The Travel Channel recently did a ranking of US states by how haunted they are, with a brief summary of the highlights – or high-frights, if you will – of the famous haunted spots.
Remington was once the largest ammunitions manufacturer in the world. Their factory in Bridgeport was designed for quantity, not quality, and many lives were lost in the extremely unsafe conditions. Throughout its operation, the factory experienced multiple explosions and machine-related incidents that killed numerous workers. The abandoned building is now home to squatters and spirits. Other haunted spots include the Mark Twain House and the Shubert Theater.
There are some very famous haunted spots in Tennessee. A farming community came under attack from an unseen specter. This dark force became known as the Bell Witch, and served as the inspiration for the Blair Witch Project. Another famous paranormal spot in Tennessee is the haunted plantation in Hurricane Mills owned by none other than Loretta Lynn herself.
Oregon has numerous haunted sites like the Wolf Creek Inn and the abandoned ghost town of Golden. But most notable are Portland’s nefarious Shanghai tunnels. Beneath the bars and hotels of Portland lies a system of underground tunnels where drunken men would be kidnapped and sold to pirates. The tunnels lead straight to the docks, where men would wake up from their drunken daze onboard a ship, miles offshore. Uncooperative victims would end up murdered in the tunnels, where they remain to this day.
22. North Carolina
The Biltmore Estate in Ashville is America’s largest home…it’s also one of America’s most haunted. Built by the wealthy Vanderbilt family, the mansion is said to have a headless cat that roams the gardens, and visitors to the mansion regularly hear the voice George Vanderbilt himself as they wander through the study. Another famously haunted location in North Carolina is the Mayo House. You will see the full rankings below, but we’ll just go into details on the states in the top half of the list.
21. West Virginia
Everyone knows of the West Virginia town Point Pleasant, where the Mothman and the Men in Black were spotted numerous times in the 60’s. Also packing a paranormal punch is the Trans-Allegheny Asylum. The asylum housed drug addicts, the mentally ill, and those with disabilities. It was severely overcrowded and the sanitation was unbearably bad. In the 90’s the institution was forced to close, but throughout its history, countless souls were lost within its walls. It’s a favorite for ghost hunters because of its high levels of paranormal activity.
20. New Mexico
The St. James Hotel was at the center of the old west. Jesse James and Buffalo Bill both stayed at the hotel, and one night, gunslinger T.J. Wright won the hotel in a poker game. Immediately after, he was shot in the back. Wright crawled his way into room 18, where he died. The room remains locked to this day, reserved solely for Wright’s ghost who still watches over the hotel. On the other end of the state sits Skinwalker Ranch, where everything from UFOs to bigfoot, shapeshifters, glowing orbs, and apparitions have been seen. It’s recognized as one of the most paranormal places on the entire planet.
Michigan hosts a number of haunted sites. From the Whitney Restaurant and Michigan Central Station in the urban metropolis of Detroit, to the lakeside Terrace Inn in Petoskey, and even out to rural a farmhouse in St. Charles that led to some startling revelations during an investigation from the Dead Files team.
Savannah is the paranormal hotbed of Georgia, and the city’s most notorious crime was the 1909 axe murders of three women in downtown. Making matters worse, racial tension of the time led the white southerners to immediately blame the African American community. Hundreds of African Americans were rounded up and placed in jails to await interrogation. However, one of the women had managed to survive the attack, and just before she died of blood loss, she told the authorities it was in fact her ex-husband who attacked her. The injustice and pain associated with this crime has caused the sensational story to live on forever…just like the spirits of the slain women who still inhabit the Gribble House. Other haunted Savannah spots include the Sorrel Weed House and the infamous Mercer-Williams House, which became the focal point of the famous story Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Herb Baumeister was one of Indiana’s most elusive serial killers. He’d find men at bars and lure them back to his farm…only to kill them. Police started to catch on to the crimes and arrived at Baumeister’s door. His wife was shocked at the allegations, but as time went on and police continued piecing the clues together, Herb’s attitude became erratic. So much so that his wife filed for divorce…and a restraining order. While he was out on vacation, a secret investigation of the farm took place, uncovering 11 bodies. Many say those souls haven’t yet crossed over and remain trapped at Fox Hollow Farm. Other haunted spots in Indiana include the Black Moon and Thornhaven manors.
Completed in 1695, the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine is one of the oldest forts in America. It’s survived numerous wars and has had many people live and work within its walls. One of the most notable was Dolores Martis, wife of Colonel Garcia Martis. Deloris would sneak away at night to meet with her lover, Captain Manuel Abela. Her husband caught on to the affair, and soon after both Dolores and Captain Manuel went missing…until two skeletons were unearthed from one of the fort’s dungeons. It’s said that their ghosts still haunt the grounds and are regularly seen.
Everyone knows the Stanley Hotel. Stephen King stayed there the night before it was going to close for the season. He and his wife Tabitha were the only visitors in the entire resort. King wandered the empty halls, feeling a strange and terrifying inspiration… That night he had horrible nightmares of his son being chased through the hotel by something evil. He jolted awake, drenched in sweat, almost falling out of bed. Thus began The Shining.
Bobby Macky’s Music World attracts visitors from around the globe. Built in an old slaughterhouse that was turned into a sleazy roadside motel, the current honky-tonk has inherited the building’s undying legacy. Most notably, that of Pearl Bryan whose body was found nearby. It’s rumored that her murderers were Satanists who put a curse on the grounds surrounding the bar. Another globally known hotspot in Kentucky is the Waverly Hills Sanitorium.
Everyone in Washington knows the legendary Manresa Castle in the town of Port Townshend. Built over a hundred years ago, the castle was originally a private estate and has since been turned into a hotel. Throughout the century, the hotel has seen dark days. In room 302, a priest once hung himself, and in room 306, a young women once threw herself from a window after learning her fiancé had been lost at sea. It seems the ghosts of the 3rd floor still have a story to tell, seeing as they frequently haunt guests. The St. Ignatius Hospital in Colfax is another of the state’s most haunted spots.
The abandoned Ashmore Estates, a former almshouse turned psychiatric facility, sat empty for twenty years with squatters and vandalizers being the only ones stepping foot inside. But soon, the squatters wouldn’t even enter after many experienced poltergeists, full-body apparitions, and the sounds of endless crying. In Chicago, the former Chicago Historical Society Building was used as a makeshift morgue in the early 1900’s and was later turned into Excalibur, one of Chicago’s most hedonistic clubs, ran by an infamous drug lord… What happened inside these walls remain unknown, but what is known are the spirits who remain trapped inside.
In Utah, St. Ann’s Retreat is infamous for its nefarious history as well as the very true story of a group of teens who snuck into the camp one night hoping to solve the mysterious tales. The teens were captured, tied up, and held captive by the camp’s watchman until police arrived. The question that locals keep asking is, what were they hiding? Leslie’s Family Tree Restaurant is another frightening locale considered to be one of the state’s most haunted. Also in Utah is Kay’s Cross, which many believe was created by an extremist cult.
The Big Easy, swamps, plantations… is it any wonder that Louisiana would finish off our top ten? Magnolia, a former cotton plantation, had slaves that reportedly used voodoo to torment their captors, and this black magic has caused many souls to become trapped within the home. The LaLaurie Mansion is another haunted house with a legendary history. The stories from within its walls even helped inspire the third season of American Horror Story.
There’s a home in Missouri that most people know about, they just don’t’ know it. In St. Louis sits the house where the young Ronald Doe became victim to demonic possession. The priest called in to investigate kept detailed records of the events, and these later became the basis for the groundbreaking film The Exorcist. In Branson, the Titanic Museum is also home to ghostly activity. The museum is filled with actual relics brought up from the sunken ship. Some of these items have brought attached spirits with them and numerous guests have reported strange encounters in the museum.
New England is not one of America’s haunted hotspots, with 4 of the 6 states ranked in the bottom 12. But Massachusetts is filled with historic (and haunted) locations, like both of Lizzie Borden’s houses in Fall River – the first being where the murders happened, and the second being the house she moved into after her trials and eventually died in. Both houses have high levels of paranormal activity. The town of Salem is also, not surprisingly, haunted. It’s history of witchcraft has attracted many people from around the world who seek dark energy…and some unfortunately find it.
7. New York
Tragically, New York’s Letchworth Village, a one-time community for the mentally and physically disabled, was filled with rumors of mistreated patients for decades. Now, even though it’s been abandoned, many souls are finding it hard to leave. Even Manhattan has its ghosts. The Morris-Jumel Mansion, located In Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, was once used during the Revolutionary War. It has since been turned into a museum, with many visitors claiming to experience strange phenomenon.
The most famous haunted site in Pennsylvania is Gettysburg, where one of the most important Civil War battles took place. In a few short days, thousands of men were killed on this battleground, and now, many haven’t been able to cross over. In fact, Kindred Spirits star Adam Berry credits his ghostly experience at Gettysburg as being what turned him into a paranormal believer. Combine this with the historic and haunted hotspots of Philadelphia, and you end up with one of America’s most haunted states.
The Wild West was filled with turmoil, so it’s no wonder that another western state rounds out the top five. The famous town of Tombstone is still home to cowboys who refuse to pass on, the Vulture Mine is harnessing something other than just gold, and to top it all off, there’s the Jerome Grand Hotel. Hospitals and hotels tend to be paranormal hotspots… so what happens when you build a hotel in an abandoned old hospital like the Jerome is? Well, you end up with what some argue to be the most haunted place in the entire state.
The Twin City Opera House has someone, or something, lurking behind the curtains and up on the catwalks. The Sedamsville Rectory leaves visitors with strange scratches on their face and a mysterious smell of Sulphur comes and goes at random. The old Licking County Jail is another prison where it seems a lifetime sentence turned into an afterlife sentence…
Texas comes in at #3 with haunted locales brimming in all corners of the Lone Star State. The basement of El Paso’s De Soto Hotel is somewhere you should probably avoid if you’re afraid of a ghostly encounter. Central Unit prison once housed some of the most volatile criminals in Texas, including Blues singer-turned-murderer, Lead Belly. The desolate Yorktown Hospital, which was at one point filled with struggling addicts, has been abandoned by the living, but not the dead.
Much of Nevada’s hauntings are located in Las Vegas. From the Riviera Hotel to Binion’s Casino, Sin City’s reputation has clearly created a space for lost souls. Outside of Vegas, many of Nevada’s boomtowns are also home to lingering spirits, with Yellowjacket Mine, Virginia City, and Goodsprings being especially active.
California is America’s most haunted state. From Alcatraz and the Winchester Mystery House in the Bay Area, to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, and all the way out to the Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley, the entire state is crawling with paranormal activity. The results also showed that Los Angeles is America’s most haunted city. With the Manson murders, the Black Dahlia mystery, and the infamous Pico House among many others… it seems the city of angels is also the city of ghosts.