Haunted Places: Find the Scariest Near You

Haunted Places: Find the Scariest Near You

With Halloween around the corner Google Maps just released a list of the “31 Most Haunted Places in America.” If you’re up for a road trip, there are some incredible places that are worth seeing. There are some classics —the Amityville Horror house, AlcatrazSalem, Massachusetts. But there are also a lot of surprising places.

I picked up some of the most incredibly haunted locations and paired with the best books I could find.

From the East to the West, here the list of some of the most haunted places in the Unites States.

Check each location on the map:

  • MURDER HOUSES / HOTELS (ORANGE)
  • PENITENTIARIES (BLUE)
  • HOSPITALS / ASYLUMS (GREEN)
  • HAUNTED GROUNDS (PURPLE)

Haunted Places

1. HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES – SALEM, MA

Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote: “Houses of any antiquity in New England, are so invariably possessed with spirits, that the matter seems hardly worth alluding to.” And if you’ve even been there perusing the beautiful New England, you know that the feeling is real.

One of the most well-known historic houses in Salem, MA is the House of the Seven Gables. Built in 1667 for Captain John Turner I -head of one of the most successful maritime families in the New England colonies- the house evolved over the years, but still remains one of the largest timber-framed mansions in North America on its original foundation.

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The house is now a museum, and staff and visitors often report supernatural occurrences: shadows and full apparitions have been encountered numerous times.

During the month of October, on select weekend nights you can step into the world of Salem author Nathaniel Hawthorne as you experience two dramatic theatrical performances played out within historic houses connected directly to Hawthorne himself.

The Legacy of the Hanging Judge and Spirits of The Gables were created in 2001 by local writer Anne Lucas and have been performed on October weekends since then.

For more information visit www.7gables.org

Reading Selection:

The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Available in: KindleHardcoverPaperbackAudiobook

2. LIZZIE BORDEN HOUSE – FALL RIVER, MA

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Undoubtedly another Massachusetts’ most in-famous haunted residence is the Lizzie Borden house in Fall River. For those unfamiliar with the story, police accused Borden of brutally killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet in 1892; there was so much evidence against her that she was quickly charged with the crime and sent to court, only to be acquitted.

lb-front-right-angleNo other person was charged with the murders, making this one of the nation’s most well-known unresolved murder cases.

At the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum, visitors can tour the house or spend the night, even staying in the room where Abby Borden was killed. Guests and employees have reported all kinds of strange activity in the house, including weeping and footstep sounds, an apparition in Victorian-era clothing wandering the halls, doors opening and closing, and muffled conversations coming from vacant rooms.

Reading Selection:

See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt

Available in: KindleHardcoverPaperbackAudiobook

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell―of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

3. 112 OCEAN AVENUE – AMITYVILLE, NY

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Thirty miles outside of New York City, nestled in the Long Island town of Amityville at 112 Ocean Avenue, stands the house forever linked to the Amityville Horror phenomenon. On November 13, 1974 the estate was the scene of a horrendous mass murder. Using a .35 Marlin rifle, 23-year-old Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family (his parents and 4 siblings) while they were asleep.

Thirteen months later, the Lutz Family purchased the 5-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home at a drastically reduced price of $80,000 (due to the murders) but only lasted 28 days before leaving it. Their spine-tingling tales of paranormal activity is what propelled the legend of the Amityville Horror, “America’s most haunted house.

Reading Selection:

The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson

Available on Amazon: PaperbackAudible

When the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island, they knew that, one year earlier Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in that house. But the property, complete with boathouse and swimming pool, and the price were too good to pass up. Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror.

This is the spellbinding, best-selling true story that gripped the nation, the story of a house possessed by evil spirits, haunted by psychic phenomena almost too terrible to describe.

4. THE WHITE HOUSE – WASHINGTON, D.C.

Perhaps the world’s most famous residence -with a history dating back to 1800- the home, and office of the President of the United States the White House too has its fair share of supernatural stories.

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Past president’s, their families, and foreign dignitaries have all attested to the paranormal goings on at the White House. On one particular visit, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom. He had just finished bathing and walked back into the suite where he saw Lincoln standing by the fireplace. He refused to sleep in that room again after that. Various other entities have also been seen, including past employees, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler; First Lady Dolley Madison; a British soldier. The White House Historical Association made a list of all the spirits that have been reported at the house, you can read it here: White House Ghost Stories.

Reading Selection:

Haunted Presidents: Ghosts in the Lives of the Chief Executives, by Charles A. Stansfield Jr.

Available on Amazon: KindlePaperback

Have the men who held the high-pressure job of running the nation become restless spirits, reluctant or unable to leave the world of the living? This book follows the nation’s presidents chronologically, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, with stories about their ghostly manifestations, their experiences with unexplained phenomena, and odd encounters involving members of their families. Readers will learn about Washington’s phantom appearance at the Battle of Gettysburg, Dolley Madison’s spirit in the White House rose garden, Andrew Jackson’s encounter with the Bell Witch, Abraham Lincoln’s prophetic dreams, the mischievous ghost of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dog Fala, Richard Nixon’s spiritual conferences with dead presidents, and the odd demon cat that materializes prior to national disasters.

5. HULL HOUSE – CHICAGO, IL

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Originally built for Charles J. Hull, an early pioneer of Chicago and a successful real estate capitalist in 1856, Hull House  became a settlement house in 1889. Jane Addams, along with Ellen Gates Starr, provided innovative social services to European immigrants of the West Side including day care, art, literary and music classes.

The most popular Hull House ghost story is the Devil Baby: it is the story of an enraged husband who is either an atheist and says something blasphemous while tearing a “holy” picture from the wall, saying he’d rather have the devil in the house. When the couple had their first child, the baby child was born with pointed ears, horns, scale-covered skin, and a tail. The parents, not knowing what to do with the devil baby, took it to Hull House. It’s said that this story inspired the book/movie “Rosemary’s Baby.

While initially annoyed about the story, which had no basis in fact, Addams became fascinated by the effect the episode had on old women in the neighborhood and used the episode as a basis for her book, The Long Road of Woman’s Memory.

While a great many erroneous stories have circulated about the building, Addams is known to have spoken to several friends about one of the front bedrooms on the second floor being haunted – she and a friend once thought they saw a “woman in white” ghost there, and the same ghost was later seen by a group of girls when the room was used as a dressing room for the adjacent theater. Though Addams called it “haunted,” she seems to have been more amused than frightened by it.

Reading Selection:

Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcoverPaperbackAudible

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling-actor husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents.

Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them; despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them.

Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets’ circle is not what it seems.

Jane Addams: Spirit in Action, by Louise W. Knight

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcover

Admired but also hated. Winner of the Peace Price, Jane Addams was a leading statesperson in an era when few imagined such possibilities for women. In this fresh interpretation, the first full biography of Addams in nearly forty years, Louise W. Knight shows Addams’s boldness, creativity, and tenacity as she sought ways to put the ideals of democracy into action.

Starting in Chicago as a co-founder of the nation’s first settlement house, Hull House―a community center where people of all classes and ethnicities could gather―Addams became a grassroots organizer and a partner of trade unionists, women, immigrants, and African Americans seeking social justice. She was a progressive political force; an advocate for women’s suffrage; an advisor to presidents; a co-founder of civil rights organizations; and a leader for international peace, Jane Addams traces how one woman worked with others to make a difference in the world.

6. VILLISCA AXE MURDER HOUSE – VILLISCA, IA

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Between the evening of June 9 and early morning of June 10, 1912 one of the most heinous crime the town of Villisca, in southwestern Iowa, can remember.

Six members of the Moore family and two house guests were found bludgeoned; all eight victims, including six children had severe head wounds  presumably from an axe left at the crime scene.

That horrifying discovery created a legend that became both an unsolved mystery and a haunting that continues to this day. Over the years, the brutal murders committed that night have earned a place in infamy and they remain the most famous in a series of murders that were committed across the prairie during that era.

Tours and Overnights are available at Villisca Murder Ax House. Visit www.villiscaiowa.com for more information.

Reading Selection:

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century Old Serial Killer Mystery, by Bill James – Rachel McCarthy James

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcover – Audiobook

Legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history. Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Trainpaints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the 20th century, when crime was regarded as a local problem and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.

7. SALLIE HOUSE – ATCHISON, KS

Few haunted houses in America have had the level of malevolency that has been reported in this particular house.  Once a doctor’s house, a little girl named Sallie died here during a botched appendectomy and her spirit has been here ever since.  When a family moved in during the ‘90s, this little girl began to create mischief, knocking pictures down, toying with electrical appliances.

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This activity eventually escalated to a violent level, but while they originally thought it was the little girl that their child had seen, they inevitably learned through a medium that it was actually a middle aged woman responsible for the violence.  All of her malevolence was directed towards the male owner of the house, repeatedly scratching and gouging him, leaving deep red welts and scratching deep enough to cause bleeding and bruising.  After this entity shoved him and almost sent him careening over the railing of the stairs on the second floor, the family finally moved out of fear for his life.  These activities have been documented by several paranormal groups.

Reading Selection:

The Sallie House Haunting, by Debra Pickman

Available on Amazon: KindlePaperback

This is the firsthand account of what Tony and Debra Pickman and their newborn son Taylor experienced in the now notorious Sallie House, from the day they moved in to the turn-of-the-century haunted house until they finally fled in terror. The story of the Sallie House and the fire-starting ghost girl who haunted it has sparked endless rumors and theories of murder, cover-ups, racism, and abuse. But the Pickmans know the real story because they lived it―and barely made it out alive. Along with historical research, the Pickmans share personal photographs and journal entries from their time spent living in the nightmare house that still haunts them today.

8. LALAURIE HOUSE – NEW ORLEANS, LA

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Delphine LaLaurie was a wealthy and powerful slave owner during the early 1800s. Born in New Orleans circa 1780 to an Irish gentleman and a French lady of upper society, the French Creole aristocrat was taught well the ways of charm and grace, but beneath her external beauty lay an unparalleled darkness, for at her stately mansion she tormented, tortured, and murdered several of her slaves.

Though most official reports claim that she was directly responsible for the tortuous deaths of four slaves, many people believe it may have been more than that. Her macabre actions make her one of the most notorious female serial killers in American History.

Reading Selection:

Mad Madame Lalaurie: New Orleans’ Most Famous Murderess Revealed, by Victoria Cosner Love – Lorelei Shannon

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcoverPaperback

On April 10, 1834 firefighters smashed through a padlocked attic door in the burning home of Creole society couple Delphine and Louis Lalaurie. The horrible discovery of chained and mutilated slaves spawned a legend that has endured for over 150 years. But what really happened in the Lalaurie home? Who was “Mad Madame Lalaurie,” and what motivated her to commit such ghastly atrocities, if in fact she really did? Historian Victoria Cosner Love and author Lorelei Shannon uncover the truth behind one of New Orleans’ most famous stories and one of America’s most haunted houses.

9. STANLEY HOTEL – ESTES PARK, CO

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado has hosted numerous celebrities since opening in 1909, but it remains most famous as the hotel where Stephen King stayed when he was inspired to pen “The Shining,” his iconic 1977 book.

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Following the publication of the novel, The Stanley Hotel has gained a reputation among paranormal investigators for frequent activity; many believe the hotel is legitimately haunted by benign spirits.

Beside panoramic views of the Rocky Mountain National Park, today The Stanley Hotel offers three terrifying Halloween events in Colorado on it’s twin terror weekends, plus Historic and Night Spirit Tour of the hotel.

Reading Selection:

The Shining, by Stephen King

Available on Amazon: KindlePaperbackAudiobook

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister.

And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

10. CECIL HOTEL – LOS ANGELES, CA

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In the heart of Skid Row, Downtown Los Angeles, there’s the Cecil. Rebranded Stay on Main in 2011, this place still retains its dark and sinister side. Since its construction in 1927 the Cecil has been the focus of suicides, murders, mystery disappearances, and serial killers.

Beginning with the 1931 suicide of a man named W.K. Norton, who died after taking capsules that were believed to contain poison. In addition to suicides, the Cecil’s history is pocked with other kinds of violence, drugs and prostitution. In 1947, Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, was rumored to have been spotted drinking at the Cecil’s bar, just before she was murdered.

In 1964, a retired telephone operator named “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood was found dead in her room. She’d been raped, stabbed and beaten, and her room ransacked.  Her death remains unsolved.

In the 1980s the hotel was rumored to be the residence of serial killer Richard Ramirez,  the “Night Stalker.” Ramirez had been a regular presence on Skid Row but is rumored to have stayed at the Cecil for a few weeks, Another serial killer, Austrian Jack Unterweger, stayed at the Cecil in 1991, possibly as an homage to Ramirez. While there, he strangled and killed at least three prostitutes.  

In 2013, the Cecil became the focus of renewed attention when surveillance footage of young Elisa Lam, a Canadian student, behaving erratically in the hotel’s elevator went viral. The video depicts a Lam, repeatedly pressing the elevator’s buttons, walking in and out of the elevator, and possibly attempting to hide from someone. Her naked dead body was later discovered in a water supply cistern on the hotel roof, following complaints from residents of odd-tasting water and low pressure.

Reading Selection:

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, by Joshua Foer Dylan ThurasElla Morton  

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcover
Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.

the-art-of-skid-row-a-campaign-to-shift-the-public-perception-of-homelessness-1-638.jpgThe Art of Skid Row: Art, Photography + Homelessness, by Colton BoettcherAlaina Pierce Donna Stellini & more

Available on Amazon: Hardcover

Art meets Activism. The Art of Skid Row is a collaboration of Los Angeles Artists + Activists telling the stories of people experiencing homelessness. This photo-reference book combines human experience with data on homelessness and housing. The purpose of the Art of Skid Row is to spark a new conversation around Homelessness + Housing + Human Rights through Art + Human Experience. Access to safe and stable housing is a human right guaranteed under the Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, signed by the United States in November 1948.

11. WINCHESTER HOUSE – SAN JOSE, CA

On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end.

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Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms.

To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness but, however you want to look at it, Winchester House is an incredible work of art.

Winchester Mystery House offers tours of the mansion all year long; there’s the Explore More Tour, the classic Mansion Tour, the Hallowe’en by candlelight available only in September and October and the Friday the 13th Flashlight Tour available on April 13 and July 13, 2018. Visit Winchester Mystery House website for more information.

Movie lovers, save this date: February 2, 2018. The first trailer for Helen Mirren‘s haunting new movie Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built has just been released!

IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE FEBRUARY 2, 2018

For more information visit CBS MOVIE PAGE : Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built

Haunted Places-2

1. EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY – PHILADELPHIA, PA

When Eastern State opened more that 180 years ago, it changed the world. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary.” Founded by the Quakers in 1829, who envisioned the stone castle as a place where criminals could become penitent for their crimes, the building was an architectural wonder (it had running water and central heat before the White House.)

mc-eastern-state-penitentiary-prison-food-weekend-20150529.jpgEaster State Penitentiary was a place of total isolation: inmates were confined in windowless rooms and allowed no contact with any living person. Many of them were driven insane by the solitude. Punishments for breaking the rules were extreme and suicides became common.

Eastern State Penitentiary once held some of America’s most notorious criminals: Al Capone, Chicago’s most famous mob boss, spent eight months at Eastern State in 1929-1930. His time in Eastern State was spent in relative luxury. His cell on the Park Avenue Block had fine furniture, oriental rugs, and a cabinet radio.

One of the most famous bank robbers in American History (credited with over 50 bank robberies) “Slick” Willie spent 11 years at Eastern State Penitentiary. In 1945 Sutton, along with 11 other prisoners, escaped from Eastern State in an inmate dug tunnel that went almost 100 feet underground. Sutton was recaptured just minutes later.

Female inmates were part of the landscape at Eastern State for almost 100 years, and Freda Frost was the last of them. Transferred to the Muncy Industrial Home for Women in 1923 Frost’s departure marked the end of an era. Frost had been serving a 20 year sentence for murder (she had poisoned her husband.)

By the 1960s Easter State Penitentiary was falling apart. It was officially closed by the State of Pennsylvania in 1971. Over the course of its 142 years, the penitentiary held some 75,000 inmates.

Today, the decaying penitentiary offers ghost tours and a museum. Ghost stories and paranormal encounters have become commonplace.

Visit www.easternstate.org for more information.

Reading Selection:

Eastern State Penitentiary: A History, by Paul Kahan

Available on Amazon: Paperback

Eastern State Penitentiary: A History documents the stories of the men and the method that shaped one of Philadelphia’s most recognizable landmarks. In this superbly balanced and thoroughly researched volume, Paul Kahan presents the history of this revolutionary penitentiary, from its inception as a model of the revolutionary Pennsylvania System of incarceration in 1829 to the demands for its closure in the wake of ever-increasing violence in 1971. Through tales of spectacular escapes, official corruption, reformation and retribution, Kahan chronicles the tensions that plagued Eastern State since the arrival of its first prisoners.

2. ALCATRAZ ISLAND – SAN FRANCISCO, CA

In the middle of San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore, there is a small island with no soil and little plant life, called The Rock. Initially used as a military prison, The Rock began housing civilian prisoners on August 11, 1934.

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Alcatraz from the Spanish “Alcatraces” meaning “pelican” or “strange bird” is the  most famous prison in the world and America’s first supermax facility.

At Alcatraz, a prisoner had four rights: food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Everything else was a privilege that had to be earned. While several well-known criminals, such as Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis (the first “Public Enemy #1”), and Arthur “Doc” Barker did time on Alcatraz, most of the prisoners incarcerated there were not well-known gangsters, but prisoners who refused to conform to the rules and regulations at other Federal institutions, who were considered violent and dangerous, or who were considered escape risks.

If ghosts return to haunt the places where they suffered traumatic experiences when they were alive, then Alcatraz must be loaded with spirits; cell 14D, and cell blocks A,B and C are some of the areas of the prison most often claimed most active with paranormal activity.

Today, visiting Alcatraz is definitely an amazing experience!

Reading Selection:

Alcatraz Island: Memoirs of a Rock Doc, by Milton Daniel Beacher, Diane Beacher Perfit

Available on Amazon: KindlePaperback

“Alcatraz Island: Memoirs of a Rock Doc” vividly chronicles the experiences of Milton Daniel Beacher, M.D., an Alcatraz medical officer from 1937-1938. Based on his original journal entries, Beacher’s memoir presents a compelling behind-the-bars depiction of life on the Rock for prisoners like Al Capone, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Alvin Karpis. It includes details of a long prison strike, the Cole/Roe escape, an attempted mass break, and a little history. Befriended by some prisoners, their first-person narratives and original poetry are memorialized.

Haunted Places-3

1. TRANS-ALLEGHENY LUNATIC ASYLUM – WESTON, WV

Constructed between 1858 and 1881, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is the second largest in the world, originally designed to house up to 250 patients before it reached its peak in the 1950s when more than 2,400 people were crammed into the facility. As the result of bizarre experimental treatments and severe neglect, thousands of people died here over the years. The physical deterioration of the building coupled with changes in the treatment of mental illness resulted in the closure of the asylum in 1994.

lg_00defb-Trans-AlleghenyLunaticAsylum_EvaHambach.jpgTwo decades since the asylum closed, the staff who work there claim that ghosts continue to roam the halls. The manager states that she once saw 40 doors suddenly slam shut simultaneously, whilst other visitors have witnessed a ghost boy stood in the corner of a room. As well as sightings, whispers of forgotten patients have also been reported, on top of unusual smells, the sound of squeaking gurneys and screams coming from the electroshock room.

Reading Selection:

Asylums: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, by Christopher Paine

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcoverPaperback

For more than half the nation’s history, vast mental hospitals were a prominent feature of the American landscape. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, over 250 institutions for the insane were built throughout the United States; by 1948, they housed more than a half million patients.

The blueprint for these hospitals was set by Pennsylvania hospital superintendant Thomas Story Kirkbride: a central administration building flanked symmetrically by pavilions and surrounded by lavish grounds with pastoral vistas. Kirkbride and others believed that well-designed buildings and grounds, a peaceful environment, a regimen of fresh air, and places for work, exercise, and cultural activities would heal mental illness. But in the second half of the twentieth century, after the introduction of psychotropic drugs and policy shifts toward community-based care, patient populations declined dramatically, leaving many of these beautiful, massive buildings — and the patients who lived in them — neglected and abandoned.

Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent six years documenting the decay of state mental hospitals like these, visiting seventy institutions in thirty states.

2. WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM – LOUISVILLE, KY

It started out as Waverly School in the late 1800s and evolved into a hospital in 1910, designed to safely accommodate those suffering from “The White Plague.” As the disease developed into an epidemic, the hospital was expanded to support at least 400 patients and was considered to be one of the best facilities at the time.

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Today, Waverly Hills Sanatorium is known by many as “the most spiritually active place in the world”. This eerie location retains the memories and emotions of its former patients and staff. The slow agonizing death suffered by many Waverly’s residents left a residue of dark energy: ghosts follow visitors through the narrow corridors and eerie voices echo among the walls of the body chute, also known as “the death tunnel.”

Reading Selection:

Haunted Hospitals: Eerie Tales About Hospitals, and Other Institutions, by Mark Leslie – Rhonda Parrish

Available on Amazon: KindlePaperback

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing, places of birth, and places of hope. But with all of the varying highs and lows that are experienced in these buildings, is it any wonder when echoes linger indefinitely? How about asylums, which house some of society’s worst offenders and troubled inmates, or sanatoriums, places where the mentally and physically ill find themselves trapped, even after death?

Journey inside the history of these macabre settings and learn about the horrors from the past that live on in these frighteningly eerie tales from Canada, the United States, and around the world.

3. PENNHURST ASYLUM – PA

Pennhurst: The Shame of Pennsylvania. Opened in 1908 as a state school for the physically and mentally disabled, Pennhurst has been called “a vast junkyard of vasted humans.” Housing more that 10,000 patients Pennhurst Asylums has a history riddled with strong accusations of neglect, abuse and torture combined with tales of mental patients being chained to the walls, children kept for years in cribs and even murders.

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The facility was often accused of dehumanization and was reported to provide no help for the mentally challenged before finally being shut down in 1986, following several allegations of abuse by residents. When Pennhurst was closed, the buildings were abandoned as they were with patients’ belongings strewn about and medical equipment left to rot.

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There are plenty haunted asylum stories emanating from this foreboding building. Several reputable ghost hunter groups have visited Pennhurst Asylum, where they documented spooky audio recordings, sudden changes in temperature and the unexplained movement of objects throughout the grounds. Spine-chilling recordings of voices exclaiming: “Go away!”, “I’ll kill you!” and “Why won’t you leave?” seem tame when compared to other reports which include various objects being hurled across the room, visitors being physically pushed and multiple EVPs.

1. GETTYSBURG – PA

Battlefields are part of our national heritage, scenes of struggle and sacrifice where American soldiers lost their lives.

Shouldn’t be a surprise then if Gettysburg is considered one of the most active paranormal hot spots in the world.

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The place where 94,000 Union troops under General George Meade clashed with 72,000 Confederate soldiers under General Robert E. Lee in what became the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

Here, more than 51,000 Americans were killed, wounded or went missing.

Ghostly stories and supernatural incidents have been recorded and experienced by everyday people across the official confines of the Gettysburg Battlefield, especially at the Devil’s Den, a Native American hunting ground where some say that a huge battle was once fought, called the “Battle of the Crows.”

Reading Selection:

Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, by Allen C. Guelzo

Available on Amazon: Kindle – Hardcover – Paperback – Audible

The Battle of Gettysburg has been written about at length and thoroughly dissected in terms of strategic importance, but never before has a book taken readers so close to the experience of the individual soldier. Two-time Lincoln Prize winner Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the stone walls and gunpowder clouds of Pickett’s Charge; the reason that the Army of Northern Virginia could be smelled before it could be seen; the march of thousands of men from the banks of the Rappahannock in Virginia to the Pennsylvania hills. What emerges is a previously untold story of army life in the Civil War: from the personal politics roiling the Union and Confederate officer ranks, to the peculiar character of artillery units. Through such scrutiny, one of history’s epic battles is given extraordinarily vivid new life.

2. BELL WITCH CAVE – ADAMS, TN

John Bell, a farmer from North Carolina,along with his wife and children settled in northern Robertson County Tennessee in 1804. They lived a quite peaceful life for the first 13 years until, in the late summer of 1817, something would happen that would change their lives forever.

1200px-Bell_Witch_Cave.JPGSome members of the family began seeing strange looking animals around the property and hearing knocking sounds on the doors and outer walls of the house.

The family was terrified but kept the problem to themselves for over a year. When things became intolerable John invited a neighbor to spend the night. After several nights of witnessing these strange things, Mr. Johnson suggested that more people should be told. And a committee was formed and an investigation started.

“Kate” the “Bell’s Witch had two main reasons for terrorizing the Bell home, the main one was to kill John Bell.  She accomplished her mission on December 20, 1820 when John Bell died.

 Visit BellWitchCave.com for tours and  information.

Reading Selection:

The Bell Witch: An American Haunting, by Brent Monahan

Available on Amazon: HardcoverPaperbackAudible

Known throughout Tennessee as “Old Kate”, the Bell Witch took up residence with John Bell’s family in 1818.

This extraordinary tale recounts the only documented case in U.S. History when a spirit “actually caused a man’s death.” The then local schoolteacher and later senator, Richard Powell, witnessed these strange events and recorded them in a diary for his daughter. He died in 1948. His astonishing manuscript fell into the hands of novelist Brent Monohan, who edited it for this retelling.

3. THE OLD WESTERN BURIAL GROUND – BALTIMORE, MD

To me nothing screams “haunted” more than the beautiful south.. Baltimore is one of my absolute favorite place to visit during fall; plenty of history and some of the best haunted historical places play like magnet to ghost hunters and history lovers:  Middleton Tavern, the Edgar Allan Poe Residence, The Horse You Came in on Saloon, USS Constellation are just a few of the most interesting spots around the city.

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The Old Western Burial Ground or sometimes referred to as the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground is an established cemetery dating back to the American Revolution. Many generals from the war, as Gen. Samuel Smith and Col. James McHenry, are buried here in this cemetery.

The Edgar Allan Poe’s grave remains the main attraction as the dark, Gothic writer is at the center of many local ghost stories. Not the only one, though. At the Old Western Burial Ground is also buried the “Skull of Cambridge.” Legend has it that to be the head of a minister that was murdered. It is believed that they took the skull and placed it in a segment of cement in order to block out the sounds of horrendous screams and cries that seemed to emerge from it.

Reading Selection:

Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Barnes & Noble Omnibus Leatherbound Classics)

Available on Amazon: Hardcover

This omnibus edition collects all of Poe’s fiction and poetry in a single volume, including The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee,” the full-length novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket”, and much more. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe is part of Barnes & Noble’s Leatherbound Classics. Each title in the series presents a classic work in an attractively designed edition bound in genuine bonded leather. These books make elegant additions to any home library.

4. ALAMO – TX

Heroes died here fighting for freedom. Their call for aid and refusal to surrender in the face of overwhelming odds stirred America and the world. Their sacrifice helped give birth to Texas.

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Today the Alamo is the heart of San Antonio and it is Texas’ most visited historic landmark, and also one of the most haunted.  In fact, the site where the Alamo and its plaza sit today was once a cemetery.

Some of the most commonly seen ghosts here include a little boy above the giftshop, a Mexican soldier who wanders the grounds, and a father and son on the rooftops.

Visit TheAlamo.org for more information.

 Reading Selection:

Haunted History of Old San Antonio, by Lauren M. Swartz – James A. Swartz

Available on Amazon: KindleHardcoverPaperback

As the saying goes, “dead men tell no tales.” Or do they? From its humble beginnings as a Spanish settlement in 1691 to the bloody battle at the Alamo, San Antonio’s history is rich in haunting tales. Discover Old San Antonio’s most haunted places and uncover the history that lies waiting for those who dare to enter their doorways. Take a peek inside the Menger Hotel, the “Most Haunted Hotel in Texas,” and just a block away, peer into the Emily Morgan Hotel, one of the city’s first hospitals and where many men and women lost their lives. Explore the San Fernando Cathedral, where people are buried within the walls and visitors claim to see faces mysteriously appear. Uncover the legends behind Bexar County Jail. Join authors James and Lauren Swartz and decide for yourself what truly lurks behind the Alamo City’s fabled past.

 

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