If you're a '90s kid like me, you probably remember watching movies like The Cult, and obsessing over TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed as well! As I got older, my fascination with the paranormal and the supernatural grew, and I would eagerly tune in to television shows like SyFy's Ghost Hunters and A&E's Paranormal State. I even got a chance to go on a PRS field trip to Salem, Massachusetts with Ryan Buell and some of the Paranormal State crew (best day of my childhood, yup)! One of my fondest memories of that field trip was having the chance to investigate Old Town Hall. I can't say for sure whether or not it really was haunted, but it was definitely a creepy place.
If you, like me, love all things paranormal, then you'll enjoy reading this list of the 15 creepiest places every wannabe ghost hunter needs to visit.
15 Eastern State Penitentiary
Fans of Ghost Hunters will remember the episode when TAPS investigated Eastern State Penitentiary. The Pennsylvania prison first opened its doors in 1829, and finally closed down in 1971. Some visitors and former workers believe the prison is haunted. They claim that you can hear echoing voices and ghostly visitors cackling while in Cellblock 12. In Cellblock 6, there have been rumors of shadowy figures darting along the walls while Cellblock 4 is best known for seeing visions of ghostly faces. Other visitors have also reported that they’ve seen the silhouette of one of the guards in the towers.
One of the best-known tales about Eastern State Penitentiary comes from a worker named Gary Johnson, who helps to maintains the prison’s aging locks. Back in the early ‘90s, he had opened an old lock located in Cellblock 4 when an unearthly force gripped him. Johnson also said he felt negative energies emanating from the cell and he could see ghosts on the walls. If I experienced that, I’d probably start crying and run away as fast as my legs could carry me!
14 The Winchester House
Located in San Jose, California, the creepy Winchester house was built by Sarah Winchester, who was the wife of William Winchester, the heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company’s fortune. In 1866, Sarah gave birth to a daughter named Annie, but the baby could not absorb protein and soon died. Five years later, her husband William also passed away from tuberculosis. Legend has it that Sarah spoke with a Boston medium named Adam Coombs, who claimed that her husband had a message for her: she will always be haunted by the spirits who died from the Winchester rifle. He then instructed her to build a house large enough to house the spirits of those who died from the Winchester rifle, so she moved from New Haven to San Jose. She then bought an eight-room farmhouse and immediately started remodeling. Construction continued for 38 years, and supposedly, Sara would hold nightly séances in order to consult with the spirit world about how she should proceed.
According to lore, mischievous spirits like to creak the floorboards, rattle the doorknobs, and even scare the beejeezus out of visitors by appearing in photographs. Sarah Winchester herself is also said to appear from time to time too. Spooky!
13 Gettysburg Battlefield
The battle of Gettysburg took place in 1863 and has long been considered by historians to be one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Allegedly, a few residences such as the George Weikert House is said to be haunted by spectral soldiers. The one who still resides at this house is said to pace back and forth all night, but when people have went to see if there is an intruder, there’s no one there.
The battlefield itself is also said to be haunted by the tormented spirits of the Union and Confederate soldiers. Visitors have supposedly seen apparitions of the two armies fighting an endless spectral battle or phantom soldiers wandering around.
However, the highest concentration of paranormal activity is in the area known as the Devil’s Den. The ghost of a Confederate soldier is rumored to appear to visitors and even allows them to take pictures with him. However, when the visitors look at the photos, they’re shocked to see he’s not there.
Personally, we’d love to check out that site and see if the ghost soldier will appear and have a chat with us!
12 Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Located in Kentucky, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was also the focal point of an episode of Ghost Hunters, and some of the TAPS team members heard unearthly moaning.
Waverly Hills opened in 1926 and was thought to be the most advanced tuberculosis sanatorium in the country at the time. While many patients managed to survive the disease, others were not so lucky and died there.
Allegedly, some of the resident ghosts who still prowl Waverly Hills include a little girl that runs around the third floor solarium, and a little boy who likes to play with a leather ball. Many visitors also say the fifth floor, which supposedly housed tuberculosis patients that suffered from severe mental illnesses, is a hotbed of paranormal activity. According to legend, a head nurse committed suicide on the fifth floor in 1928, while another nurse was pushed to her death from the roof patio in 1932. Now, paranormal enthusiasts claim that visitors can hear ghostly sounds and experience the spirits throwing random objects at the mortal interlopers on the fifth floor.
We’d be curious to see if the legendary ghost children or the nurses who passed away at Waverly Hills still haunt the site.
11 Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is located in West Virginia and first opened in 1864. It was designed to house mentally ill patients, but it eventually closed its doors in 1994.
According to lore, Ward 2 on the second floor contains a room where a man was supposedly stabbed 17 times by another patient. Visitors claim to see shadowy figures, to have captured EVPs yelling at the foolish mortals to “get out,” and the spirits trolling people by calling out their names. Personally, I'd pee our pants if I heard a spectral voice screeching at me to leave. The third floor is also supposedly home to several ghosts. Many people claim to see shadowy figures, and hear strange noises in the Geriatrics Hallway. There have also been a few reports of disembodied screams, which is the stuff nightmares are made of. Ward R on the fourth floor has its share of creepy happenings as well. A weird looking apparition that has been nicknamed the Creeper (charming name) crawls along the floor. I don’t want to know. Maybe the ghost just likes scaring the living daylights out of the foolish paranormal junkies who keep trespassing on his or her home.
10 Hawthorne Hotel
This hotel is located in Salem, Massachusetts, and is right near the hotbed of paranormal activity associated with the infamous Salem Witch Trials. However, the Hawthorne Hotel has some ghostly legends of its own. The Salem Marine Society has been holding meetings there since 1830, and some of the deceased captains who used to attend the gatherings supposedly like to make their presence known. For example, the hotel’s restaurant used to be called “The Main Brace” and once contained a large ship’s wheel. This wheel used to move on its own and when people tried to stop it, it would resume spinning around. There have also been rumors of spectral hands that get touchy-feely with guests in Room 325, a ghost child that doesn’t stop crying, and a mysterious woman that likes to roam the halls. Legend has it that the hotel was also built on the site of one of Bridget Bishop’s apple orchards, and some visitors still claim to smell ghostly apples during their stay.
9 One If By Land, Two If By Sea
One If By Land, Two If By Sea is located in Manhattan, New York, and has a delicious menu, and serves tales of paranormal to their guests as well. The restaurant is part of Vice President Aaron Burr’s carriage house, which was built in 1767. The restaurant opened in 1973, and Burr’s ghost is said to appear to guests. To make things even spookier, guests have also reported seeing the ghost of Burr's daughter, Theodosia. Theodosia was said to have died after she was captured by pirates during her sailing trip from South Carolina to New York. They forced her to walk the plank and now her mischievous spirit likes to tug on people’s earrings while they’re eating dinner. Maybe she’d be appeased if someone bought her jewelry. Other spirits that haunt this Big Apple restaurant include a mysterious woman in black who died after she fell down the stairs, and a Ziefield Follies girl who likes it when the staff lights candles for her. Even in death, she’s still a diva! Both visitors and staff say the ghosts like to play practical jokes by tossing plates, moving picture frames and turning the lights on and off.
8 The Conference House
Located in Staten Island, the Conference House sits near the largest Lenape burial ground in New York and was built in 1676 by an English Royal Navy Officer named Christopher Billop. According to legend, Billop killed his maid after he caught her signaling to the American Revolutionary soldiers. He also allegedly abandoned his fiancée who died of a broken heart inside of the home. Needless to say, Billop was NOT a nice guy.
Supposedly, the maid that was brutally murdered by Billop still haunts the house and some say you can still see the light of her candle. Billop’s fiancée is also said to wander around the house, looking for her long-lost love, and if you listen hard enough, you can hear her pleas for Christopher to come back to her. There have also been several reports about British soldiers roaming both the house and the accompanying park. Since the house is located near a Native American burial ground, other visitors have reported seeing ghostly members of the Lenape tribe walking around the park as well.
7 The Tower Of London
The Tower of London is located in Central London, and has a long, and often bloody, history. Several executions of important historical figures took place here, such as that of Henry VIII’s second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, and Lady Jane Grey. According to legend, Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey often return to the site of their deaths. Other famous spectral visitors include Countess Margaret Pole of Salisbury, who was hacked to death. Her ghost supposedly likes to scare the crap out of visitors by recreating her gory demise. Edward V of York and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, who were the sons of the late King Edward IV, were also allegedly murdered in the tower. Some say that their spirits never left the Tower of London, and visitors claim to have seen two little boys in white nightgowns, whimpering pitifully. A few brave people have tried to reach out and comfort them, but the ghosts got scared of them and disappeared. Poor, spooky kids!
6 The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum
This Australian asylum opened in 1867, and closed for good in 1995. The building is now owned by La Trobe University. Allegedly, over 3,000 patients died here and some of their spirits are rumored to walk the halls to this day.One of the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum’s most famous ghosts is said to be a woman named Matron Sharpe. She was supposedly very compassionate towards her patients and can still be seen walking down the halls of the former dormitory area.Another famous ghost is that of Tommy Kennedy, the kitchen hand, who likes to make his presence known on tours by tugging at visitor’s clothes or poking at their ribs. In Reaction Hall, an elderly man often appears by a window that is said to be facing away from the Bell Tower, while a young girl approaches female visitors and desperately tries to talk to them. The ghost of a patient named Max who died near the entrance of the asylum also supposedly haunts the area in the wee hours of the morning.
5 Hellfire Club On Montpelier Hill
4 Dragsholm Slot
Located in Denmark, Dragsholm Slot is considered to be one of the most haunted castles in the country. It was built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde and currently operates as a hotel.
One of the castle’s most well known prisoners was Mary, Queen of Scots’ third husband, James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell. He allegedly murdered her second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord of Darnley. He was kept in terrible conditions, suffered a nervous breakdown and eventually died. His ghost now haunts the castle, and the sounds of a horse-drawn carriage supposedly mark his appearance.
Other ghosts at Dragsholm include the Grey Lady, who is believed to be a former worker who suffered from a terrible toothache and was cured by a doctor at the castle. As a thank-you, her spirit is said to watch over the guests. There is also the White Lady, who is said to be the daughter of a former owner of the castle. She fell in love with a commoner who worked there, and as a result, her angry father imprisoned her in a room and she eventually died.
3 Stirling Castle
This beautiful Scottish castle was originally built as a fortification in the 12th Century and is best known for being the site where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned in 1542. Legend has it that there are many different ghosts that haunt this castle.
According to lore, staff and visitors have reported seeing a Highland ghost. I can’t help but wonder if his name is Jamie Fraser, and whether he’s looking for his wife, Claire.
The most popular of the castle’s ghosts is a woman named the Green Lady, who was supposedly a servant to Mary, Queen of Scots, and saved the monarch’s life when a candle caused the tapestries to be set on fire. Unfortunately, she lost her own life in the process and now haunts Stirling. There are other accounts that say Mary herself is the mysterious Pink Lady who wanders around the castle, although there are some who claim that the Pink Lady is a widow who lost her husband and now spends eternity searching for him.
2 Culloden Moor
Outlander fans will instantly recognize the name of Culloden moor, which is where Prince Charles Stuart and the Jacobite army made their last stand against the British army in an attempt to dethrone King George II. The Jacobite army was slaughtered within 40 minutes and Prince Charles hightailed it out of Scotland, never to return.
Legend has it that the fallen soldiers recreate the heartbreaking battle every April 16, which is the anniversary of the terrible ordeal. Some have said that if you listen closely, you can hear the cries of wounded men and the clanging of steel weapons. Other visitors have reported encountering the spirit of a tall Highlander (no, it wasn’t Jamie Fraser, or his godfather, Murtagh Fraser) with drawn features mumbling the word, “defeated,” over and over again while he wanders the battlefield. Another visitor supposedly lifted up a tartan cloth that was covering one of the grave mounds and was shocked to see an apparition of a mortally wounded Highlander soldier.
We’ll never be able to watch the Outlander's season two finale without thinking of some of these poor souls.
1 Pine Barrens
The New Jersey Pine Barrens is said to be home to a terrifying creature that is known as the Jersey Devil. Legend has it that this monstrous animal is actually the son of an Estellville woman named Mrs. Leeds, who was unhappy after she found out that she was pregnant with child number 13.
Mrs. Leeds, irritated by her own fertility, is supposed to have said in disgust, “let him be the devil!” Well, be careful what you wish for, because what she gave birth to was a creature that resembled the devil. The deformed child is said to have the face of a horse, the head of a dog, bat-like wings, horns and a tail. The literal devil child then screeched at his mother, decided to peace out and made his home in the swamp. Ever since then, he’s supposedly scared the living daylights out of New Jerseyites for the past 250+ years.
In 2015, Dave Black of Little Egg Harbor Township was driving home from work and swears that he saw the Jersey Devil himself running in and out of trees before flying off. Did he truly see the Jersey Devil or was it all a prank? We’ll let you decide!
Sources: Travel Channel, NPR, Slate, Winchester Mystery House, Prairie Ghosts, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Research Society, Haunted Places To Go, Gothic Horror Stories, Haunted Rooms, Haunted Britain, Ghost Story, Paranormal Encounters, Urban Ghost Media, Denmark.net, Haunted Rooms, Mysterious Britain, Pinelands Alliance and NJ.com.