Creative Commons/Mathis Power2
Creative Commons/Chicago Man
The Shining doesn't have anything on these ghostly locations because each of these haunted places is 100% real.
All five of these spooky spots are home to scandal, suicide, and murder. The souls who frequented these sites in life have refused to leave them in death, according to paranormal experts. Seeing their presence in orb shapes in photographs, hearing their eerie sounds, and feeling cold shivers are a daily occurrence at all of these truly haunted locations. You can still visit most of these haunted houses, prisons, and hospitals today -- if you dare.
Here are the real deathly stories of five of the most haunted places in America.
1. Waverly Hills Sanatorium: Louisville, Ky.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Creative Commons/Mathis Power23)
In 1910, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened as a state-of-the-art tuberculosis hospital. At the time, tuberculosis was an extremely deadly disease, and patients would have to be isolated from the general public. One of the most talked-about haunted places in the sanatorium is the Body Chute or Death Tunnel. A railcar would transport dead bodies from the top of the hill to the bottom, so that other patients wouldn't see the bodies being carried out. The tunnel is said to be haunted by some of the rumored 63,000 patients who died at the hospital.
In 1928, Mary Hillenburg was found hanging from the doorway in Room 502. At first, it was suspected she committed suicide, as she had recently been impregnated by a married doctor. Instead, it was found the doctor staged the suicide after Hillenburg died during the abortion he gave her.
You can still visit the sanatorium with reservations, but, beware, there is no electricity in the tunnel -- and paranormal experts have reported feeling cold shivers and hearing voices as they made their way down it.
2. Bachelors Grove Cemetery: Bremen Township, Ill.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery (Creative Commons/Chicago Man)
On the outskirts of Chicago lies one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world. The small, isolated graveyard originally was the burial place for an immigrant community in 1844. It is rumored that Al Capone and other gangsters would dump dead bodies into the pond next to the cemetery, although it has never been verified.
Satanists are also known to have met in this desolate area to perform black magic.
A White Lady is said to appear during the time of full moons. A photographed image of her even appeared on the cover of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1991. Ghost hunters have searched the cemetery and reported seeing numerous erratic orbs, which they believe is proof of a ghostly presence.
The road to the cemetery has since been closed due to vandalism. Police fine teenagers and ghost hunters alike $100 for trespassing here.
3. Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia
Eastern State Penitentiary (Creative Commons/abeams)
Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 as the first solitary-confinement prison. Prisoners were alone at all times, and when inmates were transported, they were even covered with hoods so they could not see any other inmates. The solitary confinement is believed to have driven prisoners crazy. Overcrowding soon ended the solitary system.
The most notable inmate was Al Scarface Capone, serving time in his first sentence from 1929 to 1930. Prison time in Eastern State was easy for Capone, who had an oriental rug, radio, and other fine features in his room. Famous bank robbers William Francis Sutton and William Blackie Zupkoski also spent time here.
Since the penitentiary was abandoned in 1971, rumors of footsteps, eerie noises, and ominous orbs swirled. Paranormal television shows such as Syfy's Ghost Hunters and MTV's Fear have investigated the prison.
Visitors can now view the gloomy cells throughout the year during daytime tours and via a special Terror Behind the Walls Halloween haunted house. You can schedule a tour at the Eastern State Penitentiary's official Web site.
4. Lemp Mansion: St. Louis
Lemp Mansion (Creative Commons/mrgarin)
In 1838, John Adam Lemp arrived in St. Louis from Germany. Unlike most other immigrants, however, his family would soon see success, tragic suicides, and mysterious deaths. In 1870, the Lemp family was the symbol of wealth in St. Louis, owning a brewery that covered five blocks. The first suicide occurred in 1904 when William Lemp (John's son) killed himself after the death of his favorite son three years earlier. Three of William's children also committed suicide. William's daughter, Elsa, killed herself in 1920, her brother William Jr. shot himself years later when the business went under, and her brother Charles shot himself in the basement in 1949.
In 1970, the only remaining son (and the only one to die of natural causes) passed away and had his caretaker destroy all family heirlooms. The estate was sold and turned into a boardinghouse, although many boarders were too scared by the voices they heard to stay there very long.
The mansion has since been turned into an inn and restaurant, which has paranormal tours, murder mystery dinners, and Halloween parties. If you dare enter, beware of the Lemp family, who paranormal hunters believe never left.The Lemp Brewery was also converted into one of the America's Scariest Haunted Houses.
5. The Myrtles Plantation: St. Francisville, La.
The Myrtles Plantation (Creative Commons/ShannonLane.com)
The Mytrles Plantation was built in 1796 by Gen. David Bradford, and was the site of as many as 10 murders. As legend goes, Chloe, a slave on the plantation, had one of her ears chopped off by her master for eavesdropping. Chloe sought revenge by baking a poisonous cake intended for her master. The plan didn't work as intended, and she killed two of her slave master's daughters. Chloe was then hanged for her crime by other servants. Chloe and the girls she killed still haunt the grounds of the plantation to this day. Chloe can be seen with the same turban she wore when living to hide her missing ear.
Researchers haven't been able to prove that a slave named Chloe ever existed on the plantation, but don't tell that to ghost enthusiasts. Today, guests can stay and eat in the same house Chloe presumably haunts. Guestrooms will cost brave souls between $115 and $230 a night.Guests can also take mysterious night tours and historic (less scary) tours in the day.