With Halloween just around the corner, we’d like to share some of the scariest destinations around the country – one state at a time. Here is our pick for the spookiest spot in every state.
Birmingham, Alabama Hotels
Birmingham is home to a plethora of haunted historical hotels – go figure – two of which you can book on CheapAir.com. The Tutwiler Hotel is said to be haunted by the very messy, but otherwise friendly Colonel Tutwiler, the hotel’s namesake. The Redmont is Birmingham’s oldest hotel and is haunted by a ghost dog, a woman in white and even the spirit of Hank Williams, who was once a guest. Most of the ghostly shenanigans involve moving luggage and furniture.
The Jesse Lee Home for Children, Seward, Alaska
An abandoned home for orphaned children might just be the spookiest place in Alaska. Located in picturesque Seward, the Jesse Lee Home for Children has sat empty for more than 50 years. Locals say that the sounds of children giggling, the sounds of an invisible jumping rope, and inescapable feelings of sadness and melancholy that overhem passersby give this tragic building its gloomy rep.
Arizona is full of ghost towns, and haunted locations like Flagstaff, Prescott and Bisbee abound. But for our money, we think the copper mining town of Jerome puts the whole lot of them to shame. The winding, steep streets are a weird and wonderful place to wander after dark, and the storied history of wild fights and shootings that occurred in Jerome’s famous houses of ill repute are legendary. Each October the town comes alive with ghostly activities for tourists and locals alike, and Jerome’s cocktail scene makes its “spirits” reputation bar none.
Air & Military Museum, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Sure – a lot of towns have haunted hotels. They’re a classic location for restless spirits. But how many can tout a haunted airport? Fayetteville, AK’s Air & Military Museum at Drake Field (located in a historic, WWII-era hangar), is said to be one of the most haunted spots in the city. The museum boasts an aviator poltergeist who tends to spend most of his time spooking people in the library.
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California
California is another embarrassment of riches in the “haunted” locations game. From the former federal prison on Alcatraz Island, to the famous Winchester House in San Jose, if you’re looking for a creepy good ole time, you won’t have to look far. Our favorite haunted hotel is in San Diego, at the Hotel Del Coronado. Though the historic property has any number of poltergeists residing, the most famous is probably the ghost of a girl named Kate who checked in and never checked out. In November of 1892, Kate Morgan checked in and was found 5 days later dead on a staircase that led to the sea. She now hangs around the Del, and people who stay in her room report strange noises and odd goings-on throughout the night.
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Arguably the most famous haunted hotel in America, the Stanley got its reputation because Stephen King is said to have been inspired to write “The Shining” after spending an unsettling stay there. Paul, Eddie, Lucy and Elizabeth are just four of the ghouls that inhabit its walls. Most of the paranormal activity occurs in the Concert Hall. Footsteps, echoes and laughing children, as well as strange drafts to chill you are just a few of the unsettling reports coming out of the property.
Bara-Hack, Pomfret, Connecticut
The abandoned 18th century settlement of Bara-Hack is a paranormal enthusiast’s dream. Founded by Obadiah Higgenbotham (how’s that for a creaky old name), the town has been empty for over 100 years and has been dubbed “the village of ghostly voices” for self-explanatory reasons. For a lot of years the destination was easily accessible, though it now sits on private property and is only sporadically open to the public.
If a real-life headless horseman is up your alley, check out the town of Newark. This New England hamlet is home to a Revolutionary War era ghostie without his head. The Welsh Tract Church on Welsh Tract Road is said to be haunted by the ghost of Charlie Miller, an American soldier who lost his head when a cannonball hit him as he rode through the cemetery adjacent to the church.
The Devil’s Chair, Lake Helen-Cassadaga Cemetery, Cassadaga Florida
According to legend, if you sit in the huge brick chair at midnight, the Devil will show up. If you’d rather not see him in the flesh, you can leave a can of beer on the chair and reliable reports say it’ll be empty in the morning (hmmmm). Why was the Devil’s Chair built? It’s likely that it was constructed as a “mourning chair” so visitors to the cemetery could sit and pay respects to the departed.
Various locations, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah may well be the most haunted city in the states. Lucky for us, it’s also one of the loveliest. Savannah is chock full of haunted houses. The granddaddy of all of Savannah’s haunted houses is the Sorrel Weed House. Visitors regularly report feeling panicked, nauseated and like they can’t breathe, especially when in the building’s basement. The rumor that Master Sorrel’s wife threw herself off the balcony to her death, with the majority of local denizens believing that the land itself is cursed – it was built on the site of the Siege of Savannah – one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War.
The Green Lady of Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, Oahu, Hawaii
Most people tap Pearl Harbor as the most haunted place on Oahu, but we think the Green Lady trumps the pathos of the WWII battle scene. People who visit the beautiful botanical gardens report seeing a mossy and moldy woman, with jagged teeth and seaweed hair, covered in fish scales. It’s said if you cross a certain bridge in the garden, the green lady will take you and you’ll never return.
Sidewinders, Bar & Grill, Murtaugh, Idaho
The first bar entry on our list is a poltergeist-haunted watering hole. This ghost has a penchant for turning the jukebox and lights off and on at typically inopportune times. Sometimes visitors report hearing the tinkling stylings of an invisible piano player.
Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois
Betcha didn’t know that the Lincoln Park Zoo is literally built on a cemetery. Well, now ya do. From 1843 to 1859 the location served as the Chicago City cemetery and more than 35,000 people were once buried there. They did not move all the bodies, and an estimated 12,000 folks still are interred there. Perhaps it’s no wonder that locals report paranormal activity after dark. Check out “Spooky Zoo,” a fall event that capitalizes on this rather macabre history.
Hacienda Restaurant, Mishawaka, Indiana
Diners come for the Dia de los Muertos theme and delicious Mexican food, and stay for the tragic melodrama. Located in a victorian mansion, the legend says that the original owner made one of the housemaids his mistress. Ater she got pregnant, the maid took her life in the attic, the husband took his own life in the basement, and both their spirits now walk the halls. Bon appetit!
Banwell “Terror” Bridge, Fort Dodge, Iowa
Let’s call this story one of the most horrific on the list. The Banwell Bridge gets its nickname from a story of a woman who brought her children to the bridge to watch the trains pass below. Instead, she threw them one by one off the side to be struck by trains and after the last one was killed, she threw herself over the side as well. If you stop on the bridge, make sure your doors are locked because the woman’s spirit will try to throw you off too. Brave ghost hunters have reported hearing a moaning woman under the bridge, voices in the woods, and even strange handprints on the windows of their car.
St. Jacob’s Well, Clark County, Kansas
St. Jacob’s Well is said to be bottomless and some people believe it will kill anyone who tries to touch the bottom. It is thought that a number of dead bodies are interred in the well, though the specific details are murky. Native Americans have long used the well as a water source on long journeys, as did cowboys. One such traveler has been seen in ghostly form along with his horse since the last 1890s.
Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, KentuckyCave Hill Cemetery is a little less gory and gruesome than some of the entries on our list, but it’s a beautiful, massive cemetery (if you’re into that kind of thing). Gorgeous headstones, lakes and headstones make this a must-see stop in the city. Garden variety hauntings (strange lights, weird murmurings) are de rigueur.
St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans, Louisiana
In New Orleans, cemeteries full of above-ground tombs are called cities of the dead, and the ornate graves are both stunning and unsettling. This cemetery is home to notorious Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, and voodoo societies still visit it daily to leave offerings in return for the Voodoo Queen’s blessing. Keep in mind, visitors are not allowed to enter on their own. You can only enter with a tour company that has registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Mount Hope Cemetery, Bangor, Maine
Horror fans visit Bangor angling to see some of the inspiration for a lot of Stephen King’s work. The Mount Hope Cemetery is the setting for one of his creepiest novels, “Pet Cemetery,” and is home to countless soldiers from many of our wars. Visitors report seeing ghostly apparitions and weird lights/shadows. Don’t go after dark!
Pokomoke State Forest, Maryland
We’re not gonna lie. We love us some spooky woods. Apparitions, spooky disembodied voices and even the famous Maryland Goat Man (the ax-wielding half man half goat former scientist and urban legend) have all been spotted in the Pokomoke State Forest. Visit after dark on an official Chesapeake Bay Ghost Tour.
Hockomock Swamp, Massachusetts
Lots of people think of Lizzie Borden or the Salem Witch Trials when conjuring up Massachusetts’ creepiest places. But we’re going a little more obscure and tapping Hockomock Swamp. The Native Americans believed the swamp was magical, but Puritans had other ideas. The site of an old burial ground, the mythic Pukwudgies of Wampanoag folklore are said to inhabit the area. Pukwudgies are small, wild men who can disappear and take glee in creating mischief, throwing people off cliffs and stabbing them with spears.
South Manitou Island, Michigan
There’s lots of islands and lakes in bucolic Michigan, but South Manitou has a particularly creepy reputation. 300 foot-tall sand dunes and desolate shoreline help give South Manitou island its vibe, but the legends surrounding its history are pretty scary as well. One story claims a cholera stricken boatload of passengers stopped on the island, and sailors on the boat buried them – some of them still alive. In addition, the island boasts two cemeteries and a forest where visitors hear the requisite “strange voices.” Visit at your own risk!
Washington Street Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The site of many suicides over the years, the Washington Street Bridge is said to be haunted. Phantom footsteps are often heard by University of Minnesota students, who claim that it feels like someone is watching them from the bridge.
Rowan Oak, Oxford, Mississippi
Rowan Oak is the longtime home of novelist William Faulkner. When Faulkner moved in, the home was already being haunted by the daughter of the original owner (who was said to have thrown herself off a balcony in a suicidal fit of lost love), and these days it’s said to be haunted by the southern Gothic novelist, himself. Faulkner is sometimes spotted writing in his office and wandering the property.
Zombie Road, St. Louis, Missouri
THis road in St. Louis has been a hotbed of paranormal activity including an urban legend of a zombie killer who would kill couples as they canoodled in the woods. There are also numerous ghosts who are said to haunt the road. The most creepy are reports of “shadow people” – strange, hard to see apparitions who stand in the woods along the road and who have been often photographed by locals.
St, Charles Hall, Carroll College, Helena, Montana
The creepiest dorm bathroom in the country might well be at Carroll College in Helena. The 4th floor men’s bathroom was the center of a tragic accident in 1964. A student passed out while brushing his teeth, hit his head on a sink and later died from complications. Shortly after his death, students started reporting seeing strange things – while brushing their teeth some saw a man with a head wound in the mirror. Some people claimed blood would come out of the water faucet. After several years of these terrors, the bathroom was locked, and it remains so today. Students still report hearing scraping noises coming from inside the bathroom. *shudder*
Ball Cemetery, Springfield, Nebraska
Cemeteries are a popular haunted location in many states, but this one makes the list for the extra creep factor of the spirits said to haunt it. One such ghost is said to take the form of a tall man who attacks people after dark. Another ghost takes the form of a laughing woman who pulls on people’s clothing. No thank you, Ball Cemetery.
Titanic Exhibit, Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Real artifacts and a genuine piece of the side of the sunken ship are the main events at the Titanic exhibit. Hotel employees claim that the exhibit is actually haunted by passengers from the voyage, doing the usual restless spirit activities – opening and closing doors and appearing and disappearing to freak out employees and guests.
Chase House, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Yet another orphanage makes the list – this time due to the tragic story of a young orphan who killed herself on the property. Visitors report she can be heard screaming from her room where she hung herself, and she also does more garden variety ghosting – turning lights on and off and making loud noises to scare people, and other general poltergeist mischief.
Pine Barrens, New Jersey
The Jersey Devil is the creature said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of South Jersey. If you grew up here, you’ve certainly heard about this urban legend. What is the Jersey Devil? He is most commonly described as having the body of a kangaroo, the head of a dog, the face of a horse, leathery wings, antlers similar to those of a deer, a reptilian tail and large, scary claws. Though the legend goes back hundreds of years, the modern Devil continues to terrorize people in the area.
Urraca Mesa, Angel Fire, New Mexico
The Native peoples of New Mexico claim that Urraca Mesa is a portal to hell. Legend says that a great Medicine Men studied petroglyphs found around Urraca Mesa and determined that a great tribe was once swallowed up by the Mesa ro protect the rest of the tribes on the earth. In modern times, some strange things go on at Urraca Mesa. Sometimes compasses don’t work, causing people to get lost easily and a Boy Scout ranch near the mesa reports scouts have seen strange things, like a small dark-skinned man that appears occasionally. Lore says that a shaman watches over the portal to make sure it doesn’t open up and unleash evil upon the earth.
Rolling Hills Asylum, East Bethany, New York
There’s a lot of creepy old mental hospitals across this great country of ours, but the Rolling Hills Asylum hits a particular kind of eerie nerve. Visitors on a tour wander through rooms filled with decaying medical equipment and freaky dolls.
Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina
The spirit haunting the Omni Grove Park Inn makes the list because she’s got such a positive vibe for a ghostie. The “Pink Lady” as she’s known strikes a whimsical chord – most often seen as a pink mist or a young woman in a pink ball gown, and she’s most often witnessed by children. If you want to meet this fanciful mystery, book room 545 – this guestroom sees the most Pink Lady activity of anywhere on property.
Harvey Public Library, Harvey, North Dakota
A public library with a ghost? That’s the situation in Harvey, North Dakota. This ghost named Sophie was killed by her husband in her home which was on the property where the Harvey Library now sits. Sophie causes the usual ghost disturbances – she likes to turn lights on and off and make certain spots in the room go freezing cold.
Civic Theatre, Akron, Ohio
A beautiful theatre with a rotating ceiling of the night sky, the Civic Theatre is also blessed with a plethora of peculiar ghosts. One sad ghost is said to be the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide by jumping in the river that runs behind the building. She can be heard weeping around the property. A former janitor also haunts the Civic, his name is Fred and he will attack anyone who makes a mess in his bathrooms!
The Bird Creek School, Pawhuska, Oklahoma
This one-room schoolhouse built in the 1930’s was a school for Native children. It’s not known for specific hauntings, more that it just has an unsettling vibe owing mainly to the history of the school. There is one odd occurrence. Some visitors say if you write on the blackboard, unseen hands erase your work!
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
One of Oregon’s most famous natural sights is also haunted! The tallest waterfall in Oregon is where a Native American woman once dove off to her death. According to hikers, a shape of a woman sometimes appears beneath the water’s surface from time to time in the winter months.
Farnsworth House Inn, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
The Farnsworth House Inn often makes the lists of the “most haunted inns” of America and rightly so! The historic property was a shelter for Confederate soldiers and later a hospital after the Battle of Gettysburg. You can book a variety of spooky experiences, including ghost walks and ghost hunts.
The Breakers mansion, Newport, Rhode Island
The first house on our list that’s haunted by a famous American, the Breakers in Newport has impressive architecture and is inhabited by the ghost of Alice Vanderbilt. She died in the 1930’s, but the family who lives there now says she is an almost constant, but not unwelcome presence.
Old City Jail, Charleston, South Carolina
This jail housed some real bad guys (and girls!) in its day, with a revolving door of miscreants and criminals passing through its walls. The first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher, stayed there until her execution by hanging. Legend has it she wore her wedding dress to the gallows! People have seen her walking through the halls decked out in her wedding finery.
Fairmont Hotel, Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood offers so many haunted and historic buildings, but perhaps the Fairmont is the most illustrious structure in town. In previous lives it has been a hotel, a brothel and a saloon though today it exists as a restaurant. The property is inhabited by ghosts of all colors from its most colorful past.
Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, Tennessee
A small girl named Mary who died in some sort of accident in the neighborhood is said to haunt the Orpheum. Mary likes to sit in eat C5 and is often seen running up and down the aisles giggling, which has got to be an unsettling sight.
The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
Thousands of soldiers died during the Battle of the Alamo, so perhaps it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that its inhabited by a ton of ghosts, Visitors and personnel have reported sightings of soldier apparitions and disembodied war whoops. You can schedule a nighttime tour to soak up the spooky atmosphere.
Rio Grande Depot, Salt Lake City, Utah
Asheville has the Pink Lady, but did you know that Salt Lake City has the Purple Lady? The story goes that a woman and her fiance were arguing in the train station and the fighting got so intense they called off the engagement. The ring was tossed down the tracks and the woman was killed by an oncoming train while trying to retrieve it. Today, a woman in a purple hat and dress is seen wandering the depot, singing in the restroom.
Brattleboro Retreat Tower, Brattleboro, Vermont
Built in the late 1800s by patients of the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, the tower was closed shortly after it opened because patients were jumping to their deaths. People still see apparitions jumping to their deaths, but the creepiest part is that jumpers are reported while never hitting the ground.
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria, Virginia
One of the more poignant stories on our list relates the tale of a woman arriving from overseas on a ship in 1816. Some sort of illness caused both of them to seek refuge at the Inn, but not long after arriving the woman’s condition deteriorated. On her deathbed, she made all present promise to not reveal her identity and then she died. To this day, no one knows who she was, but both the cemetery she is buried in with the gravestone that reads “Female Stranger” and the tavern are said to be haunted by the unknown woman.
Butterworth Building, Seattle, Washington
Today the Butterworth Building is Kells Irish Pub, but for many years it was actually a mortuary. The pub is endlessly inhabited by creepy, shadowy weirdness. But at least you can have a pint to calm your nerves if you see one.
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, Mercer County, West Virginia
This creepy abandoned amusement park is said to be haunted by a little girl dressed in pink and a mysterious man. Many people died over the 40 years the park was in operation, often in grisy accidents due to unsafe conditions.
The Pfister, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This luxury hotel has so much paranormal activity going on that it threatens to freak out the Major League Baseball teams that stay there every year. There’s a story employees like to tell of a large group of Cardinals who all bunked together in one room after seeing a disembodied torso floating in their rooms.
Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Powell, Wyoming
One of the most famous relocation camps for Japanese Americans during WWII has one of the friendliest ghosts on our list – during the day. Rumor has it, this spirit sometimes gives daytime to guests, but in the evening shadow people wander the grounds which is a bit more unsettling.