Written by Lyndsey Morgan
In America, there are countless number of places—hotels, houses and other sites—that are haunted. These famous hauntings have become ingrained to the point that they are part of the history of the country, as well as transcending into other cultures. The supernatural happenings in these haunted locales remains popular up to the present day, mainly due to loyal interest from the general public. The cultural penetration of these famous hauntings is so deep that they have been the inspiration for numerous television shows and movies.
Bell Witch Cave - Adams, Tennessee – In Tennessee’s Robertson County, a local farmer by the name of John Bell and his family were the victims of a haunting between 1817 and 1821. The haunting spirit was exposed as “Kate Batts,” a former neighbor of Bell who had gotten into disagreements with him over transactions involving purchased slaves. The haunting that victimized the Bells entailed extreme violence against the family, knocking and scratching noises, and the manifestation of scary creatures and also voices.
Lincoln Theater - Decatur, Illinois
The most haunted theater in all of America currently sits on North Main Street in Decatur, Illinois. The hauntings at this theater date back all the way to the 1930s and are thought to be the partial result of the theater sitting on the location of a Native American burial ground. After this site was transformed into a hotel, a fire occurred that killed everyone inside. The current hauntings are suspected to be the work of Native American spirits along with the ghosts of those who perished in the fire.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium - Louisville, Kentucky
Waverly Hills Sanatorium’s history was that it was a hospital facility for tuberculosis. The hospital treated its patients savagely, and due to a lack of antibiotic treatments, 64,000 patients died before streptomycin was finally discovered in 1943. The site has seen its share of frightening voices, eerie apparitions, and its most famous spook: An older woman who has been spotted running around in blood-soaked chains.
Moore Home / Ax Murder House - Villisca, Iowa
The sordid history of this ax murder house dates to June 10, 1912, when a blood-curdling mass murder happened. The victims included the Moore family along with two houseguests. Some years ago, this haunted house was opened to visitors, and since then, people have witnessed laughter, kids’ voices, banging noises, and moving objects.
Lemp Mansion - St. Louis, Missouri
The Lemp Mansion was once the home of the Lemp family and constructed in the 1860s. This site has been credited as being one of the top ten haunted places in the US since the 1970s, when incidents of weird phenomena began happening after the last Lemp family member died. Paranormal reports have included doors locking on their own, objects disappearing, poltergeist activity, and the piano playing ragtime music.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery - Midlothian, Illinois
The most haunted place in Chicago distinction belongs to Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. Hauntings at this cemetery have dated back all the way to 1844, when the location was abandoned as a burial ground, first called “Everdon’s.” Pictures of ghosts have been taken here, with the photo of a see-through woman on a tombstone being the most well-known. One of the more famous ghosts here has been the one of a farmer and his horse, both of whom drowned in a river.
Gettysburg Battlefield - Southern Pennsylvania
The location of Gettysburg is home to a famous battle between the North and South during the American Civil War. The lives of 48,000 soldiers were taken in this battle alone, who are now thought to haunt the battlefield in Gettysburg. Visitors to Gettysburg have seen the ghosts of identified soldiers still roaming the battlefield.
Alcatraz - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz operated as a prison that kept some of the most dangerous criminals locked away from society for 29 years. Today, Alcatraz’s function is as a tourist attraction as a haunted prison. Reports of hauntings involve running sounds from the prison’s upper tiers, a sense of insanity from its cells, and even a pair of glowing eyes.
Winchester Mansion - San Jose, California
The Winchester Mansion sits in San Jose and is the result of Sarah Winchester looking for guidance from a medium after losing her kid. After seeing the medium, Winchester was convinced that she had to build her mansion as a maze in order to confuse the spirits she believed were coming after her. The mansion features 160 unfurnished rooms, and one of the ghosts said to be roaming the grounds is Winchster’s.
Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, Louisiana
The history of the Myrtles Plantation is that it was home to an ancient Indian burial ground; thus, it also was the site of strange phenomena. The 10 murders that have happened on this site since the 1700s have also contributed to hauntings. Stories at this locale include the one regarding the slave by the name of “Chloe,” who got her ear cut off.
Old Slave House - Junction, Illinois
The Old Slave House was built by John Hart Crenshaw. It was constructed to house kidnapped slaves in the attic; this imprisonment would eventually lead to the slaves haunting the premises for years to come. While the property is not allowing visitors today, past visitors have reported the noise of rattling chains in the attic, whimpers, cries, and a severe feeling of sadness.
Congelier Mansion - Pittsburgh, PA
Known formerly as the most haunted house in America, the Congelier Mansion is situated at 1129 Wright Congelier. The history of the Congelier Mansion’s haunting began when Lyda Congelier—the wife of the homeowner—discovered the affair her husband was carrying on with the maid. In retaliation, Lyda stabbed her husband to death and then cut off the maid’s head. After the mansion stood abandoned for a while, workers began feeling the paranormal effects of the mansion.
Belcourt Castle - Newport, Rhode Island
The haunting at Belcourt Castle dates back to 1956. Visiting tourists can expect to get lucky by experiencing the haunting, as it is said to be active with visitors. The hauntings at this location are diverse. There are haunted chairs in the ballroom, a supposedly screaming suit of armor, and see-through ghosts going through walls.
The Devil's Tree - Bernards Township, New Jersey
The Devil’s Tree’s history goes back all the way to the time of the Ku Klux Klan and when slaves were hung from the tree’s branches. This oak tree is thought to be possessed by the Devil, and a further belief is that if a person damages the tree in any way, she opens herself up to personal harm. An example of a haunting around this tree is a black vehicle that appears to chase onlookers away before disappearing into the night.
Eastern State Penitentiary - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This prison was approved in 1822, and once it was opened, it housed prisoners in solitary confinement, which led to death and insanity resulting from harsh conditions. The origin of this penitentiary was the petitioning by Quakers of the Pennsylvania legislature to create a prison where, ironically, criminals could reform themselves. Since these harsh conditions, visitors have experienced laughter, spectral shapes, and ghostly figures from the old cells.
Hotel Chelsea - Manhattan, New York City
Hotel Chelsea became an official hotel in 1905, only after it had spent several decades as an estate and then luxury apartments. The hotel still stands today and has been host to famous celebrities like Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix. The hotel’s ghosts mostly are comprised of the famous and dead celebrities who have stayed here, like Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
Lizzie Borden House - Fall River, Massachusetts
The Lizzie Borden House entered notoriety when Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in August of 1892. Though Lizzie Borden was a suspect, she was acquitted of murdering her parents. Today a Bed and Breakfast, the Lizzie Borden House permits its guests to both look at the murder scene and spend the night. Reports of hauntings include the impressions of bodies in newly made beds, funny noises, and smoke filling the room.
Montgomery House Bed and Breakfast - Kalama, Washington
The Montgomery House was built in 1908. The subject of a documentary, its hauntings are said to be the result of thousands of deaths of Native American people that took place on its land. The hauntings are so strong that they have even been captured on tape inside of the house.
The Mount Washington Hotel - Bretton, New Hampshire
Owner Joseph Stickney constructed the Mount Washington Hotel in 1902, and it had a staff of 350 people. When Stickney died only one year later, his wife remarried, but continued residing at the hole until she, too, died years later. Her ghost is still thought to wander the halls of the hotel.
Old Louisville Neighborhood - Louisville, Kentucky
In the Old Louisville neighborhood, you will find the haunted house called the “Pink Palace,” located at 1473 St. James Court. Reports say that at least one ghost is watching over the people who reside in the mansion. The ghost is reportedly a benevolent force: an older man who appears when people are close to peril.
RMS Queen Mary - Long Beach, California
For the last decades, the RMS Queen Mary has been a famous and a popular site in Long Beach. The ship was one of the most famous cruise ships ever, but today, it is the home of no less than 150 ghosts scattered across all levels of the ship. Hauntings include wet footprints around closed swimming pools and females in 1930s-era bathing suits.
The White House - Washington, D.C.
While the White House is the residence of the current president, it is still the residence of past presidents, too. Former presidents like John Tyler and Andrew Jackson (or their ghosts, at least) have been seen at the White House. Even the wife of President John Adams has been seen in the East Room, still hanging laundry after all these years.