America's Scariest Homes, Hotels and Haunted Places
Explore Victorian homes, antebellum mansions and other spirited sites that will haunt you for a long, long time.
Photo By: Winchester Mystery House ©Copyright Winchester Mystery House
Photo By: Tony Urban Photography
Photo By: Jasmine Gordon
Photo By: South Dakota Dept. of Tourism
Photo By: JacobH
Photo By: Kylie Pearse
Photo By: The Stanley Hotel
Photo By: Myrtles Plantation
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
After the 1881 death of the owner of the Winchester firearms company, his widow, Sarah, used her huge inheritance to complete a home in San Jose. Until her death in 1922, she installed doors that went nowhere, stairs that led to the ceiling, secret rooms and other oddities, perhaps trying to escape the ghosts of those killed by Winchester guns. The Winchester Mystery House, as seen on Ghost Adventures, now features 160 rooms in a puzzling maze.
Amityville House, Amityville, NY
An entire family was murdered at a home in Amityville, now considered America's most haunted house. Later, another family bought the property but fled just 28 days later, claiming their children levitated from their beds and a sickly slime poured from the walls. A book and later a movie recounted these strange occurrences. This house in New Jersy served as a stand-in for the original, a private home that has been re-sold several times.
Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast and Museum, Falls River, MA
Who killed wealthy Andrew Borden and his wife with an axe in 1892? A jury set free the suspected murderer, their daughter, Lizzie. Still, an old rhyme pins the gruesome double homicide on her. After her trial, Lizzie sold the Victorian home, which is now a bed and breakfast and museum. Guests sometimes flee in the middle of the night after seeing doors open and close by themselves and watching shadowy figures climb the stairs.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans, LA
Established in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is Louisiana's oldest and most haunted graveyard. Over 100,000 dead are buried in decaying crypts that lie in a confusing maze. Many report being pinched, scratched or shoved by the ghost of Marie Laveau, the city's Voodoo Queen during the 1800s. Others encounter ghosts from the Civil War and yellow fever epidemics. A licensed guide must accompany you if you tour the cemetery. Going alone wouldn't be a good idea, anyway.
The Town of Salem, MA
Curses and cries rang through the streets of Salem in 1692, when hysteria led to accusations of witchcraft. Twenty men and women were executed, and their souls may still haunt the community. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about supernatural happenings in his novel, The House of Seven Gables, which described a seaside mansion built in 1668. Visitors to the multi-gabled house often report supernatural occurrences, like a rocker that rocks by itself. Over 250,000 people come to town each October for Salem's Haunted Happenings, which include costume balls, ghost tours and more.
Bullock Hotel, Deadwood, SD
It's fitting that the historic Bullock Hotel is in Deadwood, South Dakota. It was the town's first hotel and it's still home to its first sherrif, Seth Bullock, who died in 1919. Some say his spirit flicks lights on and off in the basement and rattles dishes and glasses in the restaurant until they fly off the tables. Bullock was a law-abiding man, so perhaps he's just guarding his guests from other spirits. At least, those who check in have always been able to check out - so far.
Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY
Watch your head when you visit the 18th century Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow. That's where you may encounter the Headless Horseman around Halloween; legend says he's still searching for his head after losing it in the Revolutionary War. Sleepy Hollow, a village in Mount Pleasant, is the setting for Washington Irving's tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In Irving's story, the horseman often thundered past the church and over the bridge in the dead of night.
Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA
In 1863, Confederate and Union forces fought for three bloody days in Gettysburg, until some 50,000 lay dead or dying. Many visitors say they still hear their moans and cries and see their phantoms. One terrifying story about the area comes from two Gettysburg College administrators. They claim to have taken an elevator one evening to the first floor of a campus building, Pennsylvania Hall, only to find it plummeting to the basement instead. When the doors opened, they revealed a blood-spattered Civil War era operating room.
The Stanley Hotel
Don’t be fooled by the Stanley Hotel's magnificent setting and historic charm. It inspired author Stephen King’s terrifying novel, The Shining, when he and his wife stayed there just before the hotel closed one winter. King said he had nightmares about his then three-year-old son, screaming as something chased him through the empty halls. Do your own running--but no screaming, please--when you take a Night Spirit Tour through the hotel, now more than 100 years old. The room where the Kings stayed is said to be the most haunted spot on the property, but other ghosts play music after dark in the concert hall and hang out in an underground cave system formerly used by construction crews.
Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA
It's hard to believe the 1796 Myrtles Plantation, listed on the National Historic Register, harbors ghosts in its spacious suites. But in 1992, a National Geographic Explorer team reportedly shot photos of a deceased slave girl there; a building was visible through her ghostly form. Legends also say up to 10 people died on the planation from poisonings, hangings and other causes. Take an evening mystery tour to search for the specters, or peer into a haunted mirror where souls are thought to be trapped.