Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado aerial view featured in the movie the shining
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
June 11, 2024 ·  7 min read

25 of The Scariest Places in The United States

Even those who don’t believe in ghosts must admit that tales of the supernatural can be particularly gripping, and certain places have a general eeriness about them. Throughout the United States, numerous graveyards, old homes, prisons, and hotels have collected their share of ghost stories, often passed down for generations. Some places even play up their lore, offering ghost tours or Halloween attractions. America’s scariest spots include places where horrific crimes took place, a cave where it’s said a malevolent witch lurks, and a graveyard where some say a buried skull can still be heard screaming underground. Read on, if you dare.

1. Clinton Road

A part of Clinton Road
Image Credits: Daniel Case

West Milford, New Jersey: This winding road is rumored to be haunted by a variety of spirits, likely due to its bizarre history. This road is where one of hitman Richard “Iceman” Kuklinski’s victims was found in 1983, ultimately leading to his arrest. Combine that with the remains of an ill-fated zoo and the rumors of a drowned boy’s ghost, and you’ve got yourself a spooky roadway, flanked by woods that get especially dark at night.

Read More: 10 of the Most Boring Places on Earth

2. The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel
Image Credits: Shutterstock

Estes Park, Colorado: The Stanley Hotel is a sprawling and gorgeous hotel, boasting 142 rooms and views of the Rocky Mountains. It is here where author Stephen King, while on vacation with his wife, Tabitha, came up with the idea for his novel “The Shining.” Following the popularity of “The Shining,” rumors of real-life hauntings swirled, leading the hotel to offer ghost tours.

3. The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary
Image Credits: Flickr

Long Beach, California: This retired ocean liner is permanently moored in Long Beach, where it functions as a hotel with restaurants, bars, and educational opportunities. Rumors have long persisted that various ghosts haunt the decks, including a mysterious woman in white and a child who drowned in the ship’s pool.

4. The Riddle House

The Riddle House
Image Credits: 12george1

West Palm Beach, Florida: Built in 1905 and originally known as the Gatekeeper’s cottage, the Riddle House is reputedly haunted by a man who hanged himself in the attic, among other possible apparitions. The house was saved from demolition and moved to Yesteryear Village History Park.

5. The Villisca Ax Murder House

Vilisca Ax Murder House
Image Credits: Heather P. | Yelp

Villisca, Iowa: The Villisca Ax Murder House makes no attempt to hide its grim past. In the summer of 1912, an unknown intruder murdered the Moore family and two young guests with an ax. The killer was never apprehended. Today, guests can book tours or overnight stays in the home.

Read More: 45+ Eerie US Towns You Might Want to Avoid

6. Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary
Image Credits: Flickr

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: This now-dilapidated building served as a prison from 1829 to 1971 and was once home to notorious mobster Al Capone. The crumbling building has not been renovated to preserve historical accuracy for tours. It is rumored to be haunted by former inmates.

7. Seven Sisters Road

Seven Sisters Road
Image Credits: YouTube

Nebraska City, Nebraska: This haunted road is known for its legend of a man who hanged all seven of his sisters from different trees along the road after an argument with his family. Though the trees have since been cut down, locals claim to still hear screams at night.

8. The Bird Cage Theater

The Bird Cage Theater
Image Credits: Mali Mish

Tombstone, Arizona: In the late 1800s, the Bird Cage Theater functioned as a theater, bar, and gambling den. Now a tourist attraction, the theater claims to be haunted by cowboys and saloon women and offers daily ghost tours.

9. The Bell Witch Cave

Bell Witch Cave
Image Credits: Wayne Hsieh

Adams, Tennessee: In 1817, the Bell family reportedly experienced a haunting by a malevolent witch. The witch allegedly poisoned John Bell and terrorized his family. Today, tours of the property and the cave where the witch supposedly lived are available.

Read More: 25+ Cities That Might Make You Think Twice About Visiting

10. Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House
Image Credits: Flickr

San Jose, California: Sarah Winchester, widow of William Winchester, added onto this house obsessively after losing her husband and daughter. Rumors persist that she believed the house was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by Winchester guns. The house offers a variety of tours.

11. The Haunted Lemp Mansion

Lemp Mansion
Image Credits: Paul Sableman

St. Louis, Missouri: The Lemp family made their fortune in brewing, but their tragic history has led many to believe the mansion is haunted. Several members of the family died by suicide in the home. Today, it offers tours and a restaurant.

12. The Amityville Horror House

The Amityville House
Image Credits: Flickr

Amityville, Long Island, New York: In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his family in this house, claiming that voices in his head led him to commit the crime. The house gained notoriety when the Lutz family, who moved in afterward, claimed to experience supernatural phenomena, which were detailed in the book “The Amityville Horror.” Also, the movie should give you enough evidence as to why it’s infamous as one of the scariest places.

13. Alcatraz Prison

Alcatraz Prison
Image Credits: Pixabay

San Francisco, California: Located on an island in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was a maximum-security prison from 1934 until 1963. Ghost stories include the legend of Cell 14-D and cries and moans heard throughout the prison. Some claim to have heard a mysterious banjo, rumored to be played by the ghost of inmate Al Capone.

Read More: ‘America’s Unknown Child’ Identified Solving Mystery After 65 Years

14. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Image Credits: TripAdvisor

Weston, West Virginia: Built in the mid-1800s and designed for about 250 patients, the asylum eventually housed over 2,400. Poor treatment and overcrowding led to numerous deaths, and it is now rumored to be haunted by former patients. Tours include nighttime paranormal investigations.

15. The Lizzie Borden House

The Lizzie Borden house
Image Credits: Jamie H. | Yelp

Fall River, Massachusetts: This is the house where Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were murdered with an ax in 1892. Though Borden was acquitted, she became an outcast in her hometown. The home is now a bed and breakfast, offering overnight stays and tours. Care for a stay at one of the country’s scariest places?

16. Centralia

Graffiti Highway leading to Centralia
Image Credits: Shutterstock

Pennsylvania: A mine fire that started in 1962 has been burning underground ever since, leading to the evacuation of most residents. The desolate ghost town is eerie, with only a handful of people remaining. Centralia inspired the horror film “Silent Hill.”

17. The Shanghai Tunnels

Stairway to the Shanghai Tunnels
Image Credits: Bex Walton

Portland, Oregon: Beneath the streets of Portland, these tunnels were allegedly used to kidnap men and force them into maritime service. While evidence is scarce, rumors of hauntings persist. Tours now include beer tastings.

18. The House of Death

Sinclair Lewis 1910-1913 residence, 69 Charles Street, Greenwich Village, New York, New York
Image Credits: Steve Minor

New York City, New York: This brownstone near Washington Square Park is said to be haunted by more than 20 spirits, including author Mark Twain. The 1987 murder of a young girl in the house added to its infamy. Today, just the name is enough to signify its stature as one of the scariest places in the country.

Read More: 18 Maps That Portray The Lesser Known Facts About America

19. The Entity House

The Entity House
Image Credits: Andrea O. | Yelp

Culver City, California: Doris Bither claimed to be assaulted by a mysterious entity in this house in 1974. Paranormal investigators witnessed phenomena during their investigation. Bither later said the ghosts were attached to her, not the home.

20. The Mizpah Hotel

Mizpah Hotel
Image Credits: Flickr

Tonopah, Nevada: Built in 1929, the Mizpah Hotel is rumored to be haunted by a woman in a red dress, supposedly murdered by a jealous husband. Despite closing in 1999, it was renovated and reopened in 2011.

21. Western Burial Ground

Western Burial Ground
Image Credits: A.R. P. | Yelp

Baltimore, Maryland: This cemetery is the final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe. Local legend claims that Poe’s spirit haunts the graveyard, along with the screaming Skull of Cambridge, rumored to belong to a murdered minister.

22. St. Louis Cemetery

St. Louis Cemetery
Image Credits: Flickr

New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans’ oldest cemetery, dating back to the 1700s, is said to be haunted by voodoo legend Marie Laveau and sailor Henry Vignes. The labyrinthine layout adds to the eerie atmosphere as one of the scariest places in the country.

23. Felt Mansion

Felt Mansion
Image Credits: rossograph

Saugatuck, Michigan: Built in 1928 by Dorr Eugene Felt, the mansion is said to be haunted by the Felts, who died shortly after its completion. Nearby woods are rumored to be home to the “Melon Heads,” children with oversized heads who were allegedly experimented on.

24. Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Image Credits: TripAdvisor

Louisville, Kentucky: Built in 1910 for tuberculosis patients, the sanatorium is rumored to be haunted by former patients. Locks that turn by themselves and other spooky phenomena are reported. Tours and events help fund renovations.

25. West Virginia State Penitentiary

West Virginia State Penitentiary
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Moundsville, West Virginia: This Gothic-style prison operated from 1876 to 1995 and was the site of numerous executions and murders. Legends of hauntings, including a featureless “shadow man,” persist, making it one of the scariest places around. Tours include overnight paranormal investigations.

Explore some of these scariest places if you dare, and experience the spine-chilling tales that have haunted these locations for generations.

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