Where to Spot a Ghost in Every State
Boo woo-hoo! It’s the most wonderful time of year…for ghost hunters and enthusiasts of the eerie and inexplicable. So grab your flashlights, microphones, EMF meters, and a full tank of courage and head out to find glowing orbs, sinister mists, menacing moppets and mobsters, disembodied voices, crying women in white, and frightening footprints at these haunted sites in every state of the union.
Alabama: Sloss Furnaces
Talk about a bad boss. Birmingham’s Sloss Furnaces, which operated between 1882 and 1970, was once the largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world and therefore made the city a major player in the industrial revolution. But the high demand for steel in the early 1900s came at a steep price. Graveyard shift foreman James “Slag” Wormwood forced his hundred workers to take dangerous risks in hopes of increasing production. Over his tenure, 47 of his subordinates died on site and numerous others were involved in terrible accidents including six who lost their sight in an explosion. Allegedly, the workers, tired of the mistreatment, tossed him into the furnace in October 1906. Since then, workers reported feeling an unnatural presence at the furnaces, being pushed from behind, seeing a burning man yelling to “push more steel,” and being told to “get back to work” by a disembodied voice. Three supervisors were found unconscious and locked in a boiler room. Al.com reports that more than 100 complaints of suspected paranormal activity at these pipes and stoves have been filed with local police. It’s a national historic landmark by day and by night in October, it’s transformed into an immersive fright night experience that heavily references the Slag story. If you’re lucky (or would that be unlucky?), the real fiery foreman phantasm might make an appearance.
Alaska: Dimond Center Mall
Alaska’s largest indoor mall opened in 1977 amid rumors that it was built on top of an ancient Native American burial ground. The Ghost Watch reports that workers dug up a few graves during construction and continued the project. Ever since those disturbed souls seem to haunt the Anchorage shopping complex. Several customers claim to have seen spirits in traditional garb and wolf apparitions roaming the halls and in the public bathroom. Shoppers have gotten pinched and hissed at in their ear when no one is near. Find out the spookiest urban legend in every state.
Arizona: Rosson House
With its turrets and wrought iron details, this brick-clad 1895 Victorian house in downtown Phoenix is the kind of place you assume will go bump in the night (maybe because it bears a resemblance to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride). It has been a museum for years but supernatural stories persist including doors locking on their own, heat coming off cold unused fireplaces, and footsteps coming down the stairs. One explanation for the footsteps is that they belong to the home’s caretaker in the 1980s who is rumored to have been shot and killed just outside the manse. One museum visitor recalls his creepy encounter when taking the tour in 2013 on AzHauntedHouses.com: “I was looking down the hall when suddenly a black shadow fled down the servant stairwell. I barely had time to follow it with my eyes before it disappeared; it was so quick. It left me jaw hanging in disbelief.” Here are some of the best haunted houses in America.
Arkansas: 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, perched on the Ozark mountainside above the Victorian village of Eureka Springs, claims on its website that it has almost as many ghosts as it has rooms. There’s Michael the Irish stonemason who fell to his death during construction in 1885 and Morris the Cat. Theodora is a cancer patient constantly looking for her key while a mystery patient in a white nightgown often appears at the foot of luxury suite beds. For a period in the late 1930s, the hotel was run as a hospital and health resort by a fake doctor and amateur mesmerist Norman Baker. He sold people on cures requiring no surgery and minimal testing. He also makes regular appearances in his white suit and lavender shirt. It is he who the staff hopes to contact during the planned Halloween night séance. The hotel also offers a ghost tour to introduce guests to the apparitions that may want to share your bed. Read before you book a room at these haunted hotels in America.
California: Queen Mary
In the heyday of transatlantic steamer travel, the 1930s luxury liner attracted all manners of celebrities from Greta Garbo and Bob Hope to Winston Churchill and Walt Disney with her five dining rooms, libraries, hand-painted murals, swimming pools, and beauty salons. When World War II broke out, it ferried soldiers to the frontlines as the Grey Ghost. Now it is a floating boatel and museum in Long Beach. Unfortunately, not all 1,001 crossings went off without a hitch. In total, there were 49 recorded deaths aboard and now it is suspected that as many as 150 spirits lurk topside and below deck including a crew member crushed to death by a watertight door and a woman in all white who dances solo in a suite, according to the ship’s site. Themed ship walks are offered year-round and in October, the nightly Dark Harbor event plays up the hair-raising reputation that led Time Magazine to declare it one of America’s Top 10 Most Haunted sites. Or make a reservation to stay overnight and you might catch a glimpse of folks in vintage garb, feel a drastic temperature change, or hear slamming doors, screams, and wailing babies.
Turns out the Mile High City has a deep history of hauntings. Light bulbs unscrew themselves and the kitchen door swings open and closed at the Molly Brown House. The elegant Brown Palace Hotel, the second fireproof building in America, delights in telling ghost tour takers of its various dead denizens. And then there’s Cheesman Park, which was converted from the city’s first graveyard into a green space in the late 1800s. The half-hearted attempt to relocate the bodies, and the subsequent visits of restless souls to many of the houses that surround Cheesman, inspired the film Poltergeist, according to the Colorado Tourism Office. The Henry Treat Rogers Mansion was one of the unlucky abodes. It has been demolished but not before author Russell Hunter based The Changeling on creepy events that happened while he was in residence. When Denver became a Gold Rush boomtown and they started to outgrown the cemetery, the city gave loved ones several years to remove remains. Unfortunately, many of the bodies belonged to criminal, vagrants, and paupers so no one came to claim them. The city then hired undertaker E.P. McGovern to deal with the leftovers at $1.90 a head. Unfortunately, he was also a crook who hacked up adults into child-size pieces and threw them in junior coffins to triple his take, according to Denver.org. They were still finding femurs and fragments of fabric into the 1960s. See the spookiest towns to celebrate Halloween.
Connecticut: New London Ledge Lighthouse
Before this New London Harbor lighthouse was automated in 1987, keepers and coastguardsmen tended to the striking three-story building and many of them experienced things that made their skin crawl. There was mysterious knocking, radios and fog horns that would turn on, boats unmooring themselves, closing doors, and moving cups, according to DamnedCT.com. But more disturbing was the regular sighting of a wraith on the water. The tall, bearded man in a slicker AKA “Ernie” is believed to be a keeper from the 1920s or 1930s whose wife ran off with a ferry captain. The legend goes that he was so distraught that he jumped to his death from the lighthouse roof. Project Oceanology runs summer tours out to the Ledge.
Delaware: Fort Delaware State Park
Originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia, it was likely this Pea Patch Island outpost’s time as a makeshift Union jail during the Civil War that earned it a position on CBS News‘ Most Haunted Places in America list. The site is now a state park where people play lawn games and enjoy picnics, but back in the day conditions were abhorrent and Confederate soldiers fought over rats to avoid starvation. Investigations by Ghost Hunters Academy and Most Haunted concluded that some prisoners are still serving time. Messages on HauntedHouses.com speak of moaning and clanging chains in the dungeon, visions of men in uniform under the ramparts and on parade grounds, and a 1985 photograph that a tourist believes contains a see-through officer in an archway. Oh, and sometimes the phantasms are pirates who have also been held captive here. These are 14 of the most haunted bodies of water.
Florida: Port Salerno, Martin County
The Treasure Coast is so popular with vacationers that it follows that some people might take permanent leave there. Patrick and Patricia A. Mesmer wrote the definitive guide to these Florida frights, Ghosts of The Treasure Coast, and personally lead weekly tours that blend the quaint fishing village’s history and its paranormal activity. It’s a fitting mix as the region’s suspected spirits come from all over the timeline. They include pirates who used to hunt for scores from the many inlets and coves (some swear they peeped Black Ceasar’s ghost ship), ancient tribes who once inhabited the beaches, a wraith widow who keeps watch from a Boston House window, cooks who make a never-ending batches on invisible beef stew at Gilbert’s Bar (now the House of Refuge Museum which does not use the kitchen), and the victims of a murderous cop who linger at Devil’s Tree. Incidentally, this is where he buried the teenagers after sexually assaulting and killing them in 1971 and is now allegedly a popular site for satanic worship. HauntedPlaces.org says the city tried to remove it only to have chainsaws dull or malfunction on site.
Georgia: Old Candler Hospital
Abandoned hospitals are always a good candidate for supernatural situations and Thrillist argues that Savannah’s first medical facility does not disappoint from the souls seen hanging from the branches of the giant Oak known as the hanging tree thanks to the racists who used it to spirits trapped in eternal torment in a psych ward where they used to practice primitive shock therapy. There’s also a morgue tunnel that runs between the hospital and Forsyth Park which was used to transport dead bodies infected by yellow fever. During particularly virulent outbreaks, the tunnel would be waist deep in corpses and the carriages would come in the middle of the night to collect them for disposal so as not to cause sheer panic according to Blue Orb Tours.