From ghosts that only target pregnant women to something called "The Creeper" that pulls itself up walls, a range of nightmarish spirits have been reported in the United States.
Although the U.S. is a relatively young country, at least 35 percent of people surveyed by realtor.com in 2013 said they have lived in a haunted house at some point.
The types of ghosts most commonly reported in each state are directly related to the most traumatic historical events in the area. The South is ridden with Civil War spirits, while the North has Puritan and Revolutionary War spectres. The Wild West will never end in the Southwest because spirits of prostitutes and panhandlers still reside in hotels. And you thought Hotel California was just a catchy song.
Check out the slideshow for the spookiest place in each state. And maybe you too will become a believer in the otherworldly.
The scariest haunted places in each US state
The scariest haunted places in each US state
Alabama’s Face in the Window is one of the state's most treasured sites. Explore Southern History writes that freed Southern slave Henry Wells was accused of burning the Pickens County Courthouse to the ground. He fled to the attic of another courthouse to avoid a lynch mob. Lightning struck and left an impression of Wells’ face in the window that you can see today. Look closely and you might see it now.
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has been called the most haunted hotel in America. According to their website, several guests who checked in never checked out, including Michael, a stonemason who fell to his death during the building of the hotel in 1885; Theodora, a cancer patient who asks guests for help finding her hotel key; a man named Norman in a white suit; a woman in a white dressing gown; and a cat named Norris.
The horror film “The Conjuring” was inspired by events taking place in Rhode Island. The Providence Journal has old records of terrifying activity coming from Roger and Carolyn Perron's 18th century farmhouse. They claim to have observed an orange oozing blood, a young voice crying “Mama. Maaama” and the head of an old woman hanging off to one side over an old gray dress while a voice cried “Get out. Get out. I'll drive you out with death and gloom.”
The Villisca Axe Murder House became infamous on June 10, 1912, when eight people were brutally killed. The murderer was never found. To this day, residents report visions of a man with an axe and sounds of children crying.
St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest city in the continental United States. The St. Augustine Lighthouse on Anastasia Island is so eerie that it drew the attention of SyFy Channel’s "Ghost Hunters." One of the most famous stories surrounding the structure was in 1873. Three children were thrown from a cable car running from the beach to the lighthouse. They were tossed into the ocean and drowned. Rumors say that you can hear their ghosts in the tower.
The oldest continuously running hotel in California is home to some freaky ghosts. The Jackson once played host to gold miners and was at the center of the gambling and brothel culture. It got a major renovation in 2012, but construction didn’t scare away the unearthly guests. According to The Examiner, there is a naked lady spirit floating through the halls and staff members have heard bodiless children giggling.
Gettysburg College students frequently report seeing men dressed in Civil War uniforms standing in their dorm rooms, then suddenly vanishing.
It isn’t just students though. In his book Haunted Pennsylvania, author Mark Nesbit wrote that in the 1980s two staff members rode the library elevator into the basement by accident where they saw a silent bloody civil war operating room. They quickly closed the elevator door when the ghostly surgeons beckoned them to help. When they went to get help from a security guard, the scene had disappeared.
The Ghost of Altoona Pass used to haunt steam engines in the 19th century. A mysterious figure would appear on top of the freight cars, take a seat and ride for miles before vanishing. The trains no longer run on the Altoona pass, and records of the frequent traveler have stopped ... for now.
One of America’s best-known ghost stories comes out of Tennessee. In 1807, John Bell said an animal that looked like a dog with a rabbit’s head appeared to him. He tried to kill it, but failed.
Years later, his family kept hearing noises in their house like animals fighting and chairs dragging. It got so bad that supposedly future President Andrew Jackson went to the small town to investigate the poltergeist.
The Manresa Castle is a popular honeymoon destination, but tourists also arrive in droves to check out the resident spirits. Haunted Honeymoon says that three rooms are haunted (302, 304 and 306) and there are two commonly-seen ghosts. One is a monk who hung himself in the attic, and the other is a young woman who threw herself out of the window when her love didn’t return from war.
The Athens Lunatic Asylum may beat out other creepy asylums because of something called the “corpse stain.” A woman named Margaret Schilling disappeared for 42 days in the building. When they finally found her, her body had decayed into the ground, making a human-shaped stain on the concrete floor. Records say she died of a heart attack, but she was naked with her clothes folded neatly beside her.
A popular hotel for Dartmouth College visitors is said to be haunted. Just across the border from New Hampshire, the Norwich Inn has been serving guests since 1920. Original owner Mary "Ma" Walker died in the inn, and her ghost reportedly still wanders around and is often seen in the dining room wearing a black formal gown.
Annabelle, the spooky doll from the films 'The Conjuring' and 'Annabelle,' 'lives' in Monroe, Conn. at the Occult Museum. A Catholic priest lives on the grounds and blesses the doll daily to counteract its purported evil forces. The doll moves on its own and is said to be an embodiment of the devil.
The gateway to hell is apparently located in North Carolina. A mysterious circle called “The Devil’s Tramping Ground” has stumped researchers. It is unexplained why nothing has grown in that spot for 40 years, and some say it is how the Devil comes to Earth.
Students at The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks report seeing the apparition of a young girl’s torso. She is believed to be the ghost of a girl who froze to death outside of the dorm. She tinkers with the TVs and electricity.
A room in the Old Washoe Club in Virginia City, Nevada, used to hold dead bodies until the ground had thawed enough to bury them. Travel Channel says the club is haunted by a trio of spirits. A pretty blonde named "Lady in Blue,” a scared little girl and a sneaky old-time prospector who steals drinks from patrons all appear here.
The Palmer House Hotel is one of the most haunted sites in America. Room 17 has the most ghostly activity. The Minnesota Monthly writes “Guests can sit in one of the two high-backed chairs facing the bed, but not both, not at the same time. Why? It forces Lucy to the mattress.” Lucy was a prostitute and doesn’t want to go back to where she was killed. She has a vendetta against men and will slams doors and lower temperatures around them.
According to KOAT, a few ghosts reside at the St. James Hotel. A short, pockmarked apparition called “The Imp” and a female ghost that smells of perfume haunt the hotel. Perhaps the scariest is another male ghost who lives in room 18. It is padlocked and no one is allowed in.
A ghost that haunts pregnant women lives in the St. Phillips Graveyard in Charleston. Sue Howard died after giving birth to a stillborn child and now targets other women. According to the Travel Channel, an amateur photograph from 1987 captured the ghost mourning over a grave.
Legend says that a beautiful woman named Alice Marble Gray lived with a drifter, Paul Wilson, until he was accused of murder in 1920. The drama of the trial and his physical abuse made her spirit remain on Earth. Over the years, many claim to have seen the ghostly figure of a woman skinny dipping and running naked along the dunes.
Hawaii has unique spirits living inside banyan trees. Honolulu Magazine wrote that one of the trees near the head of Manoa Falls is in the path of ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors. Faint sounds of drums beating can be heard at night.
There is an alleged presence in the solitary confinement unit of The Old Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana, who tortures guests. Guests have reported being both scratched and pushed, and say other spirits peek out of windows and try to touch them.
Ghost hunters found what they were looking for at The Wyoming Frontier Prison. Wyoming News says that ten separate voices were picked, including an angry spirit who they suspect was Andrew Pixley. Pixley was executed in 1960s for murdering and cannibalizing two girls. Wyoming News reports that he died slowly, which could account for the violent spirit.
Wisconsin’s most haunted site is the Summerwind Mansion. Wisconsin Trails says the mansion has been haunted since the early 20th century. A man shot twice at an intruder just to discover no one was there. A family living there in the 1970s heard voices, saw unattached shadows and felt cold spots until the father suffered a nervous breakdown and the mother attempted suicide. The paranormal activity continues today.
The Stanley Hotel in Colorado is known for being Stephen King’s inspiration for the “The Shining.” There are reports of several apparitions walking through the hotel, but Room 418 is the most haunted according to staff members. Guests have heard children playing and seen impressions of bodies on the bed.
Photo: Nomadic Lass/Flickr
The New Hampshire State Hospital was actually once called “"New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane.” The original 1842 building still stands, and there are the common signs of paranormal activity, like reports of things being pushed off tables, cold spots and never feeling alone.
Photo: Ben McLeod/Flickr
In its 100 years of operating, the Moundsville Penitentiary in West Virginia killed over 1,000 criminals. The cramped spaces led to deadly riots, and even though the prison closed down in 1995, there are still reports of tourists hearing tortured spirits.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium was the last stop for many suffering from tuberculosis. Dying slowly without help made many people go crazy. Echoes can be heard in “the death tunnel,” a discrete body chute to dispose of the dead. A thing called “The Creeper” moves quickly through corridors and climbs walls like a spider. It is thought to be the very essence of evil.
Alaska's Site Summit isn't haunted by ghosts, but is still really, really creepy. The fortress of concrete buildings was made for protection in case of a nuclear war with Russia. The Site Summit was used to hold surface-to-air missiles in hopes of shooting down USSR airplanes. It is no longer used and lies desolate and cold.
The Grove has a reputation for its heavy activity, including a ghost dog attacking a woman in the kitchen, a lady dressed in white walking down the hallway, and little girls who were playing in the flowers vanishing. There have also been reports of disembodied smells of perfume and body odor penetrating the air.
There are many “Gray Lady” stories, but Oregon seems to have the original. A spirit wearing a long gray skirt haunts the former innkeeper’s home of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. She walks around, knocking objects off tables and flickering lights.
The Sultan's Palace in the French Quarter of New Orleans was a playhouse of horrors. “The Sultan” held women and young boys against their will in 1800s. An unknown perpetrator buried him alive in the yard, and his angry spirit still tries to grope at female guests.
Several Wild West characters have been buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Potato Creek Johnny and Seth Bullock. There is also a mass grave with 11 faceless fire victims. Visitors feel like they are being watched.
McRaven calls itself the most haunted house in Mississippi. A field hospital was set up on the grounds during the Civil War, and it became the final resting place for many soldiers. Several owners of the house including Mary Elizabeth Howard's have died there. A shawl belonging to Mary emits heat for some and jumps out of the hands of others.
The McPike Mansion in Illinois has sat abandoned since 1980. In the 1940s, sounds of children running up and down the halls were heard and faces would appear in the windows. A friendly ghost named Sarah would hug visitors.
Zombie Road in Wildwood, Missouri, is a 2-3 mile stretch of old railroad tracks that is near one of the largest Native American mound cities. The road was used by the Union soldiers during the Civil War, and was last used commercially in the 1970s. Now hikers are treated to ghostly apparitions that walk along side them on the path.
The theater at Idaho State University is haunted by ghosts who take a seat to wait for the show to start. There are also sounds of a piano playing, but no one touching they keys.