There’s something thrilling about being scared. The chill in your spine, the goosebumps along your skin, the anticipation of wondering who or what will pop up next. We can’t help but be drawn to the macabre, and on no day is this sentiment more prevalent than Halloween.
While countless haunted houses pop up across the country in honor of this one of a kind holiday, very few offer the real deal when it comes to ghostly encounters. This is good news for the faint of heart, but a few brave souls out there actually want to push the boundaries when it comes to paranormal activity.
For those adventurers, there are some places in the U.S. known for having active and oft seen supernatural inhabitants. You can tour any one of these infamous locations this Halloween, if you dare …
1. St. Augustine Lighthouse
St. Augustine, Florida
The waterfront setting is a favorite for ghost hunters and tourists alike. Visitors have reported seeing creepy shadows and hearing strange noises. Several people allegedly died here, including a keeper who fell off the lighthouse to his death and the construction superintendent’s two young daughters who drowned. Today, guests can tour the premises at night during the dark of the moon tour hoping to capture a snapshot of a lingering apparition.
2. Shanghai Tunnels
Photo by Keary O. CC BY-NC-ND
This set of passages underneath downtown Portland was originally built to facilitate trade and commerce for businesses. Unfortunately, from 1850 to about 1940, they were used for a much more nefarious purpose known as Shanghaiing. Young men and women were drugged, kidnapped and sold to boats heading to the Orient, forced into servitude as seamen or prostitutes. The tunnels served as a quick way to transport victims to sea. The spirit of one ghost, Nina, is said to tug at the clothing of visitors who walk the tunnels today. Legend has it because the trapped souls were unaware of how they came to be in the tunnels in the first place, they have never been able to find their way out.
3. Waverly Hills Sanatorium
In the early 1900s, Tuberculosis was so deadly it was referred to as “the white plague.” Following an outbreak in Kentucky, a two story wooden building was built to contain 40 to 50 afflicted persons. As the contagion grew, so did the facility, eventually becoming the five story, 400-bed brick building that stands today. Rumor has it select patients were subject to dangerous experimental treatments involving surgical removal of lungs and ribs. Over 6,000 people died in the Sanatorium before a cure was found in 1943. Today, the ghosts of those who perished in quarantine still remain, along with the spirit of a nurse rumored to have hung herself from a lightbulb wire in one of the rooms. Guests can join this motley crew for an overnight tour of the facility.
4. Molly Brown House
The “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” or Maggie as her friends called her, became famous after she survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. She is said to still haunt her estate in Denver, Colorado, though guides rarely discuss any urban legends. Despite the historical focus of the preservation society, visitors have been known to receive more than they bargained for, from mysteriously floating objects to run-ins with Molly herself.
5. Lizzie Borden House
Falls River, Massachusetts
What better experience for fans of murder mysteries than the opportunity to stay in a real life murder house? Lizzie Borden was the OJ Simpson of the 1800’s, acquitted for the axe murders of her father and stepmother. Today, the house is a museum and guests can stay at an accompanying bed and breakfast, complete with sounds of weeping and séances meant to conjure Lizzie’s spirit on Halloween night.