11 Real Haunted Houses to Visit—If You Dare!
Creaking doors, cold spots, moving objects: Many of these scary houses have infamous histories, and former residents who reportedly still haunt the premises.
There are spooky houses scattered across the country where bad luck, dark doings, or tragic events have spawned rumors of ghostly residents. Take a road trip to terror and experience the eerie happenings for yourself by visiting a few of these famously “haunted” locations, many of which are open for tours or overnight stays.
Even if you’re not a believer in the supernatural, a few of these properties have historical or architectural significance that makes them worthy destinations for a day trip or a weekend away, especially if you’re comfortable with a ghost or two joining your party.
1. The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana
A staggering 10 murders are said to have been committed on the grounds of The Myrtles Plantation, although only one is confirmed—the 1871 murder of William Drew Winter, the owner at the time. Nevertheless, numerous reports of ghoulish activity—ghosts of former slaves appearing to ask about chores, inexplicable footsteps heard on the stairs, and even a grand piano playing itself—have earned this late 18th-century Louisiana plantation the reputation of being one of America’s most haunted homes.
The property is now a bed-and-breakfast. You can check in and check it out for yourself or just stop in for a tour if you’d rather be a day-tripper.
2. Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio
With its gloomy exterior and secret passageways, Franklin Castle certainly lives up to its title: the Most Haunted House in Ohio. Built in the early 1880s, Franklin Castle has it all: children crying, voices arguing in the walls, chandeliers spinning, faces materializing in the woodwork, a recurring blood stain, and a mysterious woman in black who appears in the topmost turret window.
Other peculiarities about the home are almost as creepy: a room that is 10 degrees colder than the rest of the house, a stash of baby skeletons said to have been discovered in the 1970s, and the tragic history of its original owner, Hannes Tiedemann. He lost several family members in rapid succession, some possibly under mysterious circumstances. The house is now in private hands, but it is open seasonally for tours, and brave ghost hunters can book it for overnight stays (availability is limited).
3. Hampton Lillibridge House in Savannah, Georgia
The stately Hampton Lillibridge house, constructed in 1796, is considered to be the most haunted house in Savannah. The site of multiple unfortunate deaths, the home was uninhabited for years and is believed to be cursed by an ancient crypt in its basement.
The house’s eerie history does not disappoint: Even now, neighbors report seeing shadowy figures in the windows and hearing music and laughter, signs that some otherworldly party is underway. The property is privately held and is not open for tours.
4. The Arnold Estate in Burrillville, Rhode Island
In 1971 when the Perron family moved into their new, spacious home in northwestern Rhode Island, the last words the previous owner said to them were, “Leave the lights on at night.” From that moment on, the Perrons endured 10 years of hauntings so chilling that they became the basis for a movie, “The Conjuring.”
Some of the spirits residing in the 1736 farmhouse were kindly, sweeping the kitchen every week, while some were malicious, attacking—and even possessing—their mother. The eldest daughter, Andrea, explains, “Eight generations of one family lived and died in that house prior to our arrival…some of them never left.”
Find out which are still hanging around by booking a tour or a more in-depth “GHO-event” at the property.
5. The Villisca House in Villisca, Iowa
In 1912, this Iowa home was the site of a gruesome ax murder that took the lives of eight people in their sleep, six of them children. At the time, the police had no protocol for criminal investigations of this nature and allowed city residents to walk about the house while the victims lay in bed.
In the 100 years that followed, people have heard voices of children crying and seen doors opening and shutting on their own. Neighbors have watched multiple tenants flee, terrified, in the middle of the night, never to return. Daytime tours of the 1868 Queen Anne-style home are available from spring through the end of October; overnights can be scheduled year-round.
6. George Stickney House in Bull Valley, Illinois
Because he believed spirits needed the freedom to roam his house without getting trapped in angles, George Stickney designed his Illinois home with rounded corners. It has been more than 150 years since Stickney and his wife conducted regular seances in their abode in northern Illinois, but the supernatural occurrences have not ceased.
Stickney’s residence is now home to the Bull Valley Police Department; strange footsteps, objects moving on their own, and shouts coming from thin air have been enough to prompt a few officers to turn in their badges.
The Italianate house, built in 1856, is not open to the public, and today the only remnants of the ghost-friendly architecture are the curved windows and gently rounded corners on the exterior of the structure.
7. Ashmore Estates in Ashmore, Illinois
Ashmore Estates was built as a poorhouse for Coles County in eastern Illinois in 1916. It served as a mental hospital under a number of different owners from 1959 through 1986, and then sat abandoned for decades.
Some believe that it used to be the meeting place for a satanic cult. Others say they have heard disembodied voices, felt hot and cold spots, and even seen full-bodied apparitions. Still others claim they’ve run into Elva Skinner, the spirit of a young girl who tragically died there more than a century ago. Visitors’ experiences differ, but all agree on one thing—this building is massively haunted.
The imposing neo-Georgian edifice is open for day tours and overnight stays, and the owners also schedule occasional nighttime public investigations.
8. Smith-Ely Mansion in Clyde, New York
Built in 1858, this 43-room Classical Revival mansion in Upstate New York retains much of its original craftsmanship. But craftsmanship isn’t all you’ll find here. Shadows move from room to room, there are sounds of people breathing when no one is around, and some mysterious event in 2008 upset one construction worker so much that he refused to reenter the house!
Thrill seekers have the chance to experience the hauntings for themselves by booking a tour or an overnight stay at the historic landmark, which is now a bed-and-breakfast known as Erie Mansion, in honor of the nearby Erie Canal.
9. Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi
Famed writer William Faulkner is said to haunt his former residence in Oxford, Mississippi. The Greek Revival house was built in the 1840s and is now a National Historic Landmark. If you take a trip to see Faulkner’s famous homestead, which is open for tours year-round, you might just spy his ghost wandering the grounds—or even writing on the walls.
10. Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon
This 22-room French Renaissance-style chateau in Portland, Oregon, sounds like the ideal site for a horror movie, and for good reason: Several films have been shot here. Although random apparitions are said to materialize, they seem to be happy. In fact, many people would even say that one of the mysterious presences—a strong scent of roses—is actually a blessing.
Rumors of haunting aside, the Pittock mansion is one of the state’s premier historic house museums and is open for tours year-round.
11. Pioneer Park in Aspen, Colorado
Although charming, this Aspen, Colorado, house is said to be haunted by the scorned wife of Henry Webber. Rumor has it she learned of his apparent affair with their niece and committed suicide by ingesting strychnine.
Webber went on to marry the niece, and the couple heard gloomy footsteps wandering the house and roof until Henry’s death. Also known as the Henry Webber house, the 1885 Second Empire-style residence is privately owned and is not open for tours.