Known as the land of opportunities, the United States is also famous for displaying an unmistakable sign of heightened paranormal activity. Each State claims to be the hosts of the most restless and malevolent spirits, giving its visitors sufficient proof to believe them. These lost souls usually choose houses, cemeteries, hospitals, mansions, hotels, or any place in which they have experienced the most unbearable and unimaginable degree of suffering. Their pain, sorrow, and rage can be felt in any of these places you are about to read. So, take a visit to some of the most haunted places in America.
The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
California. Magnificent golden beaches, stunning sunsets, a thriving film industry… but is that it? Even though this place may seem to be bathed in dazzling sunshine, California has its dark side: restless spirits lurking in the shadows. There are times in which they let themselves be seen at bars and restaurants, but, apparently, they usually choose hotels to do so. One of the most well-known haunted hotels is the iconic RMS Queen Mary.
In 1936, this luxurious ship set sail across the Atlantic, attracting an exclusive clientele such as Clark Gable and Winston Churchill among others. However, after the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Queen Mary, also known as “The Grey Ghost”, was called into service. During that period, she witnessed appalling atrocities such as the death of at least forty-nine people. After she retired in 1967, Queen Mary became a hotel in Long Beach, California.
It’s no wonder the staff and hotel guests began to report paranormal activity; she could not escape from her murky past. In the First Class Swimming Pool, witnesses have seen the spirit of Jackie, a little girl who is always playing around and laughing.
They could see her small wet footprints, although the pool was empty. However, according to official reports, she might have drowned in the second-class area. Another terrifying yet striking place is the Queen’s Salon which in the past was the First Class Dining Room.
Ghost Tales of the Ship
Many people have reported seeing the Woman in White, a spirit that dances and wears a long white gown, and who seems to be unaware of the living people that surround her. This mysterious ghost, also seen around the cargo hold, is presumed to be a first-class passenger that is attached to some valuable object that used to belong to her.
One of the ship’s most famous tales is set in the Queen Mary’s heart: the engine room. Members of the crew have seen the ghost of John Pedder, an eighteen-year-old who died tragically in 1966. He was named “Half Hatch Harry” because of the way in which he died: during a fire drill, he unsuccessfully tried to slip through the watertight door #13.
The Queen Mary still has many well-kept secrets waiting to be uncovered. Meanwhile, the souls of the dead will continue lingering on the luxurious ship.
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San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a city that had witnessed historical events that led to dreadful disasters. This is why it is considered one of the most haunted places in America. The spirits of those who died tragically can still be found in some local landmarks. One of the most popular ones is the San Fernando Cathedral.
Built in the 18th century, the San Fernando Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in the U.S and the first one in San Antonio. Even though this impressive building, which has a Gothic Revival architecture, was erected to save human souls, in 1936 construction workers reported striking findings.
When the church was renovated that year, these people discovered human bones and nails that, apparently, belonged to parishioners and priests. In the 1700s, these clergymen were buried in the walls of the church… isn’t it terrifying?
However, that was not the only finding: these workers also came across torn uniforms near the altar. It is believed that they were once worn by three soldiers of the Alamo. Since these discoveries, many visitors have reported paranormal activity in the San Fernando Cathedral.
Some have witnessed a dark figure and ghostly monks wandering around the church. Some others have even photographed shadowy figures and orbs, or have seen Alamo defenders.
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The Olympic Club Hotel, Centralia, Washington
The tiny town of Centralia was founded in 1875 by an African-American with a strong sense of community, always willing to help those in need. Little did he know that his town would flourish during Prohibition thanks to the Olympic Club Hotel. Since its opening in 1908, this historic building has acquired a vast collection of horrifying and intriguing stories.
Even though the Olympic Club Hotel has been described as sophisticated and elegant, it has its dark secrets. As the center of bootlegging, this place welcomed several well-known bandits and witnessed brutal murders. No doubt the hotel is full of spirits. However, there is one that stands out from the rest: Elmer, a lost soul that has been seen near the old cast-iron stove. The hotel staff are uncertain of this ghost’s identity as he never stays long enough to be clearly seen: he prefers to whisper and laugh wickedly. He blows out and lights flickering candles, and plays music late at night when no one is around.
Over the years, many compelling stories have revolved around Elamer’s past. Some believe he is the spirit of a man who died in the hotel during the fire of 1908, some others claim that Elmer is the famous bandit Roy Gardner, also known as the Last Great American Train Robber. He was captured at the hotel because Gertrude Howell, the proprietor, recognized him. After that, his life was never the same: his sheer misery led him to commit suicide in 1940. His damned soul may have chosen to return to the place that ruined his life to haunt it forever. That’s a mystery that will remain unsolved.
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The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
If Stephen King witnesses paranormal activity, then the place must be truly haunted and its story must be told. The luxurious Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, was built in 1908 by a wealthy couple: the Stanleys. They designed it to be a summer resort with a stunning view that only those who afford to pay for the trip could enjoy its state-of-the-art facilities. The Stanley Hotel welcomed Teddy Roosevelt, Harvey Firestone, the emperor of Japan, and, of course, Stephen King, who used it as an inspiration to write one of his most famous novels: The Shinning.
Although some scientists uphold that the paranormal activity is confused with the piezoelectric effect, employees and guests affirm that what they have experienced is real. Many witnesses have asserted that in the dark and narrow tunnels, which are underneath the main building, they heard a ghostly giggle that resembled a little girl’s laugh. Until this day, no one knows who she is. Another room that has an air of mystery is the Concert Hall, where many people have listened to music.
Legends of the Stanley Hotel
The Legend of Lucy’s Room is also quite famous. Even though Stanly management hasn’t obtained historical evidence, the story concerns Lucy, a homeless woman who looked for shelter in a small storage area. Apparently, she froze to death, and, since then, many visitors have heard the echo of her mournful cries.
On the second floor of the Stanley Hotel, there is room 217, also called “the Stephen King room” because he stayed there in 1974. While he was a guest in the hotel, he experienced horrific nightmares and a disturbing vision. Previous to his arrival, in 1911, a housekeeper almost died in that room after an explosion. The staff have claimed that her spirit lingers in room, still cleaning it, and unpacking suitcases.
There are many other awful stories in the Stanly Hotel that only those willing to know more about the most haunted hotel in America would want to hear.
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Seul Choix Point Light House, Gulliver, Michigan
Named by the French in the mid-1800s, the Seul Choix Point Light House has an intriguing story. At the time, Native Americans and French explorers had a hard time trying to shelter from fierce storms at Lake Michigan. When they found the perfect spot, they called it Seul Choix which means “Only Choice”, which makes sense, right? But… why is this place haunted?
Over the last decades, many visitors have claimed that the Upper Peninsula lighthouse is haunted by the spirits of its former inhabitants. The most well-known ghosts whose souls remain in the place are Mary “grandma” Pemble and Captain Willie Townsend. The female spirit, who was the mother-in-law of one of the lightkeepers, died under tragic circumstances.
During one of Lake Michigan’s ranging blizzards, the lighthouse was assailed so the snow and the wind shattered the windows, and destroyed the rooms. Some visitors have reported that grandma Pemble still wanders around the place. The most famous spirit, though, is that of a former keeper: Captain Willie Townsend.
One of his habits was to smoke in the house. His wife, however, hated the odor of cigarettes, so she forbade him smoking inside their home. After Townsend’s death, many visitors have noticed the smell of cigars, or have seen him or how he has rearranged the furniture.
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The Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield
Even though the Ohio State Reformatory was built with the prime aim of helping wayward young men, this iconic place was far from successfully fulfilling its original purpose. At least two hundred inmates never checked out because they were murdered, committed suicide, had accidents, or suffered from diseases. Thus, those who lived there called this place “Dracula’s Castle”.
There wasn’t a single place in the building in which the inmates were safe. The Toilet Room, which also used to be part of the hospital, was the place where Doctor Salts checked his patients. If they weren’t sick, he forced them to drink castor oil in front of him. His spirit has appeared several times in the form of a shadow and has even locked some visitors in the room. Another famous ghost is that of James Lockhart, the prisoner of cell 13, who tried to escape by igniting himself into a human torch. His plan was unsuccessful and he died in the accident, leaving his spirit imprisoned there forever.
In the lower levels of the reformatory was Solitary Confinement, usually called “The Hole”, a dark place full of cells with enough space for only one person. When the most violent inmates upraised, they were imprisoned in there with a partner for an unlimited period. There was a time in which only one of the inmates came out, as he had murdered the other. It is in The Hole where the aggressive ghost of Mike Evans can be found.
The Ohio State Reformatory is full of negative energy due to the appalling atrocities that occurred there: the lives of the inmates were irreversibly changed forever.
- Explore this list of other most haunted places in Ohio.
Wythe House, Williamsburg, Virginia
George Wythe, the first Virginian to sign the Declaration of Independence, inherited the colonial house from his father-in-law in 1755. But why is this highly knowledgeable man directly related to paranormal activity? To get that answer, we need to dig deeper into George Wythe’s past.
During the late 1700s, Wythe was friends with Ann Skipwith and her husband Sir Peyton Skipwith. At the time, the couple’s relationship was deteriorating, so when Ann died under mysterious circumstances in 1779 it was no surprise. Two explanations are possible: the first one claims that Ann passed away after a miscarriage, and the second one is more complex.
The Skipwiths were attending a ball near the Wythe House when she saw her husband flirting with her sister. After the couple heatedly argued, Ann left the place and committed suicide in her room at the Wythe House. Apparently, she was right because, after her death, her husband married her sister, causing Ann’s spirit to linger on the property out of jealousy. Witnesses have asserted that they have heard her running up the stairs, wearing the ball dress of that tragic winter night.
The other spirit that is usually seen is that of George Wythe. In 1787, her second wife died, so he decided to move to Richmond. It was there where his grandnephew, George Sweeney, decided to kill him. As Sweeney was a gambler that was suffering from serious financial troubles, he thought that by poisoning him, he would inherit the Wythe House. But he was wrong: before dying, George changed his will and ruined his grandnephew’s plan. Some guests have upheld that on the anniversary of Wythe’s death, he returns to his bedroom and presses his cold hands down their foreheads.
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The McPike Mansion, Alton, Illinois
The McPike Mansion in Alton looks like the classic haunted house. Its Victorian style, its several tall arched windows, its red bricks, and its oak trees give this mansion its distinctive but odd appearance. So, what’s the spooky tale behind this historic building?
In 1869, Henry Guest McPike, a local businessman and horticulturist, constructed this magnificent mansion. After his death, Paul Laichinger bought the place to rent some of its rooms to boarders. According to some of these guests, the paranormal events started to take place at this time. They reported hearing children bursting into laughter and playing around, even though there were no children in that area. The paranormal activity level increased after Mr. Laichinger passed away in 1945. As no one purchased the property in a long time, it fell into the process of decay.
As reported by Sharyn Luedke who bought the McPike Mansion in 1994, two spirits are haunting the place: Paul Laichinger and a former servant called Sarah Wells. Mrs. Luedke stated that she saw the ghost of the former owner staring at her from a window. It was not until she found an old picture of Laichinger that she realized that it was him. Sharyn also claimed that the spirit of Sarah lingers on the attic as she could smell lilac, the perfume that the domestic servant used to wear. Her restless soul likes flickering lights: they usually turn on and off when she’s around. The attic of the McPike Mansion doesn’t seem to be the right place to visit at night.
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French Lick Springs Hotel, Orange County, Indiana
Over the years, widespread rumors have circulated around the luxurious French Lick Springs Hotel and its link to the paranormal. This building has an air of dark mystery, still unsolved. Rumor has it that after Thomas Taggart, a former owner of the hotel, passed away, his spirit remained there.
Some employees have asserted that Mr. Taggart’s soul is inside the elevator, as it sometimes helps busy workers by opening and closing the doors. In addition, some have smelled cigarette and tobacco, and have seen mists. Some other employees have also witnessed the ghost of the former owner’s horse in the ballroom, and have heard its galloping, too. However, he is not the only spirit in the place; he is joined by a newly married couple.
The man, who was apparently experiencing unbearable suffering, decided to take his life by hanging himself in the room. After the bride witnessed such a grisly scene and unable to bear the pain, she committed suicide in the bathtub. Employees have claimed that her blood spots remain even though they have changed the bathtub several times. There are still more unsolved mysteries to be discovered in the French Lick Springs Hotel by those who are absolutely fearless.
- Take a look at these most haunted places in Indiana.
Roaring Fork Motor Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
After visitors pass the Rainbow Falls trailhead, they encounter the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, a forested area filled with historic buildings, wildlife, and an unexpected guest: Lucy, a ghostly presence that wanders around the forest, waiting for a ride.
Her story can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century. One freezing night, a man called Foster was riding his horse when he came across a young woman named Lucy. She called his attention because she was barefoot, walking alone in the utter darkness. He offered her a ride home, which she gladly accepted.
From the moment they met, he felt completely smitten by her, so he decided to ask her parents for her daughter’s hand in marriage. Their thoroughly bewildered expression and their disturbing news deeply shocked Foster: Lucy had died in 1910, during a cabin fire. Since then, travelers occasionally spot Lucy’s spirit, still wandering barefoot and waiting for a ride.
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The Morris-Jumel Mansion – Manhattan, New York
The Morris-Jumel Mansion, built in 1765, is not only one of the oldest houses in Manhattan, but also it has both a rich and turbulent history. The magnificent building was designed and erected for Colonel Roger Morris and his wife. However, when the American Revolutionary War began, the family left the mansion to return to their homeland, England. After a series of watershed events, the Morris-Jumel Mansion was chosen by General George Washington to establish his headquarters in 1776.
The crucial and dramatic turning point came when the mansion was bought in 1810 by Stephen Jumel, a wealthy French merchant who was accompanied by a controversial figure: Eliza Jumel, his wife. A strong but unconfirmed rumor spread concerning her husband’s suspicious death: supposedly, she let him die under mysterious circumstances.
After a few months, Eliza married a man of questionable reputation, Aaron Burr, the ex-Vice President of the United States and the responsible for the death of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers. Three years later, Burr passed away, and Eliza became incredibly wealthy, but that fortune didn’t buy her happiness. She suffered from dementia until the day she died in 1865, leaving her spirit in the house.
In 1965, a group of noisy schoolchildren stated that her ghost shushed them while they were visiting the Morris-Jumel Mansion. In addition, some others have asserted that they have witnessed a ghostly figure of an old woman wearing a violet dress. Many visitors have also seen the portrait of a Revolutionary War soldier whose face emerges from painting.
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Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
One of the most distinctive Milwaukee’s landmarks is the elegant Pfister Hotel, built in 1893 by Charles Pfister. Even though this place was charged with a pleasant atmosphere, a pivotal event led to a climate of growing uncertainty. When Mr. Pfister died in 1927, the hotel wasn’t the same. The spirit of Charles Pfister decided to stay in the hotel as a permanent guest, because, after all, he was the owner.
Supposedly, he likes haunting major league baseball players every time they stay in the Pfister Hotel. They have also reported intense paranormal activity in several areas of the hotel. In addition, Many have seen the air conditioning and the television constantly switching on and off, without the players taking the remote control. Those players who heard noises at night, got into such a desperate state that they grabbed a bat and went to bed again. On the other hand, some others have witnessed the figure of an elderly man walking in the halls. Many believe that it’s the spirit of Charles Pfister.
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Mountain Meadows Massacre, Veyo, Utah
In 1857, about 140 settlers were cruelly slaughtered by the Mormon militia in Southern Utah. The bodies of children, men, and women were partially buried and their remains scattered over a vast area. As they were barely covered, they were at the mercy of wild animals. Nowadays, many visitors have upheld that a gloomy atmosphere still prevails in the place: they sometimes hear women’s agonized cries. Other visitors have reported the apparition of a disoriented woman, probably seeking her child. There’s also the spirit of an old man wailing with despair. It’s believed that the ghost belongs to John D. Lee, the only man who was punished for organizing the massacre.
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Oakwood Cemetery (Hell’s Gate) – Spartanburg, South Carolina
The Oakwood Cemetery, also known as Hell’s Gate, is the oldest graveyard in Spartanburg. Although cemeteries were created to help the dead rest in peace, on some occasions, these places are far from being peaceful.
In the oldest area of the graveyard, visitors have undergone unsettling experiences related to the paranormal such as cellphones running out of battery, or ringing when no one was calling. One possible explanation is that in 1914, almost 100 bodies were transferred to Oakwood Cemetery, which must have been annoying for the souls of the dead.
Another logical answer lies in the satanic rituals that are thought to have been performed over the last decades, even centuries. Some graves have been desecrated to take out body parts, which would appear later on near the grave again. It’s hardly surprising that spirits were enraged by the humans’ utter disrespect.
- Have a look at other most haunted places in South Carolina.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky
Waverly Hills Sanatorium was originally designed in 1910 to accommodate tuberculosis patients. As time went by, the building became bigger to keep up with the demand. After the cure for tuberculosis was found in 1961, Waverly Hills Sanatorium closed its doors for a year. In 1962, it was reopened as a geriatric facility under the name Woodhaven Medical Services. However, almost 20 years later, the state closed it because the building was overpopulated and there were several reports of abuse. During that period, over 5,000 people died. No wonder the facility is haunted.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium is full of restless spirits of patients, doctors, and nurses. Visitors have also heard coughs echoing, and have glanced pallid haggard faces watching from the shadows. One of the most well-known entities is the inhuman Creeper which has a spiderlike figure and lacks facial features. It prefers to frighten visitors by suddenly emerging from the darkness. Waverly Hills Sanatorium scares even the most experienced paranormal researchers, so beware! Due to the various spooky phenomenon, it is considered amongst the most haunted places in America.
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The Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Considered one of the most haunted hotels in America, The Crescent Hotel was designed in 1886. Although it had several owners throughout the years, there was one in particular that stands out: Norman Baker. This person, who claimed to be a doctor, bought the property to use it as a cancer hospital and health resort. When the patients discovered that it was a scam, Baker was sentenced to prison.
A couple of decades later, the Crescent Hotel was purchased again to be restored. But why is it haunted? Many people from the staff and guests have witnessed many apparitions. One of them is Michael, an Irish stonemason who died in 1885 while working on the roof. The area in which he fell is now room 218, the most haunted place in the hotel.
Apparently, this naughty spirit likes fooling around in the room. He switches on and off the television and the lights, and he often opens and closes the doors. Another lingering spirit is that of a nurse. She usually appears around 11 pm walking through the hallway until she disappears when she reaches the end. Some visitors have also seen Backer in the old Recreation Room who was located in the basement. People could recognize him because the ghost looked like the “Doctor” from old photos.
- Take a look at these most haunted places in Arkansas.
Veteran’s Park, Avon Lake, Sulphur, Oklahoma
Why is Veteran’s Lake considered one of the most haunted places in America? The answer is quite simple: the lake is haunted by the ghost of a woman who drowned while trying to rescue her child from imminent death. Unfortunately, her child didn’t survive either. A few years later, a girl was involved in a fatal accident when she was rowing a boat.
Some visitors have claimed that, at night, the spirits of the three women could be seen in the lake, especially the ghost of the mother, who is trying to save her child. Many locals usually also warn visitors not to enter the lake at night as they can be pulled in and drowned.
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Wabasha Street Caves – St. Paul, Minnesota
The Wabasha Street Caves were carved in the 1840s by a French family to be used as mushroom storage for several years. At the time, no one thought that the caverns would be a source of trouble. During Prohibition, many notorious gangsters established in Saint Paul to escape from the law. Thus, the Wabasha Caves became a speakeasy, and a dangerous place to be at: several murders were committed during this period.
The souls that are still “attached” to the place are those of three murdered gangsters and a woman. As these criminals were killed in the back room and buried there, it’s said that their ghosts haunt the caves, wearing their 20s clothes. Some visitors have also reported the apparition of a woman in a long dress called Nina Clifford. What is more, the owner has often seen hazy mists drifting through the halls.
The Mason House Inn, Bentonsport, Iowa
The 174-year-old Mason House Inn is well-known for its heightened paranormal activity. Locals have stated that this property is the residence of several lost souls. Through the years, three of its owners have died in Mason House Inn, as well as a guest who is believed to have been killed in one of the rooms.
These ghosts, among others, demonstrate clear preferences for certain rooms. In room 5, there’s a little boy who likes tugging visitors’ clothing. At the same time, room 7 seems to be haunted by Knapp, a man who was supposedly murdered there. According to many guests, the most unnerving and disturbing room is number 8: they have reported seeing a floating head!
Union Cemetery – Easton, Connecticut
If Ed and Lorraine Warren wrote a book about this haunted location, there’s a high probability that the story would be utterly compelling. The apparition of many souls of the dead has deepened the mystery surrounding the Union Cemetery.
Over the last 50 years, many visitors, and policemen have witnessed the ghost of the famous White Lady, a woman with long, black hair that wanders along the cemetery wearing a white nightgown. There are two rumors concerning her identity. One confirms that she was brutally murdered in the 1940s, the other one that she’s the mother of the murdered girl.
Another notorious entity is that of Red Eyes. Some visitors have reported feeling that they were being watched from the eerie shadows. When they turned to see if someone was there, they caught sight of luminous red eyes gazing at them! Apparently, Red Eyes might be the spirit of a man called Earlie Kellog, who set on fire in 1935.
Having said that, these were some of the most haunted places in America. When it comes to paranormal activity, it’s hard to choose one place for each State. All the ghosts mentioned above were once humans who have suffered horribly or have committed the most appalling atrocities. Their souls may never rest in peace, and they will stay on earth haunting the places that are familiar for them.
In case, you loved checking out these most haunted places in America, hold a second. Also, feel free to tell us which of the aforementioned destinations creeped you out the most. Happy haunting.