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Paranormal Road Trip: America’s Most Haunted Part 1

A vast field of lush grass at sunset


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
Winchester Mystery House
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.
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
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
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.
Lizzie Borden House Entrance
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 on a Gettysburg Battlefield Tour
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
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
Alcatraz Prison
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
Rear view of the Wren Building College of William Mary
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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https://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/sarahs-story/ https://www.insider.com/tour-photos-winchester-mansion-2019-8
https://lizzie-borden.com https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/borden-parents-found-dead
https://www.staugustinelighthouse.org/2020/03/02/ghost-stories-the pittee-girls/ https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/trial-begins-in-amityville murders https://www.northjersey.com/story/life/columnists/bill-ervolino/ 2018/11/13/years-after-defeo-murders-amityville-house-still-intrigues/ 1919851002/ https://www.thealamo.org/remember https://www.southernliving.com/travel/texas/the-alamo
https://www.history.com/topics/mexico/alamo https://www.mysanantonio.com/lifestyle/slideshow/20-of-the-most haunted-places-to-visit-in-SA-210152.php https://www.britannica.com/place/Biltmore https://ashevilleterrors.com/biltmore-estate/ https://www.romanticasheville.com/biltmore_house.htm https://www.thelog.com/news-departments/the-history-and-hauntings-of the-queen-mary/
https://dailyiowan.com/2020/10/20/a-spooky-endeavor-daily-iowan editors-spend-night-at-villisca-ax-murder-house/ https://www.battlefields.org/learn/civil-war/battles/gettysburg https://www.visitpa.com/article/find-hidden-haunted-spots-gettysburg https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20140306-stephen-kings-hotel-of horrors YouTube: Investigating the LaLaurie Mansion | Portals to Hell | Travel  Channel https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/lalaurie mansion-1832/ https://nolaghosts.com/the-st-louis-cemetery-no-1/ https://nolaghosts.com/the-sultans-palace/ https://www.illinoishauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/lincoln-park-zoo.html https://1035kissfm.iheart.com/content/2021-10-13-this-chicago attraction-ranks-among-the-most-haunted-places-in-america/ https://www.wcpo.com/longform/inside-poasttown-elementary-butler countys-haunted-abandoned-school http://hauntedohioschool.com/history/ https://www.pawleysisland.com/blog/haunted-pawleys-island/ https://thehauntedplaces.com/haunted-history-of-john-r-drish-house-in tuscaloosa-alabama/ https://graylineofsanfrancisco.com/blog/alcatraz-haunted/ https://www.thetravel.com/creepy-facts-trivia-alcatraz/ https://www.bellwitchcave.com https://sharetngov.tnsosfiles.com/tsla/exhibits/myth/bellwitch.htm
Ryan Tries: Ghost Hunting – THE PIONEER SALON (YouTube https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/eastern-state-penitentiary-a prison-with-a-past-14274660/ https://www.npr.org/2013/10/24/232234570/is-eastern-state-penitentiary really-haunted https://magazine.wm.edu/online-exclusives/halloween-2019.php
Stone Lion Inn
https://www.hauntedrooms.com/oklahoma/haunted-places/haunted hotels/stone-lion-inn-guthrie https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/historical-ghost-stories https://www.whitehousehistory.org/press-room-old/white-house-ghost stories

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