Visiting haunted places is a cornerstone of the All Hallows’ Eve experience. Every year, thrill-seekers descend on various locations around the world, hoping to encounter things that go bump in the night. The United States is certainly no exception. The history of famous hauntings in the country runs deep and wide, stretching both throughout history and across the vast expanse of the land.
Those looking to visit something spooky this Halloween would be well-advised to check out one of the seven locations below. This list -- by no means definitive -- provides a snapshot into places around the United States reported to be haunted. Not just limited to haunted houses, it also touches upon cemeteries, sanitoriums and plantations.
Without further ado, here are the top seven most haunted places in the United States.
1.) Lalaurie Mansion – New Orleans
Just looking at the beautiful Lalaurie Mansion located on Royal Street in New Orleans, one would never guess that the house has a horrific history. When a fire broke out there in 1834, it was discovered that the owner, Marie Delphine Lalaurie, or Madame Lalaurie, had tortured and mutilated a number of slaves she owned, resulting in their deaths. Lalaurie reportedly fled to Paris, where she is believed to have died in 1842. Today, the building is a New Orleans landmark, and many people have reported seeing apparitions there, as well as hearing strange noises and groans. Madame Lalaurie is being portrayed by Kathy Bates in the new season of “American Horror Story.”
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2.) Franklin Castle – Cleveland
The history of Franklin Castle begins in 1865, when a German immigrant named Hannes Tiedemann built the home in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. According to Yahoo! Voices, Tiedemann and his wife enjoyed a peaceful life there until 1881, when their 15-year-old daughter Emma died. A month later, Tiedemann’s mother died in the house. Before 1888, three more Tiedemann children died at Franklin Castle. Eventually, the house was sold to another family, who in turn sold it to the German Socialist Party, a political group with rumored ties to the Nazis. The house contains four stories and more than 20 rooms, as well as a number of secret tunnels and passageways. As Yahoo! Voices reports, it is said that the group murdered 20 of their members in one of the secret tunnels. Over the years, those who have owned the house have reported hearing footsteps and voices, as well as children talking to “imaginary” friends.
3.) Hampton Lillibridge House – Savannah, Ga.
Rumored to be the most haunted home in Savannah, the Hampton Lillibridge House was built in 1796 before being bought by famed historic preservationist Jim Williams (himself a fascinating character) in 1963. According to Savannah Specter, the house has been the sight of numerous deaths, ghostly apparitions and even an exorcism.
4.) Whaley House – San Diego
According to UT San Diego, Whaley House was named the most haunted house in America by Life magazine in 2005, which should give you an idea of what to expect. Located in the heart of Old Town and built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley, Whaley House has reportedly been inhabited by various ghosts, including an executed man known as Yankee Jim, Whaley himself, Whaley’s wife, a little girl, and one of Whaley’s children who died from scarlet fever, according to HauntedHouses.com. Tours are available for those hoping for a ghostly encounter.
5.) Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, La.
Built in 1796 by Gen. David Bradford, the Myrtles Plantation is believed to be the site of 10 murders, although only one is confirmed. As Yahoo! Homes reports, there are reports of the ghosts of former slaves appearing, footsteps being heard on the stairs, and a grand piano playing itself. As if that wasn’t enough, the house sits on an ancient Tunica Indian burial ground, according to Nola.com. The home is now a bed and breakfast, and offers tours.
6.) Waverly Hills Sanitorium – Louisville, Ky.
A staple of ghost-hunters worldwide and featured on numerous television shows, Waverly Hills Sanitorium opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients, according to TheRealWaverlyHills.com. The Gothic architecture is creepy enough, but the two areas believed to be the most haunted, the “Body Chute” and Room 502, up the ante even more. According to Halloweensorigins.com, the Body Chute, or “Death Tunnel” was used when patients died after experimental treatments to treat their tuberculosis. Their bodies were taken down the tunnel, which led from the hospital building to railroad tracks. Room 502 has been the scene of two suicides. There were reportedly thousands of deaths at the hospital. Today, guided ghost tours are available.
7.) Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery – Midlothian, Ill.
Located deep in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve near Chicago, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is a spooky abandoned graveyard begun in the mid-1800s. According to the official website, the last burial took place in 1965. The area has been host to ghostly apparitions, mysterious lights, phantom cars and other paranormal occurrences.