by the staggering amount of hauntings that are reported today.

The Hauntings

Today, the building has bore witness to more than a few ghost hunting crews searching for answers and to communicate with the patients who never left the walls of the asylum. The sprawling network of buildings and tunnels were left abandoned, and tortured spirits grow restless within the confines of Pennhurst. Staff and caretakers of the property say that the buildings as well as the underground tunnel network and severely haunted by the spirits of the patients who suffered and died there. Reports of slamming doors, disembodied footsteps and voices, sounds of vomiting and crying are heard from seemingly empty rooms.

photo shows a run down staircase with peeling paint and crumbling brick
Where might this lead? Source: Flickr

Some witnesses have even reported the apparition of a little girl roaming around the campus, looking perplexed and a bit lost. The sound of children playing and crying is also a common occurrence.

Most of the spirits at Pennhurst are believed to be friendly, just looking for someone living to communicate with, to tell their story. Reports of Satanic worship have come from the property, however.

Pennhurst Asylum Today

A site of otherworldly urban decay, the asylum sits stagnant with twisting vines and roots weaving in and out of the buildings, and it almost seems as if nature is trying to reclaim these stones, to destroy the unnatural happenings that took place here. Inside these tombs are hallways filled with old laundry totes sagged with molded clothes and linens, layers of graffiti, rusted wheelchairs, and rain sneaking in.

Raw, negative emotions filled the halls of Pennhurst years ago, and most of that heaviness hasn’t left, it’s ingrained in the walls, the floors, the ceilings. Today, Pennhurst sits as a part haunted attraction-part memorial to the dead. It is hoped that we do not forget what happened here, as it is necessary to remember mistakes of the past to prevent them from happening in the future.

For more haunted asylums, check out our article on the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum!

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Bonaventure Cemetery: The Shocking Truth of Its History

The history of Bonaventure Cemetery dates back to 1846 when it was originally called Evergreen Cemetery, an homage to the Spanish Moss and pines of the area. Bonaventure started off as a private commercial enterprise — it was established in the nearly 70 acres of the Bonaventure Plantation when it became obvious that the city’s existing cemeteries were nearing their capacity. Now home to a statue that is said to cry tears of blood, the cemetery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. An ethereal location, indeed, what secrets lie hidden deep within the graveyard?

A Brief History on Bonaventure

The Bonaventure Cemetery began as the Bonaventure Plantation, owned by Colonel John Mullryne. On March 10th, 1846, the plantation and its private cemetery, then 600 acres, was sold to Peter Wiltberger. The first burials at Bonaventure took place in 1850, and by 1853, Peter Wiltberger himself was entombed in the family vault. Peter’s son, William, formed the Evergreen Cemetery Company on June 12th, 1868. ON July 7th of 1907, the City of Savannah purchased the Evergreen Cemetery Company and made the private Bonaventure Plantation cemetery public, renaming it to Bonaventure Cemetery.

photo shows a grave statue surrounded by pink flowers and blooming bushes
Springtime in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. The azaleas are in bloom, Spanish moss hangs from the mighty southern oaks. Source: Southern Belle

The cemetery is now the subject of a non-profit group, The Bonaventure Historical Society. Even though the city of Savannah is in charge of operations, the historical society ensures that the cemetery, as well as the spirits who still reside there, will be taken care of and respected.

A Cemetery Made Famous

Bonaventure Cemetery was made a national celebrity when author John Muir began his ‘thousand mile walk’ to Florida, resting for six days and nights in the Bonaventure Cemetery. He slept upon the graves overnight, stating that this was the safest and cheapest accommodation that he could find while he waited for money to be transferred from home. Muir found the cemetery to be extremely peaceful, even breathtaking. He even dedicated an entire chapter to the cemetery, titled ‘camping in the tombs’:

“Part of the grounds was cultivated and planted with live-oak, about a hundred years ago, by a wealthy gentleman who had his country residence here But much the greater part is undisturbed. Even those spots which are disordered by art, Nature is ever at work to reclaim, and to make them look as if the foot of man had never known them. Only a small plot of ground is occupied with graves and the old mansion is in ruins.

The most conspicuous glory of Bonaventure is its noble avenue of live-oaks. They are the most magnificent planted trees I have ever seen, about fifty feet high and perhaps three or four feet in diameter, with broad spreading leafy heads. The main branches reach out horizontally until they come together over the driveway, embowering it throughout its entire length, while each branch is adorned like a garden with ferns, flowers, grasses, and dwarf palmettos.”

A Thousand Mile Walk

He continued on with his praises, truly capturing the energy of the beautiful southern gem:

“I gazed awe-stricken as one new-arrived from another world. Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light.”

A Thousand Mile Walk

Bonaventure Cemetery’s Ghostly Residents

Savannah is well-known for its hauntings and ghostly happenings all across the city. Its cemeteries are no different. Each one is different, housing spirits from years past, all entirely unique. The cemetery is the final resting place of thousands, but one of the most well-known spirits is that of a young girl named Gracie Watson.

Gracie’s Ghost

Born in Savannah in 1883, Gracie was the only child of W.J. and Frances Watson. Her father was the manager of the posh Pulaski Hotel in the city. The hotel was Gracie’s playground, and the staff and guests of the hotel adored her. She was often seen in the hotel lobby entertaining guests with dances and songs she had made up. But tragedy struck in 1889 — just two days before Easter, Gracie passed away from pneumonia. She was just 6 years old. She was interred in the Watson family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery, her grave marked with a traditional headstone. Her father was devastated, and decided that a plain headstone wasn’t enough for his little girl.

In 1890, he commissioned a sculptor named John Walz to create a statue of Gracie to mark her final resting place. The marble sculpture was made using a photograph of Gracie that was captured shortly before her death.

Photo shows the statue of gracie. it's a white granite type stone, showing her sitting with her legs crossed.
Little Gracie (c. 1889) – one of the most visited grave sites in Bonaventure Cemetery. Source: iStock

The statue shows Gracie sitting with her legs crossed, her right hand resting on top of a tree trunk that is hugged by ivy. Walz’s sculpture is uncanny, with an almost haunting resemblance. There’s also an inscription on a stone marker near her grave. It reads:

“Little Gracie Watson was born in 1883, the only child of her parents. Her father was manager of the Pulaski House, one of Savannah’s leading hotels, where the beautiful and charming little girl was a favorite with the guests. Two days before Easter, in April 1889, Gracie died of pneumonia at the age of six. In 1890, when the rising sculptor, John Walz, moved to Savannah, he carved from a photograph this life-sized, delicately detailed marble statue, which for almost a century has captured the interest of all passersby.”

Atlas Obscura

Gracie’s parents never recovered from their loss. They ended up moving back to New England, leaving Gracie’s spirit alone in Savannah in the Bonaventure Cemetery. However, her grave remains one of the most visited in Georgia, and the Bonaventure Historical Society even constructed a wrought-iron fence around Gracie’s grave site. Visitors even leave small gifts and trinkets for the little girl, especially around the holidays.

So, what about sightings? Does Gracie show herself to the visitors that love her so much? She sure does! Residents and visitors alike claim to have seen Gracie throughout town or wandering around the cemetery. Reports of a small girl walking around the large oaks of Bonaventure are common — and people always seem to report a happy feeling when they see the ghost of the little girl, they’re never frightened by her presence. This just goes to show the type of energy that Gracie exuded during her life.

Her spirit is also commonly seen in Johnson Square, running through bushes and interacting with the living. She is seen wearing a white dress in Bonaventure Cemetery, and its said that if you remove one of the small gifts left for her, her statue will start to cry tears of blood. Another legend surrounding her statue tells that if you place a quarter in her hand and then walk around the statue three times, the quarter will have disappeared. Even after her death, the Pulaski Hotel staff claimed to still hear her laughing and carrying on like she always did — even today, where the Pulaski Hotel used to be is said to be haunted, with sightings of Gracie happening weekly.

Other Haunts

Gracie isn’t the only spirit at Bonaventure Cemetery, visitors also report hearing unexplained noises, crying babies at night, packs of barking dogs, and even disembodied laughter. Colored orbs are also reported flitting around the graves, as well as the feeling of being watched.

Have you ever visited Bonaventure or any other haunted cemetery? If not, why not read up on one of America’s most haunted, Central City Masonic Cemetery.

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Ghosts & Ghouls (and you) : Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow, and in turn, Sleepy Hollow Road, have long been the subject of creepy tales surrounding tragic events big and small. The town became well-known after a novel by Washington Irving of the same name which was later adapted to the movie screens depicting the tale of the Headless Horseman. While that may be the stuff of legends, the town has other ghostly mysteries are rooted in actual events that have transpired over the decades and centuries past. These mysteries are often connected to locations and edifices where brutal, sometimes horrendous events have taken place. However, it is not just the old buildings that are haunted even the road that leads into the small town has ghostly apparitions welcoming visitors/residents with a fright.

Sleepy Hollow Road has ghostly tales of its own that are sure to scare everyone even those with the toughest nerves of steel. It is a long and winding road going up a steep hill surrounded by thick wooden trees. The area it traverses through was thought to be cursed by Native American tribes back in the day and abundant tales of unexplainable phenomena today confirm the earlier beliefs.

The School Bus Children

One of the most prevalent haunted stories of Sleepy Hollow Road is that of the school bus children who died on the road when their bus overturned. Some say the haunted children come from a school that used to be located along the road in the 1930s. The teacher or camp counselor at the school killed those children. Still, others say that the school had burnt down leading to the death of those children whose ghosts can be seen walking along the side of the road wearing their uniforms from the 1930s. The ghosts of these children appear only momentarily before disappearing.

Mary, the Lady in White

Also sometimes known as the White Witch makes frequent appearances on Sleepy Hollow Road terrifying drivers. There are different narratives on who the Lady in White is and whether she was a witch. However, she is known to haunt the road where it meets Mt. Misery Road. That is where the White Witch appears in front of drivers scaring them to death as their cars pass through her ghostly figure. Some people say the White Lady is the ghost of a woman named Mary who died on this road after being pushed out of the car by her boyfriend. In other versions of the same story, it is said that she jumped out of the moving car and died as a result of her injuries. Still, others say that she was a teenager who was hit by a car on her way home.

No one really knows the real identity of the woman in white. Some say she was a patient at a hospital that used to be located near the road back in the 1840s and 50s before it was mysteriously burned down as people were trapped inside the building. It was re-built again at the same place years later before being burnt down a second time. Local folks believe the Lady in White was either a nurse or a patient at that hospital who torched the place herself. People also claim to see burning specters as they pass by the place where the hospital used to be accompanied by screams and cries of those who tragically lost their lives in those fires.

Some people say that Mary is the ghost of a woman who was hung on the side of the road during the witch hunts of the 1600s and 1700s. Her soul is eternally trapped wandering this road from the trauma of her death.

The Ghosts of the Overpass

If you cross the Sleepy Hollow Road where the Northern State Parkway overpass is, you might come across the corpses of the teens who killed themselves by hanging from the overpass. Drivers who honk their horns or switch their lights on and off while going through the underpass can sometimes see the spectral images of people hanging from the overpass. Another similar account mentions, two young teenage boys who were killed by a car because they couldn’t see it approaching them. Drivers are advised to honk their horns before entering the overpass lest the ghosts of those teenage boys jump in front of them as they go through.

Some say that a woman who was killed on the road in the seventies sometimes helps push the cars through if they find themselves stuck on the road by the bridge. People report seeing a pair of spectral hands who help push their car when it is stopped under the bridge and put in neutral. There are also reports of the ghost of a little child that appears to be sitting by the roadside by itself. Apparently, that child was killed in a collision near the bridge.

The Ghost of the Policeman

One of the most horrifying and scary experiences that people go through is when they are stopped on the road by a police officer. Upon checking their ID and documentation, as the officer turns around people notice blood on his uniform and that the back of his head seems to be missing. The officer is no real officer at least not in the sense that he is living. He is apparently the ghost of an officer who died on this road in the line of duty from a shotgun blast to the back of his head. No one seems to know when this officer died or what exactly happened to him but the sight of him is enough to scare people and confirm the horrible reality that he experienced in his last moments.

The Hell Dog of Sleepy Hollow

Given the variety of ghostly encounters that people have on Sleepy Hollow Road, it is no surprise that not only humans, but animal spirits also haunt the road scaring passersby half to death. In one of the most frightening brushes with death itself, people describe seeing the ghost of the hell dog from the thick woods that surround the Sleepy Hollow Road. This Hell Dog is unlike any other while eyes glowing bright red from the thick dark trees. Some people say it is an omen of impending death for whoever sees them.

The Ghost Carrying a Basket of Heads

While there might be people walking along the side of the road, drivers are cautioned not to pick people up from the road especially those they see wandering on the road on their own at night. These wanderers may not be actual people but rather ghostly apparitions walking along what feels to them like a familiar haunt. There is one ghost in particular that likes to walk along the road carrying a basket in his hands. This is no breadbasket but rather a basket full of severed heads as people often discover to their horror upon stopping to help the man.

The Ghostly Carriage

The difficulty of driving at night is that it is often hard to see even with your car lights on. Drivers on Sleepy Hollow road sometimes report seeing lights behind their car apparently from another car that seems to be “following them”. The first instinct people have when they discover these lights is to try and go a bit faster to lose these people, whoever they may be so that their journey can continue normally. However, people soon realize that this car is attempting to overtake them and as it passes by, people realize it is not a car at all! In fact, the lights they were seeing were from a ghostly carriage that had been behind them this whole time. This is a dangerous situation for the drivers to be in because this ghostly carriage is attempting to drive the people in the car down a cliff from a turn up ahead after it passes them. Drivers that are not careful may find themselves at the bottom of the cliff if they survive the fall.

Whether one believes in ghosts or not, it is best to stay cautious when driving, walking, or hiking along Sleepy Hollow Road. Plenty of ghosts and spirits of those who died on the road or in the nearby wooded areas still haunt passersby today.

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Sleepy Hollow. Image Source: Flickr