Halloween is all about finding ways to scare ourselves, whether that’s watching a horror flick through your fingertips or shuffling through a haunted house. If those ideas seem like child’s play to you, though, up the spookiness factor by checking out these real-life haunted spots.
Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham is notorious for the crazy number of workers that died there from burns, steam explosions, and falls. James “Slag” Wormwood is said to still haunt the place after falling into a giant pool of melted iron ore in 1906. In 2010, Syfy’s Ghost captured images of ghosts, orbs, and shadowy figures here.
Visitors have reported a strong scent of perfume and unusual cold spots at the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway. The spot is said to be haunted by the spirit of a prostitute, Lydia, who worked there when the bar was a brothel.
The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee is apparently home to three ghosts: an older gentleman with long hair and a beard, a little boy, and a prostitute named Julia Lowell. The old man appears in doorways on the fourth floor, the young boy is often heard giggling or running through the halls, and Julia tends to touch or whisper to men while they sleep on the third floor.
There’s a reason Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs is considered “America’s Most Haunted Hotel”: It was once a hospital where patients would rarely leave alive thanks to defective medical practices. Some spirits still linger, like a worker who fell to his death in 1885, a cancer patient who needs help finding his room key, and even a cat named Morris.
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose was home to Sarah Winchester of Winchester Rifles, and is said to be haunted by ghosts of her deceased family and those killed with their famous weapons.
If the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park was spooky enough to inspire Stephen King’s The Shining, then you know it must be haunted. At least four spirits—named Lucy, Paul, Eddie and Elizabeth—regularly roam the hotel’s hallways. Guests have reported seeing flickering lights, hearing laughter, and hearing the sound of footsteps echoing off the walls.
A cemetery is a pretty solid place to look for ghosts, but Union Cemetery in Easton is next level. Mists, light rods, and orbs have all appeared in photos taken there, and there are reports of a lady wearing a white nightgown or a wedding dress roaming the grounds as well as a pair of red eyes that float in the night.
Fort Delaware in Delaware City embraces its spookiness by hosting ghost tours where visitors have claimed to captured pictures of dead confederate soldiers and reported feeling cold spots and hearing the sounds of explosions.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse was owned by Dr. Allan Ballard in the 1800s; when the state threatened to take the building by force, he threatened to never leave the property. People still seem him roaming around today, along with the spirit of lighthouse keeper Joseph Andreau.
Savannah is considered one of the most haunted cities in the country, and Moon River Brewing Company is famous for hosting multiple spirits—named Toby, James Starks, and The Lady in White—who all stayed at the property when it was the City Hotel. Guests have reported doors being held closed and people getting pushed down the stairs.
Even the ghosts in Hawaii embrace the aloha spirit! The Iao Theatre, which opened in 1928 in Wailuku, is reportedly home to a nice female spirit who roams around.
Former inmates are said to haunt the Old Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise, which operated from 1872 to 1973. Visitors have reported feeling touches, hearing whispers in the hallways, and seeing unexplainable flashing lights. The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures even photographed what appeared to be a male ghost at the property.
Not only are there traditional vanishing spirits at the Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Chicago, but there’s also a disappearing building. There are tales of a ghost house that appears to visitors but vanishes when you get close.
The Blue Lady who haunts Story Inn in Nashville will appear if you turn on a blue light in the room and leaves behind blue objects. Guests have also reported smelling cherry tobacco, her favorite when she was alive in in the 1800s.
On June 9, 1912, six members of the Moore family and two houseguests were brutally murdered with an axe in what’s now known as the Villisca Axe Murder House. The crime was never solved, and to this day people say they’ve seen unusual green lights as well as bloodstains vanishing from the walls. There are daytime tours, but if you really want to test your limits, you can spend the night.
When Tony and Debra Pickman moved into the Sallie House in Atchison in 1993, strange things started to happen: Toys would rearrange themselves, fires broke out in the house, and Tony was reportedly violently attacked several times by the spirit Sallie, who died there in the 1800s.
Thousands of people are said to have died at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, which was used to house tuberculosis sufferers. Now, there are reports of flickering lights and shadowy figures, and ghost hunters have said they’ve heard voices telling them to leave on the fifth floor.
Paranormal activity has been experienced at the Old Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge since the Civil War, when it became a prison. People say they’ve heard footsteps in empty hallways, seen doors opening and closing on their own, and witnessed a little girl spirit named Sara Morgan roaming the grounds.
The Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta was turned into a psychiatric hospital in 1901, and thousands were reported to have been buried in unmarked graves there after dying during horrific treatments. Though the facility closed in 2004, there are numerous stories of spirits appearing and cries of former residents being heard.
Head to the 19th floor at The Lord Baltimore Hotel if you dare—it’s here that visitors have reported seeing the ghost of a little girl with a red ball, black shoes, and a long dress, and where the elevator mysteriously stops without pushing the button. Apparently, a couple committed suicide here in 1929, leaving behind their young daughter.
You can actually spend the night at Lizzie Borden’s House in Fall River, where she allegedly brutally murdered her father and stepmother. Expect to hear sounds of a woman weeping, see shoes moving across the floor, and witness a ghost of an older lady tucking you into bed.
Apparently, there’s a portal to Hell under the “Hippy Tree” located on the trails behind the crumbling Traverse City State Hospital. People have claimed to hear screams and voices and seen disfigured, shadowy figures.
Visitors to The Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Center are actually warned about ghosts like Lucy, a prostitute who worked in the Sauk Centre House brothel and haunts room 17. A ghost-hunting group reportedly recorded a temperature of -1°F in the room.
King’s Tavern is the oldest standing building in Natchez, so of course paranormal activity is to be expected. In the 1930s, three mummified bodies were discovered in the cellar, and visitors say they’ve heard a baby crying, seen strange reflections in the mirrors, and say that the unoccupied beds feel warm like someone was just sleeping in there.
Everyone’s seen the famous movie The Exorcist, but the event that inspired the flick happened at 8435 Roanoke Drive in St. Louis. A teenage boy called “Roland Doe” was brought to his family in the city after allegedly becoming possessed by a demon while playing with a Ouija board in Maryland.
The Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge operated from 1871 until the late 1970s, and it’s been home to several murders and suicides. Since then, ghosts have appeared in empty cells, phantom footsteps have been heard, and cell doors close by themselves.
Don’t walk through the Ball Cemetery in Springfield a night — apparently there’s a tall man that walks around in the middle of the night attacking visitors. Some people have reported getting inexplicable bruises after visiting, hearing the voice of a woman laughing, and seeing tombstones tipping over and rising back up on their own.
The Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield has been featured on several paranormal TV shows since the spirits of the former owner, George Wingfield, and his mistress, Elizabeth, have been felt here. According the legend, George kept Elizabeth chained to the radiator in room 109 after learning she was pregnant and she died there shortly after giving birth.
Although the New Hampshire State Hospital in Concord is now abandoned, daring explorers who have ventured in the one-time brutal asylum say they’ve heard footsteps and screams, felt cold spots, and seen objects pushed off tables.
Many psychiatric facilities in New Jersey have been demolished, but Trenton Psychiatric Hospital still remains. It’s said that the hospital director, Dr. Henry Cotton, believed that he could cure mental illness by removing organs, and he performed surgeries without anesthesia. Victims can still be heard screaming in the halls.