From urban legends passed down for centuries to real-life harrowing tales, America’s closet is filled with skeletons. These cities will put a chill down your spine and make your hair stand on end with their history and folklore. Indulge your morbid curiosity and explore some of these spooky places in America.
With the major discovery of gold in 1862, Bannack was established and the hope of a thriving city emerged. Soon, though, things went horribly wrong. The sheriff, Henry Plummer, was a well-known criminal and leader of a gang accused of more than a hundred murders.
Cut off from the rest of the world, with the only way in or out of the town being the Montana Trail, residents of Bannack abandoned their homes by the 1970s. Today, travellers can visit this ghost town and explore the abandoned buildings as a reminder of a dark place in America’s history.
Best known for its role in Stephen King’s The Shining, this behemoth has spooked more than a few guests and staff members since its opening in 1909, and today is reputed to be one of America’s most haunted hotels.
Spend a night in this lavish estate, and you could find yourself among guests both living and dead, including the spirit of Flora Stanley, the late wife of the original owner. Supposedly, if you listen closely at night you can sometimes hear her play her cherished piano.
The infamous Old City Jail housed many of Charleston’s most dangerous criminals – including America’s first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher. A few blocks away, St Philip’s Graveyard is said to be haunted by the ghost of Sue Howard, a woman who tragically died shortly after giving birth in 1888. Legend has it that in 1987, a local photographer snapped a photo of Howard’s ghost roaming the cemetery.
Another notable landmark is the House of Seven Gables, built in 1668 by sea captain John Turner, which is said to have a secret room where he could hide his sisters from the overzealous witch hunters that often frequented a nearby tavern. Today it’s open to visitors to explore if they dare – many believe the house to be haunted.
A stop at the haunted Old Candler Hospital will bring visitors to the infamous morgue tunnel, which runs from the hospital under the neighbouring park. It once held the recently-deceased bodies of victims of the city's many Yellow Fever epidemics. Today, a tour through the tunnels is bound to chill even the living.
The underground tunnels became hangouts for gangsters, prostitutes and opium addicts. The city soon had to condemn the subterranean community as it became a breeding pit for diseases. It was only decades later in the 1960s that the tunnels opened up again for tourism and a few areas are reputed to have become paranormal hotspots.
With its ominous appeal, it’s no surprise the town comes alive during the late fall. From The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze to the absolutely horrifying Horseman’s Hollow, this may just be one of the spookiest places to celebrate Halloween.