And the ‘Spookiest’ Places in the U.S. Are…

Dreamstime Editors


This is a list of the “spookiest” places in the United States compiled by the editors of Dreamstime.


A prison | Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Eastern State Penitentiary has over 100 years of history full of disease, murder, and torture – making this one of the most haunted places in the country. The prison closed in 1971 and now lies in ruin, open only to those who wish to explore abandoned cellblocks and crumbling corridors that were once home to thousands of criminals. People have reported hearing echoing voices, having visions of ghostly faces, and seeing shadowy figures darting along the walls during their visits to the old penitentiary.

A hotel | Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff, Arizona

Hotel Monte Vista lies about two hours north of Phoenix, off Route 66, and was built in the 1920s. The hotel is now home to an alleged paranormal activity, like chairs that rock on their own, disembodied infant cries, and the shadow of a man who haunts the basement, standing six feet tall and stalking the hotel’s employees. Many patrons have reported waking in the middle of the night and being unable to fall back asleep because they felt they were being watched.

A lighthouse | St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is the oldest brick structure in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, and has been guiding ships in the night since 1874. With a long history of keepers, families, and visitors from sea, those who visit the structure today report ghostly sightings, sounds and even smells. Most famously were two young sisters who died on the property, playing in a cart that slid into the bay and led to both girls’ death. It is said that visitors can still hear the girls laughing at the top of the tower late at night, or can see one of the girls running around the property in the same blue dress in which she died. 

A zoo | Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois

Now one of the most family-friendly and well-known zoos in the country, the land the Lincoln Park Zoo was built on was originally home to the City Cemetery. During the nearly 20-year transition from burial grounds to park, the city disinterred the bodies buried there and began to transform the landscape into what it is today. The land was a cemetery for decades before the civil war, and bodies are still dug up in the surrounding area to this day.

A ship
 | RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

The RMS Queen Mary completed her maiden voyage back in 1936 and hosted the rich and famous people of the world during her years of operation. Originally intended as a ship for travel for the upper class, the Queen Mary was transformed into a troopship during World War II, and became known as “The Grey Ghost.” Now docked in Long Beach and acting as a hotel, the Queen Mary has a reported 150 known spirits haunting the premises. Guests report seeing women in 1930s-style swimsuits and wet footprints leading from the deck where there was once a swimming pool, that has now been closed for 30 years.
An abandoned asylum | Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia

The now-abandoned Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has a long history of atrocious treatment and poor living conditions for patients. Commissioned in the 1850s, the asylum at one point hosted more than 10 times the number of patients its capacity allowed. The asylum was in decay long before it shut down, with peeling wallpaper, freezing rooms and windows covered in grime. Visitors today say they can feel the presence of the hundreds of patients who perished in the horrific conditions of the asylum during its peak.
A theater | Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina

The Dock Street Theatre is reportedly haunted by the woman who died on the grounds when the theater was still a hotel. Nettie Dickerson had a tragic backstory and is said to have turned to the refuge of familiar and humid coastal weather during her darkest times. Standing on the balcony of the hotel, Nellie was struck by lightning and her suffering was brought to an end. When the theater moved into the building in the 1930s, it seems as though Nellie stuck around to haunt performers and show-goers alike. Visitors have reported seeing a zombie-like figure in Nellie’s infamous red gown, gliding across the floor with wild eyes and a horrific expression.
An island | Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California

Alcatraz prison was commissioned in the 1930s to be a maximum-security prison to break the spirit of the most hardened criminals. Built on an island just off the coast of San Francisco, some prisoners were never able to escape the island and reportedly haunt the abandoned grounds today. Visitors report encounters with spirits who died on the island and say they’ve experienced crying, moaning and feelings of sudden chills when walking through the prison.
A city | Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts, is undoubtedly the “haunted” place to be. Home to the famous Salem witch trials of the 1600s, the town has a 300-year history of supposed ghostly activity. While the town may not have been home to any real witches, the women who were put to death when they were unfairly accused of practicing witchcraft have allegedly lingered in Salem to haunt its residents forever. Dramatic accusations, torture, trials, forced confessions and hangings plagued the people of Salem for so long that people believe the town is haunted by those ghosts to this day.
A cemetery | Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery, along the Wilmington River in Georgia, is known for its beautiful landscape. Surrounded by magnolia, dogwood and live oaks, this cemetery is the setting of a 150-year-old burial ground. Perhaps most famous is the ghost of Gracie Watson who died when she was just six years old, and who has a statue carved in her likeness in the cemetery. Those who have stood close to her gravesite have reported seeing the girl nearby, and others have reported tears of blood streaming down the statue’s face. Other incidents reported include various statues throughout the grounds smiling or even grimacing at passersby, and the sounds of dogs barking angrily when no animals are in sight.
A mansion | Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon

This 46-room mansion was built in the early 1900s and was occupied for a short period by the wealthy Henry and Georgiana Pittock, who had commissioned the home for their retirement. Having lived in the mansion for only a few years before dying, it is believed that the couple stuck around to enjoy their retirement home after death. Today, the mansion is owned by the city of Portland and is open as a museum to the public. Visitors have reported seeing windows shutting and latching on their own, portraits moving, apparitions and even the unmistakable scent of roses, Georgiana’s favorite flower. The ghosts are reportedly kindly, welcoming visitors into their homes and supposedly sticking around to enjoy the home they didn’t get to enjoy before they passed away.
A fort | East Martello Fort, Key West, Florida

This fort in the Florida Keys may be home to a few “war ghosts” because of its role in protecting the island against potential confederate attacks at sea, but the real haunting is done by an eerie handmade doll that is not on display in the fort. Legend says that perhaps voodoo, a curse, or even possession may play a part in Robert moving by himself and leading to reports of spooky encounters with visitors.
A battlefield | Little Bighorn Battlefield, Hardin, Montana

Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and many of his men lost their lives on the hill of Little Bighorn when they engaged in a battle with Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors in the 1870s. Custer and his men were overwhelmed and defeated, left wounded, helpless and dying. Today, visitors can walk around the site, and some have reported hearing anguished screams of men in battle and even seeing apparitions of the headless and legless torso of a soldier.








This is a list of the “spookiest” places in the United States compiled by the editors of Dreamstime.


For Highbrow Magazine

not popular
All photos courtesy of Dreamstime
Bottom Slider: 
Out Slider