Fans of ghost stories, creepy urban legends and eerie buildings that send shivers down the spine need not travel overseas to satisfy their want for all things scary—some of the world’s most haunted locations can be found at home in the U.S.A.
From haunted hotels where guests are attacked in their sleep to bed and breakfasts where people were hacked with axes to forests with such an evil presence that no trees will grow, there are plenty of spooky places to check out all over the country.
Keep reading to learn about the 10 most haunted (and positively frightening) places in America that you can actually visit.
Hotel Monte Vista in Arizona has gained a reputation over the years for hosting a range of ghostly guests. Several legends and strange alleged sightings make this place one of the creepiest in the state.
It’s been reported that the ghost of an old border hangs raw meat from the chandelier in Room 210, and two female spirits attempt to suffocate male guests in their sleep. Pretty scary stuff! It’s said that the actor John Wayne even believed Hotel Monte Vista was haunted after experiencing his own paranormal encounter on the premises.
Sprawling across seven counties and one million acres, Pine Barrens in New Jersey has plenty of room for evil to frolic. It houses a few ghost towns, which have sparked rumors that the entire forest is haunted. While people originally populated the surrounding villages, these were all abandoned when coal was discovered in nearby Pennsylvania.
Pine Barrens is the most famous for supposedly being the home of the legendary Jersey Devil, which was said to be born in 1735. The creature, which is described as having leathery wings, hooves and the head of a goat, reportedly kills local livestock.
Not all haunted buildings are isolated and abandoned. New York’s New Amsterdam Theatre is said to be home to the ghost of Olive Thomas. After arriving in Manhattan at the age of 16, Thomas earned the title of “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York City” and joined the famous Ziegfeld Follies. But according to Condé Nast Traveler, she died at the age of 25 in 1920 after swallowing mercury pills.
Her spirit is still spotted wandering backstage at the New Amsterdam to this day, almost always by male patrons.
Just looking at the Pittock Mansion gives you the feeling that there are dark forces afoot. This was originally the home of pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock. Within a decade of building their dream home, both Henry and Georgiana had passed away. Now the house is a public landmark and has been connected to some odd reports.
The scent of roses—Georgiana’s favorite flower—is said to sometimes fill the rooms, even though no flowers are in sight. Others have spotted a childhood painting of Henry moving on its own.
Locals are familiar with the story of New England’s Lizzie Borden, who was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with a hatchet in 1892. Borden was later acquitted of the crime, but that doesn’t change the fact that people suffered violent deaths on the property.
Visitors can choose to spend the night and brave the strange occurrences that have been said to take place there. Reports claim that weeping, muffled conversations, and footstep sounds emit from the rooms, doors open and close by themselves, and the odd ghost in Victorian-era clothing sometimes makes an appearance.
Louisiana’s Myrtles Plantation is thought by many to be one of the most haunted sites in the United States. At least 12 different spirits are said to roam through the halls of the property, which was built in 1796 by General David Bradford.
Legends surrounding Myrtles Plantation include the building sitting on top of an old burial ground, and later being home to a slave named Chloe whose ear was chopped off by her master after she was caught eavesdropping. For revenge, Chloe is said to have poisoned the master’s daughters and was then hanged.
A zoo isn’t the first place that comes to mind at the word “haunted”, but Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is thought to be home to more than just lions and tigers. The heart of the zoo was originally a cemetery containing 35,000 bodies.
Most of these were moved after it became obvious that the cemetery was too close to the city’s water supply, but that hasn’t stopped disturbed ghosts from roaming the pathways of the zoo. Reports of sightings and strange occurrences at Lincoln Park have flooded authorities for over a century.
There is a circle deep in the woods of North Carolina, south of Greensboro, that is said to be haunted. No plant or tree seems to grow within the circle, and likewise, no animals have ever been spotted crossing through it. Local legends state that this is because the devil appears in the clearing every night to dance.
Some people have claimed to have seen glowing red eyes near the circle at night. Others swear they’ve placed their belongings in the circle before sunset, only to find them moved out of the space by sunrise.
Today the Moon River Brewing Company is a beer house and restaurant. Nothing creepy about that, right? Only, it wasn’t always such a happy place. The building originally served as a hotel in 1821, before becoming a hospital for victims of yellow fever during the civil war. During that time, countless souls lost their lives on the premises.
Restaurant guests have told of spotting a woman dressed in period clothes staring down at them from the top of the staircase. Others claim to have seen a spirit named Toby in the basement, and someone called Mrs. Johnson upstairs.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse has a history of tragic events taking place within its walls. One of the first was the lighthouse keeper falling to his death while painting the tower. He is said to still watch over the grounds and the 225,000 annual visitors.
The lighthouse is also the site of the death of three young girls, who drowned when they fell into the ocean after the cart they were playing in broke. Some guests believe that you can still hear the sounds of the children playing as you walk through the lighthouse.