Are you ever tempted to visit somewhere spooky or to try a ghost tour? But where should you go, as there are so many places around the world with ghost stories to tempt you. The US has a rich history of conflict, death, disaster, and disease, some of which has contributed to tales of hauntings, bone-chilling ghost stories, and creepy supernatural events.
This article shares 13 of the most haunted places in the US to visit, as recommended by experienced travel bloggers. Some places are in cities, others are more rural, but they all have creepy credentials to satisfy the most ardent ghost hunter.
Wondering whether the US is the right destination for you at the moment? If you haven’t quite decided, or you’re not able to fly to America at the moment, here are the 14 spookiest places to visit in Europe.
The Most Haunted Places in the US
These are 13 of the most haunted places in the US for you to explore, with recommendations, local knowledge, and tips from some of the best travel bloggers too.
Alcatraz Island, California
World-famous Alcatraz is widely considered one of the most haunted places in the US. Alcatraz was a maximum-security, minimum-privilege island prison in operation from 1933 to 1963. The prison was used to hold America’s worst prisoners – those considered too infamous or too dangerous for other high-security prisons.
Alcatraz is also well-known for the escape attempt in 1962 by four prisoners. The FBI files on the escape remain open, with the fate of three of the four escapees still unknown (one never escaped from the island). Whether the prisoners perished or survived has been hotly debated for decades.
The ultimate way to experience the chilling atmosphere of Alcatraz is to take a night tour because the number of visitors is strictly limited. After a 10-minute ferry ride across San Francisco Bay, you are free to explore the 25-acre site and buildings at your own pace.
One of the highlights of your trip will be your visit to the Cell House, which is especially creepy once the crowds have departed and the sun has gone down.
The most haunted parts of the Cell House at Alcatraz are
- Cell blocks A, B and C – visitors report hearing moaning and crying here, which some believe to the the spirit of a man called Butcher who was assassinated here in the 1940s
- The showers – you may be able to hear a ghostly banjo playing. It’s believed to be the spirit of Al Capone who practiced playing the banjo in the showers, because he was afraid of being attacked if he played it elsewhere
- Cell 14B is the creepiest place of all! Cell 14B was a punishment cell or “strip cell”. Prisoners sent here were stripped naked, and left in the cold dark steel cell which had no bed, no bedding, and no toilet apart from a hole in the ground. One prisoner was found strangled in here in the 1940s – with reports that he screamed all night that a creature with glowing eyes was trying to kill him!
After your trip, you’re sure to agree that this is one of the most haunted places in America!
Eastern State Penitentiary
Lance and Laura from Guide to Philly
Without a doubt, one of the most haunted places in the US is Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. This was the world’s first penitentiary – a prison that not only housed inmates but was so harsh that it would break them and cause penitence.
When visiting the U.S., British author Charles Dickens wrote of Eastern State that it was a place of “immense amount of torture and agony.” Over 300 prisons around the world were constructed and modelled on the “Pennsylvania system” of silence, hooding prisons, sensory deprivation, and hard work.
From 1829-1971, the prison housed some of the worst criminals in America. Al Capone was one of the more notorious inmates. He was kept in check by the massive stone fortification and guard towers.
Over the years, many prisoners died. This has led to the prison’s reputation as one of the most haunted places in the city. You might have seen the prison featured on all the paranormal TV shows.
After the prison was closed, Eastern State Penitentiary was reopened as a museum and attraction. These days, there is a line of people to get in the door, take the self-guided tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, and experience the spooky place for themselves.
You can see the abandoned cells, medical facilities and even death row. In the fall, the prison becomes the largest haunted attraction in America, known as Halloween Nights/Terror Behind the Walls.
If you want to visit, the prison is located just north of downtown in the Fairmount neighbourhood.
Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday during the day and evening.
Admission charge: The museum uses a sliding admission charge based on the day and timeslot, but generally, these run $16-20 for advanced purchase tickets and $35-80 for the Halloween Nights festivities.
Location: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
The Gold Brook Covered Bridge (Emily’s Bridge), Stowe, Vermont
There are plenty of picturesque covered bridges in New England, but The Gold Brook Covered Bridge, which is also known as Emily’s Bridge, has a good claim to be one of the most haunted places in the US.
In the 19th century, a girl called Emily is said to have hanged herself from the roof of the covered bridge when her lover failed to turn up to meet her after they had made plans to elope.
Today, Emily’s angry ghost is reputed the haunt the bridge, with tales of a mysterious voice coming from inside the bridge, and the sides of cars being gouged by her fingernails.
Location: Covered Bridge Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
St Augustine Lighthouse, Florida
Victoria from Florida Trippers
If you’re looking for one of the most haunted places in the USA, why not head to the oldest city in the USA? Saint Augustine is home to some creepy and haunted things.
One of the spookiest places is the Saint Augustine Lighthouse! It is the oldest lighthouse and the most famous haunted site in Florida! You can visit by yourself, or you can visit on one of the many Ghost Tours In Saint Augustine to hear more about the history and tips on finding ghosts there.
The lighthouse was even on the TV show Ghost Hunters in 2019!
Now, onto what makes it haunted! The most common sighting is two little girls who sadly died on the property in the 1800’s. Visitors often report the girls laughing in the woods nearby, but there is never a source to the laughter. It is said that the girls are not evil spirits, they are just mischievous children.
There are more sinister spirits there though! Even if you don’t see the girls, you will most likely spot orbs or swings moving on their own. It is one of the most haunted places in the US!
Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm
Admission charge: General admission is $14.95 (adult) or $12.95 (seniors 60+),
Location: 100 Red Cox Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32080
RMS Queen Mary
The luxury ocean liner – RMS Queen Mary plied the oceans from 1936 until 1967, until it was bought by the City of Long Beach and turned into a floating hotel where you can sleep in fabulous oak panelled cabins, complete with portholes.
It’s also reputed to be the most haunted hotel in America, thanks to places onboard with spooky connections, including:
- Stateroom B340: After a passeneger died in the room in 1948, in “unknown circumstances”, a passenger claimed she woke up to find her bed covers pulled off and a man at the foot of the bed – when she called the steward, the man vanished. Other guests claim to hear knocking in the night and that the bathroom lights turn on mysteriously. Would you dare to stay here?
- The Mauritania Room: Three maids cleaning the room in 1989 report seeing a phantom woman sitting in the middle of the dance foor.
- The First Class Swimming Pool: Now abandoned, the pool was once the height of luxury, with a fountain, beautiful mosaic tiles, and a mother of pearl ceiling. It’s also where several ghostly sightings have been reported including a woman in an old wedding dress with a little boy who disappear in a cloud of steam.
- Hatch Door Number 13: In 1966, an 18-year old crewman from Yorkshire died in hospital after suffering appalling crush injuries here. Now, his ghost is reported to haunt the area, leaving fingerprint like grease spots on visitors’ faces!
Location: 1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802
Ghost tours of the Queen Mary are currently on hold until the ship reopens in 2022.
Bodie State Park, California
Zoe from Together in Transit
For one of the most haunted places in the US, in the state of California, walking and exploring Bodie State Park is quite an adventure. This former gold mining town was once the place to be for making money, but it didn’t last long based on the workload at the local mine.
There are lots of buildings to explore, such as the still-standing church, a bar, a barbershop and the last remaining shops – still stocked with the products they were selling. You can also see the factory mine that was once in full use, plus lots of houses – once owned by the 10,000 residents who lived here.
The town looks like everyone simply got up and left everything behind. It’s rather eerie to walk around a once lively mining town and it’s definitely one of the most haunted places in the US.
It’s best to start at the museum. You can look freely through objects and personal items that were once owned by residents. You can also pick up a map here to explore the state park with a self-tour, so you know what you are actually looking at.
When you visit, you’ll want to wrap up warm with a decent jacket just in case the weather changes during your visit., as the town is pretty highly elevated and it can get cold quickly. You’ll also need to wear decent walking/hiking shoes for exploring, as most paths from the museum and walkways around the historical town are uneven dirt tracks with stones everywhere. From a photography perspective, visit around sunset for some beautiful, but eerie photos in the perfect lighting.
Opening hours: Summer (March 14th – November 6th 9AM – 6PM)
Entrance fees: Adults: $8.00 / Children: $5.00 (ages 4 to 17) / Infant: Free (ages 0-3)
Location: Highway 270, Bridgeport CA 93517
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia
Rated as the #1 thing to do in Weston Virginia on Trip Advisor, a visit to the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is sure to give you the chills.
From the mid-1800s this historic landmark operated as a sanctuary for mentally ill patients. A visit here will help you to understand the history of mental illness treatment in the US, and to learn about some of the horrifying “cures” that patients were subjected to.
While the asylum was built to accommodate 250 patients, it soon became horrendously overcrowded. In the 1950s, the population grew to as many as 2,600 residents, with extreme measures like bed-sharing introduced to cope with the vast number of patients.
The population grew rapidly because of the huge variety of reasons that patients were admitted to the facility with which included asthma, rabies, and tuberculosis! Men could easily admit their wives for insubordination, and some children were born and raised within the hospital walls.
More sobering is the history of medical treatments that were carried out on patients, including the horrors of lobotomies, insulin shock therapy, and electroconvulsive shock therapy.
While many patients suffered at the hands of the staff, others were harmed by other patients, with overcrowding and mental illness driving some patients to commit murder.
So, tales abound about ghostly souls tortured, murdered, terrified and desperate in this place. There’s little Lily who spent her whole life in the asylum and is heard laughing and playing ball. Then there’s Dean, murdered by two inmates who tried – unsuccessfully – to hang him, but killed him instead when they put his head beneath a bed frame which they jumped up and down upon until it reached the floor. There are also reports of streaming and wailing, and of weird lights being seen.
The best way to visit the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is on a nighttime guided tour. You’ll soon agree that this is one of the most haunted places in America! It’s guaranteed to give you chills, even if you don’t spot any ghosts.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12:00 pm to 18:00 pm
Location: 71 Asylum Drive, Weston, WV 26452
Find the best places to stay near the transallegheny lunatic asylum here.
The Sorrel Weed Mansion, Savannah, Georgia
Elena from The Carry-On Chronicles
Savannah, Georgia has rightfully earned the title of one of the most haunted places in the US. As such, it’s chock-full of haunted sites and things that go bump in the night, from spooky graveyards to haunted mansions.
The Sorrel Weed Mansion, in particular, is one of the best places to rub elbows with the paranormal. To begin, the physical location of the mansion – the former grounds of one of the most infamously bloody Revolutionary War battles – is bone-chilling in and of itself.
When you take a ghost tour at the Sorrel Weed Mansion, it will commence in the dimly lit main corridor where you will hear tales of residents past – and learn of unexplainable apparition sightings from former tour guests. Throughout the visit, you will grow increasingly uneasy as you explore multiple levels of this actively haunted home, including the eerie basement that will leave a lasting impression on you – even if you are usually sceptical.
Your tour will finish in the attic – a place of great significance for those of the past whose spirits are arguably still clinging to the rafters. This is perhaps the most unsettling location of the visit – it’s been known to cause feelings of nausea, dizziness, and extreme sadness in visitors. In addition, as this is an actively haunted home, you’ll be encouraged to share any potential paranormal findings from your own photographs or videos with the mansion operators post-visit!
Entrance fee: $20 adults/$10 children (Ghost Hunters House Tour), $30 (Ghosts of Sorrel Weed Tour)
Opening hours: Tours run between 7:00 – 9:30 PM
Address: 6 West Harris Street, Savannah, Georgia
Emily Morgan Hotel, San Antonio
Victoria from Texas Travel 365
The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio is one of the most haunted places in the US! Most people don’t think of Texas when it comes to “haunted things” but this is a huge mistake! The Emily Morgan Hotel was literally born to be haunted. Just look at it! It is spooky just from the outside. The hotel is 13 stories high, has a gothic revival style architecture, and gargoyles.
But what makes it one of the most haunted places in Texas? The hotel was built on the site where Mexican forces fought with Texans at the Long Barracks of the Alamo in 1836.
Before closing down in the 1970s, the hotel was a medical arts building housing hundreds of doctors and medical students – it even has a morgue and crematorium!
The basement is said to be the most haunted part of this spooky Texas hotel. If you visit the basement, it is said that you can see orbs, hear otherworldly screams and voices of ghosts. The creepiest part? Many people have reported that you can smell burning flesh to the point where it makes you want to throw up! If you read all of this and still want to visit, you’ll surely enjoy a trip to one of the most haunted places in the US.
Location: 705 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205
More of the Most Haunted Places in the US
If your appetite for exploring the curious and the creepy is whetted after learning about these places, here are two more that beg to be included in this round-up of the most haunted places in the US.
Spookiest places in NYC
As you might expect, New York has plenty of haunted locations to choose from. Here are two of the best.
The Merchant’s House Museum
Manhattan’s Most Haunted HouseThe New York Times
This property was home to the Treadwell family for almost 100 years, and some believe that they have never left the building. In particular, Gertrude Treadwell, the youngest of eight children, who was born in the house in the 1840s is said to haunt the house.
Gertrude lived in the house as a spinster until she died in 1933 at the age of 93.
After she died, the house was opened as a museum and visitors started to report strange sights, sounds and smells in the house. It’s become known as one of the most haunted places in the US and it has been investigated by paranormal investigator Dan Sturges and neuroscientist Dr Lee.
“#1 Most Haunted Place in NYCTimeOut New York
The best way to visit the Merchant’s House Museum: Take a candlelight tour ($45) or a super spooky candlelight tour with paranormal investigator Dan Sturges ($65), but book early, as these sell out very quickly!
Location: 29 East Fourth Street, New York, NY 10003
The Morris-Jumel Mansion.
This mansion dates back to 1765 when it was built as a summer house for British Colonel Roger Morris and his family, on land that stretched from Harlem to the Hudson River, on one of the highest points of Manhattan. It’s the oldest remaining house in Manhattan.
When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1776, the family abandoned the house, and General George Washington and his officers made it their headquarters for a short period in the autumn of that year.
Since the war, the house once served as a tavern and hosted a dinner for President George Washington in July 1790.
In 1810, the house became the property of Stephen and Eliza Jumel, whose marriage was scarred by Eliza’s infidelity with Aaron Burr. Stephen came to an untimely end in 1832, in mysterious circumstances, when he “fell” onto a pitchfork in the cellar of the house.
With indecent haste, Eliza married Aaron Burr, only to divorce him three years later for his infidelity at the age of eighty!
After Eliza died at the age of 93, her ghost was reported – wandering around in a white dress and making chilling noises. Visitors have also claimed to see a drunken soldier on the staircase, and Eliza’s husbands fighting in the cellar.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion has earned its right to be counted as one of the most haunted places in the US.
Location: 65 Jumel Terrace, New York, NY 10032
Shanghai Tunnels, Portland, Oregon
Wendy from EmptyNestersHitTheRoad
In a city known for the slogan, Keep Portland Weird, the Shanghai Tunnels fit right in. It’s believed that from 1850 until 1941, men in Portland, Oregon, were regularly kidnapped and sold to ships’ captains as labourers. During this time period, there was a shortage of labour available for the booming shipping industry, and this created a black market.
To capture and hold these captured men, underground tunnels originally built to move inventory between businesses were repurposed for illicit purposes. Trap doors were even installed in some local bars so that drunk men would drop into the tunnel below and be imprisoned until their sale.
Simultaneously these tunnels became home to white slavery (forced prostitution) and opium dens. These dark and dank spaces saw an incredible volume of illegal business for 91 years. While similar crime syndicates operated in other cities along the West Coast, it’s thought that it was most successful in Portland, Oregon.
Today, you can take a ninety-minute tour of these tunnels which are said to be haunted, with the non-profit organisation Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground. Children are permitted on the tour but should be able to handle the dark nature of the information provided. You should also be prepared to spend an hour in a dark and cramped space. While the nature of the tour is sad and tragic, it’s a fascinating and important part of the city’s history and deservedly rated as one of the most haunted places in the US.
Location: 120 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209
The biggest problem when trying to choose which of the most haunted places in the US to visit is narrowing down your choices.
Do you want an easily accessible city location, where you can also make the most of a city break, or would you prefer an off-the-beaten-path location? Are you keen to explore the history of the location or is visiting movie locations more your thing? All of these are possible with these most haunted places in America.
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