25 reportedly haunted places across America
Published 3:10 pm Friday, October 13, 2023
25 reportedly haunted places across America
If you already believe in ghosts, you might be apt to see them anywhere you look—or blame the unexplained on something of a supernatural sort rather than on solid science. But, there are some places in the United States where ghost sightings are so frequent, that you’ve got to wonder if they could really be haunted.
Stacker researched some of the haunted tourist destinations across the country—ones that make for a spirited stay, whether you’re seeking a paranormal experience for Halloween or not. These aren’t just where people have lost their lives, or where the dead have been laid to rest—although any of these sites could still be the stomping grounds for souls that haven’t fully departed because of the tragedy that befell them when they were alive.
Other locations might be more occult in nature—in which case, you’ve got to make sure you don’t bring an unwanted guest home with you after you’ve paid them a visit. And others might simply be a place that the occupants enjoyed and never wanted to leave.
Based on reported sightings and haunted histories, these are 25 reportedly haunted places across America where ghost stories abound. You might just catch a glimpse of an apparition in one of these places that could make you a believer, no matter how much of a skeptic you were when you arrived.
Spencer Platt // Getty Images
The Jane Hotel, New York City
Built in 1908 as the American Seamans Friend Society Institute Building, The Jane Hotel on Manhattan’s far west side has one huge claim to fame that contributes to its haunted reputation: It’s where surviving crew members from the Titanic shipwreck stayed in 1912 after the RMS Carpathia dropped them off at the nearby the Cunard-White Star pier (now Pier 54).
Haunted Rooms America considers it one of the six most haunted hotels in New York City, while the New York Post called it “the city’s spookiest destination for Halloween” based on legends of the ghosts that roam its halls. Guests can still book an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s ship-like “cabin” rooms and look for ghostly figures loitering the long hallways or in one of the communal bathrooms.
Robert Alexander/Archive Photos // Getty Images
Old Washoe Club, Virginia City, Nevada
You don’t have to look very hard to find hauntings (or ghost tours) in Virginia City’s nationally recognized historic district along C Street—but one of the most famous haunted destinations in the former silver mining town is the Washoe Club Museum & Saloon, the city’s oldest saloon formerly known as the Old Washoe Club.
Today, a tour guide can take you through the spirited stories of the 1862 historic building and its “haunted hotspots,” where you might see the apparition of a woman in a Victorian blue dress in a window or a former “lady of the night” named Lena (who reportedly worked at an upstairs brothel) near one particular stairwell. Guests, including paranormal investigators, have reported feeling like they were grabbed or even scratched and witnessing a door seemingly slamming shut on its own.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
It’s possible that the two-story, eight-room farmhouse that Sarah Winchester purchased in San Jose in 1886 was already occupied by ghosts when she moved in. Some speculate that Sarah herself was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles—manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Company, the company founded by her father-in-law Oliver Winchester—and that she kept adding onto the home because of instructions she received from spirits.
Legend has it her design plans included a séance room, but whether spirits were actually summoned is a mystery today. However, celebrity medium James van Praagh claims to have communed with Sarah’s spirit within its walls; and even the magician Harry Houdini, a famed skeptic, couldn’t completely debunk her home’s possible ties to the supernatural, nicknaming it the “Mystery House” when he visited in 1924.
Visitors can decide for themselves by taking a tour of the estate, which has been open as an attraction since the 1930s.
George Rose // Getty Images
RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
The RMS Queen Mary took its maiden voyage in 1936 and was decommissioned in 1967. It’s now a floating hotel that’s permanently moored in Long Beach, California. Despite being commandeered for military service during World War II when it was painted a regulation gray color, much of its streamlined, Art Deco-style interiors have been preserved for modern-day guests to enjoy.
Some ghosts might be left over from its heyday too, as visitors have reported spotting mysterious figures in The Mauretania Room (a former first-class lounge), the first-class swimming pool (apparently occupied by a small child’s spirit), the boiler room, and the engine room—particularly around hatch door #13, where a crew member was crushed to death and now reportedly haunts the scene of the accident.
Visitors can view all of these sites on the ship’s daytime Haunted Encounters tour. Additional evening paranormal tours are also available, although the “Dark Harbor” haunted attraction that the ship hosted for Halloween beginning in 2009 saw its last year in operation in 2019.
Ryan_hoel // Shutterstock
Talbott Tavern, Bardstown, Kentucky
For a “spirited” stay during the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival—or any time of year visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail—The Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, Kentucky, offers the setting of an 18th-century inn, guest rooms named after the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Jesse James, and plenty of ghost encounters.
From flickering chandeliers to pianos playing on their own and the “lady in white,” travelers have reported unexplained events and sightings—even when they haven’t bellied up to the bar before retiring to their quarters. Perhaps one of them is the lingering presence of one of the six Talbott children who died on the property from 1886 to 1889.
JMOF // Shutterstock
Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum, Las Vegas
You might expect Sin City to be littered with the ghosts of bygone mobsters, big winners (and losers), or even since-passed performers, but one particular hotbed of activity in Vegas isn’t a storied casino or hotel—it’s not even on the Strip. It’s Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum, located in a paranormally active mansion from 1938 in Downtown Las Vegas.
Bagans is the paranormal investigator host of Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and a collector of supposedly haunted items like a Dybbuk Box, a wooden cabinet supposedly occupied by a demon, according to Jewish folklore. The TV host brought the demonic Peggy the Doll into the museum, but, as he demonstrated on an episode of “The Haunted Museum” TV series, those who look her in the eyes risk migraines, nausea, or even heart attacks. No wonder Bagans has all his visitors sign a waiver upon entry.
Nagel Photography // Shutterstock
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
Considered one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Most Haunted Places in America,” Eastern State Penitentiary is a foreboding fortress just north of Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood. It was built in 1829 for solitary confinement and then packed with prisoners in the cells along its long hallways from 1919 until its closure in 1970.
On a guided tour of the prison during the day, you can walk along the former Death Row and even see where Al Capone was once an inmate. It’s a macabre setting, where plenty of the imprisoned suffered through torture, leading to later criminal justice reform—and it’s given rise to plenty of ghost stories.
Although a historic site by day, it’s capitalized on this horrific history by hosting a nighttime Halloween festival, which includes “haunted” mazes and the opportunity to upgrade to a flashlight tour of the property.
Shannon Shepard // Shutterstock
Waverly Hills Sanitorium, Louisville, Kentucky
Waverly Hills was a tuberculosis sanitorium built in 1910 in the Tudor Gothic architectural style. Its creepy exterior offers just a hint at the horrors that occurred inside, where thousands of patients succumbed to the disease until an antibiotic treatment emerged in the 1940s.
As unforgiving as the “White Plague” was in Louisville, Kentucky, the pre-drug therapies were reportedly no picnic either. Even worse, evidence of patient abuse while it was operating as Woodhaven Geriatric Center contributed to its closure in 1982. Not surprisingly, ghost stories and paranormal sightings abound, including those of former residents and staff who still seemingly roam the hallways.
Owners Charlie and Tina Mattingly purchased the property in 2001 and opened it up for daytime historical tours as well as paranormal tours. It promotes orbs, balls of light, and spirits that visitors often spot, particularly in the body chute, where the dead were disposed of. An annual haunted house event takes place around Halloween as well.
Traveller70 // Shutterstock
The Bird Cage Theater, Tombstone, Arizona
The city of Tombstone, Arizona, may be best known to historians as the site of the O.K. Corral gunfight between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clanton-McLaury Gang in the days of the Old West—famously depicted by Hollywood in the films “Tombstone” and “Wyatt Earp”—but it’s the nearby Bird Cage Theatre that has the most ghostly reputation in town.
Spirits of gamblers and gunslingers supposedly linger around the site of countless killings, including one particularly gruesome stabbing. While the former saloon and gambling hall are open to visitors during the day, ghost tours are also conducted nightly—starting with family-friendly ones early in the evening and becoming more intense for older audiences later on.
EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, has been the subject of numerous televised paranormal investigations, including on such shows as “Ghost Adventures,” “Paranormal Lockdown,” “Destination Fear,” and “Portals to Hell.”
This former psychiatric hospital dating back to the time immediately following the Civil War suffered overcrowding, violence among patients, and even staff deaths. Treatments now considered inhumane included lobotomies and solitary confinement, and paranormal investigators have claimed that some unhappy souls have remained trapped in the facility.
Although it had been renamed Weston State Hospital when it closed in 1994, it returned to its historical “lunatic asylum” name when it was reopened in 2001 for heritage tours. Some of these tours take visitors through Ward F, for the most “deviant” of patients, and the Forensics Building. Paranormal tours include ghost hunts, flashlight tours, and even overnights.
Amy Johansson // Shutterstock
13 Curves, Onondaga, New York
Considered by Upgraded Points to be the #4 best city in the U.S. to be a ghost, the central New York city of Syracuse has a population with an above-average interest in ghosts. Is that because its citizens simply love looking for ghosts—or that there are actually more ghosts to be found there?
One of the most popular “haunted” hotspots surrounding Salt City is located in the Onondaga Hill area: a mile-long stretch of the winding Cedarvale Road, known as “13 Curves.” Legend has it that a newlywed couple faced tragedy there, and in one version of the story, the bride survived and is forever in search of her lost husband. A historical plaque sponsored by the New York Folklore Society marks the spot of the sightings.
Serge Yatunin // Shutterstock
Merchant’s House Museum, New York City
The Victorian-era family home of the Tredwells has been preserved in the NoHo neighborhood of Manhattan as the Merchant’s House Museum, the only such remaining residence of its kind on the island borough.
The last surviving member of the Tredwell family—the youngest daughter, Gertrude—died in the house at the age of 93 in 1933. Three years later, the rowhouse was opened for tours—despite the fact that Gertrude may have never fully vacated the property. Merchant’s House, now more than 190 years old, attracts history buffs and ghosthunters alike, and some visitors report particularly strong reactions to the energy in the principal bedroom. Candlelit ghost tours offer the chance to commune with a spirit or two—occasionally with the help of paranormal investigator Dan Sturges.
Roaming Panda Photos // Shutterstock
Villa Montezuma, San Diego
The San Diego Victorian mansion known as Villa Montezuma—or “Spook House” to locals—was a building project for composer and musician Jesse Shepard. He was an active member of a Spiritualist society whose eclectic and somewhat macabre tastes are reflected in the mansion’s architectural design.
Stained glass and gargoyles intermingle with a turret and tiled fireplaces have served as a fitting setting for the séances that have been conducted within Villa Montezuma’s walls by both Shepard and the home’s subsequent owners.
Although Shepard died in Los Angeles and not in the home, visitors say that they sometimes feel his ghostly presence. The mansion has been open as a museum since 1972 with daytime tours offered by Friends of the Villa Montezuma and evening lantern tours by Haunted Orange County, despite it being located in San Diego County.
travelview // Shutterstock
Mizpah Hotel, Tonopah, Nevada
Voted one of USA Today’s “Best Haunted Hotels,” the Mizpah Hotel was once a symbol of prosperity during the boomtown times of Tonopah, Nevada, a town with the title of “Queen of the Silver Camps.” Built between 1907 and 1908, the hotel was directly adjacent to the most successful of all silver mines in the area: the Mizpah Mine.
Many prominent local figures who have passed have rooms named after them, perhaps in honor of their residual energy—but the hotel’s most famous ghost, and one of the most famous in the state, is the “Lady in Red.” She was reportedly killed by a jilted ex-lover, and now her presence can be felt in rooms 502, 503, and 504 (the “Lady in Red Suite”) and even the elevator.
Today, the hotel embraces its haunted history, beckoning guests to “come for the scares, stay for the stories” on its social media channels.
JoanneStrell // Shutterstock
The Roycroft Inn, East Aurora, New York
Outside the city of Buffalo, New York, is the community of East Aurora—and at the center of it is the Roycroft Campus, built around the turn of the last century as part of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
The historic Roycroft Inn, now a national landmark, is a showcase for those artisans and their work, including woodworking, stained glass, furniture, and more. It’s also part of the Haunted History Trail of New York State, which promotes a supernatural walk of the inn and promises “occult architecture, sacred symbolism, and a Campus full of ghosts!”
One of those spirits might be that of Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard, who died on the RMS Lusitania when a German U-boat sank the ocean liner in 1915.
Jon Bilous // Shutterstock
The Belvedere, Baltimore
Although Baltimore’s former Hotel Belvedere converted into condos in 1991, it retains much of its Old World charm circa 1903, the year of its construction.
In over a century since then, this Mount Vernon landmark has survived Prohibition, mob robberies, murders, and suicides—including one 2006 cold case that made it onto a 2020 episode of “Unsolved Mysteries.” Not all hotel guests who checked into the hotel made it out alive—and one ghost in particular reportedly only bothers female guests in the 12th-floor ballrooms he haunts.
The Mt. Vernon Ghost Walk tour takes curious visitors to The Owl Bar, a former speakeasy in The Belvedere where some of the famous hotel guests of yore—like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, Franklin Roosevelt, and the pair of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard—might have bellied up to the bar during its heyday. But the booze behind the bar might not be the only spirits in the joint.
Andy Sutherland // Shutterstock
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Site, Chicago
In Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, a North Side/South Side gangster rivalry over illegal booze distribution in the thick of Prohibition came to a head on Feb. 14, 1929, heretofore known as the St. Valentine’s Massacre. Associates of Al Capone lined up seven men up against the north wall of the headquarters for George “Bugs” Moran’s mob operation and executed them with machine guns. None of these associates ever stood trial for the murders.
The garage faced demolition in 1967, and a reassembled portion of the wall is now on display at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. But the empty lot that remains is still the stomping grounds of apparitions of men—perhaps the victims—and a barking dog. The Lincoln Park Hauntings Chicago Ghost Tour & Ghost Hunt offered by American Ghost Walks visits the site and looks for ghosts along the way, as it passes the old City Cemetery, where some bodies lie in unrest.
Rolf_52 // Shutterstock
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Southern Living called the ghosts of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, “legendary.” And not the least of those is the spirit of its creator, Thomas Ryman, who opened it as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892.
This famed performance venue has also been called “cursed” because of the tragic deaths of some of the musicians who’ve graced its stage—including Patsy Cline, who perished in a plane crash outside of Nashville at age 30, and Hank Williams, Sr., who passed at age 29, with some controversy over the exact cause of death. But, considering that the Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry for decades, there are numerous performers who’ve passed through the venue and might’ve left a little something behind once they passed on.
Visitors get the chance to look for them on occasional haunted history tours hosted by the Ryman.
Serge Yatunin // Shutterstock
Seattle Underground, Seattle
Seattle is a bona fide part of horror history, as the setting for the American version of the horror movie “The Ring”—but there are real reported hauntings in the city, and a creepy underbelly, too.
The Seattle known today was built on top of another lower city to shore up against flooding, and that history is preserved in Seattle’s “underground,” particularly in the Pioneer Square area. Some of these tunnels are open for historical and spooky tours, during which you descend into the “basements” of retail and residential buildings to reach their former ground floors/street levels, long rendered subterranean from a rebuilding effort in the wake of the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.
The team behind Travel Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” seems to think they found evidence of ghosts down there, perhaps from the time that many thought the bubonic plague was infecting the depths of the city, causing the city to condemn the underground tunnels.
Nagel Photography // Shutterstock
The Bullock Hotel, Deadwood, South Dakota
In a lawless town like Deadwood, South Dakota, there was plenty of unrest among the living—gold prospectors, bordello girls, and gunslingers like Wild Bill Hickok (who is buried in Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery), for starters.
Nearly the entire town burned down in 1879. But, one of the most haunted places in this historical town is The Bullock Hotel, founded in 1894 by former Deadwood sheriff Seth Bullock (portrayed by Timothy Olyphant in the HBO series “Deadwood”). Bullock succumbed to colon cancer in 1919—but his spirit isn’t the only ghost that supposedly haunts Deadwood’s “first and finest hotel,” which was transformed into a makeshift hospital during a cholera outbreak.
To meet some others, you can take a Haunted History Walking Ghost Tour of the town.
Josiah True // Shutterstock
Hollywood Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles
Howard Hughes once owned the Hollywood Pantages Theatre building and occupied one of its offices. Legend has it that Hughes would step away from his desk and sit in the back of the balcony during whichever movie was playing at the time to clear his mind. Sometimes he still does, even though the former movie palace is now a live performance venue for Broadway touring shows and concerts.
Other reported ghosts in the theatre include that of its namesake, Alexander Pantages, and a female former patron with a penchant for singing along to musicals.
Page Light Studios // Shutterstock
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans
New Orleans is one of CNN’s spookiest cities in the U.S., thanks to its unending supply of vampires, voodoo practitioners, and ghosts. It’s also full of cemeteries, and it’s likely that some of those souls might get a bit restless from time to time.
At St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans’ oldest graveyard, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is said to rise from the dead and roam the grounds—where some of the earliest of those interred included yellow fever victims. Access to the cemetery is by guided tour only, offered on a daily basis.
EQRoy // Shutterstock
Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts
Marketed as “America’s Most Haunted House,” the Lizzie Borden House was the site of a gruesome double murder of Andrew and Abby Borden, who were both hacked by a hatchet in 1892. Although their daughter Lizzie stood trial for the crime, she was acquitted—leaving it unsolved. Those who haunt the home today could be Lizzie herself, her father, and her stepmother; but there’s no better way to find out for sure than by booking a tour or a room for the night.
Glenn Taylor // Shutterstock
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel is reportedly so haunted it inspired Stephen King to pen his horror novel “The Shining.” The film version starring Jack Nicholson was shot at the Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood in Oregon. But the Stanley Hotel is considered the real Overlook Hotel—a legacy its management embraces, even hosting “The Shining Ball” and encouraging guests to dress up in costumes inspired by the movie.
Visitors can also take a Spirited Night Tour to learn about the souls from beyond who reside there, including a former housekeeper who apparently hasn’t stopped tidying things up.
Iris Schneider/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills, California
A grisly and mysterious murder-suicide occurred within the walls of Greystone Mansion in 1929 when oil heir Ned Doheny was shot to death by his secretary Hugh Plunkett—a story that’s reenacted semi-annually by Theatre 40 in its murder mystery play “The Manor.”
When security guards hear footsteps during their nightly patrols, they wonder if they are Ned’s. How about the other unexplained phenomena, like voices, doors opening and shutting, lights flickering, and objects moving? No one really knows, but there are enough stories to fill an entire book: “Ghosts of Greystone – Beverly Hills” by Clete Keith. Curious visitors can investigate for themselves by taking a self-guided tour or attending an event inside the mansion.
Story editing by Chris Compendio. Copy editing by Robert Wickwire.