From New York City to San Francisco, there are plenty of creepy spots around the United States. From haunted hotels to abandoned mental hospitals, here are the most haunted places in America.
Once home to about 10,000 people, the small mining boomtown of Bodie boomed in 1875 and 1880, when gold was discovered in the nearby mountains. By 1890 it had grown into a bustling city, with streets lined with stores and hotels. But in 1893, the discovery of silver near the town changed everything. Silver mines began opening up around the area, and Bodie became known as one of the most prosperous towns in the West.
The population peaked at 20,000 residents, though today there are just 2,500 people living in the town. Most of the buildings are still standing, but few have been restored. Some places like the old courthouse are open to visitors, while others remain closed off to preserve the ghostly atmosphere.
Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Those of you who remember the 1990s will immediately recognize this cemetery as the setting for the popular novel Midnight in the Garden Of Good and Evil. In the novel, author John Berendt described the graveyard as “the haunted house next door.”
Like the book, the Savannah graveyard itself has a Southern Gothic feel, with Spanish moss giving shelter to time-worn Victorian markers. Among those buried here are singer Johnny Mercer and poet and playwright Conrad Aiken, but the most famous person buried here is probably Gracie Watson. She died at age six in 1891, and her tombstone is adorned with a life-sized marble statue depicting her sitting under a tree stump, representing her premature death.
Visitors often report hearing strange noises coming from the grounds, including crying babies and barking dogs. Some even claim to see the apparition of a little girl wandering around the property.
The small city of Cahawba, located along the banks of the Cahaba River in central Alabama, was once a bustling hub of commerce during the 19th century. In 1871, it was selected as the location of the state capitol building, and soon thereafter, the town began attracting people from across the nation to live there. However, the boom never lasted long; within just 15 years, the entire population had moved away. Today, the town is home to fewer than 150 residents, and much of what you see here is left over from the original settlement.
At one time, Cahawba boasted a thriving downtown district, complete with hotels, restaurants, shops, and even a train station. But despite being built near the Cahaba River, the town never developed a water supply system, and the lack of infrastructure led to the rapid decline of businesses. By the early 1900s, the railroad tracks had been removed, and the buildings fell into disrepair. Many of them were eventually demolished, while others were used for storage or farmhouses.
Today, the remaining structures tell the story of Cahawba’s brief history. There are several houses that have been converted into museums, including the old courthouse, post office, and the homes of prominent businessmen like the Coles family. And outside of town, the ruins of the old county jail remain standing, serving as a reminder of the town’s dark past.
Calcasieu Courthouse, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Toni Jo Henry was a beautiful young woman who lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She worked as a prostitute, but she wasn’t always working the streets. In fact, she had a very sweet side. For instance, she loved animals and often donated money to animal shelters.
However, one day, she went into a local grocery store and saw something that upset her. A man had been shot dead there, and his body lay on display. Henry felt sickened and disgusted by what she’d seen. She left the store and drove away. But she couldn’t shake off her feelings of guilt. So she returned to the scene of the crime and pulled out a gun. Then she walked up to the corpse and fired several shots into it. Afterward, she calmly called police and told them about what she’d done.
Henry was arrested and charged with murder. At trial, she claimed that she’d acted out of self-defense because the victim had tried to rape her. However, prosecutors argued that she had no reason to fear him and that he hadn’t threatened her. They pointed out that she didn’t actually know the man—she just happened to see him while walking down the street. And they showed that the bullet holes found in his clothing weren’t consistent with those of a struggle.
In spite of the evidence against her, Henry maintained her innocence. She insisted that she’d been set up by another woman who wanted revenge for being jilted. But the prosecution proved otherwise. During the third trial, Henry admitted that she’d committed the crime. She pleaded guilty and received the death penalty.
She spent seven years in prison before her execution date arrived. On April 2, 1947, Toni Jo Henry stood in front of the electric chair in Louisiana State Penitentiary and faced her fate. As the current passed through her body, she screamed out, “Lord Jesus!”
Afterward, she died. Her family members believe she still haunts the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse. Some say they’ve heard crying coming from inside the building. Others report feeling uneasy whenever they enter the courthouse. Employees are known to experience strange things like objects moving around on their desks or lights turning on and off. One employee reported seeing a ghostly figure in the elevator.
Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Crescent Hotel opened in 1887 as a luxury resort for wealthy businessmen. In 1937, the property changed hands again, this time becoming home to Dr. Norman G. Baker, an eccentric millionaire who claimed he had invented a machine that could cure cancer. Baker ran the hotel as a medical facility where patients paid him thousands of dollars to spend a few days recovering from surgery.
In 1941, Baker died suddenly of a heart attack while working at the hotel. After his death, the hotel became known as the “Cancer Hospital.”
In 1967, the building caught fire and burned down, killing three people inside. In 1969, the city condemned the structure, and it sat vacant for decades.
Today, the Crescent Hotel operates as a bed-and-breakfast, though paranormal activity continues to occur there. Guests report hearing voices coming from rooms, seeing apparitions, feeling cold spots, and even smelling smoke.
The Driskill, Austin, Texas
Built in 1886, the Driskill Hotel stands as a testament to the city’s rich history. Located in downtown Austin, the hotel draws visitors from across the globe thanks to its unique architectural style and elegant atmosphere. But while many guests come here looking to enjoy the historic charm, others are drawn to the building because of the paranormal activity that seems to surround it.
According to local legend, the hotel once belonged to Jesse Driskill, a wealthy businessman who lost everything during a high stakes poker game. In the wake of his loss, he committed suicide in the hotel’s rooftop garden, where his body lies buried beneath a statue of himself. Guests report hearing strange noises throughout the property, seeing shadows darting around corners, and feeling cold spots in certain areas of the hotel. Many believe Jesse Driskill haunts the place today, and the stories about him continue to grow.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 and opened in 1832. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it housed some of the most violent criminals in American history.
Prisoners lived alone, exercised separately, and ate separately; when an inmate left the cell, a guard covered his head with a hood to prevent him from seeing or being seen. When the prison became too crowded, the state abandoned its solitary system and began chaining prisoners’ tongues to their mouths.
Inmates could spend up to 23 hours a day locked inside their cells. They were allowed out to exercise alone, eat alone, and use the toilet alone. During the 19th century, the penitentiary was known for harsh punishments such as flogging and hanging.
Today, the prison houses a museum and hosts an annual event called “Terror Behind the Walls,” featuring 15 haunted attractions within the confines of the building. Visitors come to experience the terror that once reigned behind those bars.
Illinois: Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
A haunted cemetery? Who’d have thunk? A farm community founded this cemetery; psychics insist that the grounds are haunted.
The story begins with the death of John H. Riddleberger in 1866. He had been ill for several months, and he died in his home on the outskirts of Chicago. After his death, his family buried him in a plot next to his brother, James, who had died three years earlier. In 1893, the Riddlesberger family sold the property to a farmer named William N. Miller. Miller moved into the house with his wife, Mary, and their children. They lived there for about 20 years, until 1895, when they left Illinois to move west.
In 1915, the Millers returned to Illinois and purchased the land around the original gravesite. They built a small barn on the site and used the graveyard as a place to bury livestock. Over the years, many people came across the spot while working on nearby farms. Some claimed to see apparitions. Others reported hearing voices. One man even saw a ghostly figure watching over his grave.
When the Millers passed away in 1934, they left the property to their son, George. When George died in 1942,
Minnesota: Wabasha Street Caves
The Wabasha Street Caving Club opened up the Wabasha Street Cave System near downtown Minneapolis in 1922. The site is reportedly haunted by a ghostly figure known as the “Gangster.” He allegedly haunts the cave where he used to hang out during prohibition days.
In addition to the Gangster, there are reports of other ghosts including a woman dressed in white and a young boy. People who take tours into the cave say they hear footsteps and see shadowy figures moving around.
Louisiana: LaLaurie House
The former home of Delphine LaLurie, a wealthy 19th century socialite accused of torturing dozens of poor African Americans, sits vacant near the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. But the ghosts of those enslaved people are thought to linger there.
LaLaurie, whose wealth came from owning hundreds of slaves, died in 1846 and left behind a fortune valued at around $2 million (£1.6m). Her house was sold off piecemeal over the next few decades, becoming a hotel, restaurant, brothel and even a bordello for rich visitors to New Orleans.
In the 1970s it became the headquarters for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and today it serves as offices for the Louisiana Historical Association.
Nevada: Governor’s mansion
The Carson Mansion is located at 715 S. Virginia Street in Carson City. Built in 1875, the house features 12 rooms and five bathrooms. Its original owners included Nevada governor William G. Stewart, his wife, and their son. After the family moved out, the place became a boardinghouse.
In the early 1990s, the building was bought by the Carson City Historic Preservation Commission, and restoration began. In 2007, the commission sold the property to the nonprofit organization Save Our Heritage Organization. A few months later, the group donated the mansion to the city of Carson City.
South Carolina: Pawleys Island
Residents of Pawley’s Island, South Carolina are used to seeing strange things in the sky. But this week, something else caught their attention: A mysterious figure known locally as the “Gray Man.” He reportedly warns locals of impending storms and hurricanes, and he’s been spotted here since 2009. “He’s seen walking around town and people say there’s a gray man on the beach,” resident David McBride told WISTV. “That’s what we call him.” And while some believe the Gray Man is a real person, others think it’s just a hoax. Either way, the legend seems to be spreading.
Texas: USS Lexington
The US Navy ship USS Lexington has become one of Texas’ most haunted vessels. Its history dates back to World War II, where it served as a troop transport during the Battle of Okinawa. Afterward, it became a training ship for the US Coast Guard. In 1970, it was decommissioned and turned into a floating museum.
Since then, many people have reported strange encounters aboard the boat, such as unexplained noises, lights flickering on and off, and even the feeling of being watched. One man claimed he saw a ghostly figure standing next to his bed. Another woman told how she heard someone scream her name in the middle of the night. A few others say they’ve seen shadowy figures moving around the ship.
A crew member says there are some things about the ship that make it easy to believe in ghosts. “There are lots of places you could go and see something,” he explains. “But I think the best place to see something is while you’re sleeping.”
Washington: The Olympic Club Hotel
The Olympic Club Hotel opened in 1902 as a gentleman’s resort in Washington D.C., where elite members could enjoy golf, tennis and swimming. But it quickly became known for its high stakes gambling. In 1930, the club banned card games, including poker, saying it had become too popular among the city’s elite.
In the 1950s and ’60s, the hotel hosted parties for politicians and celebrities. It even served as a meeting place for the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War. And now, the hotel is believed to host some of the most haunted rooms in America.