While America is a relatively young country, its towns are filled cryptic histories and grisly stories of suffering. Paranormal investigators sometimes describe a haunting as energetic spirits attempting to interact with an environment in manners mortals can detect. Skip theatrical haunted houses with dancing ghosts and ethereal images and get become acquainted with the spirits of those who still wish to linger in the land of the living. If the idea of sharing a space with ghosts makes the hairs on your arms stand on end for all the right reasons, charter a flight to some of the spookiest places in the country.
Known as the largest ghost town in America, Jerome, AZ, is a former copper-mining town at the top of Cleopatra Hill, between Flagstaff and Prescott. The town’s ghoulish reputation dates back to Wild West, and some say its supernatural inhabitants outnumber the 400 residents because of gunfights and mining accidents. The best-known spirit is Sammie Dean, a working girl who was strangled in the Crib District. According to legend, her spirit searches the streets for her killer, who was never caught.
Myrtles Plantation | St. Francisville, Louisiana
One of the “most haunted homes” in America, Myrtles Plantation was built in 1796 by General David Bradford. The property, which some speculate to be on top of an Indian burial ground, has at least 12 different spirits. Chloe is one of the more well-known ghosts. The former slave wanders the grounds wearing a turban over her head to conceal the ear her master severed after he caught her eavesdropping. Her revenge: kill two of the master’s daughters by poisoning a birthday cake. After committing the dastardly deed, Chloe was hung by other slaves on the property.
Shanghai Tunnels | Portland, Oregon
Once considered one of the most dangerous ports in the U.S., 19th-century Portland was at the epicenter of shanghaiing, a form of maritime human trafficking. Thieves preyed upon saloon patrons who didn’t know about the trap doors that dumped victims into a maze of underground tunnels that stretched nine miles, from Old Town to downtown. The captured men were drugged and taken to the waterfront to be sold to ship owners as slaves. It took several years for some to make their way out of the tunnels and back home. Many believe the Shanghai Tunnels are haunted by captives who never escaped.
Van Cortland Park | Bronx, New York
Appropriate for the “city that never sleeps,” Van Cortland Park is one of the most haunted locations in the northeast. The Stockbridge Indian Massacre took place at the site in 1778, making the burial grounds on Vault Hill a hotspot for spirits.
Winchester Mystery House | San Jose, California
After the death of her daughter and husband (the son of the Winchester Rifle Company’s founder) in 1881, a medium convinced Sarah Winchester that her loved ones were killed by the ghosts of those who died because of the guns her family made. At the request of the vengeful spirits, she commissioned numerous additions to her Victorian-style home. Legend has it that the spirits influenced every update for 38 years. In the end, the Winchester Home was an astonishing 24,000 square feet with 47 fireplaces, 160 secret rooms (including hidden rooms), windows that lead to secret passages, doors that open to brick walls, and staircases that lead nowhere or into the ceiling.