Mysterious and spooky, ghosts have captivated the world for centuries. From ghost stories and seances to haunted tours of the most mysterious places on earth, the fascination with spirits and connecting with the departed skyrockets during autumn with cooler weather, long nights, and, of course, Halloween. The most haunted places in the U.S. are not elaborate haunted houses, but rather destinations where paranormal activity is frequently witnessed. Sounds echo down empty halls, sightings of spirits abound, and signals from the beyond have creeped out hotel guests, theater goers, pub patrons, and maybe even you?
Curious to know what goes bump in the night at the most haunted places in the US? We are too! Check out these scary haunts — if you dare.
For years, tourists and workers at Grand Canyon National Park have shared stories of ghostly greetings by Walter Peck, who opens and closes doors in an elevator shaft, and the Wandering Woman, who, after a hiking accident in the 1920s, has been seen searching for her family. Others say they hear whispers and chants or see dancing at an area that was once a Native American burial ground.
It’s no surprise that a city named Tombstone is home to one of the most haunted places in the US. At Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, visitors frequently report paranormal activity. Workers and bar-goers have said they have seen “The Swamper,” a former miner who was rumored to have hid silver in the building and now protects it in the afterlife. He’s been spotted in the halls, stairways, and basement.
Back in 1932, Peg Entwistle, a struggling 24-year-old actress, died by suicide after leaping from the letter “H” of the iconic Hollywood Sign. Her tragic ending has led to reported sightings in the area over the years of a frightened blonde hiker wearing vintage clothing.
It’s believed the late gangster Al Capone haunts the former maximum-security prison in San Francisco. Visitors to Alcatraz have said they hear the sound of banjo music in the shower room where Capone once strummed the instrument.
Folks have long shared stories of encounters with a ghost named George, who purportedly died while working on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the Magic Kingdom. Disney cast members have shared stories of George reportedly stopping the ride, making phone calls, and even showing up on security footage. Workers say good night to George or risk ride interruptions the next day.
The lighthouse in St. Augustine, America’s oldest port, is said to be filled with ghosts, making it one of the most haunted places in Florida. Ghost hunters can rent electromagnetic field meters during St. Augustine Lighthouse tours to search for ghosts.
A trio of folks tied to the famed baseball stadium are said to live here. Legendary broadcast announcer Harry Caray is often sighted in the press box, former team manager Charlie Grimm wanders the Wrigley Field hallways, and folk singer Steve Goodman not only has his ashes scattered at the stadium, but he has been seen sitting in the seats behind home plate.
What was once used as a burial ground and tuberculosis hospital is now a creepy Kentucky cave at Mammoth Cave National Park where people have reported hearing coughing. others say they have seen the ghost of cave guide and slave Stephen Bishop, who was buried nearby.
The hotel that invented the Boston Cream pie is also one of the most haunted places in America. Guests and staff have witnessed paranormal activity for years, from unexplained whispers to elevators that stop on the third floor to sightings of the late Harvey Parker, the Omni Parker House’s late founder. If you and your boo (get it?) are into exploring the paranormal together, an book a night for is an out-of-this world quintessential Boston date idea.
From the town’s cemeteries to the House of the Seven Gables to The Witch House, the Massachusetts town where the Salem Witch Trials occurred in the 17th century, is said to be one of the most haunted places in the U.S.
Workers have claimed to see President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier, Fala, walking around the iconic train station late at night. The president’s pooch frequently traveled with Roosevelt, who rode an armored locomotive on a private track underneath Grand Central Station to quickly reach the now-shuttered Waldorf Astoria Hotel during his trips to Manhattan.
The Broadway theater is home to a friendly ghost, Olive Thomas, a former Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl who died in 1920. Staff and theater goers have seen her crossing the New Amsterdam Theatre stage and blowing kisses. To keep Thomas happy, workers blow kisses or wave at photos of Thomas when they arrive at work each day.
During the yellow fever epidemic in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the land was used as a mass grave for paupers. Park goers have reported sightings of shadowy figures in the bustling Washington Square Park.
Set in a glen in Tarrytown, New York, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow is recounted each fall as locals and visitors alike have claimed to hear the trotting of the Headless Horseman: a deceased soldier who rides through town at night.
The apparitions in the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains National Park are aplenty. They include the bloodthirsty Spearfinger who haunts the Noland Creek Trail and allegedly feasts on wayward children, and a man who died looking for his daughter and now to lead hikers to safety.
It’s not surprising that the Gettysburg National Military Park, where scores of soldiers and horses died in the mid-19th century, is one of the most haunted places in America. Go after dark — if you dare — for a chance to spot spooky soldiers in the night.
Some peculiar paranormal activities have been reported by U.S. presidents and First Ladies at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Abraham Lincoln said he saw his young son, who had died of typhoid, and then Grace Coolidge said she saw Lincoln. Others have seen former First Ladies Abigail Adams and Dolly Madison roaming The White House.