October 23, 2023 | Allison Robertson

America's Eeriest Haunts: 15 Spots to Encounter the Paranormal

America's Eeriest Haunts: 15 Spots to Encounter the Paranormal

Haunted hallway and woman screaming in fear split image

The US is peppered with historic sites, many carrying tales of tragedies, mysteries, and hauntings. 

From spine-chilling asylums to historic hotels, these destinations offer more than just a trip down history lane—they offer a brush with the otherworldly. 

For those brave souls eager to immerse themselves in true ghost stories, here's a list of 15 places where the dead reportedly still roam.

The Stanley Hotel - Colorado

Staircase of The Stanley Hotel - ColoradoKit Leong, Shutterstock

Famously inspiring Stephen King's "The Shining," The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park boasts more than its cinematic claim to fame. 

Guests and staff have reported eerie piano music, ghostly children's laughter, and sudden cold breezes. If you're up for it, opt for Room 217—the most haunted of them all.

Eastern State Penitentiary - Pennsylvania

Haunted PrisonMISHELLA, Shutterstock

Once the most famous prison in the world, its now-abandoned halls echo with chilling tales. Shadowy figures, cackling laughter, and disembodied footsteps are commonly reported. 

Join one of their nightly tours to explore its dark past—but maybe stick close to the group.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium - Kentucky

Haunted Waverly Hills SanatoriumRoyasfoto73, Wikimedia Commons

Initially built to house tuberculosis patients, many of whom met tragic ends, this sanatorium is now a hotspot for paranormal enthusiasts. 

Apparitions of nurses, flickering lights, and echoing voices are among the phenomena reported. Take an overnight ghost hunting tour if you dare.


Alcatraz Island - California

Haunted prison in Californiathomaslabriekl, Shutterstock

The infamous Alcatraz prison housed America's most notorious criminals. Visitors often report cold spots, ghostly weeping, and sometimes even see apparitions of long-dead inmates. 

The night tours offer a particularly eerie experience of the rock.

The Queen Mary - California

Queen Mary Ocean Liner HallwayRuss Allison Loar, Wikimedia Commons

Docked in Long Beach, this ocean liner turned hotel has its fair share of ghostly tales. Guests speak of ghostly figures in 1930s attire, mysterious knocks, and cries in the night. 

The ship's engine room, with its reported 50 deaths, is said to be a hotspot of activity.

Gettysburg Battlefield - Pennsylvania

Gettysburg Battlefield - Pennsylvaniarusty426, Shutterstock

The site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, many claim the spirits of fallen soldiers still haunt the grounds. Reports include phantom gunfire, ghostly regiments, and cries of pain. 

Many guided ghost tours offer deep dives into the site's tragic history.

Villisca Axe Murder House - Iowa

Haunted house in IowaVillisca Axe Murder House

In 1912, eight people were brutally murdered in this house, and the crime remains unsolved. Visitors often report children's voices, moving ladders, and shadowy figures. 

Overnight stays are available, but few can make it through the whole night.

Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast - Massachusetts

Haunted house EQRoy, Shutterstock

The site of the infamous Borden family murders now operates as a B&B. Guests report seeing apparitions of Lizzie and her slain family, hearing phantom footsteps, and experiencing cold spots. 

They even offer nightly séances for the truly adventurous.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum - West Virginia

Haunted Asylum Malachi Jacobs, Shutterstock

Originally designed to house 250 patients, at its peak, it held over 2,400 in inhumane conditions. Spirits of former patients are said to linger, with reports of screams, shadow figures, and even violent encounters. 

Night tours are available for those seeking an intense experience.


LaLaurie Mansion - Louisiana

Haunted mansionJustPixs, Shutterstock

One of New Orleans' most sinister tales, the LaLaurie Mansion, was the site of unspeakable tortures inflicted upon slaves by Madame LaLaurie. Visitors often recount hearing chains, screams, and seeing apparitions of the tortured souls. 

While the mansion is privately owned, many tours in the French Quarter recount its grim history.

St. Augustine Lighthouse - Florida

Haunted lighthouseSandi Cullifer, Shutterstock

Besides its stunning view, visitors report shadowy figures in the stairwell, mysterious laughter, and the ghostly figure of a former keeper's daughter who tragically drowned

Night tours allow you to explore the haunted history of this coastal beacon.

Myrtles Plantation - Louisiana

Haunted houseWikimedia Commons

Labeled as one of America's most haunted homes, legends of vengeful spirits and tragic deaths surround the plantation. Ghostly children, a phantom pianist, and the spirit of a former slave named Chloe are frequently reported. 

The plantation offers historical and mystery tours.

Hotel Monte Vista - Arizona

Hotel Monte Vista - ArizonaFotoluminate LLC, Shutterstock

Located in Flagstaff, this hotel hosts a variety of spirits, from a bank robber who died in the lobby to phantom bellboys knocking on doors. Guests often hear hushed conversations from empty rooms. 

If brave enough, book a stay and ask for the most haunted rooms.

Winchester Mystery House - California

Haunted houseDreamArt123, Shutterstock

Built by Sarah Winchester to appease spirits she believed haunted her, this mansion boasts doors leading to nowhere and staircases ending in ceilings. Phantom footsteps, mysterious voices, and moving doorknobs are common occurrences. 

Guided tours explore the mansion's bewildering design and its spectral residents.

Whaley House - California

Haunted houseConchi Martinez, Shutterstock

Declared as the most haunted house in America by the U.S. Commerce Department, visitors frequently encounter the Whaley family's apparitions, a ghostly dog, and even the spirit of a man who was hanged on the property. 

The museum offers ghost hunting tours for a close encounter.


Final Thoughts

Creepy StoriesShutterstock

From coast to coast, the US offers history enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike the chance to delve into the nation's ghostly past. Beyond their spectral inhabitants, these sites also offer deep dives into America's rich history. 

Whether seeking an adrenaline rush or a lesson in bygone eras, remember to stay respectful—after all, we're merely visitors in the realm of the departed.