Photo by Patrick Ray Dunn / Alamy Stock Photo. Design by Lauren DeLuca for Yahoo Travel.
Most of us only think about ghosts and haunted houses around Halloween. And while that’s a high time for paranormal activity, the spirits of the past are restless in some towns throughout the year. If you’re looking for spooky spots, head to these most-searched haunted cities on Yahoo. Just remember to bring some backup.
10. Galveston, Texas: A Port of Unfortunate Souls
Historic buildings in Galveston’s Strand district, where you might find a ghost of a Confederate soldier hanging out on a rooftop. (Photo: Richard Cummins/Corbis)
This small island off the coast of Houston has not just one, but three ghost tour operators. The oldest and largest is The Ghost Tours of Galveston, run by Dash Beardsley, “The Ghost Man of Galveston.” Beardsley runs four tours, the most popular of which explores the historic ghost stories of the Strand, where Confederate soldiers are rumored to appear on rooftops. But ghosts are plentiful throughout Galveston — given the port city’s checkered history. Six thousand residents were killed here in the Great Storm of 1900, and during the Civil War wounded soldiers were treated in the buildings lining downtown. Add to that the odd unlucky gambler haunting the Tremont Hotel or the tragic (and dead) bride-to-be walking the halls of Hotel Galvez and you’ve got a bona fide haunted town. Head to the Haunted Mayfield Manor for a lighter Halloween-themed attraction.
9. Deadwood, South Dakota: Dead and Weird in Deadwood
The Bullock Hotel has a uniquely spooky security feature – its halls are patrolled by the ghost of the former town sheriff. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
With a name like Deadwood, of course you’d expect to find some premier ghost hunting grounds. Once a wild and dangerous Wild West town, the place has no lack of grisly and tragic stories, including the murder/suicide of a popular dancer and her jealous husband in the Lone Star Building on Main Street. In fact, one of the most haunted spots is the historic Bullock Hotel — founded by and named for the former sheriff, who tried to clean up Deadwood and now patrols the halls of his hotel. Those who stay at the Fairmont Hotel have also been known to hear footsteps or feel an invisible person rushing past them on the stairs. Start at the Adams House, which puts on tours and runs a museum — and which is, naturally, haunted by the family that once died there. And, in October, you can celebrate Deadweird with a costume contest, Monster Ball, and coffin races.
8. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: The Blood of the Battlefield
A statue of Jennie Wade outside her house in Gettysburg, where her ghost is said to still roam. (Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Home to one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, Gettysburg’s haunted history is no secret. Some reenactors have reported strange occurrences on the Hunterstown Battlefield. People have even heard battle screams echoing down through the years. But those aren’t the only haunted grounds. Jennie Wade, the only civilian casualty during the battle, is rumored to still roam the house where she died. And the dark spirit of the evil headmistress at the orphanage is said to still be lurking in its basement. Stay at the famous Farnsworth House Inn — one of the most haunted inns in the U.S. and home to the oldest ghost tour company in Gettysburg. Or take a creepy candlelight tour with Gettysburg Ghost Tours.
7. Charlotte, North Carolina: 250 Years of Historical Hauntings
You might still find some ghosts roaming the grounds of the Latta Plantation in Charlotte. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
At first glance, Charlotte doesn’t seem like your classic ghostly city. But with more than 250 years of history, there are more than enough hauntings to meet all of your Halloween needs. Founders Hall is the site of the former medical college, stocked with corpses provided by grave robbers. The ghost of one young girl, whose body was pulled from its grave, is said to haunt its halls. Queens University has multiple spirits on its grounds, including a woman who committed suicide in the dorms and the ghosts of former Civil War soldiers. And the family that lived at the 19th century Latta Plantation is said to have never left, which you can check for yourself during a ghost walk tour there. You can also visit The Fear Farm in nearby Blacksburg for more of a fun haunted house experience.
6. Salem, Massachusetts: Witchcraft Central
Salem is a town full of spooky spots to explore and the Burying Point cemetery – the oldest in the town – is an excellent place to start. (Photo: Christine Zenino/Flickr)
Salem’s history of witchcraft trials is gruesome, but during October the city now turns into a kind of witch-themed carnival. Haunted houses, guides dressed up in costumes, and Halloween games fill the streets — to an overwhelming degree. Can’t figure out where to start? Haunted Salem has a fairly comprehensive guide to the Witch City, from hex shops to haunted cemeteries. If you want to get a little ghostly history with your candy corn and spellbooks, check out the Burying Point or the Howard Street Cemetery. As a bonus you might see Giles Corey lurking behind the gravestones. Corey died after undergoing a gruesome witchcraft trial and cursing the town with his last breath.
5. San Antonio, Texas: Angry Wraiths of the Past
The Menger is just one of several haunted hotels in historic San Antonio. (Photo: amboo who?/Flickr)
The ghosts of San Antonio are so active and plentiful that the Texas town has birthed its own group of paranormal investigators, the San Antonio Paranormal Network, who now look into stories of unexplained hauntings across the country. The city itself may be best known for The Alamo — which, yes, has been known to prompt cold feelings of ghosts brushing against people and stories of a spirit named Margarite in the theaters. But the city has a long history of spooky sightings beyond the Alamo. The Menger Hotel is home to the ghosts Sally White and Captain Richard King and to its own ghost expert, Ernesto Malacara. There’s no shortage of hotels that claim famous (and angry) wraiths as their residents: the Sheraton Gunter (formerly the Gunter Hotel), the Emily Morgan, and the Black Swan Inn. First, though, take the Ghost and Legends Tour to get your footing in such a fantastical landscape.
4. Charleston, South Carolina: Hauntings in the Holy City
The entrance to the Old City Jail, a famously haunted landmark in Charleston. (Photo: Art on File/Corbis)
Considered the oldest city in the U.S., it’s no surprise that Charleston has its fair share of former residents refusing to leave after their time has come. (In fact, its hauntings have even prompted their own book: Charleston’s Ghosts: Hauntings in the Holy City.) The most well-known of those spots is the Old City Jail, which housed Lavinia Fisher, the first executed female serial killer in the U.S. She and her husband John are believed to have poisoned guests who stayed at their inn. Take a tour of the prison with Charleston’s Haunted Jail Tour. If you’re looking for something a little less grim, Charleston has plenty of parks, hotels, and restaurants where you can get your ghost-sightings in while enjoying the fresh air or a pint of beer. Stay at the Battery Carriage Inn, where the Headless Torso is known to haunt Room 8, and snack at Poogan’s Porch Restaurant. Poogan is dog, who still sits on the porch long after his death.
3. Savannah, Georgia: Southern Goth
The Bonaventure Cemetery somehow combines gorgeous and ghostly in one unforgettable package. (Photo: Alan Strakey/Flickr)
Considered the oldest building in Georgia, the Pirate’s House has all kinds of secret tunnels and hidden passageways that run from what is now a restaurant to the nearby river. Who knows who might have gotten trapped down there? The city is, perhaps, most famous for its Bonaventure Cemetery, featured in The Garden of Good and Evil. While there are a number of hotels and restaurants throughout the town where glasses move on their own and mysterious crying can be heard in the night, if you want to visit one of the most haunted buildings in the country, head to the Sorrel Weed House. The historic house, which was seen in Forrest Gump, has been investigated by multiple TV ghost hunters and was named one of the most terrifying places in America by the Travel Channel. Take a tour of the house or a tour of the whole town with the Haunted Savannah tour or the adults-only Spirits and Scoundrels tour. Those are certainly not the only options, though. With so many ghosts, there are more than a few ghost guides to show you around.
2. Baltimore, Maryland: A Playground for Poe
The Horse You Rode In On Saloon: the perfect watering hole for those who like their spirits with a side of spirits. (Photo: TripAdvisor)
If Edgar Allen Poe found inspiration in the streets of Baltimore, you can be sure there are some dark and spooky tales in the haunted corners of Maryland. Start with what is rumored to be Poe’s favorite drinking spot, The Horse You Came In On Saloon. He enjoyed the ambience there so much, he never left and still haunts its halls. That bar sits in the neighborhood of Fells Point, which served as the port for the city for over a century. Former prostitutes are said to still wait in the old brothel, which is now the Cat’s Eye Pub, and a man in 18th century dress has been seen walking the streets. Is it the former William Fell or his son? The streets of Fells Point become so crowded with ghost-seekers (and merrymakers) on Halloween that the popular Baltimore Ghost Tours isn’t able to conduct its original Fells Point tour. Try their Mt. Vernon tour instead. Or check out the former County Almshouse, where poor children used to be housed and where their faces can still sometimes be seen in the windows.
1. New Orleans, Louisiana: The Most Haunted and Haunting
Creepy cemeteries, haunted mansions, spooky plantations, voodoo, and vampires – New Orleans has got them all. (Photo: Bob Krist/Corbis)
New Orleans is filled with dark secrets and smugglers’ passageways and so many ghosts that it’s widely regarded as the most haunted city in the country. The most famous of these horrid stories is that of LaLaurie Mansion, where Madame LaLaurie horribly abused her slaves. After the house caught fire, a secret torture chamber was discovered. LaLaurie fled the city and the place later became a bar. Today, the building is full of luxury apartments – but hauntings are still rumored to abound. The Myrtles Plantation, just outside New Orleans, has its own gruesome history and is still visited by former slaves and those killed on the grounds. And the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 has its own dead roaming the grounds. Look out for Marie Laveau, New Orlean’s Queen of Voodoo, who materializes on St. John’s Eve. If you can’t decide between ghosts, vampires, voodoo, or just plain old historical scandals, try the Haunted History Tours. If you want to walk the famous French Quarter, do it with French Quarter Phantoms. Just bring your camera and be prepared to argue with your friends about that phantom in your photo.
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