Everyone loves a good ghost story, whether you believe in spirits or not. It’s in our DNA. Curiosity about the paranormal likely dates back to when our ancestors were cave dwellers, and interest in this subject is undiminished today, even after science has explained much of what had been previously unexplained.
There are spine-tingling ghost stories in every state, so we at 24/7 Tempo are taking this opportunity to tell those stories. We drew on information from the websites of places alleged to be haunted, paranormal resource materials, and media reports to determine the creepiest haunted place in every state. We considered the number of cited haunting incidents as well as the story behind a place’s spectral episodes to decide our choices.
A significant percentage of those surveyed in polls have said they believe in ghosts. Interest in the hereafter is reflected in our choices of entertainment. The television show “Ghost Hunters,” though criticized by paranormal investigators for its lack of scientific rigor, nevertheless, ran for 11 seasons on the Syfy Channel, becoming one of the cable network’s longest-running series. Books written by prolific supernatural fiction writer Stephen King have sold more than 350 million copies, with some adapted for acclaimed films such as “The Shining,” one of the best horror movies of all time.
Each state has harrowing ghost stories to tell, with their backdrops ranging across a wide spectrum of venues, including houses, hotels, hospitals, libraries, schools, caves, and bridges. Much of the unexplained has been relegated to the area of superstitions, and crazy legends and superstitions can be found in every state.
Alabama: Sloss Furnaces
> Town: Birmingham
> Year built: 1882
A large iron production facility in Birmingham from the 19th century has turned into the spookiest spot in Alabama. Legend has it that the foreman killed some of his employees by overworking them, so the others pushed him into the furnace. The foreman never actually existed, but there have been allegations of unexplained noises and paranormal assaults at the Sloss Furnaces.
Alaska: Red Onion Saloon
> Town: Skagway
> Year built: 1897
Alaska’s gold rush that attracted thousands of men to seek their fortune there in the late 1800s led to brothels popping up in the territory. One of those brothels, the Red Onion Saloon, is reportedly still haunted by a former prostitute named Lydia, renowned for her aggression to men.
Arizona: Copper Queen Hotel
> Town: Bisbee
> Year built: 1902
The Copper Queen Hotel, believed to be Arizona’s oldest continuously operating inn, reportedly has some ghostly visitors who never leave. Paying guests reported hearing voices from people who weren’t there and said the hotel’s electronics mysteriously malfunction at times.
Arkansas: Curran Hall
> Town: Little Rock
> Year built: 1843
Curran Hall in Arkansas is believed to be one of the most haunted places in the country. Paranormal investigators say they have detected some spectral activity. The house may be haunted by Mary Elizabeth Walters, who died in childbirth and before the home was completed.
> Town: San Francisco
> Year built: 1934
Alcatraz was one of America’s most notorious prisons, located on an island close to the San Francisco shoreline, operated as a federal prison from 1934 to 1963. Shortly before Alcatraz was closed, guards said they heard strange noises in hallways where three prisoners were shot. Though it is now a museum, it housed some of the most hardened criminals in U.S. history, including Al Capone.
Colorado: The Stanley Hotel
> Town: Estes Park
> Year built: 1909
The Stanley Hotel inspired Stephen King’s terrifying novel “The Shining,” which became one of the most frightening movies ever. The hotel itself has spawned a rich assortment of ghost stories. Hotel employees claim four apparitions haunt the establishment’s corridors. The hotel’s concert hall is said to be a locus of paranormal phenomena, where lights flicker, disembodied laughter is heard, and footsteps pace the floor.
Connecticut: Connecticut Valley Hospital Cemetery
> Town: Middletown
> Year built: 1878
More than 1,600 graves lie in an area near the Connecticut Valley Hospital. For years, they were all anonymous, contributing to the mystery. Over the years, some people claimed they witnessed a headless man dressed in a tuxedo nearby. When driving by in a car, he vanishes when headlights are turned on.
Delaware: Ft. Delaware State Park
> Town: Delaware City
> Year built: 1859
Fort Delaware became notorious for housing Confederate prisoners of war under deplorable conditions, with inmates fighting each other for rats to eat. A female apparition was supposedly captured on film passing through a wall in the fort’s kitchen. The same specter has allegedly addressed people by name and told them to get out of the fort.
Florida: The Cuban Club
> Town: Tampa
> Year built: 1917
Located in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood, the Cuban Club has reportedly been the scene of quite a few deaths and some people claim the spirits of the deceased never left. An actor is said to have killed himself onstage, and ghost hunters have tried to make contact with the spirit of an 8-year-old boy who drowned in a pool where the cantina now sits.
Georgia: Moon River Brewing
> Town: Savannah
> Year built: 1821
Today’s Moon River Brewing Co. formerly housed a hotel. Bar flies have reported seeing flying bottles, guests have claimed to have been slapped by ghosts, and one spirit named Toby has been said to hang around a billiards table spoiling for a fight.
Hawaii: Plantation Village
> Town: Waipahu
> Year built: 1918
Hawaii’s Plantation Village, the site of a former sugar cane plantation, had numerous reports of the ghost of a young girl abandoned by her mother, the girl died in a fire after her father didn’t try to rescue her, according to popular lore. Fortunately for current-day visitors, the ghost is apparently a friendly one.
Idaho: Shoshone Ice Caves
> Town: Lincoln County
> Year built: N/A
Visitors and those who work at the Shoshone Ice Caves say they have heard footsteps and voices there. A popular tale is that the sounds emanate from a Native American woman supposedly buried in the caves.
Illinois: Ashmore Estates
> Town: Ashmore
> Year built: 1857
Once known as the Coles County Poor Farm, the Ashmore Estates laterserved for decades as a psychiatric hospital. Some who have toured the building reported hearing voices speak to them, having doors locked behind them, and even more violent incidents. The Ashmore Estates is now opened to visitors interested in exploring paranormal phenomena.
Indiana: Willard Library
> Town: Evansville
> Year built: 1885
No one knows if the rumored visitor at the Willard Library is trying to return an overdue book, but since the 1930s people have reported seeing an apparition there. The specter is known as the “Grey Lady,” who supposedly has been sighted in the library’s basement. Police officers answering a security alarm once reported seeing two ghosts near the library window.
Iowa: Villisca Ax Murder House
> Town: Villisca
> Year built: 1868
As its name suggests, the Villisca Ax Murder House had some grisly events take place within its walls. Eight people were murdered in the home in 1912, and since then visitors have reported inexplicably moving objects and heard children’s voices in the home. For the daring, overnight stays are available.
Kansas: Hollenberg Pony Express Station
> Town: Hanover
> Year built: 1860
The Pony Express, had a brief, but storied, history for 19 months starting in April 1860. Horseback riders, traveling the Missouri to California circuit, reduced the time for mail to reach the West. The Hollenberg Pony Express Station in Hanover is now a museum that details the travails of the riders who traveled the often-dangerous route. Visitors at museum have reported hearing thundering hooves and viewing an apparition suffering from wounds from multiple arrows still stuck in his body.
Kentucky: Belle of Louisville
> Town: Louisville
> Year built: 1914
In the engine room of the steamboat Belle of Louisville (still transporting passengers after 104 years of service), people have reported hearing someone whistling. Some people believe this is the spirit of a deckhand named Floyd who was crushed to death by an arm that controls the boat’s paddle wheel. Crew members claim to have seen the main wheel in the boat’s pilothouse moving on its own even though the pilothouse’s door was locked.
Louisiana: The Sultan’s Palace
> Town: New Orleans
> Year built: 1839
The Sultan’s Palace in New Orleans has a grim, if fantastical backstory. According to a legend with many versions, the mansion was inhabited by the brother of a Turkish sultan, who filled his home with a harem and drugs — until one day the home’s residents were all found butchered except for the brother. He was found buried alive with one hand sticking out of the ground, according to the tale. Some say the Turkish man still haunts the house.
Maine: Wood Island Lighthouse
> Town: Saco Bay
> Year built: 1839
The lighthouse’s tragic history dates from 1896. That year a squatter or a renter in the area shot and killed a man, then took his own life at the site. Keepers at the lighthouse have reported hearing gunshots and moaning and seeing shadows as well as locked doors flying open.
Maryland: Samuel Mudd House
> Town: Waldorf
> Year built: 1859
Mysterious phenomena have been reported at the home of Samuel Mudd, the doctor who set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Over the years, people have claimed to have heard unexplained voices, and to have witnessed, during a Civil War reenactment, electric candles going on and off in the house. Visitors also say they have seen an impression left on a bed in a room where Booth stayed.
Massachusetts: Lizzie Borden House
> Town: Fall River
> Year built: 1889
Lizzie Borden, subject of one of the most gruesome children’s rhymes, was accused of killing her father and stepmother with an ax in 1892 but later acquitted. Visitors to the Borden residence have claimed to have seen objects moved from room to room by unseen entities. Mrs. Borden’s spirit reportedly likes to tear the covers off of people while they sleep. Even before the Bordens lived there, a tenant of the house had murdered two of her three children then killed herself. Visitors have also reported that they have heard children’s laughter on the top floor.
Michigan: David Whitney House
> Town: Detroit
> Year built: 1894
David Whitney Jr. made a fortune in the lumber industry and used some of his wealth to build an opulent mansion in Detroit in 1894. He died in the mansion just six years later. Reports have alleged that his ghost still haunts the mansion. Today, the home’s third floor bar has been renamed the Ghost Bar.
Minnesota: Grey Cloud Island
> Town: Grey Cloud Island
> Year built: N/A
Grey Cloud Island is said to house one of the largest Native American burial grounds in the nation. It’s also been cited as an area rich in spirit world activity. Visitors claimed to have seen a spectral motorcyclist and a young woman weeping for her dead child.
Mississippi: McRaven House
> Town: Vicksburg
> Year built: 1797
Many people perished inside Mississippi’s McRaven House, according to reports: A robber who had been shot, a woman died in childbirth, and an owner was killed after hurling a brick at Union soldiers during the Civil War. These days the residence draws visitors curious to see if it lives up to its reputation as paranormal nerve center.
Missouri: The Lemp Mansion
> Town: St. Louis
> Year built: 1868
The Lemps were German immigrants who built a prosperous beer business in St. Louis. Prohibition eroded the fortunes of the family, which lost more than one member who took his own life, and the house fell into disrepair. The Pointer family purchased the home, intending to convert it into a restaurant in the 1970s. During renovations, workers reported that they sensed they were being stared at. Other reports have alleged candles have been mysteriously lit, glasses moved, objects shifted from room to room, and people claim to hear the hoofbeats of horses.
Montana: St. Charles Hall, Carroll College
> Town: Helena
> Year built: 1909
Carroll College’s St. Charles Hall gets its haunted reputation from a tragic and true story. In 1964, a student fell in its bathroom, hit his head on the sink, and later died. Afterward other students reported strange occurrences from the bathroom, including ghostly apparitions of a man in the mirror and blood flowing out of the sink. The bathroom has been closed, but reports persist of strange noises emanating from within.
Nebraska: Haunted Hills of the Seven Sisters
> Town: Otoe County
> Year built: N/A
A stretch along Seven Sisters Road in Nebraska’s Otoe County is reputed to be a multiple crime scene at the end of the 19th century. According to local legend, a man who lured each of his seven sisters to a different hill and hanged them. When some motorists drive on the part of road near the murder sites, they claim their cars inexplicably stall, their headlights suddenly dim, and blood-curdling screams interrupt the night.
Nevada: Governor’s Mansion
> Town: Carson City
> Year built: 1909
There are conflicting reports about the spirits that may be haunting the Nevada governor’s mansion. Some people have reported seeing a ghostly woman and a young girl roaming the residence, accompanied by chilly temperatures. One explanation offered is that the two figures are haunting a large grandfather clock that was delivered to the home, while others say they are Una and June Dickerson, the wife and daughter of former Governor Denver Dickerson.
New Hampshire: Amos Blake House
> Town: Fitzwilliam
> Year built: 1837
Terri Harlow, curator of the Amos Blake House, has claimed 11 ghosts have been detected at the residence, which is named after a prominent attorney and state legislator. The house also has a ghost cat, according to Harlow, who has cited the attic as a hot spot for spooky encounters. A grouchy man hangs out by the stairs, and a woman who likes to dance makes herself heard, Harlow says.
New Jersey: Essex County Sanitorium
> Town: Cedar Grove
> Year built: 1902
Shuttered medical facilities can evoke a sense of foreboding, and the Essex County Sanatorium in Cedar Grove is one of them. Originally opened as a reformatory and orphanage for children, it was expanded to include facilities for those with tuberculosis. Following the development of vaccines to combat tuberculosis, the number of patients dwindled and the facility fell into decline in the 1970s. People who have been allowed on the grounds have reported hearing footsteps racing down hallways, seeing wheelchairs moving on their own, and glimpsing ghostlike faces in windows.
New Mexico: La Fonda Hotel
> Town: Santa Fe
> Year built: 1922
Several guests who met tragic fates are said to still linger in New Mexico’s La Fonda Hotel. After a judge was shot and killed in the lobby a robed figure is sometimes seen roaming the halls. The wedding suite is also said to be haunted by a bride who was killed on her wedding night by a jealous ex.
New York: Culinary Institute of America
> Town: Hyde Park
> Year built: 1903
One of the nation’s pre-eminent culinary institutions also has a haunted history. Before the Culinary Institute of America moved to its Hyde Park location in 1972, the main building on the property housed a Jesuit novitiate, a place to train young priests, for more than 60 years. Today, some people claim the spot is haunted by a priest named Father Murphy. Others allege they have seen apparitions on the culinary institute’s campus or heard footsteps and chanting.
North Carolina: Brown Mountain
> Town: Brown Mountain
> Year built: N/A
Tourists flock to North Carolina’s Brown Mountain to witness the Brown Mountain Lights, a phenomenon of circular lights moving across the sky and flickering. The lights may be a natural occurrence, but others believe they are the souls of Native American women searching for their husbands who died in battle.
North Dakota: Fort Abraham Lincoln Custer House
> Town: Mandan
> Year built: 1874
Fort Abraham in North Dakota once served as the home of Gen. George Custer and his wife Libbie. Custer and his men were killed in his famously ill-advised attack on a Native American encampment and according to one legend, Libbie Custer still haunts their home, awaiting her husband’s return. Visitors have reported that she has appeared in a black dress, opening and shutting doors.
Ohio: The Ridges/Athens Lunatic Asylum
> Town: Athens
> Year built: 1874
In the 19th century, women considered insane were placed at the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Many underwent electric shock treatment or lobotomies. One woman who tried to avoid these treatments, Margaret Schilling, hid in the asylum’s attic and starved to death there. A persistent belief is that the stain left from her decomposed corpse cannot be removed and that her spirit haunts the asylum.
Oklahoma: Skirvin Hilton Hotel
> Town: Oklahoma City
> Year built: 1911
The Skirvin Hilton Hotel is frequently described as one of the nicer hotels in Oklahoma City, but some wealthy travelers including famous athletes have refused to stay there. Members of the Los Angeles Lakers and other teams said they were accosted by ghosts.
Oregon: Hot Lake Hotel
> Town: La Grande
> Year built: 1903
Oregon’s Hot Lake Hotel has gone through several uses since it was built, including a previous hotel and an insane asylum called the Hot Lake Sanatorium. There are rumors that some former patients and guests haunt the hotel and the nearby hot springs.
Pennsylvania: Eastern State Penitentiary
> Town: Philadelphia
> Year built: 1829
The Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and prisoners there endured a brutal existence. Inmates did all their activities alone. Those leaving a cell had a hood put over their head so they couldn’t see or be seen by anyone. The prison has been closed since 1970 and offers ghost tours. Reports of paranormal activity have cited laughter, shadowy figures, and unaccounted footsteps.
Rhode Island: Belcourt Castle
> Town: Newport
> Year built: 1894
Oliver Belmont commissioned the construction of Belcourt Castle as his dream home, but if the rumors are true, it may be more of a nightmare. Over the years, there have been reports of moving suits of armor and chairs that spark when touched, or even pushing out anyone who tried to sit on them.
South Carolina: Magnolia Plantation
> Town: Charleston County
> Year built: 1676
One of the oldest allegedly haunted places on this list, the Magnolia Plantation has been in the Drayton family since the late 17th century. Some of the paranormal behavior that’s been reported over the years has included mysterious voices and noises, growling, and musical sounds. Music and coughing have also been said to emanate from slaves’ quarters on the grounds.
South Dakota: Hotel Alex Johnson
> Town: Rapid City
> Year built: 1928
At the Hotel Alex Johnson in South Dakota, guests claimed to have seen a “lady in white,” the spirit of first owner Alex Johnson, and the ghost of a young girl. The woman in white is said to be the spirit of a bride who took her own life by leaping out of a window. Johnson, a railroad vice president who opened the hotel in 1928 and died in 1938, apparently decided not to check out of his own hotel. The girl figure is said to appear on the eighth floor of the hotel, knocking on doors and then disappearing down the hallway.
Tennessee: Woodruff-Fontaine House
> Town: Memphis
> Year built: 1870
The Woodruff-Fontaine House has been thoroughly probed by paranormal investigators. Legend has it that a former owner, Mollie, is haunting the home after the death of her newborn son who was followed by the demise of her husband from injuries in a boating accident. Some people have claimed to have seen her sitting on a bed and others have reported to have even smelled her perfume.
Texas: USS Lexington
> Town: Corpus Christi
> Year built: 1943
Once an aircraft carrier that served in World War II, the USS Lexington, nicknamed the “Blue Ghost,” now figures prominently in Corpus Christi lore. After it was involved in several battles, a slain crew member was rumored to still haunt the ship. Visitors have heard screaming on the ship and others have suddenly become sick while onboard.
Utah: Ben Lomond Hotel
> Town: Ogden
> Year built: 1927
The Ben Lomond Hotel is allegedly haunted by a mother and her son. The story often told is that a woman drowned in a bathtub while staying at the hotel, and after her son arrived to pick up her belongings, he became distraught and killed himself. Reports have claimed mysterious activity such as phone calls being made from vacant rooms, the lingering of the scent of old perfume, and the slamming of doors.
Vermont: Emily’s Bridge
> Town: Stowe
> Year built: 1844
A narrow, one-lane covered bridge in Vermont is reputed as haunted after a teenage girl supposedly hanged herself there. According to a popular narrative, she went to meet her lover at the bridge, but when he failed to show up, she took her own life in despair.
Virginia: Captain Timothy Hill House
> Town: Chincoteague Island
> Year built: c. 1800
The Captain Timothy Hill House on Virginia’s Chincoteague Island has a tragic backstory. Tom Freeman wanted to marry Jennie Hill, but her father a sailor named Timothy Hill, wouldn’t allow the marriage. Distraught, Tom killed Jennie and himself. According to legend, Jennie’s spirit still resides in the house.
Washington: Seattle’s underground tunnels
> Town: Seattle
> Year built: Late 1800s
The city council of Seattle took precautions before reconstructing one of its oldest neighborhoods, Pioneer Square, following a 1889 fire. An ordinance required building structures in brick and a regrading of the streets so they would rise two stories above the original level. That is what led to the creation of tunnels in this part of Seattle. Many people continued to access businesses at the original street level. Some of the ghost tales emerging from the tunnels include one about a bank teller named Edward who was killed on the job, and a woman who was slain behind a bank who haunts parts of the tunnel.
West Virginia: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
> Town: Weston
> Year built: 1864
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, later renamed the Weston State Hospital, has a somber history dating to the mid-1800s. The hospital, which closed in 1994, was initially designed to house about 250 people. But by the 1950s it held nearly 10 times its intended capacity. The building is now open for ghost tours, and some visitors have reported seeing apparitions and hearing screams.
Wisconsin: The Pfister Hotel
> Town: Milwaukee
> Year built: 1893
The Pfister Hotel often hosts baseball teams who are in town to face the Milwaukee Brewers. Many of these players leave town with strange ghost stories. Players like Bryce Harper and Brandon Phillips said they had clothes moved around their rooms and their electronics turned on by themselves. Some players said the ghosts leave them alone as long as they ask politely.
Wyoming: Heart Mountain Relocation Center
> Town: Powell
> Year built: 1942
The Heart Mountain Relocation Center was built to house Japanese-Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes on the West Coast during World War II. Among the spirits allegedly inhabiting the facility is a friendly ghost who appears during the day and guides visitors around the center. At night, people have reported odd noises, cold spots, and ghostly footsteps.