The old, abandoned hotel was supposedly haunted, but my friends and I were not convinced. There were no ghosts in the basement, although the writing over the stairs warned, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter!” There were no ghosts in room thirteen. There weren’t even any ghosts in the old lobby, but the peeling insulation looked like asbestos, so we scooted on as quickly as possible.
The last place to explore was the old tower, a gray pillar with glassless windows like gaping eye sockets. Up we went, past the graffiti-covered walls, through an open door, and round and round with the twisting of a staircase.
There were no ghosts at the top—just a great view of the rotting remains of the building. But suddenly, we froze—did we hear footsteps?
The door shut below us. Which would be worse, we wondered—an angry squatter or a vengeful ghost? Slowly, we picked up mangled pieces of pipe and glass. “Hello?” one of my friends called. There was no answer.
Was it the wind? Another urban explorer? Or a ghost?
Surely you have had a similar experience at some time in your life. Are you a believer in the paranormal, or do you scoff at such stories? No matter what you think, you just might be convinced that ghosts are real if you take a trip to one of America’s most haunted cities.
Charlotte, North Carolina
This city has over 250 years’ worth of ghosts. One of the best places for sightings is Carolina Theatre. This place is an abandoned apparition of its old self, but it’s still a fascinating place to visit. You may see a performance if you go—but it won’t be on the stage. People have claimed to see strange men standing in unexpected places throughout the theatre. Perhaps the Phantom of the Opera has taken up new residence in Charlotte!
Another good place to hunt ghosts is Latta Plantation, where visitors sometimes hear children playing in the attic or see doors shutting on their own. There are several other haunted places to stop by while you’re in town. See the Dunhill Hotel, Old Fire Station #4, and the eerie Spirit Square.
Salem is notorious for its horrible history of witch hunts and spiritual haunts. If you want to get seriously creeped out, this is a good place to go.
Wicked Good Books is a haunted bookstore with secret tunnels running beneath it. Apparently, old human remains were found in the tunnels around the time the shop opened.
Want a drink? Head to Bunghole Liquors. This was once a funeral home that hid a speakeasy in its basement. The ghosts of a woman and a black cat are sometimes sighted in the store.
The most haunted building in Salem, though, is the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin. This is the only remaining building connected to the witch trials. You can visit the museum inside the house for a chance to get touched by a ghost.
Last but not least, be sure to check out Old Burying Point Cemetery, where you’ll find the graves of the key players in the Salem Witch Trials.
Charleston, South Carolina
You can actually take a haunted tour when you visit Charleston! If you decide to hunt ghosts on your own, though, you won’t have any trouble finding haunted locations to visit.
One of the creepiest places in the city is the site of Charleston Orphan House. The building of the orphanage burned down in 1918, taking the lives of four of its young occupants. Today, The College of Charleston stands on the location. Students claim to hear the voices of children at off hours of the night, although no children are there.
Another eerie ghost-sighting location is the old jail, where America’s first female serial killer is said to wander.
Chicago has seen so many tragedies and mysteries that it’s little wonder it has become so haunted. One of the most famous mass-murder events was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The site of this bloody shoot-out is a grass lot on Clark Street. Legend has it that the first to discover the dead was a dog. Today, many dogs are inexplicably nervous when approaching this location.
You might see something horrid if you go to the Historic Water Tower. During a fire, an employee hanged himself to escape the flames. Some people claim to see his body swing from the roof.
Of course, you can’t forget the Murder Castle, a site filled with legends of intrigue and murder, plus a few ghosts.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is the first place you probably think of when you consider a Halloween getaway. This city is famous for its creepy lore and haunted legends. And for good reason! There are many strange events that can only be explained by paranormal activity—or so say the believers.
Even if you don’t believe in ghosts now, you might change your mind if you visit this town. Take a stroll through St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, visit the freaky New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and its ghost, or the horrific Addie Hall murder scene.
If you can stomach a particularly grisly true story, head to the LaLaurie Mansion, where the lady of the house mutilated or murdered several of her slaves.
Residents are bound and determined to “Keep Portland Weird.” After all, this city is known for being bizarre is a variety of ways—including paranormally. The city’s oldest buildings are said to have ghostly visitors now and then!
The Benson Hotel apparently has three ghosts, and Bush House Museum has one. The Geiser Grand Hotel seems to have a whole group of them! If you want to really get chilled, though, visit the Layfayette Pioneer Cemetery. This graveyard is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a hung ax murderer.
What do you think, reader? Are ghosts real? Or are they just apparitions of our minds? Regardless of your opinions on the paranormal, you can’t argue that these ghost-hunting locations are pretty creepy!