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The 10 Most Haunted Places in America

haunted split

As Halloween draws near, shut the lights off, grab your pet, a well-worn blanket, and curl up to read about some of the most spine-tingling and frightening places on Earth. As the ghost stories of each place draw you in, be aware of that disembodied footstep or strange rapping noise-it may just be a spirit trying to reach out to you!

1. Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary
Mishele21, Flickr/

Made famous by the Sy-Fy show ‘Ghost Hunters’ (fans of TAPS will remember former investigator Brian Harnois’ infamous “Dude, run!” line as he bolted away from the ghost), Eastern State Penitentiary is known for its ghostly legends of inmates who were driven mad by solitary confinement. One locksmith reported attempting to restore a 140-year-old lock in Cell Block Four when a massive force subdued him. He also reported seeing “anguished faces” on the walls and feeling a “negative presence” as well.

Visitors have also reported seeing ghostly figures stalking the halls, and hearing strange sounds. One of the more infamous ghosts is that of an inmate who murdered 27 people trying to break free. With such a dark history, it’s no surprise these bloody ghosts still walk the halls of their prison.

2. Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg, PA
becky04181949, Flickr

Soaked in the blood of both Confederate and Union soldiers, Gettysburg is prime ghost-hunting location. As seen on the episode of ‘Paranormal State’ at the Tilly House, soldiers and citizens of the town still roam around, not feeling at peace. A grizzled Union soldier still haunts Little Round Top, firing ammunition from his musket and Devil’s Den is known to be haunted by a Confederate soldier from Texas who tells those unlucky enough to glimpse him that “what they’re looking for is over there” before vanishing.

There have also been reports of ghostly battle cries and campfire conversations at Wadsworth Avenue, so if you’re brave enough to attempt to get an EVP, that’s a prime haunting location for the military ghosts who still roam around the town.

3. Waverly Hills Sanitorium

Waverly Hills Travel Channel

Also appearing in an episode of the Sy-Fy show ‘Ghost Hunters,’ this Kentucky sanitorium was once home to tuberculosis patients during the early 1900s. At least 6,000 deaths occured there, and some residents still haven’t left! A woman with slashed wrists has appeared to visitors, screaming and begging for help, and yet others have reported spotting moving shadows and hearing screams of pain.

One of the more famous spirits is that of a little boy (thought to be the same one Grant Wilson of TAPS attempted to communicate with by rolling a ball during the live Halloween special) who often shows up in both pictures and video. Still open to visitors and paranormal teams alike, would you be brave enough to communicate with the poor souls who still haunt Waverly?

4. Alcatraz Prison, CA

Getty Images

Known for its bloody hisory, Alcatraz often made its prisoners go insane and their tortured spirits still haunt these very walls. One inmate reported seeing glowing eyes in his cell, and was found strangled the next morning by the guards. The dungeons, where prisoners were left chained to the wall in the nude are the site of many paranormal experiences: screams are often reported as emmanting from that area.

Meanwhile, Cell 14D is known to visitors as being very “intense” and paranormal investigators report that it’s hopping with spirit activity. Their most famous inmate of all is Al Capone and the famous mobster (reportedly) still plays his banjo in the shower room. Perhaps if one listens closely, you’ll hear the mob ghost’s music mingling with the screams of the poor souls still imprisoned there.

5. The Stanley Hotel, CO

The Stanley Hotel
Ishrona, Flickr

Famous for being the place where Jack Nicholson went crazy in ‘The Shining,’ this hotel is a hot spot for paranormal activity. The Paranormal Research Society of ‘Paranormal State’ fame had a “field trip” there, and TAPS from “Ghost Hunters” has experienced phenomena there.

Their famous spooks include a young boy who makes his presence known in room 1211 and a young man who likes to hang out in closets and bedrooms. The hotel’s owner, Mr. Stanley, also makes his presence known by appearing to visitors in the lobby and billiards room, while his wife Flora entertains guests by playing a piano. The hotel offers ghost tours, so next time you’re there, bring a camera. Who knows? Perhaps a friendly spirit will appear for a picture!

6. Bell Witch Cave, Tennessee

Bell Witch Cave
atomicsherbert0, Flickr

The site where John Bell and his family were tormented by a ghost now known as the Bell Witch is open to brave visitors who wish to explore the spirit world. The legend varies, but most accounts say that the Bell family’s neighbor Kate Batts believed she was cheated out of property in a land purchase and tormented his daughter Betsey for years after she died.

Visitors claim that anything they take back from the site is cursed, and have also reported encountering a violent force. Technology doesn’t work there either, with cameras mysteriously shutting off and flashlights dying. Would you be brave enough to face Kate’s wrath if you visited?

7. Lincoln Theater, Illinois

Lincoln Theater
Black.Doll, Flickr

While the Phantom of the Opera may not be in residence, there are still various phantoms haunting this space! Ghostly audience members and cold spots have been reported, as well as a young couple who still wanders around the theater and reports of footsteps that are heard on-stage.

Legend has it that the former buildings on this site had fatal fires, and a ghostly stage hand still walks the halls of the theater he so loved. Strange sounds and apparitions have been encountered on both the staircase and the balcony too. So next time you visit this grand ol’ theater, be on the lookout for any phantoms who might be lurking about.

8. Myrtle Plantation,LA

Myrtle Plantation
MorrisTeamRealEstate, Flickr

This plantation is known for its ghostly inhabitants: it was built over an ancient First Nations burial ground and rumor has it that ten deaths have occured on the site. A slave named Chloe who was killed by fellow slaves is the most popular of the ghosts, but visitors have reported seeing ghostly children on the verandah, a curly-haired woman who mysteriously appears and disappears, as well as odd hand prints that show up in mirrors.

One visitor reported having a cold spot over her bed and being kept awake by a rattling closet door. Just keep in mind if you want to get some sleep, you’ll have to tell the ghosts to keep it down first.

9. Moundsville Penitentiary, West Virgina

Moundsville Penitentiary
April A. Taylor (Dark Art/Horror Photography), Flickr

Another site of the Paranormal State’s PRS “field trips“, this prison is a prime ghost-hunting location! Considered to be one of the most violent of America’s prisons, its inmates still haunt the halls to this day.

The Sugar Shack is known to house ghosts of the prison and visitors have reported seeing the circular cage near the entrance gate move by itself, as if prisoners are still arriving. Others have claimed to feel nauseous, get EVPS on their voice recorders, and hear evil laughter. The prison holds ghost tours, so if you’re brave enough to come face to face with a ghost, grab your flashlight and enter the site…if you dare.

10.  St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida

St. Augustine Lighthouse
luv2run, Flickr

Another location made famous by TAPS, this lighthouse’s spooks are known to make their presence known by appearing as moving shadows and making unexplained noises. Legend has it that the daughters of the Superintendent of Lighthouse Construction drowned, and are haunting the building ever since their untimely death.

Three other people have passed away in the lighthouse from illnesses, and one keeper named Joseph fell to his death. Visitors have claimed to see shadows high up in the tower, as well as hearing the daughters laughing and giggling at night. The eldest girl is also fond of appearing to visitors in the outfit she passed away in. As the night grows closer, would you dare to walk around in this haunted building or would you leave them be?

Photo by Aaron Savage
Photo by Aaron Savage

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