From pop fiction, to the classics, to genuine American history, it’s no secret that the US has plenty of folklore and rumor built around some of its most famous cities, and some of those stories will no doubt give you the creeps. As it’s officially spooky szn now, we thought we’d round up some of the most infamous haunted locations in the US, and we dare you to try some of these tours once things open up again!
So, read on to find out where and how you are most likely to have a run-in with the spirit world; not only on Halloween but all year round…
1. New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s widely believed that not much separates the living and the dead in New Orleans - arguably the most famous haunted location in the US. This is partly due to the city being below sea level, meaning tombs sit above the ground in the 42(!) cemeteries found within the city limits.
As far as the paranormal goes, New Orleans really has it all - churches haunted by the spirits of former priests, hospitals still visited by soldiers who never moved on, and plenty of haunted homes, and that’s without even getting into the vampire lore and Voodoo which covers the streets.
2. Salem, Massachusetts
Best known worldwide for the Salem Witch Trials in the 1600s, which resulted in the execution of 19 people, Salem is a must for inclusion on our list of haunted US locations. Some say the spirits of those put to death still linger at Gallows Hills, while others can still be seen or felt at the Lyceum Bar and Grill and the Howard Street Cemetery.
3. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah was literally built on its dead, as homes and buildings sit on top of Native American burial grounds, and roads run over the forgotten cemeteries of slaves and colonialists. Not only this, but over the years Savannah has also been the location of bloody battles, massive fires, yellow-fever epidemics, and hurricanes, leaving behind plenty of unsettled spirits from lives cut short.
4. St. Augustine, Florida
Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St. Augustine lays claim to the title of oldest city in the US, so it’s inevitable that there will have been a few spirits over the years who haven’t moved on quite as successfully as others. The city’s history is full of haunted happenings, so hop on a tour to see if you can spot a spectre yourself. One of its most famous haunts is the Castillo de San Marcos, a star-shaped fort, where the spirits of soldiers – and a love triangle past – may still roam.
5. Portland, Oregon
While Portland is best known for artsy vibes and incredible craft beers, the city is also a great location for perusers of the paranormal. The Shanghai Tunnels are passageways which supposedly run beneath the cobbled streets of Portland’s Old Town, and were supposedly used in the late 1800s to ‘shanghai’ victims - kidnapping people through hidden doors in saloons and transporting them through these tunnels to sell them to sea captains on the waterfront. Some say the victims’ souls still frequent the bars above ground, haunting the lives they lost there.
6. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
51,000 soldiers lost their lives at Gettysburg during the most tragic battle of the Civil War, leaving so much spilled blood on the floors of churches and schools (which had been used as makeshift hospitals) that drainage holes had to be drilled straight into the floors. There are many reports of ghosts seen on the battlefield here, and inns and farms in the area are supposedly also haunted.
7. Washington, D.C.
As the capital of the United States, it’s no surprise that Washington DC is a rich setting for plenty of ghost stories. From the demon black cat that’s rumored to show up in the US Capitol Building as an omen of national tragedy or a change of office, to the US Presidents and first ladies who supposedly still wander the halls of their former residence in the White House, there’s plenty of ghostly activity to get your teeth into in DC.
8. San Francisco, California
Roam the gambling houses, narrow streets, and dark alleyways of Chinatown, or check out the haunted Navy sites of the USS Hornet and Mare Island, but if you’re going to San Francisco in search of the paranormal you can’t miss Alcatraz. This infamous prison is definitely said to have a few ghosts still wandering around its halls, or maybe you’ll even hear notorious gangster Al Capone playing his favorite banjo tunes. You can even book a tour to visit the prison at night if you want to really enhance the scare-factor!
9. Chicago, Illinois
Want to know more about Al Capone’s awful antics? Chicago is the location of the St Valentine’s Day massacre, where Scarface and his Prohibition-era gangsters lined up seven men and gunned them down, leading to reports of strange mists, screams, and machine gun sounds still being heard there today. Add a disastrous fire and notorious serial killer to the mix, and you’ve got a hotbed for unhappy spirits roaming the streets of Chicago.
10. San Antonio, Texas
Last but definitely not least-haunted on our list is San Antonio, Texas. Here you will find The Alamo; Spanish fortress and site of the famous battle between Mexican and Texan troops that claimed the life of Davy Crockett but led to Texas' independence from Mexico. Some still claim to see apparitions patrolling the roof and hear prisoners moaning in the area, so it continues to be a popular area for ghost hunters and those seeking a bit of a spook.
So, whether you’re a fan of the paranormal or just want to give yourself & your friends a good scare - or impress them with your knowledge! - these are the spookiest cities in the US that we can recommend you visit next time you’re able (and it’s safe to do so)! Remember to check out top activities on Klook for the best prices & easiest booking process ever (seriously, it’s great).