Asked by Todd L Ross in Haunted HousesSupernatural and the OccultGhostsParanormal Phenomena
What are the most haunted places in the United States of America?
July 10, 2019 3:11PM
Many vintage homeowners and tourist attractions like to claim that they’re haunted, but that can be tough to prove. What are the truly scariest haunted places in the United States? Here is our Answer, counting down to #1.
- The Shanghai Tunnels, Portland, Oregon.
- Portland was one of the most dangerous ports in the United States during the early 19th century and was the epicenter of an illicit maritime practice known as shanghaiing, which is a form of human trafficking. According to local legend, swindlers preyed upon unsuspecting men in the local saloons, which were often outfitted with trap doors that allowed for a quick escape into a network of underground tunnels. These men were then supposedly held captive, drugged, and eventually transported to the waterfront, where they were sold to ships as unpaid laborers. The tunnels are said to be haunted by the angry spirits of the captive men who died in the dark recesses beneath the city. The practice of kidnapping men to work on ships came to be known as shanghaiing because the ships they were sold to were often headed to East Asia.. Tours in Portland can take visitors down into these spooky subterranean tunnels.
- Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, Massachusetts.
- On August 4th, 1892, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden were discovered bludgeoned beyond recognition in their home. The main suspect was none other than the youngest of their three daughters, Lizzie. The Borden case was one of America’s first major crimes to occur under the media spotlight, capturing the attention of the entire nation. Despite allegations that Lizzie had financial motives for the murder and growing public scrutiny, she was ultimately acquitted due to a lack of physical evidence. The Borden home has since been converted into a museum and bed-and-breakfast, where guests can see gruesome photos of the crime scene and sleep in one of its advertised haunted rooms.
- Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina.
- After making a fortune selling his Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic to prevent malaria, Edwin Wiley Grove opened this premiere hotel in North Carolina in 1913 to capitalize on the tourist popularity of the town of Asheville. The famous ghostly resident of the inn is The Pink Lady. She is described as being the kind spirit of a young woman who fell to her death from a fifth floor balcony in 1920. She will sometimes appear in a pink ball gown, but most often as a pink mist. The Grove Park Inn is still open to this day, accepting reservations year-round.
- The White House, Washington, D.C.
- Obviously this building is famous for housing the most powerful official in the United States, but the White House also has its share of haunting stories. Many presidents, visiting ambassadors, and former staff have described unexplainable sounds and phenomena. World leaders that got spooked during their tenure include Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In fact, it was apparently President Lincoln who appeared before Churchill when he was getting out of a hot bath. The British Bulldog reportedly told the apparition “Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
- Proctor’s Ledge, Salem, Massachusetts.
- Not immediately recognizable except perhaps by name, Proctor’s Ledge was confirmed to be the actual sight of the executions in the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century. Over the years, many accounts of paranormal activity have been documented near Proctor’s Ledge, and in 2017, the site was dedicated as a memorial to the victims on the 325th anniversary of the hangings.
- The Iroquois Theater, Chicago, Illinois.
- The location of the deadly Iroquois Theatre fire is infamous. Occuring on December 30th, 1903, just five weeks after the grand opening, the event was the deadliest fire in a theater and the deadliest single-building fire in U.S. history, resulting in over 600 deaths. Once the shock and grief of the enormous loss of life wore off, the public was outraged at the obviously false advertising of the theatre’s promotion as “absolutely fireproof”. After numerous regulation failures by management, ultimately nobody was held responsible for the disaster. The lasting impact was a complete overhaul of fire safety systems at theatres throughout Chicago. In 1926, the Oriental Theatre, which is now the modern-day James M. Nederlander Theatre, was built on the ruins of the Iroquois.
- Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky.
- Built in 1910 as a hospital to combat tuberculosis, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville was the setting for thousands of deaths - current guesses estimate the total deaths between 8,000 and 63,000. There wasn’t a cure for tuberculosis until streptomycin was invented in 1943, so for 33 years, getting sent to this site was almost certainly a death sentence. They even had a “body chute” that allowed the staff to dump dead bodies by nearby railroad tracks. Possibly the creepiest events were the two suicides that took place at the sanatorium. Taking place less than four years apart, two nurses both committed suicide - in the same room. Nowadays, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a popular tourist attraction for those looking for a good scare.
- Villisca Axe Murder House, Villisca, Iowa.
- At first glance, this unassuming white house at the end of a quiet street doesn’t draw much attention. But the site of the infamous Villisca Axe Murders is one of the most gruesome murder scenes to catch the attention of the media. On a warm Summer night in 1912, a stranger broke into the house and viciously killed all six members of the Moore family, and the two Stillinger sisters, who had come over for a sleepover with the Moore kids. The mysterious murderer then apparently set up some sort of ritual after his victims were all dead. He covered the Moore parent’s heads with sheets, and the children’s faces with clothing. He then went through each room to cover all of the mirrors and windows with cloths and towels. And at some point, he took a 2 pound piece of uncooked bacon from the bridge and place it in the living room, along with a keychain. The killer also locked the front door with keys he stole from Mr. Moore, whose brother was the first to discover the bloodied scene. The house is now a tourist destination, offering both daylight tours as well as overnight stays.
- Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia.
- This foreboding asylum began construction in 1858 and opened to patients in 1864. The massive, dominating structure was designed by architect Richard Andrews to maximize sunlight and fresh air - he believed that the building could possibly serve as a healing environment. By the 1950s, the facility which was designed for 250 people housed 2,400 patients in horribly crowded conditions. Patients were even physically restrained and often given inhumane treatments, such as electroshock therapy and lobotomies. After more than a century in operation, the facility was forced to close in 1994 due to reforms in national mental health treatment, and the deterioration of the building. Hundreds of patients died during the asylum’s tenure, who many guests and ghost hunters have claimed to see roaming the halls in a spectral form. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in all of North America, and claims to be the second largest in the world after the Kremlin in Moscow.
- The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado.
- A single night in this hotel tucked away in Colorado’s mountain wilderness inspired Stephen King’s best-selling novel-turned-horror-film, The Shining. Massachusetts couple F.O. and Flora Stanley opened the isolated resort in 1909 - and supposedly never left. According to modern staff, Mr. Stanley occasionally pops up in photographs, and Mrs. Stanley can be heard playing her Steinway piano in the music room at night. There have also been reports of bags being unpacked, lights turning off and on, and the ghost of a little boy on the second floor. Paranormal experts refer to the Stanley Hotel as one of the most active ghost sites in the United States. To add to the ambiance, guest bedrooms have a TV channel that plays Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining on a 24-hour loop.
- R.M.S. Queen Mary, Long Beach, California.
- This retired ocean liner sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. During her first three years at sea, the Queen Mary carried Hollywood celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, as well as dignitaries such as General Dwight Eisenhower. However, her early days as a cruise vessel were short lived, and in 1939 she was stripped of her luxury amenities and began her second life as the Grey Ghost, a troopship for the Allied Forces throughout the Second World War. Winston Churchill even signed the D-Day Declaration aboard the Queen Mary. After the war ended in 1945, she was restored to her former glory and cruised the Atlantic for over two more decades. On Halloween 1967, the Queen Mary departed on her last cruise, eventually docking in Long Beach, California, her final resting place. The ship is reportedly haunted by the spirits of those who died aboard, such as the young sailor who was crushed to death by a door in the engine room, and a crew member who was murdered in Cabin B340. Although the Queen Mary sails no more, scare fiends can still get a look at this haunted ship, as she serves as both a floating hotel and restaurant on the Pacific Coast.
- The LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Madame Delphine LaLaurie was an early 19th Century Louisiana socialite known for hosting fancy soirees in her ostentatious Creole mansion in the French Quarter. Her guests would delight in the fine food and champagne, especially if they were unaware of what was taking place just two floors above. When local police responded to a kitchen fire in 1834, they discovered the bodies of several horribly mutilated slaves in the attic. After the public learned of LaLaurie’s grotesque secret, a mob stormed the house, causing her to flee to France. Soon after LaLaurie left New Orleans, people claimed to hear the phantom screams of her victims coming from the house late at night. Although the LeLaurie residence is now privately owned and not offering tours, several French Quarter tours will take visitors past this haunted mansion.
- Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- This menacing Gothic-style prison opened in 1829 and became the first in the U.S. to implement solitary confinement. Prisoners languished in the Penitentiary’s stone cells with nearly zero human contact, and they had hoods placed over their heads anytime they were moved. The so-called “Pennsylvania system” was replicated in several other states and in Europe. Al Capone was probably the most famous inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary, having served time in the institution from August 1929 to March 1930, but he had a much cushier arrangement than his fellow prisoners. When the facility closed in 1971, it was believed that the ghosts of the inmates took back the prison. Visitors claim to see their apparitions wandering the corridors and to hear mischievous whispers in abandoned cell blocks.
- The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California.
- The heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company after her husband William passed away in 1881, Sarah Winchester inherited roughly $20 million dollars and asked for the advice of a medium on how to spend it in her grief. Legend says that her husband’s spirit was conjured by the medium, and that he told her to move from Connecticut to California and build a massive home for the spirits of those who had died to Winchester rifles, or else they would haunt her for the rest of her days. Bought in 1884 as a small, unfinished farmhouse, the house was quickly changed with constant expansions, eventually turning the home into a seven-story monstrosity. Many of the alterations proved pointless with hallways or staircases leading to absolutely nothing. The final product of the home had over 160 rooms and 10,000 panes of glass, and has gone down in history as one of the most famous haunted houses in the entire world.
- The Amityville House, Amityville, New York.
- Quite possibly the most famous haunted house in the world, the site of the Amityville Horror murders in November of 1974 captured international attention. The eldest child of the DeFeo family, 23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr., murdered his entire family in cold blood with a .35 caliber rifle. His two parents and four younger siblings all fell victim to his violence, but the rumors surrounding the events attempt to add a more supernatural context. Not only are the spirits of the slain DeFeo family said to still occupy the house, but many people speculate that the house was already haunted, and that it corrupted Butch into killing his loved ones. The successor residents to the DeFeo family, the Lutzes, lasted in the house for a mere 28 days, but apparently approached DeFeo’s defense attorney William Weber, with the proposition of selling a ghost story that was really a hoax. But the two sons of George and Kathy Lutz have claimed to have run-ins with the paranormal in their short stay in the house.