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The 15 Spookiest Places You Can Stay Overnight

Are you ready for things that go bump in the night? From ghosts and hauntings to sites of grisly murders and torture, prepare to spend a sleepless night in these chillingly creepy accommodations.

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Haunted Stanley Hotel Estes Park ColoradoMitchell Meffert/Shutterstock

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

This hotel was enough to creep out the master of horror himself. While staying here, Stephen King was woken up in the middle of the night with a nightmare that became The Shining. But the historic Stanley Hotel‘s ghosts are enough to spook any visitor even without King’s fictional tale. Stay in rooms 217, 401, 417, or 428, which have the most reported paranormal activity. You might hear children laughing or a tinkling piano, see lights flickering or specters on the staircase; book a ghost tour or seance to get even more in touch with the spiritual presences who’ve stuck around. A visitor even caught two ghosts on camera in 2017, one of the creepiest photos that will give you the chills.

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Chillingham Castle the most haunted castle in EnglandGail Johnson/Shutterstock

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, United Kingdom

Many, if not all, of England’s castles have legends of hauntings attached to them, but the appropriately named Chillingham touts itself as “Britain’s most haunted historic castle.” Best of all, fans of the supernatural can actually stay overnight. The 12th-century castle has a storied past of royal visits, battles, and sieges; it also features a dungeon and torture chambers for its prisoners. Take a ghost tour to meet the White Pantry Ghost, hear voices in the chapel, and see the Courtyard’s specters; then retire to your lushly appointed, but possibly haunted, room.

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Villisca Ax Murder House, Villisca, Iowa

What could be scarier than staying overnight in a house that was the scene of a brutal, unsolved mass murder? In 1912 in this quiet small town, the entire Moore family and two guests were bludgeoned to death in their beds, the murderer never apprehended. Today, the house is understandably the site of major paranormal activity: objects moving, children laughing, lamps falling. If you dare to stay overnight, bring your own sleeping bags—you’ll simply be given the key and then will be on your own for the spookiest slumber party ever. While there, try out the 13 best ghost stories for your next sleepover.

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LIEPAJA, LATVIA - JUNE 16, 2015: Karosta prison.RENATOK/shutterstock

Karosta Prison, Liepaja, Latvia

For those who like a side of masochism with their ghosts, stay at the haunted Karosta Prison in Latvia, where guests can experience the life of a prisoner for an unforgettable night of “authentic Communist era treatment.” Formerly a Nazi prison where most of the prisoners were killed, the budget hotel (it’s only 17 Euros a night) boasts a “healthy lifestyle” and “secure rooms,” according to the website; in other words, visitors will be made by the guards to exercise before being locked in cells overnight.

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Gettysburg, PA -George Sheldon/shutterstock

Farnsworth House Inn, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

A favorite of ghost-hunting TV shows, the Farnsworth House owes its paranormal activity to its connection to the bloodiest battle of the Civil War: Gettysburg, one of the 12 most haunted places in America, according to paranormal experts. The Confederate sharpshooter who claimed the life of the only civilian killed in the battle likely took his shot from the attic of the Farnsworth House, and the cellar (now decorated with an antique coffin) was used as a makeshift hospital for the wounded. Over 100 bullet holes can still be seen in the house’s walls. Tours at the bed and breakfast tell visitors all about the many ghosts that remained long after the battle; the inn also offers ghost hunts with professional equipment.

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The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

Possibly the most haunted ship in the world, the Queen Mary served as a luxury ocean liner from 1936 until 1967, when it was permanently docked in Long Beach, California. Now a tourist attraction, restaurant, and hotel, the ship also reportedly hosts guests and workers who never left. Among the most often spotted specters are an engineer who died in the ship’s engine room, a “lady in white,” and children near the first-class pool. Haunted history tours, seances, and ghost hunting are offered; book stateroom B340, said to be the most haunted, and you may experience unexplained noises, moving objects, and even a shadowy figure at the end of the bed.

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Weston, West VirginiaMalachi Jacobs/shutterstock

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia

As if a daytime look at this historic and haunted asylum isn’t scary enough, you can also book an overnight tour. But don’t expect to get any sleep: You’ll be ghost-hunting from 11:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. According to its website, thousands of mentally ill patients were housed here and unfortunately, many died under poor conditions during its long history from 1858 until its closure in 1994. Apparitions, voices, and other weird sounds have been known to occur at the asylum. Before you go, learn how to become a real-life ghost hunter, according to paranormal investigators.

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Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, Massachusetts

Here’s your chance to stay at the site of one of the most famous murders in American history, and one of the 10 real-life haunted houses you need to see. According to the old children’s rhyme, Lizzie Borden brutally murdered her parents with an ax—but, she was acquitted. Do the victims, or Lizzie herself, still remain seeking justice for the unsolved crime? You be the judge. Overnight visitors receive a complimentary in-depth nighttime tour of the house, and the fearless guest can even stay in the very room where one of the murders took place.

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Heceta Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast, Yachats, Oregon

Foggy mist, the ghostly glow of a lighthouse perched on a cliff, waves menacingly crashing on the rocks below…If this kind of dark and stormy atmosphere appeals to you, stay in the haunted, historic Heceta Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. The resident ghost, Rue, is said to have lived here and lost her child: At night you can still hear her mournful wails. You can also take the flashlight from your room in the 1894 Keeper’s House for a midnight stroll to the light tower. The place has to be one of the world’s spookiest travel destinations.

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Monte Cristo Homestead, New South Wales, Australia

This Victorian home was reportedly the site of many tragic incidents in its history, leading to its honor as the most haunted house in Australia. Its many ghostly presences include a maid who fell from the upstairs balcony, a mentally ill man who was chained in the caretaker’s cottage, and a stable boy who was killed in a coach house fire. Then there’s the widow of the original owner of the house, who became a recluse when she couldn’t recover from her husband’s death in 1910. Hear all about it on your ghost tour before you bed down for the night.

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Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana

The Myrtles Plantation may be beautiful, but it was also a part of one of the darkest periods of our country’s history. Ghosts of slaves who live there, and their antebellum owners, have even been unintentionally photographed on the plantation; see if you can spot the “Ghost Girl” or another nicknamed Chloe for yourself. Take an Evening Mystery Tour to learn more, then it’s bedtime in one of the opulent rooms or comfortable cottages—they’re lovely enough to maybe (but only maybe) forget you’re sharing the place with ghosts.

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San Francisco Dungeon, San Francisco, California

If haunted houses aren’t your thing, how about a dungeon? The San Francisco Dungeon interactive attraction explores the haunted history of the City by the Bay. For the Halloween season, they’re even offering the chance for a whole night in an underground cell. Sleep in prison beds in the Alcatraz Suite, and enjoy dungeon-issued pajamas, midnight snack, seance, scary bedtime story, and breakfast in bed—if you survive the night. Bookings begin October 24.

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beautiful Castle of Dragsholm Nothern Zeland, Denmark.tomtsya/Shutterstock

Dragsholm Castle, Zealand, Denmark

The imposing edifice of Dragsholm Castle carries a dark history within, no doubt why it contains more than its fair share of true ghost stories from the most haunted places in the world. The castle’s ghosts include the Grey Lady, a former servant; the White Lady, the daughter of a past owner who was imprisoned in her room when she fell in love with someone unsuitable; and Mary, Queen of Scots’ husband the Earl of Bothwell, who died here a prisoner chained to a pillar, his feet wearing a circular groove in the stone floor around it. At over 800 years old, the castle is known as one of the most haunted in Europe—even if it’s now a luxury hotel.

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Washoe Club, Virginia City, Nevada

Step back in time with the spirits of mining town Virginia City’s Washoe Club, said to be the most haunted building in the West. Once a saloon and exclusive club for the likes of Ulysses S. Grant, railroad magnate Darius Ogden Mills, and actor Edwin Booth, brother of Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth, the club now hosts ghost tours and overnight investigations of some of the building’s permanent residents. Explore the paranormal activity as seen on TV’s Ghost Adventures with access to the building’s three floors, including the crypt and the famous spiral staircase, during your overnight lockdown. Ghosts you might encounter include the Lady in Blue, who appears at the top of the staircase, a little girl, and a whiskey-loving prospector.

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Liberty Hotel, Boston

Staying in former prisons is now a thing: Just ask the hip hotel ironically named “Liberty.” The former Charles Street Jail, which opened in 1851 and housed notorious criminals such as the Boston Strangler, was closed in 1973 because of poor living conditions—but it took nearly 20 years to relocate all the poor souls within. Who knows whose spirits still remain? Today, the hotel retains its historic character with original iron bars and cell doors, several stories of catwalks encircling the lobby’s rotunda, famous mug shots as decoration, and dining establishments named “Clink” and “Alibi.” This has to be one of the most haunted hotels in America.

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Tina Donvito
Tina Donvito is a regular contributor to’s Culture and Travel sections. She also writes about health and wellness, parenting, and pregnancy. Previously editor-in-chief of Twist magazine, Donvito has also written for Parade Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Parents Magazine online, among others. Here work was selected by author Elizabeth Gilbert to be included in the anthology Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It: Life Journeys Inspired by the Bestselling Memoir. She earned a BA in English and History from Rutgers University.