It’s officially fall, which means it’s not just time to cozy up in a blanket, or watch the leaves fall, or make delicious autumnal treats… It’s also time to get a little spooked! If you’re a fan of all things mysterious, unexplained, and haunted, then I’ve got the list for you. I’ve rounded up the 15 spookiest places to visit in the USA, so you can get in the Halloween spirit and enjoy a good scare!
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Spookiest Places to Visit in the USA: Northeast
Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast - Fall River, MA
In 1892, Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were found bludgeoned to death in their own home. Nearly everyone in Fall River, Massachusetts thought Lizzie was to blame—she had an inheritance to incentivize her, after all. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her, and Lizzie walked free.
The Witch House - Salem, MA
It goes without saying that Salem, Massachussetts has to make the list of spookiest places to visit in the USA—this is one of the most haunted towns in the whole country, after all! Ever since the infamous Salem Witch Trials in the 1600’s, the town has been filled with reports of spooky sightings, bone-chilling paranormal activity, and strange happenings.
If you’re headed to Salem for some spooks, you can’t miss The Witch House. It’s the only remaining house still directly connected to the Witch Trials and once belonged to the judge (Jonathan Corwin) who was the magistrate of the trials. Afterwards, his family fell victim to the “Corwin Curse,” in which no less than eight of his family members died prematurely! photo source
The Forest of the Jersey Devil - Pine Barrens, NJ
On the one hand, the Pine Barrens is the largest remaining stretch of the pine barrens ecosystem, and is home to all sorts of incredible flora and fauna across seven counties of New Jersey… but on the other hand, it’s also home to the horrifying Jersey Devil. Here’s how the story goes: Deborah Leeds gave birth to her 13th child in 1735, but when the baby was born, it came out with bat’s wings and a goat’s head and hooves.
The creature flew up the chimney and out into the forest, where it’s said to remain today. Residents across several counties in New Jersey have reported sightings for over 250 years now.
Coffin Rock - Burkittsville, MD
While The Blair Witch Project may have ultimately been a fictitious movie and not “found film” as it claimed to be when it was first released, the story of Coffin Rock is supposedly the real deal. In the late 1800’s, a boy went missing from the town of Burkittsville. When a search party went to look for him in the woods, they never returned, but the boy mysteriously reappeared. A second search party then went to find the first and discovered them bound, gagged, and disemboweled on Coffin Rock in the middle of the woods.
Even scarier? When the second search party returned with more volunteers to remove the bodies, they had all mysteriously disappeared!
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum - Weston, WV
When the asylum opened in the 1860’s, it was intended to house 250 patients in a breezy, light-filled space to help restore their mental and emotional health. However, by the 1950’s there were well over 2,000 patients crammed into the hellish halls, where inhumane treatment ran rampant. People were kept in cages and given electroshock therapy and lobotomies against their will.
Spookiest Places to Visit in the USA: Central
The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, CO
If you’ve seen The Shining, then you’re more familiar with this spooky hotel than you may think. Stephen King based his famous novel-turned-movie off of this ornate resort hotel in Estes Park, CO. And while his story was all fiction, there have been many ghost sightings reported here… including hearing eerie piano music playing at night.
Ohio State Reformatory - Mansfield, OH
This Ohio prison was home to a whopping 200,000 inmates over the 104 years it was in operation, and has been famed as one of the most haunted sites in the US ever since. You can tour the prison all year round, but visiting in the fall brings some special spooks.
Spookiest Places to Visit in the USA: The South
LaLaurie Mansion - New Orleans, LA
Another one of America’s most haunted spots popularized by Hollywood is the spooky LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans (it was featured in the Coven season of American Horror Story!). Madame LaLaurie was a famous socialite in NoLa back in the 1800’s, known for throwing lavish parties and flitting about town like she owned the place. It wasn’t until police responded to a kitchen fire in 1834 that the atrocities occurring in the mansion were discovered… Madame LaLaurie had been brutally abusing enslaved people in her attic.
After her salacious crimes were discovered, a mob of locals chased her out of town and she ran away to France. For the past two hundred years, all sorts of paranormal sightings have been reported. Another fun fact: Nicholas Cage actually owned the house for some time!
Devil’s Tramping Ground - Bear Creek, NC
Okay, now this one really has me freaked out: there’s this patch of campground deep in the woods of North Carolina where the devil himself is said to pace around at night, dancing and planning ways to wreak havoc on humankind. The crazy thing is, no plants grow along the tramping grounds. There’s normal vegetation all around the strangely barren circle, but the path the devil reportedly walks remains devoid of any plant life.
Even freakier? People have tried to leave sticks, clothes, and more within the circle before nightfall, but they’re all mysteriously thrust outside of the circle by morning.
The Ghost Town of Cahawba - Cahawba, AL
Many visitors report creepy sightings and strange sounds, but none more creepy than Pegue’s Ghost. People have reported seeing a strangely floating orb in the garden maze of Colonel Pegue’s house, who died after being wounded in the war. photo source: facebook
Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, LA
Not only was Myrtles Plantation home to the horrific enslavement of black folks up through the Civil War, it was also constructed on top of a Native American burial ground, and is said to have been haunted ever since its construction. However, the most famous ghost story from Myrtles Plantation revolves around Chloe, an enslaved girl back in the 1700’s.
Chloe had her ear violently chopped off after being caught eavesdropping. As an act of revenge, she poisoned a birthday cake for her enslavers, killing two young girls. She was then sentenced to death, and has since been seen wandering the plantation. You can even supposedly see her in this spooky photograph from 1992. Above photo by Bogdan Oporowski.
Spookiest Places to Visit in the USA: West Coast
Hotel Monte Vista - Flagstaff, AZ
This hotel in Arizona has been home to all sorts of hauntings nearly since its inception. The ghost stories include “The Meat Man,” a long-term boarder who curiously hung raw meat from the chandeliers. He’s said to wake up guests with his cold hands, and the television has acted of its own accord since he died in the room in the 1980’s.
Even famous actor John Wayne experienced a haunting by the hotel’s phantom bellboy, who was known to knock on residents’ doors calling out “room service,” only to be nowhere to be found once they opened the door. Talk about spooky!
Winchester Mystery House - San Jose, CA
Sarah Winchester (daughter-in-law to the famous Winchester rifle-making family) was a bereaved woman who slowly lost her sanity to grief. After her husband and child died, a psychic told her that evil spirits were to blame. To protect herself, she began constructing the Winchester Mystery House—filled with maze-like hallways, stairways that led to nowhere, and secret chambers.
You can still tour the Mystery House today—but be forewarned that visitors have reported seeing shadow figures and apparitions of laborers working on the house.
The RMS Queen Mary - Long Beach, CA
The Queen Mary began her life as a luxury ocean liner in the US and bore witness to many fancy parties and outrageous happenings. During this time, a sailor was mysteriously killed by the engine room door, and several children died in the pool. The ship may have also accumulated more hauntings when it served a brief stint in World War II as well.
The city of Long Beach bought the ship in the 60’s and converted it into a hotel, and you can still stay there today. Just know that some visitors report hearing the screams of children late at night, and the engine room is said to be frequented by paranormal activity.
The Cecil Hotel - Los Angeles, CA
Not to save the wildest one for last, but The Cecil Hotel is extra spooky because it’s story is so shockingly recent. You may have even seen the documentary series on Netflix that covered what happened: Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. The story revolves around the strange death of Elise Lam, a Canadian student who was caught acting strangely on security cameras hours before being found dead in a sealed water tower on the roof of the hotel.
Prior to Lam’s mysterious passing, the Cecil also housed two serial killers just before their arrest—Richard Ramirez, who killed over a dozen people, and Austrian Jack Unterweger who horrifically killed three sex workers. And in it’s entire history, there have been at least 16 sudden or unexplained deaths at the hotel. photo source
There you have it—the downright 15 spookiest places to visit in the USA. Have you been to any of these haunted locales before? Tell me about your experience in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram!
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