Updated: Sep 5, 2022
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It's common that reports of hauntings take place in areas where tragedies occurred. It doesn't necessarily happen just because someone died; it's usually because of how someone died too. It might be chilling to think about, but when you consider years of famine, disease, and war, it's pretty safe to assume that the spirits taken for these reasons aren't happy about it.
Whether you believe in paranormal activity or not, there are places in America that will shake you to the core. Some people (like me) actually seek out these frightening locations. Because of this, I decided to compile a list featuring some of the most haunted places in America.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Located in: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Opened in 1829, the Eastern State Penitentiary was the first prison to hold jailers in solitude, even covering their heads on the way to the courtyard. It once housed famous criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. In fact, Sutton once tried escaping the jail, but was captured minutes later. Today, the penitentiary is said to be extremely haunted, and it's open year-round for tours.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
Located in: St. Augustine, Florida
Several ghost sightings have been reported at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. One of the most popular is of two sisters, Eliza and Mary, who died on the property when they slid into the bay on a cart. Another ghostly figure is of one the lighthouse's first keeper's, Peter Rasmussen, who loved smoking cigars. Some visitors report smelling cigars at the lighthouse and coming in contact with the man himself.
Winchester Mystery House
Located in: San Jose, California
The Winchester Mystery House is one of the strangest, yet most enthralling pieces of construction ever built. It all started when Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, widow to William Wirt Winchester of the firearms fame, lost both her daughter and husband in a short period of time. She moved into an eight-room farmhouse in California and begun renovations immediately, which didn't end until the day she died. Costing an estimated $71 million in today's money, the mansion has 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, and 2,000 doors, some leading to absolutely nowhere. It's said Sarah did this because a medium told her she must continuously build a home out west to appease the spirits of those who died from the gunshots of Winchester rifles. Today, people visit for both the oddity and the ghosts that are said to roam the house.
R.M.S. Queen Mary
Located in: Long Beach, California
The Queen Mary operated in the North Atlantic Ocean until its retirement in 1967. In 1971, it docked in Long Beach and opened as a tourist attraction. Since then, it has been frequently reported as one of the most haunted places in America. Some of the ghosts include an engineer who died on board and several children running about the ship. Stateroom B340 is notoriously haunted and has been featured on several TV shows, including "Ghost Hunters."
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Located in: Weston, West Virginia
Only designed to hold 250 people, the Trans-Allegheny Asylum was crowded with 2,400 people in the 1950s. It started as a well-intentioned mental heath facility, but the lack of food supply led to malnourishment for the patients. Employees began to lose control as costs continued to rise. Eventually, the asylum couldn't afford furniture and additional beds. That's when they tried performing lobotomies, leading to the deaths of many. Today, the hospital, which sits on an eerie 666 acres, is a popular spot for ghost hunters.
Located in: Portland, Oregon
The Pittock Mansion house was built by Henry Pittock, a newspaper owner who met his wife Georgiana after moving to Portland. Georgiana died just four years after the house was complete, and Henry died only a year after that. It's said that the couple have returned to haunt their dream mansion, living the rest of their undead lives together,
Located in: Savannah, Georgia
If you're a huge horror or history fan, you may know that Savannah is full of many mass graves. The Kehoe House used to be a funeral home, and rumor has it, two of the Kehoe family's children died in the house. Guests of the now bed and breakfast report hearing children playing and a smell of old perfume. Some even report feeling someone touch them while they sleep.
The LaLaurie Mansion
Located in: New Orleans, Louisiana
Further popularized by "American Horror Story: Coven," the LaLaurie Mansion is where Delphine LaLaurie owned and tortured numerous slaves after her third failed marriage sent her into a downward spiral. When the mansion caught fire in 1834, it revealed the horrible living conditions of the slaves. It's said those slaves are still haunting the home today.
The Stanley Hotel
Located in: Estes Park, Colorado
Made famous by Stephen King's "The Shining," The Stanley Hotel has a number of haunted rooms available for booking. The rooms 401, 407, and 428 have been highlighted on "Ghost Hunters," and the famed room from the movie, 217, can be reserved by request. The paranormal history of the hotel began when Elizabeth Wilson was tending to the rooms while carrying a lit gas lamp. When she entered room 217, the gas lamp connected with the flame, causing an explosion. Elizabeth survived this attack, but it is said that she, and several other ghosts, are currently haunting his hotel.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Located in: Louisville, Kentucky
In the 1900s, Kentucky suffered the highest rate of tuberculosis deaths in America. That's why Waverly Hills was constructed—as a place to house those with the disease. There was no cure, and some of the treatments were intense. Some patients had balloons placed in their lungs and pumped with air to expand them. Other patients had their ribs removed from their chest. Ultimately, many people died and had to be sent down a chute for transportation out of the building. Due to the high rate of death, many hauntings are now reported.
Whether it's Halloween or a random Wednesday, I hope these places keep you alive with exploration.