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The 10 Most Haunted Cities in the U.S.

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The 10 Most Haunted Cities in the U.S.

If you’re looking for an experience to put goosebumps on your goosebumps, these are the cities you won’t want to miss.

And, since you’re likely going to be traveling by car at some point to get to these spooky destinations, we’d like to take a moment to share some rather suspicious findings we discovered. A study covering 22 years of car crashes found Friday the 13th to have a spike in traffic deaths, with an average of 109 people killed on that one day. Also, Friday the 13th in October had more traffic fatalities than Friday the 13th occurring in any other month. 

So, maybe don’t test your luck and drive to one of the haunted cities on Friday the 13th—especially if it’s in October.

Now that you’ve been warned, let’s get started.

#1– Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is pretty much universally rated as the most haunted city in the U.S. Its history definitely paves the way for the paranormal.

Events of unnatural deaths are usually the basis for spooky paranormal activity. And Savannah is home to many of these events from bloody battlefields, to an 1820 fever epidemic combined with a large fire, to murders in historic mansions, to finally, the savage slave trade (especially the 71 escaped slaves whose ship sank leaving the harbor). There are several establishments that offer guided ghost tours.

Some of the most haunted spots include Madison Square where shadowy figures and cool chills have been reported by nighttime visitors.

The Moon River Brewing Company served as a hospital during the Yellow Fever epidemic. Modern-day visitors report seeing the ghosts of children killed by the fever.

Factor’s Walk was once the headquarters of the cotton industry, and the spirits of slaves can sometimes be felt in the catacombs and passageways that still exist.

#2 – New Orleans, Louisiana

Forty-one thousand individuals died of yellow fever in New Orleans between 1817 and 1905. Their spirits are one of the main sources of the city’s paranormal. New Orleans is below sea level, so burying the dead poses an issue: water. So, they came up with a solution: mausoleums. Are the dead more active because they’re unburied? Maybe.

The cruel mistress of the LaLaurie Mansion brutalized her slaves. After a cook intentionally set fire to bring attention to their desperate straights, firemen discovered and rescued seven tortured slaves from the third floor.

If you’re looking for a ghost tour, you have several great options to choose from.

#3 – Washington, DC

Places with a long and important history tend to keep spirits around. Such is the case in Washington, D.C. The capitol building is believed to be one of the most haunted places in D.C. During construction, some of the workers accidentally died. Ghosts of former members of Congress reportedly wander the halls to this day.

Subsequent presidents have felt and seen the spirit of Abraham Lincoln roaming the White House. There are many accounts of other presidents and their family members throughout the hallways and rooms of the White House.

The Octagon House, National Theatre, and many other houses and locations are hotspots for the paranormal.

#4 – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

In four days, 51,000 soldiers were killed or went missing. That kind of event will most assuredly result in unsettled spirits. Besides the obvious paranormal center, the battlefield and several other surrounding locations are spooky hot spots.

The Baladerry Inn served as a Union field hospital and the Confederate soldiers buried nearby roam the property.

Another haunted location is The Daniel Lady Farm, where you may feel the presence of the past. It was the Confederate field hospital—the spirits of General Ewell and his 10,000 men are its notable ghosts.

#5 – Portland, Oregon

The practice of shanghaiing occurred all up and down the West Coast. Legend has it that in Portland, men and women were abducted through trap doors in bars and brought through the city’s underground tunnel system to the port where they were sold as prostitutes and slave laborers. As many as 1,500 individuals were shanghaied a year. The ghosts of these victims have returned to haunt the tunnels and bars where their freedom was lost. The use of the tunnels for the practice lacks solid evidence, but shanghaiing did happen, and the ghosts seem to frequent the underground passageways.

The ghost of Nina the prostitute has been reported in Old Town Pizza and Brewing. She was murdered in the elevator shaft just before she was going to move and start a better life.

Portland is home to many more haunted places and you can learn more by taking a ghost tour.

#6 – San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Park is haunted by the White Lady who drowned while rescuing her infant daughter in the lake. Also, chill worthy are the records of people receiving tickets from a police officer who died long ago. Another of the local legends involves the disturbed spirits of the many people who committed suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge. These individuals have been reported to wander the bridge and the park.

Alcatraz is still home to many of the deceased imprisoned, some say. Reports include hearing cries and moans, feeling raw coldness, and seeing Al Capone. A maximum-security prison on an island where prisoners were tortured and died definitely fosters a feeling of dread during a visit.

#7 – Saint Augustine, Florida

The history in Saint Augustine is a recipe for paranormal activity. Since the mysterious disappearance of Dolores Martis and her lover, likely at the hands of Dolores’s husband, who lived in Castillo de San Marcos, visitors have reported the smell of perfume, a feeling of nausea, and visions of a soldier.

Tolomoto Cemetery is home to the ghost of a woman who was thought dead, buried alive, set free, and died years later. Other stories of children’s spirits abound in Saint Augustine, including those of sisters who died in a tragic accident at the Lighthouse.

#8 – Salem, Massachusetts

The Salem Witch Trials are a piece of history most people have heard about, and much of Salem’s haunted atmosphere stems from these trials.

Bridget Bishop was the first person to be hung in the series of trials, and many have claimed to have seen her ghost in the Lyceum Bar and Grill which is built on the site of her apple orchard.

While most of the trial witches were women, one man, Giles Corey stands out. After two days of torture, and slightly before his death, he cursed the Sherriff and Salem. Four days later, the Sherrif died. Corey’s ghost has been spotted in the Howard Street Cemetery and many believe his curse on the city continues, and that his apparition signals an impending disaster for the city of Salem.

#9 – Charleston, South Carolina

With so much history, it is no wonder that the Holy City is teeming with haunts.

Prisons and jails, like hospitals, tend to be home to restless spirits. The Old City Jail in Charleston is no exception. The inmates incarcerated there faced dreadful conditions, and many were executed. The ghost of America’s first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher, is one of the many spirits that haunt the halls.

Not all the ghost stories in Charleston are as sinister and cringeworthy as those in the jail. The Gray Man has been seen before every hurricane that hits Pawleys Island, warning residents of the impending storm. He has been credited with saving many lives and protecting their assets by his warning.

Several popular ghost tours are available in Charleston.

#10 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The birthplace of our nation is home to one of the most haunted locations in the world, The Eastern State Penitentiary. The castle-like prison was designed to bring prisoners to penitence by subjecting them to solitary confinement. Often instead of the desired result, solitary confinement turned prisoners mad. Visitors and staff alike reported eerily-similar stories of wailing, apparitions darting through walls, and visions of ghostly faces.

Eastern State is far from the only spooky location in Philadelphia. Nearby, Fort Mifflin is the site of a Revolutionary War battlefield and a Civil War Prison. A battlefield and a prison on one site is enough to fill anyone with dread.

Old City is home to numerous haunted sites and streets. With Philadelphia’s place in history, it’s no wonder the supernatural congregate there.

The common thread in all these haunted cities is their historical importance and unfortunate events. While visiting these locations, you may experience a sense of doom or hear or see an unexplainable phenomenon. But even if you don’t, you’ll learn a lot about the significance of these sites through their history in this country.

Melanie Musson is a writer for She and her family enjoy spending time in the outdoors of their Montana home and are constantly learning and growing together. Her formative years were spent in Philadelphia studying and growing to love American history.

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