Villisca Axe Murder House, Villisca, Iowa
A family of six and two little girl guests were brutally butchered inside this white frame house in 1912, and the small-town murder was never solved. Ever since, residents and visitors have reported seeing a staggering specter with an ax and hearing children crying, among other unexplained phenomena.
flickr.com via Will Murphy
Fort Mifflin, Delaware
This military facility built in 1771 is the country's only remaining Revolutionary War battlefield. Its 14 restored buildings are rumored to be routinely visited by the dead, from a shrieking woman to a faceless man—even the ghosts of dogs!
Wikimedia Commons via Larry Lamb
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia
Designed to house only 250 when it opened in 1864, this notoriously inhumane institution was severely overcrowded with more than 2,400 patients by the 1950s. The poor souls who perished here in agony are said to continue to walk and wail through the wards to this day.
Moon Brewery, Savannah, Georgia
This spooky spot, originally called the City Hotel and dating back to 1821, was a hotbed of violence throughout the Civil War era. A number of men—including at least one unfortunate Yankee—were killed during vicious bar brawls. These days, folks report seeing bottles fly through the air and some claim they’ve been touched—even slapped!—by invisible fellow patrons.
flickr.com via haden99
Gardette-LePrete Mansion, New Orleans, Louisiana
In the late 1800s, it is said that a Turkish sultan lorded over a harem of captive women and young boys—along with multiple wives and children—at this classic French Quarter residence. Wild orgies, fueled by opium, were believed to go on until the sultan and his family were hacked to pieces inside. The killer was never caught, and the sultan’s unsettled spirit is said to still stalk the place, exotic aromas and strange music issuing in his wake.
Wikimedia Commons via Frances Benjamin Johnston
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Not a lot of brotherly love went on in this perverse state pen, which specialized in solitary confinement and severe forms of punishment since its 1829 inception. The prison closed in 1970 but hardly quieted down, as deranged, disembodied laughter and phantom footsteps are routinely heard within the castle-like edifice.
Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff, Arizona
Warning to would-be male guests: Book a room here and you may not get out alive! Two women who were thrown to their deaths from an upper floor are said to haunt this hotel, attempting to strangle men in their beds. Even tough guy John Wayne was rumored to be scared out of his wits during a stay here.
Eden Park Gazebo, Cincinnati, Ohio
On the day of their 1927 divorce, an enraged bootlegger chased his wife into this park and gunned her down. The murdered woman—who’d dressed in black to mourn her broken marriage—never left the site of her undoing. Her ebony-clad image has been spotted strolling near the gazebo at twilight, seeking revenge.
Wikimedia Commons via Greg Hume
Pine Barrens, New Jersey
It’s whispered that this densely forested area covering more than a million acres harbors various paranormal personae. Most notably, it’s said to be the domain of the Jersey Devil—a creature born to an ordinary woman back in 1735. The bizarre beast, believed to have wings, horns, and hooves, has been blamed for killing livestock, terrifying residents, and other evil deeds.
Related: The 21 Wildest Places in America
Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana
This historic home, built in 1796, is rumored to sit atop an Indian burial ground, which (un)naturally makes it a hospitable hangout for spirits. A dozen different ghosts are rumored to roam here, including a slave who murdered her master’s daughters with a poisonous birthday cake.
Mizpah Hotel, Tonopah, Nevada
What happens at the Mizpah stays in the Mizpah—including, according to legend, the ghost of a woman who died mysteriously in a fifth floor room. The whispering voice of this "Lady in Red" as she’s called, has been heard by shocked male guests, and remnants of her broken pearl necklace have been discovered on peoples’ pillows.
St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida
This lighthouse in America’s oldest city may have protected sailors for centuries, but a few poor folks were not so lucky. One lighthouse keeper plunged to his death from the tower, and three little girls were drowned in the sea at its base. These ghosts continue to haunt the historic locale — which by no means turns off the tourists!
Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina
Paranormal performance is a hot ticket here at one of in America’s oldest theaters. Two of its most prominent spirit stars apparently include a prostitute struck by lightning just outside the premises and Junius Brutus Booth, a 19 th century thespian who just happened to be the father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth.
Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon
Mr. and Mrs. Pittock built themselves a stunning home in 1909 —only to both die there within a decade. Perhaps they never left the building, however, as visitors report the overpowering scent of roses filling rooms with no flowers in them and a particular painting moving from one spot to another all on its own.
Related: America’s 50 Most Infamous Homes
House of Wills, Cleveland, Ohio
This opulent manor was once the largest Black-owned funeral parlor in the state until its owner passed away on the premises. Weird mists and swirls of energy enshroud the house, and the apparition of the well-dressed proprietor has been noticed therein. The place is now reportedly owned by a prominent member of the Church of Satan — oh, hail, no!
Wikimedia Commons via Christopher Busta-Peck
A thriving copper town during its Wild West heyday, Jerome had been a real rough-and-tumble place to live — and die, due to assorted mining accidents and fierce gunfights. Among the apparitions seen on its now-lonely streets is that of a lady of the night strangled by a homicidal customer, who’s said to roam the red light district seeking justice.
Queen Anne Hotel, San Francisco
This 1890 structure was originally a finishing school for young girls, and its headmistress was apparently unable to retire, even after she passed on. Her ghost is believed to remain in room 410, her former office, and guests who check in there may wake to find themselves tightly tucked into bed at night a tad too tightly!
Wikimedia Commons via Smallbones
House of Death, New York City
Truly terrible things have gone down behind the façade of the unassuming townhouse at 14 West 10th Street. No fewer than 22 spirits are said to occupy the place—even Mark Twain, who was nobody’s fool, wrote of the supernatural occurrences while a resident in 1900. To this day Manhattanites will hurry past the place to avoid the spirit of the six-year-old girl beaten to death by her adopted father there in 1987.
Wikimedia Commons via Beyond My Ken
Moundsville Penitentiary, West Virginia
Cruel treatment, overcrowded conditions, and numerous riots plagued this violent correctional facility. Many men were put to death by hanging and the electric chair, while others met their maker at the hands of fellow inmates. Though the penitentiary is no longer in operation, tormented souls are said to linger behind its bars, rattling their cages and hollering in pain.
Lebanon Road, Collinsville, Illinois
Locals call this the most haunted stretch of blacktop in the state, and further claim that those who cross its seven bridges, finishing the journey at the stroke of midnight, enter hell itself. While that may seem farfetched, a more believable tale is that of several teens, high on hallucinogens, who lost control of their vehicle and fell to their death in the creek beneath one of the bridges. It’s now known as Acid Bridge, and weird sounds and a cold, clammy sensation are reported by many who traverse it to this day.
Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
This stately 1893 structure has a long history of poltergeist activity, be it strange noises emanating from the empty ballroom, appliances turning on and off as if possessed, or things going bump in the hallways at night. While a few guests have reported sightings of notorious gangster and former owner Al Capone; far more have claimed to see a disembodied gloved hand, believed to belong to a worker who inadvertently got walled in during construction.
Governors Mansion, Austin, Texas
Not one but two former leaders of the great state of Texas are said to meander through this mansion. Folks say Sam Houston lingers in his former bedroom while others claim to have seen Pendleton Murrah inside and out on the grounds. But the most tragic figure said to wander throughout is the ghost of a young man who committed suicide here after being scorned by his romantic interest, Murrah’s niece.
flickr.com via cameliatwu
USS Salem, Quincy, Massachusetts
The Navy cruiser, now a museum, is said to harbor numerous spirits and has been called one of the world’s most haunted ships. In fact, at least one case has been documented: A woman’s voice screaming, “Get it out!” was recorded using Electronic Voice Phenomena technology. Other wraiths reportedly rattle around on the decks, bang the hatches, and lurk in the machinery room.
flickr.com via locosteve
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Ever wonder how horror writer Stephen King gets his ideas? His bestseller The Shining was spawned during a stay at this enormous hotel, where children’s laughter and strange music issue from empty rooms. The creepiest spot on the premises is an underground tunnel that brave guests are invited to visit.
Sloss Furnace, Birmingham, Alabama
Some 47 workers lost their lives at this pig iron factory during the tenure of a notorious foreman in the early 1900s. One horrific accident after another apparently led workers to revolt — and throw the cruel boss into the furnace. Ever since, a mysterious commanding voice has been heard on the site, and several supervisors were found unconscious in a locked boiler room.
Kipapa Gulch, Oahu, Hawaii
Hauntings happen even in the paradise of Hawaii! The bridge that crosses this ravine — site of a huge battle — is said to be the path of ancient warrior ghosts who carry lit torches as they march from the mountains. Locals claim to see mysterious moving lights and to hear weird wails at night.
YouTube via kevinsyoza
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky
This decidedly demonic-looking Gothic structure was a mental institution with a death rate so high, corpses were trundled out through a system of tunnels. But it wasn’t just the poor patients who met unsavory ends: A nurse is known to have hung herself while employed there. Insane spirits are often seen wafting and wavering about, some of them documented in photographs.
flickr.com via Aaron Vowels
Wood Island Lighthouse, Saco Bay, Maine
Originally commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, this lonely lighthouse was the site of a murder-suicide in 1896. Records reveal that a squatter killed another man and then shot himself. Moans and the sounds of gunshots, strange shadows, and doors flying open of their own volition have all been reported. Hmm, maybe leave the light on?
flickr.com via Mark
Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, Massachusetts
Everyone has heard about the brutal 1892 murders of Andrew and Abbey Borden — and how daughter Lizzie was accused and then acquitted of the crime. The house where the atrocity occurred, however, was never set free. Visitors to the infamous inn continue to report the touch of icy fingers, the sound of loud footsteps, and the sight of a pale apparition in Victorian garb.
East 8 Mile Road, Stockton, California
If you’re driving along at night and think you spy a woman in a raggedy white dress standing in the middle of this road, don’t turn around to check. If you do, folks claim, she’ll be sitting in your back seat! Legend has it that the woman in white is the spirit of a witch — but she’s not the only one to haunt this stretch of highway. Locals insist that the ghost of a young Native American also has a place on the road and it’s her they hear screaming beneath the full moon.
St. Charles Hall, Carroll College, Montana
Talk about school spirit! In 1964, a young man blacked out in the while brushing his teeth, due to a brain hemorrhage. After his death, students began siting his phantom standing behind them in the bathroom mirror; others claim to turn on the faucet only to see blood flowing out!
flickr.com via Cromely
Lyric Theatre, Tupelo, Mississippi
When a violent tornado swept through this Deep South town in 1936, many of the injured and dying made their way to the local theater. Some of those who perished stuck around, including Antoine, a theater employee who has been seen strolling the aisles and playing pranks on innocent folks who are just trying to watch a movie.
flickr.com via damiavos
Jefferson Hotel, Jefferson, Texas
Check into the hotel in this East Texas town — built 1851 as a cotton warehouse — and you might hear phantom footsteps, experience sudden chills, or see objects move on their own. Employees will tell you that’s just the ghost of a teen bride who hung herself at the hotel on her wedding night many moons ago.
flickr.com via texasbackroads
Lemp Mansion, St. Louis, Missouri
Though they were highly successful brewers, bad luck and madness led various Lemps to sudden untimely deaths and suicide. Ghosts of family members are routinely noticed at the mansion, now a restaurant and inn, as well as piano music, flying glasses, and doors that lock and unlock themselves. Cheers—um, chills!
flickr.com via binkle76
Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historic State Park, Rice, Virginia
One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War took place on this site, where countless members of Robert E. Lee’s army met their ends. The rebel soldiers’ bodies were interred in mass graves, and their spirits remain, haunting the property and reminding visitors of their horrifying demise.
flickr.com via vastateparksstaff
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