The Spookiest Haunted Place in Each State

The U.S. is full of haunted hotels, forts and prisons all waiting to be explored.

Sloss Furnace: Birmingham, Alabama

During the late 19th century and through most of the 20th century, the Sloss Furnace was one of the U.S.’s main sources of steel. There was a graveyard shift foreman named Slag who allegedly lost his footing and fell in a pool of melted ore, but many believe his disgruntled workers pushed him in. There have been more than 100 reports of suspected paranormal activity according to Birmingham police records with most of the reports occurring annually in September and October.

Nightmute High School: Nightmute, Alaska

Similar to Moaning Myrtle from the fictional world of Harry Potter, the ghost at this Alaskan High School likes to haunt bathrooms. She flips the light switches, flush toilets and has been seen playing basketball.

outside prison cells

Yuma Territorial Prison: Yuma, Arizona

This small prison has been used for a few different purposes. It was built in 1876 and used until overcrowding forced relocation in 1909. The most prominent ghost is reported to be a small girl who likes to pinch people in solitary confinement cell. Many homeless families took temporary residence here while the prison was abandoned during the Great Depression, and it’s suspected that's the time her ghost started appearing.

Crescent Hotel and Spa: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Once regarded as the most luxurious resort in the country, this late 19th-century building has been used as a resort, a women’s college, a fraudulent cancer hospital and now it's back to being a hotel. The most heavily reported apparition is that of an Irish stonemason, nicknamed Michael, who plays with lights, doors, televisions and has shaken a guest during the night. There have also been reports of a small boy in the kitchen, a nurse pushing a gurney and a cancer patient quick to vanish.

interior of prison cells

Alcatraz Prison: San Francisco

The infamous maximum-security prison on the bay is said to be home to the tormented spirits of those who were tortured and treated inhumanely. Al Capone would allegedly play the banjo and it’s reported you can still hear the banjo today. Cell 14D, the solitary confinement cell, has also been deemed a paranormal hotbed.

Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, Colorado

Made famous by Stephen King's "The Shining," this haunted hotel is nestled in the mountains of Colorado. It’s been reported that the original owners, the Stanleys, can be seen at the reception desk and heard playing piano in the music room. There have also been sightings of giggling children on the fourth floor. The hotel is available for bookings and hosts The Shining Ball every October. Request room 217, the most paranormally active room, if you’re feeling brave.

Fairfield Hills Hospital: Newton, Connecticut

This abandoned mental hospital was in operation from 1931 until 1995 and, like all early institutions that housed the mentally ill, reports of abuse, lobotomies and electric shock therapy ran rampant.  There were also underground tunnels that have been recently filled and renovations turning some of the space into municipal buildings. You can visit these buildings and explore the eerie grounds.

stone fortress surronded by water

Fort Delaware: Delaware City, Delaware

Fort Delaware was used as a POW camp during the Civil War and many of the imprisoned soldiers never left. Witnesses claim to hear chains rattle, footsteps and a child that likes to tug on jackets. The most active spirit is said to be a female cook that is seen in the kitchen, the most active area of the fort. The fort is now a state park and ghost tours are available. The fort is only accessible by a ferry.

The Don Cesar Hotel: St. Petersburg, Florida

One of the most recognizable hotels in the world, The Don Cesar has served as a hotel and World War II hospital. Many report unexplained door openings, showers turning on by themselves and apparitions of a nurse.

Old Candler Hospital: Savannah, Georgia

Georgia’s oldest hospital, Old Candler, is famously known for the morgue tunnel that runs from the hospital underneath Forsyth Park. The tunnel was used to remove the recently deceased during the Yellow Fever epidemic. Many report seeing figures hanging from the trees during ghost tours.

Hickam Air Force Base: Oahu, Hawaii

As a target during the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks, many soldiers lost their lives at this base. Witnesses report the sounds of men dying and figures in their fatigues wandering around the base. Soldiers who have been posted at a certain guard tower claim its haunted and have witnessed a ghost in uniform.

dark and damp prison cells

Old Idaho State Penitentiary: Boise, Idaho

More than 10,000 prisoners have passed through these sandstone walls and a few have them have stayed behind. The most notable is Idaho’s Jack the Ripper, Raymond Allen Snowden, who was executed by hanging. People who tour the old prison claim you can still hear his gasps for air.

the congress hotel at night

Congress Hotel: Chicago

Once owned by Al Capone, this hotel is awash with paranormal activity. People claim to witness ghostly figures like Al Capone himself, the murdered hobo named Peg Leg Johnny and a construction worker that was buried in the wall. Even the serial killer Henry H. Holmes, known for his Chicago Murder Castle, is said to walk the halls.

Hannah House: Indianapolis, Indiana

Built in 1858, this house was a stop along the Underground Railroad. One night while slaves were seeking refuge in the basement, the basement caught fire from a tipped lantern killing them all. Witnesses claim to see spectral bodies walking in the damp basement where they were buried. The original owner, Alexander Hannah, has also been seen on the balcony and upstairs. Visit this historic house for tours, weddings or rent it privately to investigate the paranormal activity.

Villisca Ax Murder House: Villisca, Iowa

This house is still open to visitors brave enough to stay overnight. An unknown ax wielder murdered two parents including their four children and two friends. Countless paranormal investigators have captured recordings of both audio and video of the eight victims brutally murdered as they slept. Investigators claim they can interact with a few of the children’s restless spirits.

Beaumont Hotel: Beaumont, Kansas

Established in 1879, this hotel-turned-brothel is home to a ghost cowboy named Zeke who loves to move chairs in front of doors, forces alarm clocks to ring at 2 am and wanders near the stairs. The husband of Zeke's lover is allegedly responsible for Zeke's murder.

white building in the countryside of Kentucky

Bobby Mackey’s Music World: Wilder, Kentucky

This nightclub has been referred to as the Gateway to Hell due to the intense paranormal activity. Patrons have been touched, scratched and even allegedly possessed while on the premises.

Myrtles Plantation: St. Francisville, Louisiana

In a state with arguably the most haunted city in the country, New Orleans, the Myrtles Plantation stands tall. There are 12 ghosts who've been sighted, mostly children. Witnesses claim to see a child practicing voodoo among other sightings.

Museums of Old York: Old York, Maine

Visit one of the earliest English settlements in the New World is in Old York, Maine. A few residents here were suspected of witchcraft and hanged. One woman, known as the White Witch, has been seen wandering around town and has asked children to play with her.

Lord Baltimore Hotel: Baltimore, Maryland

This haunted hotel is one of the largest hotels in Maryland, and the 19th floor is where the most otherworldly incidents are reported. The ghost of a little girl has been seen screaming, crying and rocking herself back and forth. The elevators have been seen making constant trips to the 19th floor and many guests report nightmares.

Salem Inn: Salem, Massachusetts

Dating back to 1834, this bed and breakfast has a cat ghost. Those with cat allergies claim to experience allergic reactions and see a cat in their rooms. Ask for Room 17 where the most unexplained noises are reported. There are two other ghosts here that like to run past guests.

Lighthouse on the coast

South Manitou Island: Glen Arbor Township, Michigan

Located 16 miles offshore in Lake Michigan, the rumor is that a ship of passengers sick with cholera was buried here, some still alive. This small island is also home to two cemeteries where people report disembodied voices. The south island is accessible by boat or a seasonal ferry and it’s the first stop if you are on your way to the north island to camp.

Wabasha Street Caves: Saint Paul, Minnesota

This former speakeasy is now home to the restless spirits of three gangsters who were gunned down. These friendly apparitions have been seen at the bar enjoying drinks, watching plays among the audience and reportedly playing cards with kids.

old civil war era house

McRaven House: Vicksburg, Mississippi

The grounds of the McRaven house were used as a Confederate field hospital and many soldiers died here. However, the most active spirit is considered to be Mary Elizabeth Howard, who died during childbirth at the age of 15. She’s been seen by multiple witnesses flickering the lights in the bedroom where she died. The current owners conduct ghost tours including ghost hunts and candlelight tours for Halloween.

The Exorcist House: St. Louis, Missouri

This house is the residency during the most infamous exorcism story, where the true story that the popular book and movie are based on. The story is that a boy reportedly played with an Ouija board which caused a demon to possess him. The demon was eventually exorcized by priests in this home. This is a private residence and should only be appreciated from the sidewalk.

Montana Territorial Prison: Deer Lodge, Montana

There have been many murders and suicides during this prison’s lifespan of more than 100 years. Even by prison standards, the terrible living conditions reported here led to riots in 1959. Reports of phantom footsteps, cell doors opening and closing themselves in addition to an aggressive spirit in the isolation cell that has scratched, touched and even strangled visitors.

Seven Sisters Road: Otoe County, Nebraska

L Street is said to be haunted by the seven sisters that were hanged along the road by their father. Reports of fully charged cellphones dying, headlights flickering and the screams of women have given fuel to this haunted status.

Brick hotel on a dirt road

Goldfield Hotel: Goldfield, Nevada

This hotel is a story of heartbreak and murder and has been on many paranormal shows. Allegedly a woman and her illegitimate child were killed here by the father who wanted to protect his reputation. She died in room 109 tied to the radiator where she's said to still haunt this abandoned space.

New Hampshire State Hospital: Concord, New Hampshire

Originally opened as the New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane, this eerie building fits its former eerie name. The building was closed down after reports of abuse and neglect. People have reported flying objects, cold spots and the feeling of being watched.

Shippen Manor: Oxford, New Jersey

Visitors have seen a spectral soldier, a woman's torso floating around and a small boy. The typical doors opening and closing by themselves occur here as well as items appearing on shelves that weren't there before. This Georgian style home was built in the 1760s and is now a museum open for tours.

old courtyard of a prison

New Mexico State Penitentiary: Sante Fe, New Mexico

Home to the deadliest U.S. prison riot ever, it's no surprise then that this prison is a hotbed for paranormal activity considering that the 1980 riot incident included 33 inmates brutally killed by other inmates. Voices, jail cells opening and closing and the feeling of being watched have all been reported here.

Palmyra History Museum: Palmyra, New York

This small town's museum was once a house that burned down in the 1960s. Museum staff and visitors have complained of an ash smell lingering in the basement, toys that throw themselves off the shelf and the pulling of their hair. Some people have even reported a cat's spectrum meowing about.

The Biltmore Estate: Asheville, North Carolina

The largest house in the U.S. was built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1800s. Vanderbilt would throw lavish parties here to show off his personal collection of art and attractions. Some claim the party has never ended as they can hear glasses tapping each other, laughter and the sound of music echoing throughout the house. 

abandoned brick buildings

San Haven Sanatorium: Dunseith, North Dakota

Opened in 1912, this hospital was built for tuberculosis patients and then later the mentally disabled. Those who have visited this now-abandoned building claim they hear a baby cry, see faces in reflections and see dark shadows roaming the halls. There are even underground tunnels that were used to travel the grounds to avoid the cold North Dakota winters.

Fairport Harbor Lighthouse: Fairpoint Harbor, Ohio

A ghost cat named Sentinel has lived in this lighthouse since the late 1800s. The legend is that he was a companion to the bedridden wife of a lighthouse keeper. It's now a museum, where a curator once lived on the second floor. She would see glimpses of the cat and even feel the cat's weight on her chest in bed. An AC installer actually found the mummified remains of a cat in a crawl space.

Stone Lion Inn: Guthrie, Oklahoma

The most popular residents of this inn are the ghosts of a little girl named Augusta and an old man. Augusta likes to stroke the cheeks of sleeping guests and moves objects around to confuse people. The old man smokes tobacco from a pipe during the late hours and the smell of tobacco usually accompanies him. The Stone Lion Inn is still in operation.

Wolf Creek Inn: Wolf Creek, Oregon

Famous celebrities such as Jack London and Clark Gable have slept here and may have remained past their stay. Apparitions of Jack London have been seen in the room he rented where he wrote Valley of the Moon. Allegedly, a vampire-like create that haunts the halls. Said to have bloody fangs, this strange creature has been seen inside the inn and in the surrounding forest. Reserve a ghost tour to try to experience what so many have claimed.

interior of a building that's falling apart

Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia

Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the most recognizable haunted locations in the country and is open for tours seven days a week. Inmates here were tortured by freezing water, isolation and Medieval contraptions. The building has been featured in countless paranormal investigations. For Halloween, it's transformed into a haunted house for those brave enough to wander the halls.

The Biltmore Hotel: Providence, Rhode Island

Johan Leisse Weisskopf was a known satanist and helped build the Biltmore Hotel. According to legend, many satanic rituals were conducted in the basement and ever since it was boarded up in 2008, an increase in the paranormal activity began. It's said this hotel inspired Robert Bloch's depiction of Bates Motel in his novel, Psycho.

Battery Carriage Inn: Charleston, South Carolina

Like many of the historic places in Charleston, the Battery Carriage Inn's history can be tied to the Civil War era, with ghosts at the inn who look like Confederate soliders. For a brief time, this building served as apartments for college students and it's believed that a friendly male ghost was a student who committed suicide. 

Hotel Alex Johnson: Rapid City, South Dakota

Stay a night in this haunted hotel with one of their Ghost Adventure Packages. During your stay, you may see The Lady in White, Alex Johnson himself or the giggling young girl. The Lady in White is the most often seen ghost who was once a young bride who committed suicide by throwing herself out the window of room 812. Alex Johnson can be seen wandering the halls to make sure his hotel is running smoothly and the giggling young girl likes to knock on doors and run away.

entrance to a cave

Bell Witch Caves: Adam, Tennessee

A witch, Kate Batts, is said to have murdered the farmer John Bell and terrorized his family in the 1820s. The poltergeist activity here was so popular that even President Andrew Jackson took notice of the hauntings. You can tour the cave with a guide where you may hear rattling chains, strange-looking animals and knocking noises.

Yorktown Memorial Hospital: Yorktown, Texas

As one of the few abandoned buildings that you can actually book tour into, this former hospital has a terrifying presence. The most reported ghost is TJ, a young man who overdosed on heroin and was left on the front steps by his friends. He particularly likes to pinch the backsides of females when they visit. Be careful visiting the chapel if you have tattoos or piercings as the former nuns allegedly like to choke and hit visitors for "defiling their bodies."

Ben Lomond Hotel: Ogden, Utah

This former Prohibition-era hangout for smugglers and prostitutes is now a hotel. The most-reported ghost is a bride who drowned in the bathtub on her wedding night. The bathtub in Room 1102 will now sometimes run by itself and some guests have even complained of feeling pushed underwater by an unseen force. Her son also haunts the building since he committed suicide when he came to collect her belongings.

Norwich University: Northfield, Vermont

Norwich University has a few halls on campus haunted by former students. Two of them were brothers who committed suicide in the same dorm room. Current students claim to hear strange noises from this room and sometimes wake up and feel as if someone is holding them down. Chaplin Hall has a ghost that hangs out near the front door.

old building and garden

Ferry Plantation House: Virginia Beach, Virginia

This building can be traced back to the 1830s when it was a courthouse, post office and school. The land can be traced back to the 1600s when a ferry service operated here. There are 11 ghosts known to haunt this building including a friendly talkative ghost and the Witch of Pungo. The witch was one of the few people who were convicted of witchcraft in the state.

Kell’s Irish Pub: Seattle, Washington

This former morgue is now one of the most haunted pubs in North America. It’s been seen on many paranormal investigation specials because of the unexplained activity here including shattering mirrors and glasses thrown off the bar.

West Virginia Penitentiary: Moundsville, West Virginia

This former prison has seen riots, executions and fires during its 125-year history. Visitors report phantom inmates, agonizing screams and disembodied voices. You can tour the prison and the bravest can stay overnight.

Bloody Bride Bridge: Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Bloggy Bride Bridge is stretch of Highway 66 that has a story well known to the locals. One night a bride and groom on their way back from their wedding lost control of their vehicle and crashed. Several years later, a police offer reported that he hit a woman in a bridal dress only there was no sign of her. When he returned to his vehicle, her bloody figure was seen in his backseat.

Old Faithful Inn: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

This inn is haunted by a young man who likes to prank the unsuspecting. One fire inspector claims he saw the ghost flipping a fire extinguisher the wrong way right in front of him. Some reports say the newer west wing addition of the inn was built on top of unmarked graves.

people eating on a deck

Tyler Carnahan
About the author

Tyler Carnahan is originally from Orlando, Florida, and has lived in the Augusta,...