Most Haunted Places in America

The United States has its fair share of haunting tales as ghost stories have been formed and passed down over the years. These incidents are spread coast to coast, residing in hotels, asylums, malls, and even homes. But where are these most haunted places in America, are the stories real and, if so, what caused them?

For some people, these hauntings are things they can’t believe until they see one. For others, the pictures and stories of these places are enough to cause a sudden bout of the chills.

Paired with beautiful architecture, scenery, and history, ghost stories land these spots on the list of the most haunted places in America. 

The Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, Colorado 

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The famous hotel opened in 1909  by an entrepreneur seeking out a healthier life among the Rocky Mountains. It was the inspiration for Stephen King’s fictional Overlook Hotel from The Shining

King stayed the night in room 217 (room 237 in the film), inspiring King to write his iconic book which led to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining film (not filmed at this location. Many guests claim to have felt the spirits of past guests and hotel employees, including the owners themselves. 

Thrill-seekers can book tours like the “Stanley Night Tour” to learn more about the hotel’s history and paranormal activities. 

Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Photo: Wikipedia

The prison looks more like a castle on the outside, but its occupants were never treated like royalty.

According to the Eastern State Penitentiary tourism site, “Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious lawbreakers, including “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.”

The building was considered an architectural wonder when it was built, with running water and central heat before the White House.

Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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This prison opened in 1829, with the intention to instill strict order and have prisoners be “penitent” for their crimes. Hence, the word “Penitentiary” in the building’s name. It is considered the world’s first true “penitentiary.”

The prison was known for its “separate system” where prisoners were kept in isolation. Prisoners ate, exercised, and read the bible alone. Guards wore hoods and shoe covers to soften the sound of their feet.

Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Photo: Shutterstock

Overcrowding caused the prison to abandon solitary confinement, but the treatment didn’t improve for prisoners. According to CN Traveler, it got as bad as an inmate getting their tongue chained to his wrists. 

The prison remains open for visitors, hosting tours so that travelers can get a glimpse of the hauntings that remain, like the eerily intact prison cell seen above. Visitors claim to have heard and seen signs from prisoners past jarring laughter, shadowy figures, and pacing footsteps. 

Winchester Mystery House: San Jose, California

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Don’t let the dreamy dollhouse exterior fool you — this house is an architectural wonder and historic landmark and a hotspot for haunting tales. It was once the residence of widow Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester. 

The original eight-room farmhouse grew into a sprawling mansion: 

  • 24,000 square feet 
  • 10,000 windows
  • 2,000 doors
  • 160 rooms
  • 52 skylights
  • 47 stairways and fireplaces
  • 17 chimneys
  • 13 bathrooms
  • 6 kitchens 

With its massive size, it holds plenty of mystery with its walls, from staircases that lead straight to ceilings, to doors that open onto walls. 

Winchester Mystery House: San Jose, California

Photo: HouzzTV, YouTube

Legend has it that Sarah Winchester visited a spiritual medium following the deaths of her husband and infant daughter. The seer told her that the deaths were acts of revenge from angry spirits who had been killed by Winchester rifles, and that she needed to build a dwelling for all of those ghosts. 

Sarah spent the next 38 years building the Winchester Mystery House to what it is today. The bizarre features throughout the house (like the staircase leading nowhere, pictured above) was meant to confuse evil spirits. 

Visitors, who are encouraged to come through tours, have seen doorknobs turn by themselves, hear footsteps, and get sudden chills or temporarily lose their vision. 

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: Weston, West Virginia

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It is just a drive away from Pittsburgh and holds a dark past. It was originally built as a sanctuary for 250 patients with psychiatric illnesses but soon held 2,600 people at its peak. Patients were left without beds and adequate heating, sleeping on bare floors and in freezing rooms. 

Those who choose to embark on tours experience a variety of haunts: apparitions, unexplained noises, and strange shadows. 

Maple Hill Cemetery: Huntsville, Alabama

Photo: YouTube

Your average cemetery may be enough to give you the heebie-jeebies, but this cemetery has quite the haunting urban legend surrounding it. What’s it all about? Well, it’s a playground. 

In 1985, somebody opened a playground right next to the cemetery grounds. Rather than bringing joy to the space, visitors claim it brings hauntings to the area. People reports orbs of light traveling down the playground slide,  swings swaying without the slightest breeze, and hearing ghostly giggles in the air. 

Metropolitan State Hospital: Belton, Massachusetts

Opened back in 1930, this abandoned mental hospital was often referred to as a prison for its patients. Young patients were strictly disciplined and sedated. For those interested in mental hospital history, its nicknamed “The Hospital of Seven Teeth.” 

One patient named Anna Marie Davee (sometimes named Ann Marie Davee) was murdered by another patient while she went out for a walk on the grounds. Her killer eventually revealed where he had hidden her remains around the grounds, along with seven of her teeth he kept for himself. 

Hotel del Coronado: San Diego, California

Most Haunted Places in America
Photo: Shutterstock

You may recognize this beachfront hotel from 1959’s Some Like it Hot and it might have also been the inspiration for the Emerald City in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

But, according to hotel historian Christina Donovan, it is also the place where a young woman by the name of Kate was scorned by her lover. In 1892, Kate arrived at the hotel to meet up with a man, but he was a no-show. The morning after Kate was found at the hotel’s steps with a bullet in her head. Today, guests say her tall, statuesque ghost has a tendency to toss objects towards guests or to peer out to the sea, perhaps still waiting for her lover to finally show up.