With a long and tumultuous history, it's no surprise that the United States of America is home to many haunted places. Every state in the country has many well-known hauntings, but some haunts are notorious than others. These 14 places in the US are among the most haunted in America, providing paranormal adventurers with plenty of opportunities to encounter a ghost.
Over 10,000 men died in the battle of Gettysburg. As America's most haunted battlefield, it has appeared on many paranormal television shows. And anyone who has visited and encountered a ghost can confirm that Gettysburg the most haunted place in the entire country.
Located in Pennsylvania, the battlefield is now a national historical site. Tourists report astonishing ghostly encounters, many associated with the bloody battle fought there. Visitors often believe they've met Civil War re-enactors, only to find out later that no such groups were at the park. Learn more about visiting the most haunted place in America on the Gettysburg website, which includes general park information.
The Bell Witch Cave
In Adams, Tennessee, you'll find the Bell Witch cave. The Bell Witch is one of the oldest unexplained hauntings in US history. Between 1817 and 1821, the Bell family of Adams, Tennessee was troubled by a poltergeist that pinched the children, laughed, sang, and made fruit appear out of thin air. Some say the witch that performed these feats was a neighbor who hated John Bell, the family patriarch. She swore to murder him and by some accounts, she succeeded. Others believe the witch was a poltergeist spirit that never had human form. The Bell Witch promised to return to the Bell's descendants in 1935, although it is unclear whether she did. There are tours of the Bell Witch cave on John Bell's old property, with nighttime and daytime visits available.
The Stanley Hotel
A luxury destination 7,500 feet up in the Rockies and over a century old, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is a popular haunted destination, in large part due to Stephen King's classic horror novel, The Shining. King and his wife stayed at the haunted hotel one year as winter approached, and his experience sparked King to write the novel. Interior shots for the movie were also filmed there in The Lodge building. Today, The Stanley is home to active hauntings in both the main Victorian hotel, built in 1909 and the neighboring building, The Lodge, which was built in 1910 to house bachelors.
F.O and Flora Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame built The Stanley, and they still hang around the hotel's grand rooms. Visitors and staff hear Flora playing the piano, and the ghosts are apparently much more peaceful than those in King's imagination. In The Lodge, people encounter a gentleman ghost dressed in period clothing, as well as hearing the ghost of Lodge's mascot, golden retriever Cassie, scratching at their doors in the early morning as she delivers papers to guests. Other reports include seeing chambermaids, hearing voices, noticing phantom footsteps, and similar activity.
Book a room at The Stanley, or you can stop by for one of the many historical and ghost tours offered multiple times per day on the property.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Waverly Hills Sanatorium is notorious for its active and plentiful hauntings. The building opened to tuberculosis patients in 1910 and through the years, it served as a home for the elderly and the severely disabled, a concert venue, and now, and haunted site with tours. As often happen at any place associated over the long term with death and disease, not all the original Waverly inhabitants rest in peace. Prepare to experience shadow people, ghostly nurses, and disembodied voices singing and crying. There are tours, which range from a few hours to overnight, and the site is eerie even in daylight.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Volumes could be (and have been) written about the haunted prison, Eastern State Penitentiary. It opened in 1829 and attempted to rehabilitate the prisoners using strict work schedules, enforced silence, and hoods to block out any views of the outdoors. Outlaws like Willie Sutton and Al Capone did hard time in Eastern State's cells but as the building became overcrowded and outdated, violence often ensued.
Today, the prison is a hotbed of hauntings. Visitors report hearing cell doors slamming, seeing shadow people, and even encountering the occasional full-body apparition. As with many prison hauntings, the nature of the paranormal activity at Eastern State can feel pretty dark and spooky to visitors. If you're brave enough, you can take a paranormal tour or attend an event at the haunted prison.
Saint Augustine Lighthouse
Located in Florida, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum has been a haunted haven for years. There have been buildings near the sea since the 1600s in St. Augustine, as well as a lighthouse on the premises since 1821. The current lighthouse was opened in 1874, and visitors have reported smelling cigar smoke, finding locked doors opened, and seeing chairs move.
Ghost stories about the lighthouse have intrigued visitors for decades. Two of the most touching ghosts are the daughters of Hezekiah Pity, who was working on the building in the 1880s. According to the story, Eliza and Mary were playing on a small rail car when it broke loose and rolled into the bay where the girls drowned. Visitors have reported hearing their laughter or seeing them walking along the shore. You can take a ghost tour of the lighthouse to experience its ghosts.
Mount Misery Road and Sweet Hollow Road
Bucolic, well-heeled Long Island seems distant from the paranormal world, but the area known as West Hills has boasted amazing paranormal activity for over a century. Located near Melville, Long Island, Mount Misery Road was so-named by settlers cursing its difficult passage. Both Mount Misery Road and parallel Sweet Hollow Road have a rich history of paranormal phenomena.
Local Indigenous people believed the area was cursed and kept their distance. Since that time the area has served as the focus of many legends and ghostly tales. Ghostly faces manifest in the trunks of trees, strange lights play over the woods, and misty apparitions appear to drivers near the Northern State Parkway.
RMS Queen Mary
Many ships have a haunted reputation. Now permanently docked in Long Beach, CA and serving as a hotel, the RMS Queen Mary certainly has its share of ghostly happenings. This haunted ocean liner contains numerous spirits, including ghostly children playing by the pool where they drowned, and the spirit of a sailor crushed to death by a door. You can stay overnight in one of the suites or rooms aboard the Queen Mary, or visit the exhibits or tours where you might have your own ghostly encounter.
The White House, Washington, DC
The White House may not be the easiest place to book a tour, but it is possible with planning and time. It has been home to US Presidents for nearly two centuries, and it's haunted by several ghosts, making it one of Washington DC's most notorious haunts. The White House is still the home to the ghosts of former American political luminaries including Abraham Lincoln, Harry S Truman, and others.
Lincoln's ghost is quite active: he appeared to Winston Churchill one night near the fireside and knocked on the door of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands when she was visiting the US (the Queen fainted at the sight). There are no ghost hunts here, but experiencing this house is a must do for paranormal enthusiasts.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
More than 100 documented reports of ghost sightings make Bachelor's Grove Cemetery one of the most haunted cemeteries in the United States. The forested area near the suburb of Midlothian, outside of Chicago, contains a small cemetery where many people witness glowing balls of light hovering over the area. It's also the site of one of the most infamous ghost photos ever captured.
The 1777 Battle of Saratoga turned the Revolutionary War in favor of the American rebels by stopping the British from splitting the colonies apart. The battlefield is now a national historic site and hosts reenactments, tours, and other events. It's also home to several specters. Visitors to the Stillwater, NY park have reported hearing drums, shouts, and the sounds of weaponry in battle. The Wilkinson Trail provides a chilling walk in the woods and fields where you might run into a soldier who is still fighting for freedom.
Perhaps the most haunted road in the US is a former quarry access that parallels part of the Meramec River near St. Louis in an area called Wildwood. The road is officially called Rock Hollow Trail, and it's home to some spooky stuff. Chilling ghost stories have included sightings of an old cabin with a scary ghost woman who screams at passersby. When visitors try to find it again, the house is nowhere to be seen. Other reports include encountering the ghost of a man who was killed doing quarry work and still can't find his way home. The road is open to hikers during the day, but be very careful at night for reasons other than ghosts: you can incur a hefty fine for trespassing.
Hudson River Near Sleepy Hollow
Rivers are not often listed as haunted places, but leaving out the Hudson near Sleepy Hollow would be a paranormal mistake. The river is where Indigenous Americans, Dutch, and English brought their stories and cultures to share as well as clash. One of the most famous haunts on the river is the Storm Ship of the Hudson. This Dutch ship appears before a storm when lightning and winds whip the river into a frenzy. To see the ship was to have terrible fortune - or worse. The ship still appears, and witnesses say it is listing crazily yet steadily moving north on the river without a crew. Whose ship it is remains a mystery, but it is a centuries old haunting.
The Lincoln Square Theater
For years, the grand old Lincoln Square Theater in Decatur, IL provided visitors with many classic examples of paranormal activity. Visitors heard ghostly footsteps or felt the hair on their arms stand on end with the chill of mysterious encounters. The theater opened in 1916, built where a hotel had previously been. The Priest Hotel was built in 1860, experienced name changes over the next few decades, and burned to the ground in 1915. At least two people were killed in the fire. Unfortunately, the theater is closed, but history lovers hope to revitalize and reopen it as a community arts and education center. Stay tuned.
Experience America's Most Haunted Places
Visiting haunted sites across America can be good fun or an intense experience. So hit the haunted road and tour some of America's most creepy and fascinating haunts.