4 of the Spookiest Cities in America

Cue creepy ghost sounds… Are you ready to get the chills? For the hair on the back of your neck to stand on end? To get easily jumpy? Then dig into these bone-chilling tales about 4 of the spookiest cities in America!

Established back in 1626, Salem, Massachusetts kicks off our list of the spookiest cities in America. Infamous for the Salem Witch Trials during the late 17th century, this New England town has its fair share of ghost stories that are sure to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

The History
In 1692, fear spread through the small town of Salem after the Puritan Reverend Samuel Parris’ daughter Betty and niece Abigail William came down with a bad case of the witchcraft (back then, people believed you caught witchcraft like you caught the common cold). The girls experienced “episodes” or “afflictions” that a doctor diagnosed as witchcraft or Satan’s sickness. It was then blamed on the slave and caretaker Tituba, and thus sparked the fear of witches in Salem and the maddening hunt to find them.

The Hauntings
The Salem Witch Trials consisted of 16 months of townspeople accusing people of witchcraft and being put on trial. More than 200 people were accused of practicing the Devil’s magic, 20 of which were executed. If there was any “spectral evidence” against a defendant, she was found guilty – particularly in the lower class or social outcasts.

However; it wasn’t only these less fortunate put on trial. Wealthy apple orchard landowner Bridget Bishop is one of the most infamous “witches” hung in Salem, as she was the first executed for witchcraft. But Bridget didn’t want to leave. At 43rd Church Restaurant, which was built on Bridget’s apple orchard, she still shows herself to employees and visitors. She is known for hanging around upstairs, putting chairs on and off tables, appearing and disappearing randomly, making noises, making others feel sadness and walking around with heavy footsteps.

Another building to visit to potentially encounter some of the restless souls from the Salem Witch Trials is the “Witch House” (a fitting name). Once the home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges heavily involved with the trials, this is the only building from 1692 still standing in Salem. With his reputation and the impact he had on their lives, the accused definitely have a bone to pick with Corwin. They make things fly, make shuffling noises, walk around the home and are known to show themselves as a “shadow person.”

A third place in Salem that is sure to be haunted is Gallows Hill, where the 19 victims were hung and buried for their supposed witchcraft. Ironically a playground now, people are known to feel bad feelings and hear voices on the hill.

Last, but certainly not least, is the tale of Giles Corey – an 80 year old local farmer who was accused of witchcraft. Corey believed the accusations were born out of greed for his land, so to spite the legal system he deeded the farm to family (otherwise it would have been given to the court to “do as they saw fit”) and stood mute in court. This lead to him being pressed to death – meaning large stones were put on him until it killed him. His final words stated ”Salem will burn” and placing a curse on the sheriffs of Salem. Giles Corey’s tragic death and eerie last words have become a chilling ghost story to the town. Many have claimed seeing an old man at Howard Street Cemetery, where Corey is buried. Also, from the many Salem fires and all Salem sherriffs dying by age 54 from a sort of heart condition – Giles Corey’s words are not to be taken lightly. For this reason, there is no longer a sheriff in Salem.

Now if that doesn’t give you the chills, I’m not sure what will.

Okay, no lies, doing research on Gettysburg hauntings really spooked us out. We’re talking hair raising on our arms, the chills, our eyes watering, jumping ridiculously high when someone came up behind us to ask a question…straight up spooked!

The History
Lasting only 2 days (July 1-3, 1863), the Battle of Gettysburg had the largest casualties of the entire civil war – 51,000 soldiers (out of 166,000 soldiers) were killed, injured or ended up missing. With numbers in that magnitude, it is no doubt that many souls were trapped in Gettysburg, PA. With 100s dying at a time due to the nature of the field – a wide open grassy field with limestone rock making it impossible to dig trenches, the location of the battle had a huge impact on the battle’s infamous bloody history. Described as the war’s turning point, the Battle of Gettysburg had a lasting impact on our nation’s history and an immediate impact on the lives of men, women and children during that time.

The Hauntings
Let’s talk about the location of the majority of the fighting. With areas aptly named “Valley of Death” and “Devil’s Den” – haunting experiences are just destined to happen. Like when two paranormal professionals were walking through the Valley of Death at dusk when a weird fog began. Then, they heard a trumpet playing taps and saw soldiers walking (and caught it all on video! See it on the History Channel here: http://www.history.com/shows/haunted-history/season-1/episode-2). There are plenty of other stories that take place here, especially from re-enactors. Such as getting a “shot” in his stomach because he was playing Dixie in his confederate uniform, or being dragged to a grave pit, and hearing ghosts speak to them saying things like ”I’ll shoot you.” Locals also say seeing apparitions and hearing musket fire, cannons, yells and more are normal. Yup, we’ve got the chills.

Soldiers aren’t the only ones haunting this Pennsylvania town, the only civilian killed during the battle – Ginnie Wade – is also still making her presence known in Gettysburg. The Ginnie Wade House is known as the “most haunted place in Gettysburg.” You can still see the hole in the door from the bullet that killed Ginnie Wade. People often report feeling panic and confusion, seeing see Ginnie and also see the shadow of a man walking through the house. A medium even said she talked to Ginnie – who just wanted to know if her family and loved ones were safe.

Related to Ginnie Wade is the Farnsworth House – a home the Confederates overtook and used as a sniper post and hospital. It is rumored that the bullet that killed Ginnie Wade was fired from this sniper post. When in the Farnsworth House, many report seeing Confederate soldiers and hearing guns, voices and moaning from the basement – which was the area used as the hospital.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Homestead Orphanage, home of the ghosts of evil headmistress Rosa Carmichael and “Stick Boy.” While built with good intentions of housing the many orphaned children, once Rosa took over it turned into a horrible and cruel place. She would torture the children, treat them beyond cruelly – such as locking them in a small room in the basement for days. Visitors report feeling watched, seeing shadows, getting pinched and feeling knuckles on their backs – especially in the basement. The Homestead Orphanage is now a museum, and many have seen a black shadow of a boy with a stick staring at them, believed to be the allusive “Stick Boy” who helped Rosa punish the children. One time on a ghost tour visitors said they felt their hair being played with and the feeling of someone sitting on their laps, but when they went to leave the small room the door wouldn’t open – like Rosa and “Stick Boy” wouldn’t allow them to leave. Creeeeeeeepy!

So, are you ready for your trip to this haunted city?

Next we head on down to Louisiana, to the spooky streets and French Quarter of New Orleans. Between the many cemeteries and mansions and plantations, we learned about a plethora of ghosts that call the Big Easy their home.

The History
Transferred from Native American to French to Spanish to United States rule, New Orleans has its fair share of history and native folklore for this unique cultural heritage. As the biggest port in the South, it became a hub for trade (especially cotton) and a place for the rich to call home. Unfortunately, with this luxurious living came slavery – but these slaves brought with them their own folklore to add to the mixing pot, creating the New Orleans we know and love today. From wars to floods to fires to other destruction, this old city has witnessed a lot.

The Hauntings
We start with one of the most haunted (and really disturbing/creepy) houses in New Orleans – the LaLaurie Mansion. Home of Madame Delphine Lalaurie and physician Leonard LaLaurie, who became infamous for their horrible torture of their slaves. Once at the height of the New Orleans social scene, the 1834 LaLaurie mansion fire exposed the couple for what they really were doing – performing terrible “Frankenstein” experiments on their slaves in the attic. The Lalauries escaped hanging for their crimes by fleeing New Orleans and never being seen again – unless you’re unlucky enough to encounter the ghost of Madame LaLaurie at her New Orleans mansion. People have experienced many frightening experiences, such as being strangled by a woman in white period clothes, but being rescued by the ghost of a slave. The souls of the slaves still there never do harm, they serve to protect the inhabitants from LaLaurie.

Another haunted house to visit is Myrtles Plantation, built upon land that was once Native American burial ground – you know there have to be good ghost stories. So let me tell you about Chloe, the nanny and slave of the Woodruff family. Chloe was caught listening in on Clark Woodruff’s business and was punished by losing an ear, so she began wearing a turban. Legend has it that Chloe baked a birthday cake for one of the daughters that contained poison – supposedly she only meant to make the two girls and their mother sick, but she didn’t make it right and all three died from the poison. Chloe was then sentenced to death. Today, people say they have seen a woman in a turban, two young girls playing in the grass and a woman in period clothing walking down the steps. There are a bunch of other ghost stories surrounding this plantation – such as the ghost of a young Native American woman who walks the grounds and another story of a young girl who practices voodoo on the people sleeping in the room she died in. Myrtles Plantation and those that lived here surely have a story to tell.

Ready to discuss the most haunted cemeteries in the United States? Welcome to St. Louis Cemetery #1 – established in 1789, this is the final resting place of over 100,000 people. One in particular we’ll discuss is Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen. Marie Laveau is the most famous and revered voodoo practitioner in New Orleans, people of all walks of life went to here to help them solve their problems or ask her to take part in their own practices. It is rumored that the ghost of Marie Laveau appears in the cemetery or past her old house on St. Ann Street in the French Quarter – people say they’ve seen her wearing her red and white turban and bright clothes. However, Marie Laveau isn’t the most friendly of spirits, she is known to have scratched, pinched and shoved people – particularly those that don’t respect her voodoo practices. The ghost of Marie Laveau isn’t alone though, ghosts such as Henry Vignes are known to come up to people asking if they know where the Vignes grave is. Or Alphonese, who may have been killed by the Pinead family because he always warns people when they are close to their grave.

There are a plethora of other haunted places in New Orleans – we’re pretty sure if you just walked down a side street in the French Quarter you might just see some ghosts hanging around. From the Delta Queen ship’s ghost to the ghosts of Le Petit Theatre, to the many haunted hotels/bed and breakfasts, to Muriel’s Restaurant to Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop…we could probably just keep going and going. New Orleans is definitely worth a visit for any ghost hunters!

Oh my goodness, the haunted places in Savannah, GA are seriously never ending. When we were researching we got up to 11 and decided to get a little picky. Here are some of the spookiest Savannah haunts!

The History
Established in 1733, Savannah was Georgia’s first city. Over the past 250+ years, Savannah has survived famine, war, hurricanes, floods and fires – giving the city a lot to say. Located along the Savannah River, it became a hub for pirates, traders and the wealthy to do their bidding. From the American Revolution to the Civil War, Savannah saw many battles and destruction. Needless to say, Savannah and its ghosts have a rich history.

The Hauntings
We’re going to start our tour of haunted Savannah with the most haunted place in Savannah, the oldest cemetery – Colonial Park. Established in 1750, this is the final resting place of many heroes from the American Revolution, yet with 10,000 buried here there are less than 1,000 grave markers. Two American Revolutionary heroes buried here are Lachian McIntosh (Major General of the Continental Army) and Button Gwinnett (signer of the Declaration of Independence). While big proponents for independence, McIntosh and Gwinnett were not fans of each other – with Gwinnett challenging McIntosh to a duel. While both were shot in the leg and called a gentlemen’s truce, Gwinnett later succumbed to his injuries and died. It is said that today many still see the two facing off against each other in the cemetery grounds and walking around the graves. However; these aren’t the only ghosts traipsing through Colonial Park Cemetery. Another spirit still at the cemetery is Rene Rondolier, legend has it he was 7 foot tall and hung in the cemetery for the murder of two young girls. Since that fateful night, a tall black shadow can be seen wandering through the cemetery. Two other cemeteries worth checking into are Bonaventure Cemetery (where you can hear glasses breaking against trees from a wild party back when Commodore Tattnall owned it in the 1800s) and Laurel Grove Cemetery (where over 1,500 Confederate soldiers are laid to rest, you’re sure to hear their footsteps…literally).

Next up is Savannah’s Olde Pink House, one of the only 18th century mansions still standing in this historic city after the fire of 1796. Built for James Habersham Jr. (a wealthy cotton factor and founding-family member) in 1771, this house was a central hub for American Revolution meetings and supporters. And apparently James Habersham didn’t want anyone to forget his legacy because he still shows himself today. From rearranging furniture to lighting candles to appearing and vanishing in front of guests, Mr. Habersham is very much still a part of this historic home. It’s rumored you can still find him around his family plot in Colonial Park Cemetery. Today, you can go visit the Olde Pink House and enjoy a delicious meal there – plus maybe get your own glimpse of James Habersham Jr!

Last, but not least, we have The Pirate’s House that dates back to 1754, making it the oldest (and most haunted) building in Savannah. Once an inn for seafarers, pirates and criminals, this now restaurant is said to still have lingering spirits that visit from time to time. One such ghost is Captain Flint, who is rumored to have given the map to Treasure Island to Billy Bones in this very house right before he died! Captain Flint is still seen around The Pirate’s House. You’ll also find icey cold figures going through solid walls in the tunnels that used to lead from the house to the ships – while you may not be lucky enough to see the ghosts, you’re sure to hear their footsteps in the underground tunnels.

Some other haunted honorable mentions in Savannah are:
River Street
Fort Jackson
Marshall House
Juliet Gordon Lowe House
Mercer-Williams House

While these are 4 of the spookiest cities in America, there are plenty others for you to visit – such as San Antonio (seriously haunted city – and not just because of The Alamo), Chicago, St. Augustine and Charleston are a few others you should check out!