The most haunted cities in North America from The most haunted cities in North America
The most haunted cities in North America
With the arrival of October, many people are inspired to seek out spooky sights. While some might be satisfied with haunted houses and hayrides, others are inclined to seek out real-life ghost stories.
You might be familiar with haunted buildings or locations made famous by articles, books, TV shows or movies, such as The Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King's "The Shining," or "The Amityville Horror" house. But if you're planning a trip to visit haunted houses, hotels or buildings, why not go to a city that has them all to get more bang for your buck
There 16 locations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean are famous for numerous unique and interesting supernatural sightings.
On top of making a chill run down your spine or keeping you up all night, exploring these locations can actually give you incredible insight into each place's unique local history. If you're looking to explore the otherworldly on your next vacation in North America, here are the places you should visit.
St. Augustine, Florida
Image provided by FloridasHistoricCoast.com
As the oldest city in America, St. Augustine, Florida, has seen its fair share of scandals, disasters and tragedies. The city's Spanish Military Hospital is said to have been built over a Native American burial ground , while the Huguenot Cemetery is the final resting place for hundreds who tragically died in a yellow fever epidemic. But the city's most famous haunted landmark is the St. Augustine Lighthouse. A lighthouse keeper fell to his death there and a two young girls drowned nearby.
San Francisco, California
Underneath it's coastal vibes, San Francisco has an air of menace. Golden Gate Park was a common spot for suicides more than 100 years ago, according to SF Gate, and it's been the location of several sightings of a spectre known as the White Lady of Stow Lake. The St. Francis Hotel is haunted by the celebrity ghosts of John Barrymore, Fatty Arbuckle and Al Jolson, who died there mid-poker game. And looming in the fog of the bay is Alcatraz, the world-famous prison. Visitors have experienced disembodied voices and cries and seen apparitions of inmates. The National Park Service has an annual lottery that people can enter for the chance to stay in the prison overnight.
Victoria, B.C., Canada
On the southwestern tip of Canada, Victoria, British Columbia, has a reputation as "the land of the newlywed and nearly dead," as its a popular destination for honeymooners and retirees. But Victoria is home to plenty of the newly dead as well, as several spirits are said to haunt the town. Craigdarroch Castle, built for a coal magnate in the 1890s, is haunted by a little girl and a woman in white and also has a piano known for playing by itself. The city's Maritime Museum was the home of the local jail and gallows and is haunted by Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, who was nicknamed the “hanging judge.”
Montego Bay, Jamaica
The city of Montego Bay is a popular cruise port dotted with resorts, but beneath the surface, the area has some sinister history. According to local legend, the Rose Hall mansion is haunted by its former mistress, known as the White Witch. Annie Palmer is said to have murdered her husband, John, then disposed of her next two husbands and other lovers using black magic. She also routinely tortured her slaves before one of them finally killed her.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston's colorful history has led to plenty of spiritual phenomena. The Old City Jail housed pirates and Civil War prisoners as well as Lavinia and John Fisher, hotel owners who poisoned and robbed their guests. Lavinia was executed right outside, and her spirit appears to visitors passing her old cell. Room 8 at the Battery Carriage Inn is visited by a gruesome ghost known as the "headless torso," while Junius Brutus Booth, the father of John Wilkes Booth, is said to haunt the Dock Street Theatre.
The legendary Bermuda Triangle is blamed for the disappearance of many ships and aircraft. There is some truth behind this as the area is a high-traffic shipping lane that is also plagued by hurricanes, meaning the island is surrounded by many shipwrecks. Visitors can scuba dive or snorkel among some of these submerged ships. Aside from vessels, the spirits of many former sailors still haunt the 400-year-old island's shores. In St. George, the ghost of a real-life pirate of the Caribbean named Captain George Dew haunts his former home, while a whaleboat captain named Old Morgan hovers over the island like a raincloud on certain days.
Mapimi Silent Zone, Mexico
Wikimedia Commons/Cryptocone/CC BY-SA 3.0
Mexico has its own version of the Bermuda Triangle in a stretch of desert outside the town of Durango known as the Mapimi Silent Zone. It's said that the area's phenomena interfere with communication, jamming radio and cell signals, and making it impossible to hear another person. The site was indeed the location of a fantastical occurrence: In 1970, a U.S. rocket carrying containers of radioactive element Cobalt 57 crashed there and had to be recovered by a high-security team, fueling legends about the otherworldly or supernatural.
While modern storms like Hurricane Harvey or Katrina have been devastating, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, with a death count of more than 8,000. After the disaster, many spirits lingered near the waterfront, in the Victorian houses and in the building that served as a morgue after the storm. Galveston also has its own Ghost Bride at the Galvez Hotel. The spirit is thought to be a young woman named Audra who hung herself after hearing incorrect news that her fiance had died at sea.
Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary is one of America's most haunted spots. Opened as the world's first penitentiary in 1829, this prison kept inmates in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. Before it closed in 1971, more than 1,000 people died there. Although executions didn't take place, at least two guards and many inmates were murdered over the years. Philly also has other famous ghosts, including the spirit of Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton and writer Edgar Allan Poe.
Mexico City, Mexico
The highest concentration of paranormal activity might be in Mexico City, Mexico, the largest city in North America, which was also built over ancient Aztec ruins. Mexico City’s metro system is said to be haunted because of the various tragedies that have occured there, including murders and suicides. There's a haunted alley, El Callejón del Aguacate, a haunted hotel, Posada del Sol, and La Moira, the most haunted house in Mexico that is strikingly painted all black.
The Island of Dolls, Mexico
If Mexico City doesn't give you your supernatural fix, travel just 17 miles south to find a truly unsettling sight. Isla de las Munecas, or Island of the Dolls, is an island in the middle of a canal that has been transformed into an eerie shrine. Legend has it a young girl was found dead, face down in a canal on the island with her doll. Don Julian Santana Barrera hung up her doll to pay tribute to her then continued to hang up additional dolls he collected. Now, thousands of rotting dolls hang from trees and fences, and some claim they've seen the dolls move or heard them whispering.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Known for vice and Voodoo, it's no surprise New Orleans is home to many restless spirits. Voodoo queen Marie Laveau is said to haunt St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, one of the city's many above-ground “cities of the dead.” Then there's the Lalaurie Mansion in the French Quarter. Delphine LaLaurie imprisoned and tortured her slaves, and after a cook intentionally set a fire in the house, seven bodies were discovered mutilated on the third floor, some in cages, others chained to the wall. Visitors since have reporting hearing their screams or being attacked by vengeful spirits.
Before it was owned by Ohio University, the Athens Lunatic Asylum in Athens, Ohio, was a mental hospital from 1874 to 1993. Though it's now a university-owned building, the asylum's cemeteries are intact and their headstones bear patient's numbers instead of their names. Visitors to the building itself, known for performing lobotomies, shock therapy and other practices, have reported disembodied screams and floating figures. One of the creepiest remains is a nasty stain on the floor, left after a patient named Margaret Schilling died there and wasn't found for over a month. It's rumored to have endured despite several attempts to clean or remove it.
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Considered one of the most haunted places in Canada, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada, looks like a castle rising out of the treeline. The more than 125-year-old building has hosted rich, famous and British royalty, but its most famous occupants are its ghosts. The hotel hosts a Ghost Bride who reportedly fell and broke her neck while descending the marble staircase in her gown. Her image was immortalized on a Canada Post stamp. Other ghosts include Sam the bellhop and an entire family who was murdered in Room 873.
With its history of organized crime, Chicago has seen its fair share of violent deaths that left behind unsatisfied spirits. A mobster supposedly haunts Holy Name Cathedral after being shot and killed on the steps outside. There are still bullet holes left in the church's facade, and despite some attempts, nothing works when trying to fill them. The ghost of gangster John Dillinger is said to haunt the alley he was shot in behind the Victory Gardens Theater. And Al Capone is said to appear as an apparition at the Congress Plaza Hotel.
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Known as one of the most haunted towns in the country, the small town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia has multiple resident spirits. The ghost of Peyton Smith still roams around the Entler Hotel after he died in a duel with his best friend over a poker game, while the Yellow Brick Bank Restaurant has reported a spirit that prefers to hover around Table 25. The clock tower of McMurran Hall, a building formerly used as a Civil War hospital, also has a watchful ghost who peeks through the shutters at the Shepherd University students passing below.