Are you a fan of horror stories and eerie experiences? From abandoned hospitals to ghost towns, the U.S. has plenty of haunted places that will give you chills! But be warned: these places are not for the faint of heart. So, what are the most haunted cities in America?
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St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida was established by the Spanish in 1565 and is famously known as the oldest city in America. Stop by the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. It was built by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695 to protect the city from attacks by pirates and other enemies. Another spooky site is the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse and its accompanying museum. It is reportedly home to several spirits including former lighthouse keepers and their families. Other popular haunted locations include the Old Jail, the Huguenot Cemetery, Flagler College, and the Old Spanish Treasury Building.
Known for its infamous witch trials, Salem, Massachusetts is a popular destination for those who enjoy experiencing the city’s spooky history. Tourists can visit various sites associated with the trials as well as other haunted sites located throughout the city. For instance, the Witch House is the historic 17th-century colonial home once owned by Judge Jonathan Corwin. It is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the witch trials. You may also want to take a stroll through Gallows Hill Park, which is now a public park. It’s situated on the site of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials and features a memorial to those who were executed during the trials. Don’t forget to visit during Halloween season when the city comes alive with festive decorations and events.
Chicago, Illinois, is home to one of the most haunted places in America—the Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. Located in a remote area of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve, the cemetery is said to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. Reports of incredibly active paranormal activity such as ghostly apparitions, mysterious lights, and strange sounds have been reported by cemetery visitors for decades. Chicago is known for many other famous haunted locations, such as the Congress Plaza Hotel, H.H. Holmes’ Murder Castle, James M. Nederlander Theatre (originally the The Iroquois Theatre) and the Red Lion Pub. The city is also known for its numerous ghost tours and paranormal investigations.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a destination for history buffs and ghost hunters alike. The site of the famous Civil War battle in 1863, it has become known as one of the most haunted places in America. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about the historic battle and hear stories of paranormal activity. One popular location to visit includes the Farnsworth House. It served as a field hospital during the battle and is reportedly home to several ghosts. Or stop by the Jennie Wade House, where a young woman was killed by a stray bullet during the war. Her spirit is said to still linger. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, exploring Gettysburg is an unforgettable experience.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans may be one of the most haunted cities in the United States. Visitors can take ghost or vampire tours, wander ancient above-ground cemeteries, consult with a voodoo queen, or attend a séance. The historic LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans is one of the most notoriously haunted places in the entire United States. The mansion is said to be haunted by the tortured souls of slaves who were abused and killed by Madame LaLaurie. Stories of strange noises, apparitions, and other paranormal activity have been reported in the house for decades. Witnesses claim to hear screams emanating from within the walls and a feeling of unease when walking around outside the property. People have even reported seeing shadows and unidentifiable shapes flitting about in windows.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, possibly one of the oldest bars in the country, is also known to be haunted. It’s said to be frequented by a the ghost of a French-American pirate who once used the shop as a cover for his illegal smuggling business. And while one of the most picturesque corners of the French Quarter today, Jackson Square is actually the most blood-soaked piece of ground, as it was formerly a place where the condemned were punished and executed.
Savannah has all the ingredients for a spooky destination: ghosts sightings, pre-civil war graveyards, gloomy underground tunnels, pirate activity and historic mansions with dark histories. Today, the city is home to the popular Mercer-Williams House. The famously haunted mansion is rumored to contain a room protected by an ancient (and deadly) family curse.
The Hamilton-Turner Inn, made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, has stories of paranormal activities inside the inn. Strange noises, sounds of children laughing, objects moving on their own, and even apparitions have been reported by guests and staff. The inn has been featured in several paranormal investigations, including one conducted by the SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters. Savanna is known for numerous other haunted sites. From Native American burial grounds to yellow fever epidemics, long-forgotten cemeteries to bloody battles and, of course, hurricane disasters, many of the city’s buildings were literally built on the bodies of the dead.
Washington, D.C. is famously known for its history and politics. But did you also know it’s also one of the most haunted cities in America? A number of supernatural activity has been reported in the nation’s capital including strange apparitions walking through walls and other unexplainable incidents. The most famous supernatural activity reported is the ghost of former President Abraham Lincoln, who is said to haunt the White House.
Other reports include strange noises and sightings of a woman in white at the Octagon House, a haunted house near Dupont Circle. There have also been reports of unexplained phenomena at the Old Stone House in Georgetown, one of the oldest standing structures in the city, believed to have been built around 1765. And we cannot neglect mentioning “The Exorcist Steps,” made famous by the 1973 horror film “The Exorcist” which was loosely based on a true story. Paranormal reports also come from the National Theatre on Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the country. Could these be spirits from past presidents or a darker force beyond our knowing?
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is known for its many attractions and beautiful scenery. But it also has its fair share of ghost stories. The most famous haunting in the city takes place at Alcatraz Island. Former prisoners and guards alike have reportedly seen ghostly figures and heard strange noises within the walls of the jail. There are other haunted places such as Nob Hill and Presidio Nation Cemetery. Both are said to be some of the most haunting locations in San Francisco. The Nob Hill area is said to be haunted by the ghosts of those who perished in the 1906 earthquake. Wherease Presidio Nation Cemetery is reportedly home to a large variety of spirits.
Portland is a city rich in folklore and urban legends. Some consider it to be a hot spot for otherworldly activity and that its energy is conducive to supernatural experiences. There have been numerous reports of paranormal activity in the city, including sightings of ghosts, strange lights, and other unexplained phenomena. For instance, the notorious Everett Mansion has mysterious portraits that some claim change places overnight. According to legend, the portraits move around on their own accord, and no one knows why or how it happens. You may also want to explore the eerie Pittock Mansion. Built in 1914, it was the home of Henry and Georgiana Pittock, who were prominent figures in the city’s early history. Reports of strange smells, sounds, and lights turning on and off have been noted by visitors and groundskeepers alike. But, don’t fear, all agree that the ghosts are not malevolent in any way.
Williamsburg, Virginia is said to be the most haunted city in America. From mysterious fires, strange sightings, and walking phantoms, there’s no shortage of tales of the supernatural in this historical town. One of the most notorious hauntings is that of The White Witch of Williamsburg. She is said to appear in an old white dwelling every seven years with her spectral carriage drawn by four headless horses.
Another well-known spooky tale is the Ghost of the Old Mill. Legend has it that a ghostly figure can be seen walking around the mill at night. Some even say they’ve even heard its eerie laughter echoing through the air. The Burning House, one of the town’s oldest homes, is another scary legend. It was there that a mysterious fire broke out, leaving behind nothing but charred remains. Whether you believe these stories or not, Williamsburg will give you more than enough eerie thrills!
From New Orleans to Salem, America is home to some of the spookiest and most haunted cities in the world!
Kim is the owner and publisher of Sass Magazine, as well as the owner of Sass Studios, a boutique graphic design studio in Frederick, MD. When not in the office, Kim can be found doing some of her favorite hobbies—reading a book, dancing, traveling, or playing with her rescued pitbull.