It’s one thing to purposely stay in a haunted hotel where a knock on the door might not be room service. Paranormal curiosity seekers visit restaurants and bars well-known for frequent ghostly appearances and weird unexplainable happenings. If the spirits turn too evil they can check out of their room or leave half a drink on the bar as they beat feet to the parking lot.
Let’s turn the scare meter up a notch. What if you had no place to run? No escape. What if you suddenly found yourself in the presence of an apparition, or multiple apparitions, and your only option was to let them have their way with you?
If you knew there was a chance you may end up as a late night snack for long lost souls on a feeding frenzy, would you do it? Even knowing you couldn’t get away? All you need to do is pitch a tent. It’s that easy. But you have to know where.
These are some of the most haunted campgrounds in America.
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Site – Nevada County, Calif.
Nevada County is smothered with small ghost towns, but none as haunted as North Bloomfield which was preserved as part of this historic site.
Legend has it, a strict disciplinarian schoolteacher slaughtered a student and hung him from the schoolhouse rafters for answering too many questions incorrectly. It’s said to be the most haunted building in the deserted mining town.
Faces have been seen peering from windows inside of some of the preserved buildings. Some have even been captured by a camera. If you really want to, you can spend the night with them. Pick a spot. Sleep tight.
Big Moose Lake – Adirondacks, New York
The ghost of Grace Brown is said to haunt the area. Brown, unwed and pregnant in 1906, begged the father of the child, Chester Gillette, a well-known womanizer, to marry her. He initially refused and in one her love letters she wrote, “If I die I hope then you can be happy. I hope I can die. The doctor says I will, and then you can do just as you like.”
Gillette finally agreed to the marriage and the couple took a trip to Big Moose Lake to privately tie the knot. But Gillette had ulterior motives. He was accused of killing Brown with a tennis racket while they were in a rowboat in the middle of the lake. He then dumped her body in the water where it was later discovered. Gillette was arrested and two years later was executed.
In 1988 an employee at one of the lakes lodges, Rhonda Bousselot, felt a strange presence as she reached inside of a cabin door to turn on a light switch. Three other employees who were standing just outside as Bousselot exited the cabin said they saw a shadowy figure seemingly gliding very close to her.
Sometimes the ghost of Brown is seen in the lake drowning while at other times she is seen wandering the lake shore. It’s been reported she likes to turn off lights in cabins and some guests have suddenly found themselves sitting in a darkened room with no explanation.
There are plenty of campsites surrounding Big Moose Lake. Pick one right by the shoreline.
Witch Dance of the Natchez Trace – Mississippi
Just south of Tupelo, this one is only for the bravest of the brave. According to local legend, centuries ago this area of the Natchez Trail was populated by Hoplite Indians who escaped Mexico due to persecution. They didn’t come alone. They brought the bones of their dead ancestors with them and stacked them in mounds which are still present.
There is absolutely no reason for the large dried scorched areas at this location where nothing will grow. Even Andrew Jackson when passing through the area made a note of this strange phenomenon is his journal.
The Hoplites eventually moved on and the site became a popular location for witches to hold secret ceremonies.
This portion of the trail was also known for brutal robberies where victims would sometimes be tortured and killed by outlaws. The Harpe Brothers were notorious for their brutality. They were eventually caught and one of them had their head impaled on a stick as a warning to other robbers.
Harpe’s ghost can now be seen and heard laughing. His ex-girlfriend who he buried alive wearing the jewelry he had given her, has also been reported as being seen. Others have seen a rider on a white horse and a military man in full regalia.
To this day, locals avoid the scorched areas. If you think you can last a night, go for it.
Crystal Lake Campgrounds – Angeles National Forest, Calif.
Stephen Major, in 1934, was living I a tent with his wife and two children while helping to build the Crystal Lake Amphitheater. One evening he and his family went for a leisurely stroll in the woods. Upon returning they found a giant grizzly bear clawing at their tent. Major tried to scare the bear off but it turned him, disemboweling him with its massive claws. The bear then mutilated his wife and two children.
Visitors and campers say they have seen the apparitions of two adults and two children walking the paths through the forest.
Here is the weirdest part. The last grizzly bear in California was killed in 1922, 12 years before this happened. Search parties combed the entire area in looking for the bear but no traces of it were ever found, and no grizzlies have been seen since.
All one needs to do at any of these campgrounds is pitch a tent, build a nice fire, and wait it out. Whether you will witness any of the strange goings-on is never guaranteed, but some of those who have gone before have some very spooky stories to tell. If you really want to have some fun while you’re waiting on your paranormal guests to arrive, bring a Quija Board.