16 of the Most Haunted Cities in America from 16 of the Most Haunted Cities in America
16 of the Most Haunted Cities in America
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The city was established in 1733, so you can imagine that it has a long and vibrant haunting history. You can walk into any historic building or cemetery in Savannah and you may catch sight of ghostly presences surrounding you, according to Visit Savannah. You can stay in many haunted inns, eat at haunted restaurants, and explore attractions that will send goosebumps creeping up your spine. The Pirate’s House is a must-see. It’s the oldest standing building in Savannah and Georgia. Underground tunnels run from the basement to the Savannah River, where men were once forced into pirate slavery, and where ghosts still live.
The Drake, a Hilton Hotel/Yelp
Chicago is no stranger to tragedies. The best-known disasters are the big fire in 1871 and the Eastland tragedy of 1915. One of its most haunted locations in the Windy City is frequent very often – the Drake Hotel. Guests have spoken of many spooky experiences. A famous story is that of a woman in 1920 who was jealous after seeing her fiancé flirt with another woman. She threw herself off the roof and died. Some say they still see her ghost. Another haunted attraction is the Excalibur Nightclub, which was once a hospital. A fire in the Oriental Theatre more than a century ago killed about 600 people. Visit the Holy Name Cathedral, where Al Capone’s rival was killed. The bullet holes on the walls are alleged to possess supernatural qualities.
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Charlotte, North Carolina
This is a city with, allegedly, high concentration of paranormal activity – from haunted plantations to scary shopping malls and eerie universities. Some students at Albright say they hear a ghost of a girl who committed suicide because her parents disapprove of her relationship with a woman, and now makes knocking sounds and she opens and closes doors. Another popular haunted place is the Latta Plantation which dates back to the 1800’s. It is now a living history farm. Ghosts are also said to frequent Dixie’s Tavern, the Cajun Queen restaurant, Kennedy's Premium Bar and Grill (where ghosts play with the radio), and the Dunhill Hotel, to name a few. You can also visit the ghost Fred at the Carolina Theatre.
Estes Park, Colorado
The town has a penchant for haunted hotels. Freelan Oscar Stanley opened his famed Stanley Hotel in Estes Park in 1909, which is probably the most famous haunted attraction there. The most notable ghost is F.O. Stanley himself who is often seen in the lobby and the Billiard Room, which was his favorite room when he was still alive, according to Legends of America. Bartenders also report having seen F.O. stroll through the bar. The hotel was the basis of Stephen King’s The Shining. Another famously haunted place is the Baldpate Inn, where the former owner likes to spill mix drinks, while others tend to fly off of the tables.
San Francisco, California
There are many haunted houses and stomping grounds of ghosts in the city. Winchester Mystery House, for example, is often described as “the most haunted.” It is believed to be visited by the original owner and the people who were killed by her husband’s rifles. Take a walk at Stowe Lake at night to see the ghost of a woman asking people to help find her baby, who, the story goes, drowned in the lake and she couldn’t save him. Anyone surprised the Alcatraz is haunted, too? Voices are heard in the former eating area and cell blocks. Another well-known experience is that on Bay Bridge. People say they hear knocking on the windows if they are driving on the lower deck at night towards Oakland direction.
Galveston Island’s ghostly history makes it a top destination for spooky travel, according to Galveston.com. From a haunted historic hotel and the island’s storied harbor to cemeteries and Victorian mansions, there are plenty of ghosts to see. The most famous place is the Haunted Mayfield Manor which served as a morgue after the 1900 Storm, the deadliest in U.S. history having killed an estimated 8,000 residents. It is now a year-round haunted house attraction. Also visit the Hotel Galvez, which has been featured on several TV shows for its paranormal significance. It is said to be haunted by a “Ghost Bride” who has been seen in room 501.
With a history of the infamous Salem Witch Trial it’s no wonder that the city is a site of many hauntings. Go to the Gallows Hill Park, which is said to be the most likely site of the 1692 hangings. There are few houses that are not implicated in the handling of the tribunals. Visit the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, also known as the House of the Seven Gables, which served as inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel. People have said they have seen Hawthorne’s cousin roaming the hallways. For a really eerie experience, go on the night walking ghost tour through the haunted and historic areas of downtown Salem.
St. Paul, Minnesota
This city of sinners and saints has many creepy stories involving many haunted spots. Forepaugh’s Restaurant is among the first such locations that locals mention when someone asks about ghosts. This is where the maid, Molly, and the owner, wealthy wholesaler Joseph Forepaugh, died. The story goes that the two were having an affair. But he was feeling incredibly guilty about it and killed himself. Molly, stricken with grief, hanged herself days later. He is said to just walk around the house while Molly scares the guests by hitting the walls and breaking glasses. Another very haunted place is the Griggs Mansion. Nine-year old Willie succumbed to smoke inhalation after a house fire. His ghost is said to remove toys from inside locked display cabinets. First Avenue and the Palmer House Hotel are also said to be haunted.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, often referred to as America’s most haunted city, is very well-known for its not-so-lively residents. A famous story is that of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. It was originally opened in 1827 as a ballroom, then later as an orphanage. In the late 1800s a yellow fever epidemic broke out causing the death of many children. The hotel has reportedly had many incidents of paranormal activity, including reports of ghostly children playing and laughing as well as deceased entertainers enjoying the ballroom. Another famously haunted place is the LaLaurie Mansion. A fire broke out in 1834 revealing the LaLaurie’s slaves living in despicable conditions. Other ghostly places are the Gardette Le Prete House, also known as the Sultan’s Palace, the Louisiana Supreme Court Building, the Pirates’ Alley, as well as many hotels and B&Bs.
The Shanghai Tunnels are possibly the most famous haunted location in the city. The tunnels were basements of buildings that connected to other structures through brick and stone archways that were intersected with connecting tunnels under the streets, according to ShanghaiTunnels.info. They were used by crooks, called “shanghaiiers” or “white slavers,” who sold women into prostitution. Men were sold as slaves to work on ships. Other spooky locations are the Benson Hotel where Benson’s ghost is seen in meeting rooms and Cathedral Park where a woman is heard screaming at night.
Left: Shutterstock; Right: Andrew Horne/Wikimedia Commons
The city’s streets are part of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. With so much history and many lost lives, is it a surprise that, perhaps, some spirits have remained? The Fells Point area is a popular spot among ghost trackers. You can sign up for a guided tour through the maritime neighborhood to explore haunted taverns and shops. Also, don’t miss the Westminster Hall Catacombs, the final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, who is said to frequent many places in the city. Another famously haunted place is the Admiral Fell Inn where a woman staring at guests while sleeping has been reported.
The Gettysburg Hotel, Est. 1797/Yelp
Battlefields are a natural site of spooky visitations, purported to be from former soldiers who continue to fight their ghostly wars. The Gettysburg National Military Park saw 51,000 casualties during the Civil War, and visitors report still hearing echoes of battle – drums and gunshots – as well as spotting ghostly visages. The most haunted part of the park is said to be Devil’s Den, a hill used by artillery and infantry during the war. Some have reported that the den causes electronic malfunctions. Another haunted place is the The Daniel Lady Farm, which was used as a hospital during the war. If you stay at the Gettysburg Hotel you may see a woman dancing in the ballroom.
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The Ridges, which was a mental institution, The Ridges Cemetery, Wilson Hall at Ohio University and Mt. Nebo are the most popular haunted locations in Athens. The Ridges specialized in the treatment of criminally and mentally insane patients, according to Haunted Athens Ohio. It was overcrowded and the patients were treated with ice water baths, electroshock therapies and lobotomies. In 1978, a woman mysteriously disappeared. The legend goes that she was playing hide and seek with the nurses, who got distracted and forgot to look for her. Her body was found a month later. She is said to be still haunting the institution. Mt. Nebo is known for the spiritualists who used to live there. A man named Jonathon Koons, a devout atheist, moved there to expose them, but came to believe them. Visitors have said that they felt hands on their skin, heard whispers and seen instruments floating above their heads.
The White House is a popular destination you probably didn’t know was haunted. Staff and visitors have said they have seen ghosts on numerous occasions, including those of Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, and several first ladies, according to the White House Historical Association. One little known spirit is the unidentified 15-year old boy called the “thing that greatly frightened the Taft domestic staff in 1911.” Andrew Jackson supposedly lying in his bed in the Queens Bedroom (Rose Room) lets out a guttural laugh that has been heard in the White House since the 1860s. The Capitol Building is also said to be haunted where a black cat that is rumored to show up as an omen. Take a behind-the-scenes National Building Museum Ghost Tour to learn more about after-hours apparitions in the building.
San Antonio, Texas
The Alamo, a historic landmark, is said to be haunted by its defenders who were dumped in a mass grave after their violent deaths, according to My San Antonio. If you visit Frank Restaurant, which used to be a church, you may come across several ghosts, including an actress named, Miss Margaret, who sometimes appears as a puff of smoke. The Sheraton Gunter Hotel is a must-visit haunted house attraction. Take an hour-long ghost-hunting tour through some of the building's “top secret haunted areas.” The tour will feature high-tech paranormal detecting equipment and lead visitors through the hotel’s basement and the famously haunted sixth floor where one of the city’s most infamous unsolved murder cases took place in room 636.
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Ghosts of people who died in the Revolutionary War remain. Boston’s most infamously haunted building is the Omni Parker House. There is an elevator that makes its own stops on the third floor. Also, the former owner, Harvey Parker, is said to still wander the halls making sure the guests are happy. Some have even said they’ve seen Charles Dickens in a mezzanine mirror. Another popular place is the Union Oyster House where John F. Kennedy still hangs out. If you go to the Boston Common, you may see two women, believed to be sisters, walking holding hands.