Halloween might be over but if you’re still craving spooks and thrills, why not hit the road and seek out some of America’s most 'interesting' pitstops?
From haunted hotels and homes, supernatural goings-on, ancient spirits to tales of monsters and more, the US is packed full of destinations famous for their unexplained phenomenon.
There's something about human nature that makes us attracted to the macabre and the unexplained. Perhaps the explanation is simple: a chill down the spine makes us feel glad to be alive.
No matter what the reason, people around the world make trips to places that are purportedly paranormal in nature every year. So why not get in a car, and hit the highway for a road trip to remember?
Forget Route 66 and taking selfies beside kitsch and retro remnants of USA history. Take a road trip that challenges you and forces you to face your fears by heading to some truly intimidating locations, which are steeped in history, and home to legendary tales and infamous spirits.
But adventurers beware, these spooky sites are not for the faint of heart. Honestly, we wouldn’t set foot in them.
On the morning of March 17, 1892, a group of Exeter’s townsfolk dug up the graves of three local women. They were looking for what they believed to be a vampire responsible for dealing with the townsfolk. Unknown to them, tuberculosis was the real culprit in this tragedy but in the end, they placed the blame on a young woman named Mercy Brown.
Mercy’s grave exists to this day in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, a small graveyard behind a tiny, white Baptist church off of Ten Rod Road, just a couple of miles from I-95. Today, hundreds of vampire lovers visit her grave each year.
Zombie Road, formally known as Lawler Ford Road, is just a two-mile stretch of highway with a big reputation. This area was a hangout spot for teenagers in the 1950s, and over the decades there have been so many paranormal sightings, it was nicknamed Zombie Road.
Now largely impassable by automobile, it’s on the site of one of the largest Native burial mounds in the country, and legends that have been passed around for years tell of packs of child ghosts, and the souls of working men.
But catching a glimpse of the infamous ghost lights or the spirits that roam the area at night will be difficult - the local police force issues tickets to anyone caught wandering the area after dark.
The Bridgewater Triangle refers to an area of about 200 square miles within southeastern Massachusetts and it is claimed to be a site of paranormal phenomena.
The area is full of unusual tales, from several reported sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures, Native curses, UFO sightings, and even giant snakes.
If you want paranormal activity, this place has it all, which is why you won’t find us anywhere near it.
New Orleans is a town steeped in mythical and spiritual traditions like witchcraft, voodoo and vampires. Established in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery is the oldest in the city and considered one of the most spooked in all of the United States.
For over 200 years, there have been reports of people having run-ins with the ghosts that reside at the site, and none are more famous than Marie Laveau, commonly known as the Voodoo Queen.
Visitors have reported all sorts of paranormal happenings while trying to interact with Marie. Feelings of being touched, becoming unexplainably ill, and hearing voices emanating from inside her tomb have all been said to happen on occasion.
This historic theatre's main area is said to have been built on top of an old crematorium and mortuary, according to Richard Southall, author of Haunted Route 66: Ghosts of America's Legendary Highway. Loud footsteps, creaky noises, and strange sounds have left employees wondering if there is another presence lurking within.
Legend says three different ghosts roam the premises, among them being Mr. Roberts, the former projectionist. Some claim they can smell his bay rum cologne. Others report a ghost who whistles in the basement, a room that gets really hot for no reason. The most commonly told stories, however, involve the dressing rooms to the side of the stage, where many reports of ghosts have been made.
Few paranormal hotspots have a history as disturbing as Waverly Hills. Once considered as having the finest, most advanced tuberculosis ward in the United States, the sanatorium was established in 1910 to help fight the “white plague" using cutting-edge medicine.
But between 8,000 and 63,000 people perished, often not before enduring questionable (to put it nicely) treatments, as there would be no real cure for tuberculosis until streptomycin was discovered in 1943.
The building is now primarily a tourist attraction for those with paranormal predilections, and there are rumours of weird doppelgängers, ghostly children, otherworldly forces, and more.
Sanatoriums are scary, but the spooky stories from this place are on another level.
With mile-long hallways, staircases to nowhere and doors that open into walls, this mysterious maze-like Victorian mansion was built by Sarah Winchester, the wealthy widow of William Wirt Winchester (son of the manufacturer of the Winchester rifle).
After losing both her daughter and husband to illness, Sarah sought help from a spiritual advisor, who warned Sarah that the Winchester family had been struck by a curse, and would be spooked by the ghosts of the people who were harmed by the Winchester rifle.
The only way to appease the ghosts, according to the medium, was to build a house for the lost souls. Hence this 160-room sprawling house renowned for its architectural curiosities.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is privately owned and serves as a tourist attraction.
Located at the north end of Anastasia Island and built between 1871 and 1874, this haunted Florida lighthouse has been the subject of numerous ghost stories and supernatural tales.
Legend has it that the daughters of its construction superintendent continue to rest in the building ever since their untimely passings. Three other people have perished in the lighthouse from illnesses, while a keeper named Joseph fell to his demise.
Visitors have claimed to see shadows high up in the tower, while others hear the daughters laughing and giggling at night. The eldest girl is also fond of appearing before guests donned in the clothing she wore on her last day.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum offer tickets for a number of ghost tours and ghost-themed events.
It is estimated that one thousand inmates became statistics while at this fearsome, Gothic-style prison, which opened in 1866. Some of natural causes, but dozens endured a much less humane fate, and many more were victims of own their fellow prisoners.
It seems this carnage may have left a mark that will never wash away because, by many accounts, some of the souls who served time under this roof are still lurking in the shadows of the prison walls. Would we set foot inside? No way.
The Bell Witch served as inspiration for the movies The Blair Witch Project her tale has been a part of Southern folklore for almost two centuries.
The story behind the Bell property varies, but most accounts claim that Kate Batts, a neighbour of the Bell family, believed she was cheated out of property in a land purchase, so took revenge on the entire Bell family.
The cave on the property is said to be especially spooked and visitors claim that any object taken from the site is cursed, while many have reported encountering a force while on the property.
Technology doesn’t work there either, with reports of cameras mysteriously malfunctioning. Caves are one thing- add to that the ghost of a vengeful witch, and we’re out.
If you’re passing through LA and get a supernatural itch you have to scratch, look no further than the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a historic hotspot which opened its doors in 1927 and has hosted countless rich, famous and paranormal patrons ever since.
Among their ghostly guests are rumoured to be Marilyn Monroe, who has been spotted in the mirror of room 229, and Montgomery Clift, who has been heard playing his trumpet in room 928. Carole Lombard has made a few appearances on the 12th floor, where she and her husband Clark Gable used to stay.
Other sightings involve a little girl in a blue dress named Caroline. There have also been reports of cold spots, photographic "orbs", and mysterious phone calls to the hotel operator.
This nightclub and honky tonk, owned by country singer Bobby Mackey, has given rise to various urban legends, including a modern folklore claim that the site features a "gateway to hell" and is guarded by the spirit of a woman, Pearl Bryan, who was found in a field 2.5 miles from the site.
Bobby Mackey's was also built on top of a slaughterhouse. Some places just seem to be vortexes of evil, we guess.
Bar-goers report to see shadow people out of the corners of their eyes. Some get pushed and scratched by unseen forces, and of course, no hotspot would be complete without phantom footsteps. Why not pop in for a drink?
The Hornet Spotlight is a light that appears in a small area known locally as the "Devil's Promenade" on the border between southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma, west of the small town of Hornet, Missouri.
As you drive through the Ozark Mountains on East 50 Road, you may be lucky to spot this phenomenon, which was first seen more than 100 years ago, according to the Travel Channel.
Since it first appeared, experts including the Army Corps of Engineers, have tried to debunk it, but locals have their own explanation. They believe it’s a spirit - perhaps an old miner - trying to communicate. If we saw this spooklight, we'd keep driving.
This former state hospital is reported to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. The largest hand-cut stone building in North America, this mammoth granite structure was constructed in 1858 and though it originally housed only 250 residents, at its peak in the 1950s, more than 2,000 patients called this place home.
Trans-Alleghany stopped treating patients in 1994, but while mortal souls no longer wander its halls, it remains home to ghosts of soldiers and former patients, who are said to walk its two-and-a-half miles of corridors.
Brave thrill seekers can join these phantom residents on any number of special guided tours.
There are many lakes around the world reputed to hold monsters, the most famous of which is Nessie, who lives in the cold, deep waters of Loch Ness in Scotland. But the US has its own counterpart, the legend of Champ, who is said to lurk in Lake Champlain, on the border between Vermont and New York.
Hundreds of witnesses claim to have seen Champ over the year and, unsurprisingly, descriptions vary. Most, however, suggest a creature between 20 and 80 feet long, with a series of distinct humps and a serpentine body.
Some say the head looks like a snake or a dog. Some say it has the body of a turtle. One thing’s for sure, we’re not getting close enough to find out.
Sea, you say? Aren’t these supposed to be spooky pitstops for a road trip? Well, this historic cruise ship is now permanently docked in Long Beach, California, and operates as a hotel.
The retired British ocean liner sailed the North Atlantic from 1936 to 1967, but is now better known for its mysterious happenings. A shadowy woman white has allegedly been seen in the Queen’s Salon and a well-dressed gentleman in old-fashioned duds has made more than one appearance in the first class suites.
Giggling children have been heard near a storage room, and if that’s not enough for you, Cabin B340 is no longer open to guests because of a plethora of paranormal sightings in and around there.
Stull Cemetery has a reputation so big that even a Pope tried to avoid going near it. As the story goes, Pope John Paul II was flying to Colorado for a public appearance in 1993, when he declared that the ground in Stull Cemetery was so unholy that he forced his private plane to re-route around it because even the air above was tainted.
With legends that involve sacrifice, rituals, and even a gateway to hell frequently used by Lucifer himself, we're not surprised he gave it a miss. We would too.
For an otherworldly addition to your US road trip, why not pop by the famous town of Roswell, the small town that shot to fame in the 1940s as the supposed crash site of a UFO.
For those not in know, the Roswell Incident happened in the summer of 1947. It is claimed by many theorists, even eye-witnesses at the time, that a UFO crash-landed outside the town, with its extraterrestrial occupants still on board.
Some say the event has been covered up. Many say it never happened in the first place. Either way, the town has attracted a stream of tourists, UFO researchers and dedicated believers in search of the truth… and souvenirs.
It’s a legacy the town wholeheartedly celebrates and has fun with, from the alien-themed souvenir shops to the International U.F.O. Museum and Research Center. It’s definitely one for Mulder and Scully.
The Eternal Flame Falls needs to be seen to be believed. It’s a fire that burns eternally behind a small waterfall, located in the Shale Creek Preserve in Western New York. The grotto emits natural gas, which can be lit to produce a small flame, which is visible nearly year round.
For years, scientists thought that the eternal flame was kept alight by gas produced by ancient, extremely hot rocks. However, researchers from Indiana University have discovered that the rocks underneath the area aren't hot enough to produce this gas, which means another process must be producing it. As to what exactly that process is, no one yet knows. Could the explanation be supernatural?
Hellam Township is reputed to feature seven remote gates, which when passed through in the right order, open an entrance to hell, naturally.
One particular telling of this urban folklore alleges that the gateways were formed after a fire broke out at a mental hospital in the 1800s, as actual gates were put up afterwards to trap the remaining patients who survived the blaze.
It is said that only the first gate is visible by daylight, and this lies on private land just off the town’s Trout Run Road - and we do not condone trespassing, so don't try it. However, by night, other gates become visible in this quiet, wooded corner of the township, and it’s reported that nobody has yet passed five and returned to talk about the experience. Would we go in search of these gates? Hell, no.
If you’re driving through San Francisco and have a few hours to spare, why not take a tour of one of the city's most famous landmarks. Alcatraz Island has been home to a Civil War fortress, a bird sanctuary, the Indian Red Power movement, and - most famously - a prison.
It’s now a draw for tourists who are fascinated by the former facility’s reputation for spooky goings-on. Some say a ghostly Al Capone, a former inmate, can be heard practicing the banjo he played in the prison's old band. Others say that mobster Alvin Karpis guards the bakery and kitchen. But the consensus is that the most paranormal spot is in cell block D, where the notorious escape attempt took place.
Many supernatural sites have a negative connotation related to ghosts, demons, or other spirits. Sedona, Arizona, on the other hand, is said to give off positive, healing energy.
Many people believe that Sedona is a vortex, although certain areas throughout the town have particularly strong vortex energy and the area has long been discussed in Native folklore for being spiritually charged.
According to people who go near the Red Rocks and Bell Rock, you'll begin to feel a strange vibration inside you, described as "refreshing." Some also claim to have seen strange lights at the top of the rocks — possibly visitors from another world?
Savannah has more than its fair share of spooky sites and legends, but its most famous haunted house may be the Sorrel-Weed House, which appeared in the opening shots of the 1994 film Forrest Gump.
The house is said to be home to at least two ghosts: the wife and the rival lover of shipping merchant Francis Sorrel, who built the house in the 1840s. Spooks became so frequent and severe that the Sorrel family moved out to another property next door.
Today, it’s open for ghost tours, so why not check out this ghostly gaff for yourself? We’ll pass.
For over 100 years, Gettysburg has been a hotbed of paranormal activity, according to reports. From phantom cries of wounded soldiers to life-like apparitions, many visitors to Gettysburg have been touched by its haunting past.
Gettysburg was the site where Confederate and Union armies clashed on July 1, 1863. The battle was a three-day onslaught that would change history forever. Soldiers never received a proper burial, now, all these years later, these unsettled spirits may still linger on.
From the Daniel Lady Farm, which was used as a field hospital, to the Gettysburg Hotel, there are lots of places in Gettysburg to get your fill of something strange.
If you’ve ever seen or read The Shining, this Colorado hotel was author Stephen King’s inspiration behind it. Built in 1907 by the founder of Stanley Steamer automobiles, today the hotel celebrates its spooky reputation by hosting ghost tours for visitors.
But even if you're in the neighbourhood, it's worth popping by. Who knows, maybe you'll see apparitions of Mr. Stanley and his wife, who are frequently spotted passing through the lobby and billiard room, and can even be heard tinkling the ivories on occasion.
Sounds of giggling children, whispering voices and phantom footsteps have also been reported, as have lights switching on and off.
References: www.livescience.com; www.nationalgeographic.com