12 Haunted Destinations

The stories behind these spots are just plain spooky.
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Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA

The now-defunct prison has been a hotbed for reported paranormal experiences since the 1940s when officers and inmates began to experience some other-worldly visions and feelings. Criminals including Al Capone were jailed in the wheel, or radial-shaped structure, which was constructed in 1829.
Photo by Tom Bernard

Gettysburg, PA

One of America’s most historic war towns, home to the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, is also considered one of its most haunted. From lodging locations to the famous battlefield, the eerie spots include the Farnsworth House, which has been named the most haunted Bed & Breakfast, The Cashtown Inn, Gettysburg Hotel and Baladerry Inn. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s spirit is even said to tread the quaint town.

Winchester House, San Jose, CA

Staircases lead to nowhere and doors are built into the floor in this Victorian mansion that was under continuous construction for 38 years. The original proprietor, widow Sarah L. Winchester of Winchester Rifle, became obsessed with the paranormal (evidenced by the recurrence of the number 13 in the house-13 sets of lights, stairs, windows, etc.). After Sarah’s daughter and husband died, she began detecting strange activity in the house and decided to consult a spiritualist. The person told her the only way to satisfy the spirits and stay alive herself was to continue building the house…forever. It wasn’t until Sarah died that the hammers stopped pounding on what is perhaps the strangest, most mysterious-and now possibly haunted-by-the-ghost-of-Sarah-house in the world.
Winchester Mystery House San Jose, CA

Amityville House, Amityville, NY

In November 1974, six members of the DeFeo family were shot and killed, only one-son Butch, suspected of the murders-survived. Thirteen months later, the Lutz family moved into the sprawling Long Island home. They asked a priest to bless the home, who supposedly warned them to keep away from one of the bedrooms. From that first day, the family claims they felt and witnessed the supernatural, from inexplicable green slime running down the walls, an upside-down crucifix and an episode of the wife levitating off the bed. After 28 days in the DeFeo home, the Lutz family fled. A book and movie deal followed, as well as doubts regarding the validity of the story.

The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA

The home, a former plantation mansion turned Bed & Breakfast, is a display of antebellum opulence. A number of natural deaths occurred at the home, which is in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as two little-explained, Reconstruction-era murders. In one, the owner of the home at the time, Clark Woodruff, answered the door and was shot. The second time, the husband of a later-owner’s daughter was shot on the porch.
Photo by Aimee Sorenson

Bell Witch Cave, Adams, TN

The legend of the Bell Family, terrorized by a witch spirit for years, is well-known throughout Tennessee. In the early 1800s, the witch, Kate, tormented the family members, pulling hair, scratching, pounding on the house and eventually causing the death of the family patriarch, John Bell. Even though the witch is reported to have exclaimed she was leaving and would return decades later, many believe she’s always stayed near the Bell Witch Cave and in the town of Adams.

The Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA

The Queen Mary, an elegant ship of the Golden Age intended for cruises across the Atlantic, was used during World War II. In her 60 years at sea, the Queen Mary was the site of almost 49 deaths. People have supposedly spotted ghosts in various areas on board, including the swimming pool. The ship is now docked permanently in the Port of Long Beach, with a dedicated paranormal researcher on staff.
Photo by RScottyL

The Lizzy Borden House, Fall River, MA

It was a hot August day in 1892 when Andrew J. Borden and Abby Durfee Gray Borden were murdered, whacked repeatedly with a hatchet. The accused killer was their church-going, Sunday school teacher daughter, Lizzie (Abby was her stepmother). Lizzie was later acquitted of the crimes, but forever shunned by the town of Fall River. The house is now a historic and haunted Bed & Breakfast.
Photo by Lee-ann Wilber

West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville, WV

The former prison’s violent past explains why spirits may still haunt its corridors. Once called the Moundsville Penitentiary, the prison at one point was the site of all death penalty executions in the state, and two bloody riots erupted within its walls. Prisoners, confined to tiny cells, often committed suicide or succumbed to the squalid conditions.
Photo by Jim Gibbons, siteonomy

The Whaley House, San Diego, CA

The Whaley House was, among other things, a theater, granary, general store, ballroom and polling place. Hangings happened on the property before the home was even constructed, and the Whaley family reported hearing a ghost when they lived there. After the family members passed, one who committed suicide, many of them joined the apparition in haunting the home, which is where many of them died.
Photo by Sand

Flagstaff Lake, ME

The town of Flagstaff Lake itself is a ghost town; it flooded in 1949 when a dam was built. Detritus of the town is underwater (visible when the water’s low), and as though that weren’t eerie enough, the ghost of one Flagstaffer who refused to leave following the flood is said to haunt the area.
Photo by Petersent

Lemp Mansion, St. Louis, MO

Home to the family that sold the first lager in St. Louis, the Lemp Mansion epitomizes both good and bad fortune. Business was booming when William Lemp’s eldest and favorite sign died unexpectedly. Three years later, a devastated William shot himself and died. His son William Jr. took over the business, living an extravagant, hedonistic life, as profit started to decline. Then William Jr.‘s sister committed suicide and William Jr. himself did as well after the business sold for next to nothing. William Jr.‘s brother Charles stayed in the mansion after William Jr. died, eventually to commit suicide, too, as his brother, sister and father had. The Lemp Mansion is now a restaurant and inn.
Otter Graphics

Next up: Best Last-Minute Trips

Not in the mood to be spooked? Plan a great last-minute getaway instead. Here, 10 of our favorite spots.
Photo by: Barnaby Evans

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