9 of America’s Most Haunted Places

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May 25, 2006
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If ghosts and goblins don’t give you enough chills this Halloween, plan a visit to one of these unusual and mysterious locations around the country—if you dare


A spooky ship

The historic Queen Mary ocean liner, now permanently docked in Long Beach, Calif., has markers throughout that note places where guests have observed all kinds of spirit activities. But for a more interactive experience, try the Ghosts & Legends of the Queen Mary tour. In the long-empty first-class swimming pool, both guides and visitors regularly report seeing trails of wet footprints and catching glimpses of women dressed in vintage bathing suits. Through Oct. 31, the Queen Mary hosts Shipwreck, a “Halloween terrorfest†that features seven scary mazes and hundreds of snarling, groaning “monsters, mutants and maniacs.â€

For more information: Long Beach RMS Queen Mary | Hotel | Attractions | Special Events Center | The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Ca

A haunted hotel

At San Diego’s historic Hotel del Coronado, there are countless tales of odd and recurring events, ranging from unexplained voices and late-night footsteps to strange scents and ghostly apparitions. Most have been attributed to the spirit of Kate Morgan, a young woman who checked in the night before Thanksgiving in 1892 and was found dead at the hotel five days later.

For more information: San Diego Resorts, California Hotels On The Beach & CA Coast Vacations - Hotel Del Coronado

A terrifying prison

Bank robber Willie Sutton and gangster Al Capone are among the notorious criminals who have spent time in the giant wagon wheel-shaped Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Abandoned as a prison in 1971, the 179-year-old building is now a historic landmark and a museum. Each October, the penitentiary’s 11 acres of crumbling cellblocks, eerie hallways and empty guard towers become the setting for the spine-tingling Terrors Behind the Walls attraction. More than 100 ghoulish, creepy zombies and other “inmates†are on hand to help visitors explore five haunted houses, each with a different theme. Lock Down, for example, has “electric†fences and rattling cell doors, while the 3-D Experiment is a place where a madman’s tinkering seems to be going terribly wrong.

For more information: http://www.easternstate.org

Rooms full of spirits

In Portland, Ore., guests of the downtown Heathman Hotel who stay in rooms ending in “03†(703, 803, etc.) frequently call the front desk to report that they’ve seen a ghostly apparition at the end of the bed or that items have been mysteriously rearranged. A psychic who stayed overnight in an “03†room attributes these events to the ghost of a guest who may have leapt to death from a high floor and now returns to haunt the rooms that he or she passed on the way down.

For more information: Downtown Hotel Portland Oregon - The Heathman Hotel

Mysteries in the forest

There don’t seem to be any ghosts at the Oregon Vortex attraction located deep in the woods in Gold Hill, Ore., but there are plenty of unexplained mysteries. A crooked wooden shack here is known as the House of Mystery. Inside, gravity is strangely askew: Balls appear to roll uphill, brooms stand upright without assistance, and people seem to get shorter or taller simply by changing places.

For more information: http://www.oregonvortex.com

Crescent City chills

The French Quarter in New Orleans is “definitely the most haunted area of the most haunted city†in the U.S., says Sidney Smith, who operates year-round tours he describes as “mildly theatric, but hugely historical.†Visitors will see a variety of infamous spots, including haunted bars, spooky hotels and the site of the Lalaurie Mansion, said to be the most chilling spot in the city. “No one tries to scare you, but we go to sites connected with documented hauntings that have been investigated repeatedly by paranormal teams,†Smith says. He adds that although fainting is not unusual, he can’t promise that the tour of “vampiric-style crimes†sites is any tamer.

For more information: http://hauntedhistorytours.com

A creepy doll

In Key West, Fla., no ghost tour is complete without a stop at the Fort East Martello Museum and Garden, the home of Robert the Haunted Doll. In the early 1900s, this eerie-looking, straw-stuffed doll belonged to a boy named Robert “Gene†Otto, who blamed the doll for many acts of household mischief. Today, many unexplainable and mysterious events around Key West are still pinned on Robert, who many believe is a voodoo doll in a sailor suit. Some museum visitors swear they can see Robert’s smile change to a smirk, while others are sure they can hear him giggle and tap on the glass front of his display case.

For more information: Key West Arts and Historical Society - Custom House, Lighthouse Museum, East Martello Towers

Ghosts in the Windy City

The findings of author and paranormal researcher Ursula Bielski lend an extra air of authenticity to the unnerving stories told year-round on the three-hour Chicago Hauntings tours. The “ghost bus†visits more than a dozen haunted and “supernaturally active†spots throughout the city, including the Eastland passenger steamer disaster site, the death site of Resurrection Mary (the Vanishing Hitchhiker), the Biograph Theater (where bank robber John Dillinger was gunned down) and the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. “Whether you believe in ghosts is up to you,†says David Cowan, who runs the tour company with Bielski, his wife. “In spots where people died quickly, suddenly or unexpectedly, a sort of ‘residual phantasm’ remains. So a lot of people experience encounters.â€

For more information: http://chicagohauntings.com

Lone Star lights

Mystery surrounds the strange lights seen regularly in the night sky along a stretch of highway near Marfa, Texas, a small town located between El Paso and Midland. “They’re there almost every night,†says Joni Marginot of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce. “They look like small white lights on the horizon. Usually they’re white; sometimes they’re greenish and sometimes they’re red. They move about and might travel east to west. Some nights they might split and divide and merge back together, or turn off entirely.â€

Scientists have studied the Marfa Lights, but no one has been able to figure out exactly where they come from. Some claim the lights are the wandering spirit of an Apache chief on the nearby mountains. Others say the lights are a mirage, signals from aliens or nothing more than the headlights of cars on the highway. Still, folks gather regularly to watch for the lights from an official viewing area nine miles east of town. And while there’s a Marfa Lights Festival each Labor Day, Marginot says the town doesn’t organize anything special for Halloween, because “the lights are already too spooky for that.â€

For more information: marfatx home

Source MSN Travel

Thanks. I love this stuff. I saw a special about the vortex once and it was strange.

I'm surprised the hotel Stephen King wrote The Shining in isn't on there. It's haunted for sure, and normally one of the top haunted places... And what about the Winchester Mystery House?

Most Haunted is going live at Eastern State Penn on Halloween... 7 hours of live footage... Oh! How I wish I could take the 1st off!

I've been to the first two, you definetly get eeerie feelings on the Queen Mary, I love going there though. For those who are planning on going- definetly do the Ghosts and Legends tour, I'm not going to give anything away but I will say that it is pretty neat!

Oooh, I've been wanting to go to the Winchester Mystery House, isn't that the one here in Cali that has all these rooms and doors that lead to nowhere?? Sounds like a good trip!

wow those sound like so much fun! I wish i was living close enough to come and see some!