The 10 Most Haunted Places in the United States
by findingDulcinea Staff
From coast to coast, the U.S. is strewn with haunted hideaways and tales of terror that have yet to fade away. We've rounded up ten of the scariest, in prisons, historical American buildings, and seemingly quaint locales - even a bed and breakfast. The spooky selections are counted down, culminating with the number one most haunted place in the country, an unexpected sunny city.
Not to be outdone by spirits above ground, cemetery ghosts are among the most feared. In Chicago, organized crime honchos made a certain cemetery lagoon into their very own garbage pail. Paranormal investigators, be warned.
10. The Bachelor Grove Cemetery in Chicago contains a lagoon that was a favorite body dumping ground for Chi-Town gangsters. The area surrounding the lagoon is said to have become the heart of local black magic and dark rituals. Furthermore, attempts by paranormal experts to investigate the area are continually thwarted as cameras and film mysteriously break down on the spot.
If the thought of prison induces spine tingling, just imagine a ghostly version. The three holdups we’ve listed take being locked up in a cell to an even creepier level. One is reported to house a ghost brazen enough to stalk mobster Al Capone, another can’t shake off the spirits of old prison guards, and a third leaves visitors chilled to the bone.
9. Alcatraz no longer houses human prisoners, but apparitions still cannot escape its formidable grasp. Certain blocks of the federal prison mysteriously remain 20 degrees colder than other areas. Some people believe the sudden temperature drops indicate tortured spirits lingering in sequestered cells.
8. Even before it was left abandoned and vulnerable to wandering spirits, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania was thought by many of its prisoners to be haunted. Notorious convict Al Capone, who also spent time at Alcatraz, claimed to have been the preferred target of a resident ghost. Today, paranormal activity is continually documented in videotaped ghost investigations led by experts and posted on the prison’s Web site.
There’s something spooky hovering over America’s past. In the South, paranormal presences won’t leave a Louisiana plantation or Texas battleground behind. While in Gettysburg, Civil War wounds have yet to heal.
7. The White House is an epicenter of both American government and paranormal activity. Many West Wing staffers say they’ve felt the presence of Abraham Lincoln and other presidential figures, and even heard Abigail Adams doing laundry.
6. In St. Francisville, Louisiana, the Civil War-era Myrtle Plantation boasts having more ghosts than any haunted house in the United States. Several paranormal factors collide to create a swirling storm of eeriness: a disrespected ancient Indian burial ground, historical murders, horrific suicides and gruesome war deaths. Want ghostly proof? Inside the plantation’s lobby, the grand piano is known to play itself.
5. If anyone remembers the Alamo, it’s the sentries who died protecting the mission. In fact, ghosts of these brave guards are said to haunt the Alamo grounds, which prompted the city of San Antonio to abandon its plans to turn the Alamo into a prison in the late 19th century. Making prisoners sleep alongside ghosts seemed too cruel and unusual a punishment.
4. Visitors to Gettysburg, site of the brutal Civil War battle, often experience a hair-raising blast from the past, hearing gunshots crack and catching whiffs of gunpowder. This disturbing phenomenon gives tourists a taste of America’s bloodiest battle, but doesn’t quite compare to the anguish of those who perished. Some victims are said to remain in spirit at Gettysburg, stuck in an eternal North vs. South struggle.
On remote islands and tucked inside storied inns, unpleasant secrets linger. The next two haunted picks reveal how horrific crimes can live on, lending an uneasy feeling to everyday life.
3. On a small rocky island in Maine, the Seguin Island Lighthouse has a hard-to-swallow backstory, purportedly haunted by a by a former keeper who murdered his wife with an ax and then committed suicide. Supposedly, the keeper’s wife had driven him insane by playing the same song repeatedly on the piano, which he’d given to her as a present. Visitors to the island today say whispers of the song are carried in on Atlantic breezes.
2. Travelers who want a full-on haunted experience should head to the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast in Fall River, Mass. The legend of Lizzie is another heinous tale—this time with an axe. Borden’s parents didn’t make it out alive, but visitors can try their luck as a guest; some claim they’ve been tucked into bed by an apparition of Lizzie’s mother. The next morning, dig into a recreation of Lizzie’s last breakfast, served by the inn’s hosts.
Things don't always go as planned, as one 1800s thief found out the hard way. Yankee Jim was caught stealing - and not just a pack of gum. As if the public humiliation of being hanged for grand larceny wasn't enough, Jim's long legs made certain his death would not be quick and painless. Today, visitors to the site of his demise report sensing Jim's drawn-out agony. The number one most haunted place in the U.S. turned a sunny surf town into the host of a wretched execution.
1. In a mangled execution at San Diego’s Whaley House in 1853, “Yankee Jim,” who’d been arrested for grand larceny, was hanged. But Jim was too tall for the noose, and his death was drawn out for more than an hour before stunned spectators. Visitors have reported feeling a sensation of tightening around their throats upon entering the Whaley House, one of 30 designated as haunted by the U.S. Department of Commerce.