Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

13 Most Haunted Places in the US – Perfect for Halloween

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Are you ever tempted to visit somewhere spooky or to try a ghost tour? The US has a rich history of conflict, death, disaster, and disease, with creepy tales of hauntings, bone-chilling ghost stories, and creepy supernatural events.

This article shares 13 of the most haunted places in the US, from the most haunted places in Savannah to the spookiest places in NYC.

Some of the spooky places are in cities, and others are more rural, but they all have creepy credentials to satisfy the most ardent ghost hunter. If you’re keen to discover the top haunted places in America, this article is for you!

If you cannot visit America, here are the 14 spookiest places to visit in Europe.

The Most Haunted Places in the US

These are 11 of the most haunted places in the US to explore, with recommendations, local knowledge, and tips for what not to miss.

1. Alcatraz Island, California

Alcatraz Prison Exterior
Creepy Alcatraz Island. Image © Adobe

World-famous Alcatraz is widely considered one of the most haunted places in the United States. Alcatraz was a maximum-security, minimum-privilege island prison 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.

It’s possibly best known for some of its residents, including Al ‘Scarface‘ Capone, George ‘Machine Gun Kelly‘ Barnes, and Robert Franklin Stroud, the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz‘.

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.

Alcatraz Prison Interior
Alcatraz Prison Innerior. Image © Adobe

The ultimate way to experience the chilling atmosphere of Alcatraz is to take a night tour because the number of visitors is strictly limited.

One of the highlights of your trip will be your visit to the Cell House, which is incredibly 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 be 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,
  • Cell 14B was a punishment cell or “strip cell”. Prisoners were stripped and left in their cells, which had no bed, bedding, or toilet apart from a hole in the ground. One prisoner was found strangled 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 Alcatraz is one of America’s most haunted places!

Recommended Tours

Here are some of the best Alcatraz tours. They all offer something a little different, so you’re bound to find one to suit your travel plans:

2. Eastern State Penitentiary

Staircase cell block E Eastern State Penitentiary

One of the most haunted places in the US 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. It’s popularly known as one of the most haunted places in the United States.

When visiting the U.S., British author Charles Dickens wrote of Eastern State that it was a place of an “immense amount of torture and agony.” Over 300 prisons worldwide were constructed and modelled on the “Pennsylvania system” of silence, hooding prisoners, 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 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.

Recommended Tours

As the most haunted asylum in America, this Penitentiary is a great place to take a Night Tour.

While in the city, you could join a Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour or a Candlelit Ghost Tour.

3. The Gold Brook Covered Bridge (Emily’s Bridge), Stowe, Vermont

Emilys Bridge Stowe Vermont
Emily’s Bridge, Stowe, Vermont © Adobe

There are plenty of picturesque covered bridges in New England, but the Gold Brook Covered Bridge, 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 meet her after they had made plans to elope.

Today, Emily’s angry ghost is said to 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

4. St Augustine Lighthouse, Florida

St Augustines Lighthouse

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, and some call it the most haunted city in America.

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 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 died on the property in the 1800s. Visitors often report the girls laughing in the woods nearby, but there is never a source of 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

Here’s a fabulously spooky Smartphone Audio Ghost Tour Experience that includes St Augustine’s Lighthouse.

5. RMS Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary
The Queen Mary Liner, Long Beach, California © Adobe

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. Today, you can sleep on board in fabulous oak-panelled cabins 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 passenger 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 at 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 floor.
  • 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 disappears in a cloud of steam.
  • Hatch Door Number 13: In 1966, an 18-year-old crewman 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

Find details of all Ghost Tours of the Queen Mary here.

6. Bodie State Park, California

Bodie State Park
Abandoned buildings in Bodie State Park

For one of the most haunted places in the US, California, 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 former factory mine, plus lots of houses – once owned by the 10,000 residents.

The town looks like everyone got up and left everything behind. It’s rather eerie to walk around a once lively mining town – 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 residents once owned. You can also pick up a map to explore the state park with a self-tour, so you know what you are looking at.

When you visit, you’ll want to wrap up warm with a decent jacket just in case the weather changes. 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.

Tip: From a photography perspective, visit around sunset for some beautiful but eerie photos in the perfect lighting.

Opening hours: Summer (March 14th – November 6th 9 AM – 6 PM)

Entrance fees: Adults: $8.00 / Children: $5.00 (ages 4 to 17) / Infants: Free (ages 0-3)

Location: Highway 270, Bridgeport CA 93517

7. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia: The Most Haunted Asylum in America

Rated as the #1 thing to do in Weston, Virginia, on Trip Advisor, a visit to the TransAllegheny Lunatic Asylum is sure to give you the chills.

Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia © Adobe

From the mid-1800s, this historic landmark operated as a sanctuary for mentally ill patients. A visit here will help you understand the history of mental illness treatment in the US and learn about some 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 2,600 residents, with extreme measures like bed-sharing introduced to cope with the vast number of patients.

The population snowballed because of the huge variety of reasons that patients were admitted to the facility, 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 carried out on patients, including the horrors of lobotomies, insulin shock therapy, and electroconvulsive shock therapy.

Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Spooky corridors at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia © Adobe

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.

  • Little Lily spent her whole life in the asylum and is heard laughing and playing ball.
  • Dean was 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 screaming, wailing, and weird lights being seen.

The best way to visit the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is on a night-time guided tour. You’ll soon understand why it is said to be haunted! 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 Trans Allegheny lunatic asylum here.

8. The Sorrel Weed Mansion, Savannah, Georgia

Sorrel weed mansion
The innocent looking Sorrel Weed Mansion

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 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.

The most unsettling aspect of the mansion is that it’s been known to cause 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

Recommended Tours

Immerse yourself in Savannah’s darkest ghost stories and most haunted locations on an eerie history walk that includes The Sorrel Weed Mansion.

➡️ Book your Savannah Dark History and Ghost Encounter Walking Tour here.

Where to Stay in Savannah

📍 Historic Kimpton Brice Hotel is close to the Savannah River, and claims to have a resident ghost or two! Visitors love the quirky decor (think hallways papered with visions of galloping horses and butterflies), the pretty light-festooned courtyard and the secret spiral staircases.

➡️ Check availability and book your stay at Kimpton Brice Hotel here.

9. Emily Morgan Hotel, San Antonio

Emily Morgan Hotel
The spooky Emily Morgan Hotel in Texas

The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio is possibly the most haunted hotel in America! Few people think of Texas when it comes to ‘haunted things’, but this is a mistake. This 13 stories gothic revival hotel even has gargoyles – it’s spooky to look at.

The hotel is considered one of the most haunted places in Texas as it was built on the site where Mexican and Texan forces fought at the Long Barracks of the Alamo in 1836.

Before closing in the 1970s, the hotel was a medical art 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. It’s said that you can see orbs and hear otherworldly screams and voices of ghosts down there.

The creepiest part? People have reported a smell of burning flesh to the point where it makes them 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

📍 Stay in this Haunted Hotel

Yes – you can stay in this iconic spooky hotel! The guest rooms are beautifully appointed with plush Sweet Dreams beds and blackout curtains for the perfect night’s sleep.

➡️ Check availability and book your stay at the Emily Morgan Hotel here.

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.

10. Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA

Sarah Winchester was the wealthy daughter-in-law of famous rifle-maker Oliver Winchester. One day, a seer told her that her young daughter and her husband were killed by the ghosts of gunshot victims.

Terrified, she commissioned the macabre and sprawling 160-room Victorian house that still fascinates visitors today. Famous for having no blueprint, the house also has spooky staircases leading directly into the ceiling, creepy doors opening onto brick walls, and windows in the floor!

11. Shanghai Tunnels, Portland, Oregon

Shanghai Tunnels Portland Oregon

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. At the time, there was a labour shortage for the booming shipping industry, creating a black market.

Underground tunnels built to move inventory between businesses were repurposed for the illicit purpose of holding captured men. Trap doors were installed in local bars so drunk men would drop into the tunnel below and be imprisoned until they were sold.

The 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 West Coast cities, it’s thought that it was most successful in Portland, Oregon. 

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

Recommended Tour

➡️ This excellent guided Haunted History Tour and Pub Crawl will give you a good flavour of the creepy Shanghai tunnels,

Note: Children are permitted on tours but should be able to handle the dark nature of the information provided.

Spookiest Places in NYC

As you might expect, New York has plenty of haunted locations. Here are two of the best.

12. The Merchant’s House Museum

Merchants House Museum New York
Photo © Adobe

This property was home to the Treadwell family for almost 100 years, and some believe they never left it.

Gertrude Treadwell, the youngest of eight children 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 93. After she died, the house was opened as a museum, and visitors started to report strange sights, sounds and smells.

It’s become known as one of the most haunted places in the US, and paranormal investigator Dan Sturges and neuroscientist Dr Lee have investigated it.

“#1 Most Haunted Place in NYC

TimeOut New York

Location: 29 East Fourth Street, New York, NY 10003

Recommended Tours

The best way to visit the Merchant’s House Museum is on a candlelight tour ($45) or a super spooky candlelight tour ($65), but you’ll need to book early, as these sell out very quickly! ➡️ You can find full details here.

13. The Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York

Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York-
The Haunted Morris Jumel Mansion © Adobe

In 1765 this mansion was built as a summer house for British Colonel Roger Morris and his family. Their land stretched from Harlem to the Hudson River, on one of the highest points of Manhattan. The mansion is 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 that year.

In 1810, Stephen and Eliza Jumel bought the house, but their marriage was scarred by Eliza’s infidelity with Aaron Burr. Stephen came to an untimely end in 1832 when he “fell” onto a pitchfork in the house’s cellar. Eliza immediately married Aaron Burr, only to divorce him three years later for his infidelity at the age of eighty!

After Eliza died at 93, her ghost was reported wandering around in a white dress and making chilling noises. Visitors also claim to have seen 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

Wrap Up – The Most Haunted Places in the US

The biggest problem when choosing which of the most haunted places in the US 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?

Perhaps you’re keen to explore the location’s history, or maybe visiting movie locations is more your thing? All of these are possible in the creepiest places in America.