Have your nerves of steel inoculated you against scary movies? Friends leaping out of the shadows getting boring? If you feel like having a more immersive experience, you might want to head to a local haunt instead. Take a look at some of the scariest destinations in all 50 states that guarantee a night of frights, from infamous locations to hotels with dark pasts, haunted ships, spooky movie theaters, and beyond. (And please note that while you can visit all these places, some aren’t as accessible as a others. Always make sure to be respectful of the sites, don’t trespass, and never put yourself in a situation where you might get added to the haunt.)
1. Alabama’s Bass Cemetery
To get to one of the spookiest locations in Alabama, drive down Ruffner Road in Irondale, turn on the dirt road, and travel through the isolated woods until you reach Bass Cemetery. According to some, the cemetery was named for Revolutionary War veteran Burrell Bass, who was buried there after his death in 1831; Civil War soldiers and enslaved people are also interred there. Bass Cemetery is neglected, but that’s not all that’s eerie about it: Visitors are said to hear ghostly screams, see strange orbs and apparitions, and experience general feelings of uneasiness. It’s also supposedly a hotbed of occult activity.
2. Alaska’s Red Onion Saloon
The Red Onion Saloon opened in the late 1890s in Skagway, Alaska, not long after a Tlingit and Tagish man named Keish—a.k.a. Skookum Jim Mason—and his party found gold in Rabbit Creek in 1896, sparking the Klondike Gold Rush. Beginning in 1898, it featured a 10-room bordello. After that, it hosted everything from a bakery to a laundry to a television station. Today, it’s a restaurant and museum supposedly haunted by the ghost of a sex worker named Lydia, who apparently makes her presence known through the scent of perfume, disembodied footsteps, cold spots, full-body apparitions—and, apparently, the damp soil of plants, which the proprietors have not watered themselves. The saloon also offers tours—led by ladies dressed in sex worker garb of the Gold Rush era, naturally—where you might even see Lydia herself.
3. Arizona’s Vulture City
The Vulture Mine near Wickenburg, Arizona, was once a super-successful mine where both gold and silver were extracted to the tune of 340,000 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver. Vulture City was built up around it starting in 1863, and at one point, some 5000 residents lived there. But things went downhill in 1942, when the War Production Department closed gold mines that weren’t essential and redirected those efforts towards winning World War II; after that, the town was swiftly abandoned.
But even if there are no living residents in Vulture City, it’s said that some spirits still call the ghost town home, including the ghosts of 18 miners supposedly hanged for theft and seven miners who died in a mine collapse in 1923 and whose bodies could not be removed.
Several of the buildings in Vulture City have been restored to what they would have looked like when they were built. There are self-guided tours and spooky flashlight tours available—just make sure you wear close-toed shoes.
4. Arkansas’s Crescent Hotel & Spa
Let’s head to the Toothpick State for our next spooky location, which calls itself “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” Located on a mountain above Eureka Springs, the Crescent Hotel and Spa cost nearly $300,000 to build and opened in May of 1886. A newspaper article published at the time called it “America's most luxurious resort hotel” that “offers the visiting vacationer an opulence unmatched in convenience and service.” A fancy gala attended by 400 of the town’s movers and shakers marked the occasion.
Over its long history, the Crescent was leased out to a local railroad and housed both a women’s college and a cancer clinic. The latter was run by a man named Norman Baker, a snake oil salesman who made all kinds of claims about how he could cure cancer in non-invasive ways, apparently netting millions in today’s dollars as cancer patients died in droves around him. The American Medical Association had him in their sights, though, and he was eventually charged with mail fraud—though that didn’t stop him from throwing himself a huge birthday party on the grounds. A newspaper article covering Baker’s trial noted that he claimed he’d be able to make $1 million in the first year of his scheme in Eureka Springs and called the people he was fleecing “suckers.” He ended up going to prison for three years.
In 2019, workers discovered bottles from Baker’s operation buried on the property; a few of the bottles had what appeared to be human or animal tissue inside. Bottles found in the dump can now be seen on one of the resort’s ghost tours, where you might also encounter Michael, a stonecutter who died during construction of the hotel, and former hotel physician Dr. John Freemont Ellis, who apparently makes his presence known with the aroma of pipe smoke.
The resort has been home to a resident feline since 1973, when an orange tabby named Morris supposedly waltzed into the lobby and stayed put for 21 years until his death. The hotel has been home to other cats since, but Morris hasn’t gone anywhere: Not only is his gravestone on the property, but supposedly, his ghost rubs up against the legs of guests hanging out in the lobby, and paranormal investigators have caught his “warm purr” on their recordings.
5. California’s Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island has had many lives; under the control of the U.S. Government, the island was the site of a lighthouse, a military fort and prison, and, of course, an infamous federal prison. From 1934 to 1963, the Rock housed the worst of the worst, from mobsters like Al Capone to murderers like Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud and kidnappers like George “Machine Gun” Kelly. After it was closed down, the island was occupied by Native American activists for nearly two years. Alcatraz opened to the public in 1973 and now regularly clocks a million visitors a year. Tourists have reported hearing everything from the clanging of cell doors shutting to voices, whistles, and screams. It’s even said that, on foggy nights, the old lighthouse that once sat on the island will reappear. The National Park Service runs no official ghost tours, but if you’re on the hunt for paranormal activity, you can book a night tour of the prison. Pro tip: D Block is said to be the most haunted.
6. Colorado’s Stanley Hotel
You know a hotel has to be spooky if it inspired one of the greatest horror writers of all time. Stephen King was on vacation in Colorado with his family in September 1974 when they arrived at the Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado, just as the season was ending. They checked into Room 217. At that point, the original grandeur of the hotel had faded; King would later recall that it “seemed the perfect—maybe the archetypical—setting for a ghost story. That night I dreamed of my 3-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed.” He came up with the “bones of the book” that same night.
Built in 1909 near the future Rocky Mountain National Park by Stanley Motor Carriage Company co-founder Freelan Oscar Stanley, the Stanley Hotel features Georgian colonial revival architecture, a spa, a marketplace and restaurants, a hedge maze and other outdoor activities, and, oh yeah, spirits. The helpful ghost of a chambermaid is said to hang out in Room 217; guests apparently wake up with their room tidier than they had left it the night before. The ghostly laughter of children can be heard in the halls, and the hotel’s original owners apparently haven’t left: Flora Stanley's piano can be heard playing in the middle of the night; Mr. Stanley himself reportedly shows up in the background of billiard room photos. Naturally, the hotel offers ghost tours and a Shining “theatrical experience” for guests.
7. Connecticut’s Charles W. Morgan
Visitors to Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport can check out the local museum and climb aboard the last wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. The ship launched from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on July 21, 1841 and undertook nearly 40 voyages in its 80-year career before settling in Mystic. So it’s no wonder that the Morgan is said to be haunted: Several crewmembers on Steven Spielberg’s 1997 movie Amistad, which filmed in Mystic, supposedly felt a presence on the ship. Some tourists reported seeing a man in 19th-century clothing in the blubber room. And even one of the employees of the maritime museum recalled running into the spirit of the pipe-smoking ship keeper.
8. Delaware’s Fort Delaware
Fort Delaware State Park on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River has picnic areas, wildlife, costumed interpreters, a cannon that’s fired off once daily—and, of course, ghosts. Construction on the pentagonal fort was finished in 1859, and it quickly became a prison camp capable of housing nearly 13,000 Confederate soldiers at once—supposedly, some of the spirits of those soldiers still roam the grounds, looking for their chance to escape. Local paranormal groups have even captured pictures of shadowy figures in some areas of the fort. You can take the ferry out to the island from the end of April to almost the end of September, and there are nighttime ghost tours in the month of October [PDF].
9. Florida’s May-Stringer House
Brooksville, Florida’s May-Stringer House is a Painted Lady Victorian that was built in 1855 by John L. May. He died just a few years later of tuberculosis and was buried on the property. His widow, Marena, remarried to a Confederate soldier, and then died in childbirth in 1869. The child survived, but died three years later. They were also buried on the property. The house was eventually sold to a doctor, who added more rooms and used it as his practice. It has since been restored to its Victorian-era glory and turned into a museum. Marena’s ghost is said to walk the halls, as is a spirit known as “Mr. Nasty.” One person who works there compared the May-Stringer house to “Grand Central Station for ghosts.” The ghost hunting packages are offered to brave souls hoping to capture proof of the paranormal.
10. Georgia’s Bonaventure Cemetery
If you’re heading to Savannah, Georgia—which is said to be one of America’s most haunted cities—don’t forget to pack a stuffed animal for Little Gracie, the ghostly ambassador of Bonaventure Cemetery.
Gracie Watson was the daughter of a luxury hotel manager and the sweetheart of late 19th-century Savannah; she would frequently entertain guests with songs in the lobby of the hotel. Sadly, Gracie’s life was short: She died of pneumonia in 1889, when she was around 6. At some point, her grave—which was sculpted based on a photograph of her—became a shrine where people would leave gifts. It’s said that Gracie’s ghost can still be spotted playing in the town square and heard crying when the toys are removed from her grave. Gracie’s grave isn’t the only to bear a statue; the cemetery has a number of other stone figures whose faces supposedly change shape depending on how they feel about a visitor.
11. Hawaii’s Morgan’s Corner
In 1948, a 68-year-old widow named Therese Wilder was killed on Nu‘uanu Pali Road in the Morgan’s Corner neighborhood of Honolulu, Hawaii, by two prisoners who had fled a work line. Shortly after, stories began surfacing that the area was haunted. The house where the crime occurred has long since been demolished, though a gated community apparently still uses the land, which is a popular stop on ghost tours. It’s said that visitors can hear disembodied screams, believed to be the ghost of Therese Wilder yelling for help.
12. Idaho’s Old Idaho Penitentiary
Boise, Idaho’s Old Idaho Penitentiary was built in the 1870’s and operated for 101 years until it was shut down in the 1970s. Members of Butch Cassidy’s gang and many murderers—like Lady Bluebeard Lyda Southard, who was convicted of killing her fourth husband but may have also dispatched her three of her other husbands, and her brother-in-law, and one of her children—were housed there; some 129 people died, including 10 men who were executed. So it’s no wonder that today, the penitentiary is considered one of the state’s most haunted locations.
Numerous TV ghost hunting crews, including Ghost Adventures and Destination Fear, have investigated it. According to an FAQ on the prison’s website, those crews “captured strange/unexplainable images on their cameras. Others claim to hear voices or be physically touched, or sense a ‘heaviness’ or ‘strange feeling’ when visiting the site, specifically in Siberia (solitary confinement cells) and the Gallows Room in the Maximum Security cell house.”
The site is open seven days a week except for holidays; guided tours will cost a little extra.
13. Illinois’s Congress Plaza Hotel
The scene of our next haunting isn’t the grounds of serial killer H.H. Holmes’s murder hotel—that building was torn down in 1938, and now there’s a post office there—but a different hotel altogether. According to legend, the Congress Plaza Hotel is one of the Windy City’s most haunted hotels. It went by Auditorium Annex when it opened in 1893 to house visitors coming into town for the World’s Columbian Exposition, a.k.a. the World's Fair. In the years after that, so many U.S. presidents stayed there—including Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt—that the hotel was nicknamed “the home of the presidents.” It’s also said to be home to a number of ghosts, among them a Spanish-American War veteran who died by suicide before his wedding and a figure with a peg leg. And there are plenty more spine-tingling experiences: Unplugged kitchen appliances are said to turn on, pianos supposedly get played by ghostly hands, and visitors report hearing disembodied humming and whispers. Chicago Ghost Tours stops at the hotel, but you can of course try for the ultimate paranormal experience by staying there yourself.
14. Indiana’s Stepp Cemetery
In a remote area of Morgan-Monroe State Forest near Martinsville, Indiana, is Stepp Cemetery. The burial ground opened in the 1800s, and just 32 gravestones can be found there (though there may be more graves). Visitors to the site—which, according to urban legend, served as a ritual site for a Christian cult called the Crabbites—report hearing strange sounds in the graveyard and seeing the figure of a ghostly woman dressed in black (once a woman in white) who watched over the graves of her loved ones in life and continues to do so in death. Some even believe the whole forest is haunted.
15. Iowa’s Villisca Axe Murder House
The house at 508 E. 2nd Street in Villisca, Iowa, was the site of one of the most horrific murders in Iowa history. Josiah B. Moore and his wife, Sarah, lived in the home with their four children: 11-year-old Herman, 10-year-old Katherine, 7-year-old Boyd, and 5-year-old Paul. On June 10, 1912, sisters Lena and Ina May Stillinger—12 and 8, respectively—were sleeping over when every single person in the household was killed in their bed by an ax-wielding intruder. Though there were a few suspects (including one, Reverend George Kelly, who was put on trial twice and ultimately acquitted), no one was ever brought to justice for the crime. Today, the house—which looks much like it did the night of the murders—is open to the public for tours, and if you’re really brave, you can even stay overnight. According to the house’s official website, visitors on tours have experienced “children’s voices, falling lamps, moving ladders, and flying objects.” If you’re not up for visiting the site of notorious murders, there are plenty of YouTube videos of people who have done so that will let you live vicariously.
16. Kansas’s Sallie House
During your next road trip, you might want to take a detour to Atchison, Kansas—especially if you’re in the mood for something spooky. Beyond being the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, the historic city was once a pit stop for travelers in the mid-1800s going west to find gold.
As many as 1600 wagons were said to travel through the city every day, and according to some locals, all that coming and going might be the reason why Atchison turned into such a haunt for restless spirits, as the city is said to be the most haunted one in Kansas.
Plenty of paranormal tales abound around Atchison, including claims of haunted dorm rooms, parks, and even villas. But Sallie House is perhaps the most well-known ghost story to come out of Atchison: Visitors to the old place on 508 N. 2nd Street report feelings of dread as they walk through the halls, as well as strange smells, objects moving by themselves, and even mysterious marks and scratches that seem to appear out of nowhere.
Eeriest of all, some believe the home is haunted by its namesake, Sallie, who reportedly died inside while undergoing surgery for appendicitis. As the legend goes, the 6-year-old girl wasn’t fully under anesthesia when the doctor made the first incision.
17. Kentucky’s Waverly Hills Sanatorium
What could be worse than checking into a hospital? Never being able to leave it again, even after you’re dead. Down in Louisville, Kentucky, that’s allegedly what happened to many of the patients at Waverly Hills, a local sanatorium that has since gained a reputation for catering more to supernatural wards than human ones.
From around 1910 to 1961, the two-story structure transformed into a five-story hospital where patients were regularly treated for tuberculosis. They were kept in quarantine, but sadly, that’s not all they were subjected to: Brutal tales of patients having their lungs partially removed and then being forced to lay on iron beds for hours in the winter cold abound, and as many as 50,000 people are said to have died on the property.
Once dead, their bodies were secretly disposed of via the “Body Chute,” an over 500-foot tunnel that staffers also used to transport medical supplies in and out of the sanatorium. It’s now considered one of the most haunted spots in the whole structure, along with Room 502—and supposedly, there’s even a ghostly nurse who is still picking up overtime shifts.
18. Louisiana’s LaLaurie Mansion
If you’re a fan of the TV show American Horror Story, the sinister tale of Madame Delphine LaLaurie might be a bit familiar to you already. But as it turns out, the real-life house of horrors she created is a lot stranger in real life than it is in fiction.
Before she was outed as a serial killer, the young Delphine was regarded as a society leader in her native New Orleans. Widowed twice before the age of 30, the socialite eventually remarried and moved into a mansion on 1140 Royal Street, right in the French Quarter.
The LaLaurie mansion became the site of lavish parties, and eventually, lots of murder and bloodshed. On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out inside and when the neighbors rushed to the site to help, they discovered something far more disturbing. According to a contemporary newspaper account, they saw “Seven slaves, more or less horribly mutilated … suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other.” According to some accounts they also saw a 70 year old enslaved woman chained to the kitchen stove by her ankle, claiming she’d started the fire as a suicide attempt.
A mob of angry locals reportedly gathered in response and destroyed what was left of the mansion. Madame LaLaurie was never formally charged with anything and fled to Paris, where she reportedly later died.
Even though it was destroyed in 1834, the mansion was later rebuilt and is now a highlight of many New Orleans ghost tours. Bystanders claim to have seen strange apparitions in windows and around the property, and have reported hearing tortured screams from inside and the sounds of heavy chains being dragged across the floorboards.
19. Maine’s Old Straw House
Built back in the late 1700s, the Old Straw House near Newfield, Maine, is said to be haunted by the spirit of Hannah Straw, a young woman who reportedly died in the winter of 1826. The story goes that because the ground was frozen, her father, Gideon, couldn’t lay her to rest in a proper gravesite—so instead, he opted to bury her underneath the kitchen floorboards. As one might imagine, that didn’t sit well with Hannah or her eternal spirit. She’s rumored to prowl the grounds of the stately old house to this day, appearing in the kitchen window and walking up and down the halls. Several owners over the years have claimed to have seen her.
20. Maryland’s Antietam Battlefields
The single bloodiest day in American history occurred on September 17, 1862, when Union and Confederate forces clashed over the fields along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
Approximately 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or went missing as a result of the battle, and one spot in particular, known as “Bloody Lane,” was said to have been especially horrific: About 5500 men were either left wounded or lost their lives on the 800-yard sunken road. The pile-up of bodies was said to be so bad that you couldn’t take a step without touching a corpse.
Because of that, it should come as no surprise that Bloody Lane—along with the rest of the battlefield—is known now for its ghost sightings. Visitors to the national park have reported strange occurrences, like smelling gunpowder in the air and hearing voices singing and chanting in the distance even when no one else is around. Some have even claimed to see men dressed in Confederate uniforms along the path, who then disappeared into thin air.
The old St. Paul Episcopal Church in Sharpsburg is part of the legend as well. It was used as a hospital for fallen Confederate soldiers during the battle, and it’s said that the floorboards inside are still steeped with blood from that day. Supposedly, after multiple attempts over the years to sand and refinish the floors, the stains won’t lift. It’s almost as if someone—or something—wants people to never forget the tragic violence of that day.
21. Massachusetts’s Spider Gates Cemetery
Deep in the heart of central Massachusetts, there’s a little woodland cemetery that might end up plunging you straight into the jaws of hell—provided you can find it first.
Located in Leicester, Spider Gates—as it’s known to locals—takes its name from the black, wrought-iron gates that lined its front entrance, and which many mistake for spiderwebs. The cemetery was founded by Quakers in the 1700s who, according to legend, believed the ground had “special powers,” but its reputation as the rumored eighth gateway to hell means you’re probably not going to find it on any tourist maps anytime soon. In fact, you can’t even reach it by car—you have to follow an old trail that’s deep in the woods near Kettle Brook Reservoir, and which is lined by multiple “Do Not Trespass” signs.
Rumors that the cemetery is a hotbed for Satanic activity have swirled around for decades, but that’s only the beginning. In the early 1940s, a young man reportedly died by suicide after hanging himself from an oak tree near the entrance; some visitors claim there’s a rope still hanging from one of the tree’s limbs. Others believe a demonic creature watches over the grounds, and you can hear it snarling from deep within the woods as you walk around.
There’s also a patch of land in the middle of the cemetery where the grass doesn't grow well. Believed to be the site of the old Quaker meeting house, all that remains now are cement blocks to mark the old corners. This area is sometimes referred to as the Altar, and while the lore tends to vary, some believe those old cement blocks might be more than meets the eye, and if you walk over them and then you try to pass through the cemetery’s central gate once more, the devil will rise up from hell to drag your soul back down with him.
22. Michigan’s Whitney Restaurant
The Whitney Restaurant in Detroit has been many things over the years: a house, a tuberculosis hospice, and now a fine dining restaurant. And many ghosts come with that history. The restaurant claims that as David Whitney was building it in the late 19th century, his wife died during construction; David married her sister, who died in the house. David died in the house, too. While many places on this list offer haunted tours and the like, the Whitney leans fully into their haunted reputation with the Ghost Bar.
23. Minnesota’s Greyhound Bus Museum
Do you want some education while looking for ghosts? Of course you do, so you should head up to Hibbing, Minnesota, and the Greyhound Bus Museum. According to CBS News, since the museum is right next to a cemetery, it pretty quickly picked up a ghostly reputation, with bus windows opening and closing.
24. Mississippi’s McRaven House
Vicksburg’s infamous McRaven House is often considered the most haunted location in the state. The mansion served as a Confederate field hospital during the Civil War, but eerie occurrences actually started happening well before it served as a shelter for fallen soldiers. The home’s first owner was Andrew Glass, who—according to legend but not necessarily historical reality—was a highwayman who reportedly made his fortune from robbing unsuspecting travelers on the nearby Natchez Trace. His death would end up being the first of many to occur inside the majestic estate.
From a 15-year-old who died giving birth in one of the upstairs bedrooms in the mid-1800s to an entire family that was also wiped out on the grounds, the McRaven House is said to be crawling with ghosts. Not only that, but peculiar things are said to happen all the time there, from strange sounds to lights that flicker off and on at random.
25. Missouri’s Jesse James Farm
It probably comes as no surprise that the Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri, is said to be haunted. As the old stomping grounds of the outlaw Jesse James, the land itself has a storied history: It was where James was raised, and later supposedly whipped as a teenager by Union militia members. Those same soldiers were said to have tortured his stepfather, too. James was later buried in the side yard after his death at the hands of Robert Ford in 1882, although his body was later moved to a proper cemetery.
In the years since, visitors who tour the grounds have claimed to hear the sound of gunshots and horse hooves in the distance, while others claim that on foggy mornings, you can hear disembodied voices whispering around the farm.
26. Montana’s State Prison
Back in April 1959, a massive riot broke out at Montana’s State Prison and led to one of the bloodiest moments in the state’s history. Over the course of 36 hours, violence swept the facility as inmates took full control, leading to multiple deaths and various injuries among guards and inmates alike.
After Deputy Warden Ted Rothe was murdered in the melee, the state’s National Guard was deployed to help restore order inside the prison. And, technically speaking, that’s exactly what they did—with a little help from a bazooka and a Tommy gun. The National Guard aimed directly at Cellblock 1, fired away, and did so much damage to the prison that you can still see the scars of it. Although they successfully quashed the riot, later that August, a major earthquake caused further structural damage within the facility, which contributed to its eventual closure in 1979.
But according to some, the prison still houses some of its old inmates, just in spectral form. The ghost of “Turkey Pete,” a convicted murderer who spent 49 years inside the prison before dying of natural causes in 1967, is said to still linger within Cell No. 1. Others who have since toured the grounds have reported hearing strange noises and feeling like they were being touched and followed around the old facility.
27. Nebraska’s Seven Sisters Road
Just outside of Nebraska City, there’s a road less traveled on, but for a really good reason. Known officially as Road L, Seven Sisters Road is an old path where seven women were allegedly murdered sometime circa the late 1800s, or so the story goes.
According to some accounts, the sisters were killed by their father; in other versions, it was their brother. Either way, an argument was said to have erupted between them and all seven women were slain. Their bodies were then hung, one by one, from a tree on each of the seven hills that line the sprawling roadway.
The angry spirits of the sisters are said to roam it still, and some travelers claim that if you drive the road at night, you can hear strange howls in the distance. Others have even reported that their cars have stalled out and their headlights have gotten remarkably dimmer, only returning to full power once they get off the road.
28. Nevada’s Pioneer Saloon
This ghost tale from Goodsprings, Nevada, is one that’s steeped in real-life tragedy. Back in 1942, legendary actor Clark Gable was said to have posted up at the historic Pioneer Saloon while he waited for news about the fate of his wife, Carole Lombard, the Hollywood starlet whose plane had gone missing around Mount Potosi, located right outside of town.
Gable spent three days at the saloon, where the search party was headquartered. Reportedly, he propped up the corner end of the bar and left cigar burns on the countertops after falling asleep on top of them.
Sadly, there were no survivors of the crash. However, some believe that Lombard’s ghost still haunts the site to this day, in search of her lost love. To mark its connection to Gable and the Lombard tragedy, the Pioneer Saloon created a memorial room for the pair inside the bar, which contains memorabilia and even a piece of the plane.
29. Hampton, New Hampshire
Some ghosts just like to mess around a little bit—they’ll move pictures and play with the lights just for the hell of it. But others? They’re looking to settle some scores. That’s rumored to be the case with “Goody” Cole, the only woman to ever be tried and convicted of witchcraft in the state of New Hampshire, and who has since become known as the ghost of Hampton.
In her lifetime, Cole was regarded as eccentric and vengeful by the local townspeople. After she passed away circa 1680 after being imprisoned for witchcraft, the locals allegedly drove a stake through her corpse and then added a horseshoe around it, to keep her spirit from attacking them from beyond the grave. Speaking of graves, Cole doesn’t have a marked one—she was hastily buried somewhere in town and the whereabouts are still unknown to this day, although the town erected a stone memorial for her in 2013 just outside of the Tuck Museum.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t seemed to do much to appease the angry specter of the state’s only convicted witch. Her ghost is said to still wander along Island Path Road and throughout parts of town with a stake jutting out from her chest, seeking vengeance against the town that wronged her so deeply.
30. New Jersey’s Pine Barrens
Past the pine trees and sandy roads that give New Jersey’s desolate Pine Barrens its name, there reportedly lies something much darker. If you ask around, folks will tell you it’s the Jersey Devil—a winged beast that supposedly has a forked tail, hooves, and the face of a horse atop the body of a kangaroo.
The legend of this Jersey cryptid dates back to the 1730s, when a local woman is said to have discovered she was pregnant with her 13th child and reportedly exclaimed in frustration, “Let this one be the devil!” Sure enough, demonspawn is what she got: The creature is said to have attacked the rest of its family shortly after it was born and then it flew up a chimney and took to the open sky, eventually settling in the Pine Barrens, where it still roams today.
In the centuries since, locals have blamed the Jersey Devil for everything from raiding chicken coops to destroying crops and generally creeping out his neighbors. If you do trek out to the Pine Barrens, you might want to think twice before you start running around in the woods with this devil.
31. New Mexico’s State Penitentiary
New Mexico’s State Penitentiary in Santa Fe was the site of one of the worst prison riots the country has ever seen: 33 incarcerated people died, over 200 were injured, and seven officers were severely beaten or sexually assaulted within the two-day period of February 2 and 3, 1980. Even today, hatchet gashes said to mark the site of a beheading are still visible in the concrete floor. Since then, visitors have reported cell doors slamming shut of their own accord, a “winged demonic specter,” and other phenomena. The prison is open for tours for patrons over the age of 16, though anyone under the age of 18 requires written permission from an adult.
32. New York’s Kreischer Mansion
Any old Victorian house lends itself to an aura of spookiness, but this estate has the sinister history to take it to the next level. German immigrant Balthasar Kreischer moved to Staten Island in the mid-19th century, became a bricklayer, and eventually built a profitable brick factory that his children would inherit. Alongside the factory, he built his son a wood-framed Victorian mansion with verandas, chimneys, and a tower. Life was good for the Kreischers for a while, but this didn’t last. In 1894 when family fortunes fell, Edward Kreischer, Balthasar’s son, died by suicide. That’s when the odd happenings began, according to locals. These included strange lights, voices, and ghost sightings of the Kreischer family.
The mysterious occurrences don’t end there. In 2005, the home was the site of another incident: a Mafia hit carried out by the property caretaker, who stabbed, drowned, dismembered, and finally incinerated his victim in the estate’s furnace. The mansion still opens for events every so often, including Halloween parties and, surprisingly, yoga and wellness retreats.
33. North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville is the largest privately owned house in North America with an impressive 250 rooms. George Vanderbilt, an art collector and the estate’s namesake, allegedly still haunts the area with his wife, Edith, who can be heard calling his name down the corridors. If you’re interested in massive residential architectural feats, or you want a good scare, you can book a tour.
34. North Dakota’s Custer House
George Armstrong Custer, a Union general in the American Civil War, died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn along with his nephew Henry, his brother-in-law James, and his brothers Boston and Thomas. This was obviously a devastating loss to the whole Custer family, and particularly his widow, Libbie. Legend has it, she’s still waiting at their house, longing for her husband to return home. Their home, or at least a replica of it, is open for historical tours, and according to tour guides, the general’s ghost sometimes appears.
35. Ohio’s The Ridges
The Ridges used to be known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum, which opened in 1874. There, patients were experimented on with shock therapy and lobotomies. One patient named Margaret Schilling disappeared in December 1978. She had died during her disappearance, and her decomposing body wasn’t discovered for over a month. To this day, there’s a stain on the floor where her body was found.
36. Oklahoma’s Constantine Theater
Oklahoma’s Constantine Theater is a hotel-turned-performance-venue built in the 1880s. After paranormal investigators explored the building, they obtained 40 hours of audio, video, and electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) from the stage. The ghost they were investigating is likely to be Sappho Constantine Brown, the daughter of the theater’s owner. It’s not clear why her spirit has decided to stick around the place, but we’d like to believe she’s still waiting for her chance at the stage.
37. Oregon’s Hot Lake Springs
Nothing could be more relaxing than a trip to some hot springs, right? Originally, the hot lake springs in La Grande, Oregon, were the central attraction of the Hot Lake Sanitorium. In the early 1900s, this was the place to go to cure what ailed you. But when part of the building burned down in the 1930s, the 100-plus room hotel was repurposed into a nurse’s school, an insane asylum, and even storage for the dead bodies of typhoid patients.
Now it’s called The Lodge at Hot Lake Springs, and amenities include a pub, a movie theater, and free access to spooky sounds on the third floor.
38. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg was home to the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War with around 51,000 casualties. Now, ghosts of the soldiers are said to haunt the area. Some people have reported bad smells akin to rotting bodies coming from seemingly nothing, while others have seen phantom soldiers lurking around areas that, at the time of the Civil War, were used as shelters.
39. Rhode Island’s Biltmore Hotel
A few years ago Rhode Island’s Biltmore Hotel changed its name. But back when it was the Biltmore, it was home to massive parties and celebrations during the 1920s Prohibition era. One notable partygoer supposedly jumped out of a window on the 14th floor, and some visitors have reported seeing his ghost falling to his death.
40. South Carolina’s Summerville Light
Ghost hunters frequent South Carolina’s Sheep Island Road in search of a woman carrying a lantern. Legend has it that the woman walked her husband home from work every night, and even after he died in a logging accident, she continued pacing down the road waiting for him. Eventually, she passed away too, but the light from her lantern remains visible in the distance.
41. South Dakota’s Bullock Hotel
In the TV show Deadwood Timothy Olyphant plays Seth Bullock, a real-life sheriff who got the real Deadwood, South Dakota, up and running many years ago. In addition to policing the town, he also eventually established his own hotel, the Bullock Hotel. He supposedly died in room 211 in 1919, but apparently, he never left. The hotel was restored and reopened for those passing through historic Deadwood, and there are still reports of people feeling the presence of Sheriff Bullock. Be careful if you want to stay at this ornate hotel, because the sheriff might be watching—and we say “might be” because, according to historian David A. Wolff, he died at home rather than at the hotel.
42. Tennessee’s Sensabaugh Tunnel
The Sensabaugh Tunnel is a relatively small tunnel in Church Hill, Tennessee. It doesn’t look particularly remarkable—it has its fair share of graffiti and wear and tear. But a local urban legend makes this place much scarier than its appearance would suggest. The tunnel was named after Edward Sensabaugh, a man who owned the land in the 1920s. In some versions of the tale, he let a wanderer stay in his home one night; the visitor ended up stealing his baby and then drowned the baby in the tunnel. In another, Edward himself killed his family and put their bodies in the tunnel. And the last and most widely believed theory holds that the tunnel used to be a common meeting spot for rebellious teens looking to cause some ruckus. Fed up with their shenanigans, Edward would hide at one end of the tunnel and shriek to scare off the kids. To this day, people are scared to drive through the tunnel. You might hear a baby’s cries, or hear the footsteps of a man approaching you.
43. Texas’s USS Lexington
The USS Lexington was launched in 1942 and played a part in multiple World War II battles and raids. After it was retired, it ended up in Corpus Christie, Texas, where it became a landmark and museum. Now, anyone can tour the ship and learn about its fascinating history. And, if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on your taste), you might also feel a paranormal presence. The ship is reportedly haunted and has been featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Lab, with stories that range from shadowy figures roaming the ship to spectral touches as people walk through. The museum’s executive director Steve Banta even said, “There’re too many accounts that there has to be something to it.”
44. Utah’s Ogden City Cemetery
Unsurprisingly, graveyards are known to be a little haunted. In Ogden, Utah, one cemetery in particular has two notable haunted locales. One is the statue of a World War I soldier. The story goes that if you walk around the statue three times, the statue will change positions, or start following you with his eyes. No thank you! The other is the tombstone belonging to Flo Grange. There are many stories of how Flo died, but the most popular seems to be that, while waiting for her boyfriend in the cemetery, she was struck by a car and died. Now, if you flash your headlights at her gravestone three times, you will summon Flo’s ghost.
45. Vermont’s Emily’s Bridge
Taking a road trip through picturesque Vermont? Make sure to stop through the town of Stowe. Stowe is home to a small covered bridge known as Emily’s Bridge. But it wasn’t always called that. As the story goes, back in the 1800s, a young woman named Emily waited on the Gold Brook Bridge for her love to arrive so they could elope and live happily ever after. He never came. Emily then took her own life by jumping from the bridge. Ever since, stories of an evil specter haunting the bridge have permeated the town. Strange voices, sights, and even scratch marks on passing cars have been reported.
46. Virginia’s Saint Albans Sanatorium
There’s a very tragic spot in Radford, Virginia: A boy’s school that was turned into a mental hospital that was built atop the location of a bloody Civil War battle as well as several colonial skirmishes with Native Americans. What eventually became known as the St. Albans Sanitorium was a horrifying institution that abused and tortured their patients. And now, it’s a full-time paranormal tour site: For just $20, you can have until 1 a.m.. to explore the former mental hospital.
47. Washington’s Mount Baker Theater
The Mount Baker Theater in Bellingham, Washington, is reported to be haunted. ‘By what?’ you might ask. Well, there are two stories. One involves a young woman named Judy, whom film projectionists over the years have reported hearing or seeing late at night. But the theater itself offers a walking ghost tour, which revolves around a ghost panther.
48. West Virginia’s Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
Lake Shawnee was a small theme park in the woods of Princeton, West Virginia, that opened in 1926. It was built atop a grisly site where multiple children had been murdered years before. To make any type of “haunted cursed theme park” tropes worse, some number of children died on the premises during its run. It closed in 1967. It was briefly opened again in the ‘80s, but quickly shut down again. Today, it’s an overgrown, rusty, defunct memorial of a terrible place that is reported to be one of the most haunted spots in the country. So while you can technically go visit it, we do not recommend actually going inside—just look at it from afar.
49. Wisconsin’s Pfister Hotel
The Pfister can be found in downtown Milwaukee. It’s a lavish hotel built over 120 years ago that looks like the perfect place for a fancy ball. One attendee you might find at that ball is the original builder of the hotel, Charles Pfister, who apparently haunts the corridors and hallways of the fancy hotel at night.
But if you’re skeptical of rumors from anonymous guests, how about from the words of famous athletes? There’s a full roster of athletes who have passed through Milwaukee for various visiting games who have scary stories from their stay. Just for a taste, here’s what former Texas Rangers third baseman Michael Young had to say about the Pfister: “Oh, f**k that place. Listen, I'm not someone who spreads ghost stories, so if I'm telling you this, it happened.”
50. Wyoming’s Occidental Hotel
If the Wild West is more your speed, you can visit Wyoming’s Occidental Hotel. It doesn’t outright advertise its potentially haunted halls, but it does proudly boast a long and storied history of famous guests. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid apparently hid out there back when it first opened. Other famous Occidental guests include Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, and Theodore Roosevelt. But underneath the veil of its charming Western digs, there are reports of strange occurrences happening at the hotel. Employees have reported unexplainable, creepy events, and it’s said that some may be caused by the ghost of a daughter of a sex worker from long ago.
Written by Bethel Afful, Justin Dodd, Erin McCarthy, and Shayna Murphy. A version of this story ran in 2017; it has been updated for 2023.