Most Haunted Places in the United States


The destinations listed below consistently rate in the top ten most haunted places America. Depending on the source, the results vary for the top ten, so we have included 15 different places that consistently appear on these most haunted lists.

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California, July 2009. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Alcatraz, San Francisco, California – With its centuries-old history from ancient Native Americans, to Fort Alcatraz, to a Military Barracks, and most often known service as one of the toughest federal penitentiaries in the Nation, it is no wonder that this place is said to be one of the most haunted in the nation. Often described as a portal to another dimension, Alcatraz is filled with the energy of those who came to the “Rock” and seemingly never left.

Today, these spirits that continue to lurk in the shadows of the often fog-enshrouded island have been heard, seen and felt by both the staff and many visitors to Alcatraz. The sounds of men’s voices, screams, whistles, clanging metal doors and terrifying screams are said to be heard within these historic walls, especially near the dungeon.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Midlothian, Illinois – Largely abandoned since the mid-1960’s, this 1800s-era cemetery is well-known for its haunted stories and ghost sightings. The small cemetery in the Chicago metropolitan area is located near Midlothian and Oak Forest, Illinois in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve at 143rd Street & the Midlothian Turnpike. Victim to vandals over the years, many of the tombstones are toppled and rumors circulate that the cemetery has been the location for satanic and occultist groups performing ceremonies. Over the years, numerous stories have been told of glowing balls, sightings of apparitions; strange noises being heard including moans, squeaks, and groans; and voices. Paranormal investigators report strange photos, anomalous recordings, and sightings of unbelievable creatures. Near the cemetery is a quarry pond that is also said to be haunted. The foul, dark, algae-covered pool is said to have been used by Al Capone and other gangsters as a dumping place of their murder victims. Other reports tell of the ghosts of a farmer and his horse who were drowned in the pond as well as another unknown “two-headed” ghost.

Bell Witch Cave, Adams, Tennessee – The Bell Witch Cave, located near where the Bell Farm once stood is said to be associated with the Bell Witch, a sinister entity that allegedly haunted the Bell Family between 1817 and 1821. The story became so famous at the time that even General Andrew Jackson decided to visit and allegedly experienced the antics of the witch himself. Local legends say that the Bell Witch has haunted the area surrounding the caves for hundreds of years. The area has a long history of pioneers and Native Americans, many of whom were said to have been buried in the cave. The Trail of Tears, which forcibly relocated the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and other tribes from their homelands to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) went through the farm. Numerous visitors have told of seeing her apparition, as well as odd shadows, and hearing voices in restricted areas of the cave. visitors who take anything from the cave, such as a rock, will be cursed and many have returned items quickly. Today, the privately owned Bell Witch Cave and former Bell Farm offers tours.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – This former prison operated from 1829 to 1971 and its revolutionary system of incarceration was the first to establish the policy of separate confinement, emphasizing principles of reform rather than punishment. However, the confinement was severe, locking inmates in their cells 23 hours per day and prohibiting any communication among inmates. Punishment was harsh, including subjecting them to water baths, where inmates who broke the rules would be dunked in a bath of ice-cold water then hung from a wall for the night. They were also punished in what was called the “Mad Chair,” so named because it was not uncommon for an inmate to go mad before his punishment ended.

During this punishment, inmates would be strapped into the chair so tightly that it was impossible for them to move at all while sitting for days without food until the circulation in their body almost stopped from the tightness of the straps and the lack of movement. For consistently refusing to obey the no communication rules, an iron collar was sometimes clamped onto the tongue of the inmate, then chained to his wrists which were strapped high behind their back. Called the Iron Gag, any movement would result in the tearing of the tongue and severe bleeding, from which many died before their torment ended. Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held within its walls. Today it is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which is open to the public as a museum for regular tours as well as haunted tours. Today, visitors and staff report hearing unexplained eerie sounds throughout the prison, as well as whispering, laughing and weeping and seeing tormented faces in the cells.

Stone wall at Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

Stone wall at Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Over ten thousand men died in the battle of Gettysburg. The most violent battle of the Civil War, over 10,000 men lost their lives in July, 1863. Cited as the war’s turning point, the Battle of Gettysburg effectively ended Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North. A National Historic site today, not only does it offer a wealth of history, but is also said to be one of the most haunted places in the nation. Visitors often report ghostly encounters, many of whom initially believe they’ve seen Civil War re-enactors, only to find out later that no such groups are at the park. There are allegedly a number of ghosts that lurk within the park, especially at a place called Devil’s Den where hundreds of men lost their lives. Many have also reported hearing disembodied screams and numerous others report malfunctioning cameras.

Lemp MansionLemp Mansion, St. Louis, Missouri – Said to be one of the ten most haunted places in America, the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri, continues to play host to the tragic Lemp family. Over the years, the mansion was transformed from the stately home of millionaires to office space, decaying into a run-down boarding house, and finally restored to its current state as a fine dinner theatre, restaurant and bed, and breakfast. The scene of triumph and tragedy, with a background of intrigue, scandal, and suicide, visitors have reported a wide range of phenomena at the Mansion. Tales of phantom guests sitting on chairs and misty white apparitions appearing throughout the mansion are often told. Candles are said to mysteriously light of their own accord and the smell of cigar smoke fills the area in the non-smoking environment. Guests have claimed to have felt someone stroking their hair in the night and receiving phantom phone calls. Personal items have been known to disappear or be moved. More …

Lincoln Theater, Decatur, Illinois – The grand old Lincoln Theater was built in 1916, but the haunting history that surrounds the building goes back beyond the theater’s construction. Prior to the theater being built, the site was home to the old Priest Hotel, which opened in 1880 and stood until it was burned down in 1904. Said to be haunted by several ghosts, the most well known is one that is called Red, who is thought to have been a former employee of the theater. After falling from the catwalk he died and allegedly remains. Others report having seen the ghost of a young woman and a male figure standing on the stairs. Paranormal activity includes ghostly footsteps, cold spots, sounds of people walking on stage when no one is there, and phantoms sitting in the seats of an empty audience. The historic theater has been undergoing a restoration project since the 1990’s but continues to be open and host live entertainment.

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