Horror is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
While the United States may not have the history of most of Europe considering we are only officially 242 years old, we do have some amazing haunted locations that you can investigate. Some do require permission or a booking, they are still fascinating to experience. Perhaps you will find yourself face to face with the original lady of the house, or maybe you will make friends with the soldiers of the past. The following is just a short list of the places you may find interesting, intriguing, and downright creepy.
The Shanghai Tunnels: Portland, Oregon
The tunnels that snake under parts of Portland, Oregon are home to some restless spirits. Active mostly during the late 1800s and early 1900s, the tunnels were home to prison-like cells where hard-working men were kept after they were kidnapped. Unsuspecting men would be grabbed and stashed in these hidden cells until the captain they were sold to was ready to set sail. The men were forced to work on the ship for free and were often headed to east Asian countries, thus the name Shanghai. During prohibition times, the tunnels became home to bars and brothels. Today the tunnels are roamed by spirits still trapped when they died from poor conditions, sickness, or injury within its confines.
You are welcome to tour the tunnels via educational tours and ghost tours at any time of year. Perhaps you will make friends with one of the many spirits still wandering its halls.
Pittock Mansion: Portland, Oregon
When you are done wandering the tunnels, take a drive over to the Pittock Mansion. Held currently by the Portland Parks and Recreation Trusts, the Pittock Mansion was originally the prized possession of Henry and Georgiana Pittock, a wealthy family that erected the mansion in 1914. The idea was that the couple would live the rest of their lives in the lap of luxury. And they did. Georgiana died in 1918 followed a year later by Henry. Perhaps he died of a broken heart. Their family tried to maintain the home, but the cost was just too much and the family let the home go up for sale. However, the home remained vacant and open to the elements until it was purchased by Portland in 1964 and the home was brought back to its former glory.
Today, it is said that Henry and Georgiana roam their home and their presence known by the overwhelming smell of roses, Georgiana’s favorite scent, and the relocating of hanging pictures from time to time. You may visit by becoming a member of the mansion via a yearly fee. You may roam its halls much like the Pittocks still do, and can enjoy the wonderful architecture and exhibits within the building.
Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast: Fall River, Massachusetts
Feel like sleeping under the same roof as one of the most notorious female murderers in the country? Well you can spend the night at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast any time you want. Known as the woman who got away with killing her father and stepmother with an axe and being the subject of a nursery rhyme, Lizzie Borden is one of the most well-known killers in American history. It is believed by modern day forensic investigators that Lizzie took the axe used to chop wood out behind the house and proceeded to bludgeon her father with 11 hits to the head. She then headed upstairs and hit her stepmother 19 times. Neither her father nor her stepmother survived. She was found not guilty for a few reasons but the most prominent is the idea that a woman could not commit such a gruesome act. That women simply do not have the strength nor the constitution to withstand that type of attack.
The Borden house is now open to the public. You can spend the night in the very rooms the victims died in. You can sleep in the bed right next to their photos and view crime scene pictures. While the murder weapon was never found, there is an axe on the premises. Perhaps you can commune with the spirits of those who died while holding an axe similar. If you are too skittish to spend the night, they do offer tours of the home during the day.
Stanley Hotel: Estes Park, Colorado
Want to visit the creepy hotel that inspired horror author Stephen King to pen one of his most famous novels The Shining? Well you can! Located in the mountains of Colorado, the isolated hotel is home to the original owners who opened it up in 1909. It is said that F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora have yet to leave the premises although they have been dead for decades. Guests have reported hearing the Steinway Piano being played during the nighttime hours and Mr. Stanley himself has shown up in the background of photographs. Other eerie things occur as well such as children’s laughter floating through the corridors when no children are at the hotel, flickering lights, and bags being randomly unpacked.
If you venture to stay the night you are welcome to book a night at the hotel and can even get the ghost package that includes your very own mug that reads “REDRUM” on the side. You can also take daytime tours of the hotel if you are not ready to take the plunge and spend the night.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: Weston, West Virginia
This asylum was created as large facility with open air rooms and lots of sunlight. However, the building today is anything but airy and bright. Heavy with the souls of hundreds of patients who lost their lives within its walls, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is open for visitors. Opened in 1864 and originally slated to hold just 250 patients, by the 1950s it was over flowing with nearly 2,400 patients suffering anything from alcoholism, to epilepsy, to the common cold. While housed, the patients were often times physically restrained to their beds to keep them from wandering the hallways and endured medical treatments like electroshock therapy, ice baths, and even lobotomies. It was finally closed in 1994 due to the deterioration of the building itself and the cost to keep it up to code.
Today you can visit the asylum through ghost tours, flashlight tours, and paranormal hunts. You can even attend the once a year Asylum Ball held in October. The Asylum also hosts several free events throughout the year such as Easter egg hunts, BBQ’s, and even a car show. Are you brave enough to wander the halls of this asylum?
Pine Barrens: New Jersey
Located in New Jersey, the sprawling 1.1 million acre forest known as the Pine Barrens is spooky all on its own and does not need the ghost stories it inspires. The most notable one is the legend of the Jersey Devil. Supposedly born to a woman known as Deborah Leeds in 1735, the Jersey Devil was Leeds’ 13th child and it is said she cursed it to be a devil. Upon birth, the midwife identified the baby as a creature with bat like wings, a goats head, cloven feet, a tail, and even a forked tongue. It immediately, and in demon like fashion, sprang from the midwifes hands and flew up and out of the chimney and into the darkness. It has been killing livestock and spooking New Jersey residents and thrill seekers since. The forest does house the remains of a few saw mills and papermills that have long since been abandoned and with abandonment comes ghostly voices, apparitions, and some fantastic places to investigate and explore.
You can visit the Pine Barrens and hunt the leads devil or explore the abandoned towns by camping within the reserve or in any of the campgrounds or other accommodations in the area. If you happen to come across the Jersey Devil, do make sure to collect some of its poop to turn into the Philadelphia Zoo and collect the $10,000 reward.
Myrtles Plantation: St. Francisville, Louisiana
Opened in 1796, the Myrtles Plantation is rumored to have been built upon a Native American burial ground. Built by a General David Bradford, known as Whiskey Dave, who fled the United States to avoid arrest and jail time. He arrived in the colony that was Spanish owned and purchased the largest plot of land he could; 650 acres. He sold it off to his son-in-law in 1820, Judge Clarke Woodruff and the sprawling plantation house was remodeled. He, in turn, sold it to Mr. Ruffin Stirling who completed the remodel and added a large 125-foot veranda that can be seen today with its ornate ironwork and impressive entrance foyer. But, these men are not who haunt the land today.
The famous Chloe Postcard depicts what seems to be a rather normal photo of the home and an adjacent slave quarter house. However, if one looks closely, there is a shadowed figure between the two buildings who people have dubbed Chloe. She is supposedly a slave girl who was in an adulterous affair with her master at the time and had poisoned his children. She died at the hands of her fellow slaves to avoid association. Other than Chloe, it is suspected that 12 other spirits haunt the premises and cause broken clocks to tick, beds to shake, and ghostly figures to appear in the backgrounds of photos. You’re welcomed to visit and enjoy the lavish bed and breakfast and even stay in the same rooms the owners did. If you choose to stay, a daily mystery tour is included and an evening mystery tour is an extra charge and is a bit spookier.
Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
No list would be complete without the Eastern State Penitentiary. The gothic architecture makes the prison look like an old castle in the sprawling city, but it had a reason to look so ominous. The architect, John Haviland, wanted the building to deter criminals from committing their crimes. The idea of four walls, and no light in many of the cells, should have sent shivers down the spines of its inmates, and for many it did. It housed many men including the famous Al Capone, whose cell has been recreated to reflect the lavishness he was able to enjoy during his time. Capone, however, was not entirely alone in his cell. He was heard several times screaming to be left alone and had mentioned that he was being haunted by someone. Most assume it was the victims of the Valentine’s Day Massacre he is said to have orchestrated. Whether Capone haunts these corridors is yet to be seen, but there is a presence within its confines. Many men died here, both at the hands of the prison and at the hands of each other and rumor has it that most have not left. Featured on shows such as Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, there has been photographic, video-graphic, and even audio-graphic evidence that this place is haunted.
You can visit these walls daily during their guided tours, audio-guided, hands-on interactive tours, and enjoy a discussion on the history and hauntings of the building. You can also attend an nighttime paranormal investigation tour where you are allowed to bring your own equipment. If you are even braver than most, Eastern State hosts one of the most enthralling haunted houses in the United States. Known as the Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, the attraction will take you through six individual scare sets that, when pieced together, act seamlessly to fully engross you in the terror that is the Eastern State Penitentiary. The price of one ticket will get you into the entire attraction.
Hotel Monte Vista: Flagstaff, Arizona
Opening January 1, 1972, the Hotel Monte Vista is no stranger to ghost stories or famous guests. Flagstaff is another town known for its underground tunnels that wind through most of the city; many hotels, bars, and buildings have access to these tunnels through their basements and the Monte Vista is one of them. They were known to house opium dens, brothels, and even moonshine bars and gambling pits, and carry with them a sordid past of violence and death. There is a Hollywood rumor that some of the scenes in Casablanca were created in the hotel because Humphrey Bogart was staying there. Other famous guests include horror villain Robert Englund, golden era movie star Spencer Tracy, and old Silence of the Lambs himself Anthony Hopkins.
Today, the hotel is reportedly haunted by those who lost their lives in the tunnels, a ghostly crying baby in the basement that has spooked even the most hardened men and women, a 1980s long-term guest known as the meat man who hung raw meat from the lights until his death in room 220, a lively dancing couple in what is now the Cocktail Lounge, and even a bank robber who bled to death after a bank robbery in 1970 and loves to greet people with a hearty but disembodied “Good Morning!” The staff of the hotel are happy to accommodate you and listen to your encounters, should you have any, whenever you would like to stay.
Queen Anne Hotel: San Francisco, California
Built in 1890 as a finishing school for young girls, it now stands as a hotel fit for royalty. A Victorian building with golden embellishments and a pink rose exterior, the hotel is a prime spot for weddings and receptions. Although the building is beautiful and luxurious, it just may be haunted. Visitors and guests have reported the ghost of a woman wandering the halls. It is believed it is the spirit of Miss Mary Lake, the head mistress of the finishing school and her old office is particularly active. Guests have reported waking up to find they have been tucked in tightly in their beds during the night or that their clothing has been unpacked for them.
If you would like to visit the Queen Anne Hotel, you may be interested to stay in room 410; Miss Mary Lake’s office. Or you can take part in the night ghost tours hosted by Jim Fastbinder. If you visit, make sure to keep your senses open as you are likely to experience cold spots, feelings of being watched, or faint whispers that seem to come from nowhere.