As Halloween approaches, we were swapping ghost stories around the ol’ PEOPLE offices. Though we’re based in New York, staffers here come from all over, and so it got us thinking about what we like to call the Haunted States of America: What “ghost story” defines your state?
This infographic is assembled from a variety of sources – in some cases, it’s the “most famous” ghost in each state, in others, it’s the one we found the most interesting. Enjoy, and add your own in the comments!
Bear Creek Swamp in Prattville is home to floating lights, phantom cars, the ghosts of Creek Indians, and maybe also the ghost of a mother looking for her lost child who attacks anyone who says the phrase “We have your baby” three times.
West High School in Anchorage: Students report seeing a mysterious woman in white, and strange noises plague other parts of the school – all the creepy ones, like the basement.
27 people have died at the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, resulting in multiple ghost sightings daily.
The Allen House in Monticello is supposedly haunted by a woman who killed herself there – Louisiana Spirits Paranormal Investigation has investigated the spot as well.
Kate Morgan haunts the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. Morgan traveled with her husband as a con artist and card shark. She was found dead in the Coronado, and she apparently continues to haunt the hotel.
The Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, has been called “The Most Haunted Place in America” – its quartz foundation attracts elecro-magnetic fields and ghosts.
A favorite of Ed and Lorraine Warren (of the New England Society for Psychic Research), Union Cemetery is home to a spirit named “Red Eyes,” purportedly a pair of red eyes glowing in the darkness, as well as the White Lady, who was captured on video and stills.
Fort Delaware in Delaware City is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Confederate soldiers imprisoned there during the Civil War.
The Riddle House, in West Palm Beach, is a former funeral parlor said to be haunted by former employees, one of whom killed himself in the attic in the 1920s.
The 17 Hundred 90 Inn & Tavern in Savannah is the oldest hotel in Savannah, Georgia, and guests staying in room 204 are required to sign a waiver that they will not ask for their money back if they run into the ghost of Anne Powell, a girl who fell to her death from the room.
The site of an important battle in Oahu history, Kipapa Gulch is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of dead warriors. People report seeing torches float from the mountains to the ocean through the gulch.
In Fort Boise Military Cemetery, a number of disinterred and unmarked graves have allegedly resulted in sightings of soldiers’ children running through the graveyard, as well as a solitary woman, who has also been spotted by a nearby elementary school.
McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, has several ghosts: Organ music plays in the chapel and feet pace in the in the bell tower, where a student reportedly hanged himself. The alumni house is reportedly haunted by an entire family.
The French Lick Springs Hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of the owner, Thomas Taggert, who apparently commandeers the elevator when the hotel gets busy. Taggert used to ride his horse through the hotel, and guests have reported visions of a mounted man, as well as the sound of a horse trotting.
The University of Iowa‘s Currier Hall is supposedly home to three females ghosts, the spirits of a trio of roommates who all fell in love with the same man and despondently killed themselves in their dorm. Whenever roommates begin to fight in the Hall, the ghosts apparently step in and promote “friendship and harmony.”
Elizabeth Polly walks Sentinel Hill in Hays, Kansas; she was a nurse at Fort Hays during the cholera epidemic in the 1860s. She became sick, and requested that she be buried on the top of the Hill. But the ground was too rocky, and she was buried at the bottom of the hill. Her ghost, dressed in blue, makes the walk from her grave to the top of the hill.
Waverly Hill Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Louisville housed patients during the tuberculosis outbreak in 1912: Thousands died there and were removed through the use of a “body chute” so that patients didn’t have to see how many were dying. Visitors report all kinds of sounds, smells and odd visions.
The nearly 100-year-old Arnaud’s Restaurant is home to the ghost of Count Arnaud himself, who occasionally presides over the main dining room clad in a tuxedo, as well as a well-dressed woman who crosses the dining room and heads through a wall, in search of a now-walled-over staircase.
Loon Pond, in Acton, Maine, is said to be home to a ghostly, three-legged “Husky-type” dog with a phosphorescent glow, who appears around midnight.
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd treated John Wilkes Booth for a broken leg after he assassinated Lincoln. Mudd was later jailed for conspiracy, but was eventually pardoned. The bed in Mudd’s Waldorf, Maryland, home where Booth lay repeatedly shows the impression of a man’s body, even after the staff remakes it.
Boston’s largest haunted house is actually the U.S.S. Salem, a naval vessel that once served as a hospital following an earthquake in 1953 – former crew members and earthquake victims still walk the ship, apparently.
The Whitney Restaurant in Detroit was the former mansion of one of the area’s wealthiest lumber barons. He and his wife both passed away on the premises; investigators have recorded unexplained voices, the sound of a piano and rapping on the walls.
The Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing, Minnesota, sits on land that was once a quarantine camp during a 1918 outbreak of yellow fever, and is adjacent to Hibbing’s oldest cemetery, which is why it’s unsurprising that museum employees have reported strange shadows on the “Nine bus” and the voice of a little girl ringing out at night.
The Lyric Theatre in Tupelo, Mississippi, was temporarily converted into a hospital following a 1936 tornado, the fourth-deadliest in the history of the U.S. Consequently, it’s home to a spirit the staff has named “Antoine,” whose offenses are mostly minor: He steals keys, likes to hum to himself and moves things around late at night.
The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri, is still occupied by members of the Lemp family, among the first people in America to brew lager beer. Tragically, thanks to a series of missteps and mismanagement, the family lost its fortune and four different members committed suicide over a period of years. The house has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted in the country, with strange noises (including a self-playing piano) and goings-on reported.
Residents near the site of Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana report hearing and seeing ghostly Native Americans around the site, including the images of the spirits of departed Native Americans counting coup on battlefield workers as they sleep.
Omaha’s Hummel Park is reportedly the site of a Native American burial ground, and its eerily bowed trees are said to be weighed down by the souls of the African-Americans lynched there. Also, there’s a staircase whose number of steps changes every time people try to count it. Lastly, there have just been some regular ol’ murders there, including one of a prostitute named Laura LaPointe in 1983.
No less an authority than Johnny Depp reported seeing a little girl dressed in all white when he stayed at the Mackay Mansion in Virginia City, while filming Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man.
Whimsically nicknamed “Blood Cemetery” because of Abel and Betsy Blood’s tombstones, Pine Hill Cemetery in Hollis, New Hampshire, is home to one unusually specific phenomenon, among the other run-of-the-mill ghost stuff like floating orbs: There’s a hand carved into Abel’s headstone, its index finger pointing to heaven. At night, the headstone apparently changes color and the index finger points down.
Just an hour and a half from New York City, Clinton Road is home to tales about everything from the Jersey Devil and Satanism to the Clinton Road Bridge Boy, who supposedly drowned there and whose ghost will return coins tossed into the waters.
In 1951, six-year-old Bobby Darnall was killed in the lobby of Albuquerque’s KiMo Theatre when the building’s boiler exploded, taking part of the building with it. Darnall’s ghost appears to staff and guests, wearing a striped shirt and blue jeans – it’s become part of the theater’s tradition to leave doughnuts out for him to keep him from interfering with performances.
Peter Stuyvesant was the leader of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam before it became New York, and huge swaths of the city still bear his name. He helped establish the original church that stands at 10th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan. It’s now St. Mark’s Church, but that hasn’t stopped Stuyvesant – people report the sound of a peg leg echoing through the church.
Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn is home to the “Pink Lady,” who apparently inhabits room 545 after having fallen to her death in the Palm Court atrium around 1920. After dozens of sightings, she’s become one of the city’s most famous residents.
San Haven‘s Sanatorium was a former tuberculosis sanatorium until the 1940s, at which point it became a home for the developmentally disabled. (Yes, that’s almost the exact backstory to American Horror Story: Asylum.) Unsurprisingly, it’s been surrounded by ghost stories – visitors report hearing the sound of crying babies.
Akron’s Civic Theatre is a majestic theatre home to not one, but at least three reported ghosts: Fred the janitor, who supposedly died during one of his shifts and still shows up for work; a well-dressed man who’s still occupying his balcony seat, and a girl who can be heard crying and sobbing as she walks along the canal that runs behind the theater.
Nothing like an abandoned circus to stir up ghost stories. Gandini’s Circus came to Edmond, Oklahoma, around 1910, but has since become a wonderfully creepy desolate field of rusting cages and dilapidated, burned-down buildings. There are no recurring ghost stories about the place, just a whole lot of creepy feelings.
The Heceta Head Lighthouse, near Florence, Oregon, offers a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, as well as mysteriously locking doors and flickering lights courtesy of the “Gray Lady,” a ghost believed to be the mother of the innkeeper at the nearby Heceta House.
The Philadelphia Zoo (America’s oldest) is said to be home to a few different full-body apparitions, including a female ghost in a long white dress who stands at the top of the staircase in the John Penn House. Sadly, no ghost animals.
A Burrillville, Rhode Island, farmhouse was apparently haunted by Bathsheba Sherman, a practicing Satanist who allegedly murdered her young daughter as a sacrifice. The story was dramatized in the film The Conjuring.
Parkers Ferry Road, near Jacksonboro, South Carolina, is home to a ghostly light people say is the lantern from a preacher who was struck by a train while out searching for his daughter one night.
Near Deadwood, the Mount Moriah Cemetery is the resting place of classic Old West characters like “Wild Bill” Hickok and “Calamity” Jane Canary, as well as home to a mass grave containing 11 victims of a boarding-house fire. People have reported the feeling of being watched in the cemetery.
Tennessee’s Bell Witch is an old legend, and is even taught in schools: John Bell and his family were allegedly tormented by a nearby witch, who eventually killed him. Bell Witch Cave, in Adams, is supposedly still haunted by the witch, who appears as a little girl in a green dress.
Salt Lake’s Devereaux Mansion is haunted by the ghost of a young girl, who throws things, slams doors and appears in the mansion’s upper windows. She can be heard singing to herself, and has shown up in photographs.
Emily’s Bridge, near Stowe, Vermont, is haunted by the ghost of a young woman who either hanged herself from the bridge or drove a carriage off it into the brook below. She’s apparently stirred into activity more when men cross the bridge, giving credence to the claim that she’s a jilted lover.
Built around 1754 and located a few blocks from Poe’s childhood home, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum is reportedly the home of three different ghosts, including Poe himself. One story at the shop involves a shipment of Poe bobblehead figures mysteriously unpacked and shelved seemingly by themselves.
The Oxford Saloon in Snohomish was built in 1900 as a dry goods store. After it became a saloon, a policeman named Henry was killed there, and seems to have stuck around: He’s often spotted near the ladies restroom, where women have reported getting an inappropriate pinch by him.
Moundsville’s gothic penitentiary closed in 1995 after a history as one of the country’s worst prisons. “Hot spots” inside the prison for ghostly activity include the chapel, shower cages, death row, and the intake area, where the circular entrance gate occasionally turns by itself, as if to admit new prisoners.
Summerwind, near Land O’ Lakes, has experienced decades of haunting: Former Secretary of Commerce Robert Lamont moved his family out after experiencing ghostly activity, and one couple, the Hinshaws, were so disturbed that the husband had a nervous breakdown and the wife attempted suicide. The building was struck by lightning in 1988 and burned to the ground.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Cheyenne was opened in 1888, though its bell tower wasn’t completed until 1924. However, one of the Swedish masons fell to his death while working – years later, the other, claiming he feared he’d be deported over the accident, said he entombed the dead man’s remains in the tower wall, which is perhaps why people hear the sound of hammering and whispers coming from the building’s walls.
Other than the White House, D.C.’s Octagon House lays claim to the honor of being the District’s most haunted home. Dolly Madison is the most famous – she wanders the halls dressed for one of her amazing dinner parties – but it’s apparently also home to the murdered daughter of Colonel John Tayloe and a Quadroon slave girl killed by a British officer.