Things that go bump in the night and faint cries you can’t identify make visiting the spookiest cities in America a lot of frightful fun.
Whether you want to experience a fright or want to learn more about where these stories come from, there are several different towns around the country where you’ll find tales of haunting fright that are perfect during the Halloween time of year.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island can be one of the spookiest places to visit with the history that dates back a long time and a place where cars have been banned and it feels like a place that still lives in the past. The most famous ghost story has to do with a young man named Harvey that haunts guests at Mission Point Resort. It’s storied that Harvey died on the bluff behind the hotel and while haunting, will turn lights on or rearrange personal items of guests.
Every list of the spookiest places in America will include Salem. This town is where the Witch Trials took place many years ago and where an ancient cemetery in the center of town has the gravestones of people involved. The most famous ghost in this town is Bridget Bishop, a wealthy owner of a local tavern, who was the first woman killed for witchcraft during the trials. She is regularly seen at the Lyceum Bar and Grill, which sits on the site where Bridget owned an apple orchard.
Charleston, South Carolina
For over 300 years, hauntings have been reported in Charleston, making it one of the spookiest places to visit. The most famous ghost story has to do with the White Point Garden where fifty pirates were hanged in the 1700s. The spirits are said to haunt the area and give visitors cold spots on hot days or show up as shadowy figures floating between the trees.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Home to America’s voodoo population, New Orleans is easily one of the spookiest places in the country. There’s a variety of ghost stories, vampire novels, and other stories that are part of the eerie history of New Orleans. The most famous ghost is a notorious pirate named Jean Lafitte who is said to make regular visits to his old haunt, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar on Bourbon Street. It’s rumored he has a hidden treasure there and patrons of the bar have reported seeing red glowing eyes behind the fireplace.
For all the Southern charm associated with Savannah, its also said to be one of the spookiest cities in the country. Many of the historic mansions, pubs, and inns have their own residential ghost that haunts the tourists and patrons. The most famous ghost stories come from the City Hotel on Bay Street, which is now the MoonRiver Brewing Company. This is the location of a legendary bar fight that ended in murder amid the tensions of the Civil War. The victim is said to be a visiting New Yorker who was brutally beaten by a mob of customers. Reports of apparitions on upper floors and bottles thrown by invisible forces are included in the stories.
St. Charles, Missouri
The starting point for Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition was St. Charles. This is also one of the spookiest towns you’ll find with historic shops and restaurants in buildings that date back more than two centuries. Almost all of the buildings have a ghost story associated with them. The most famous ghost in the town is a little girl that floats in and out of many of the shops on South Main Street. Other ghosts are found in different places along the street, but this girl moves about from store to store.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Several spirits are said to float in and around many of the Civil War-era homes and restaurants in the historic district of Charlotte. This makes for one of the spookiest cities in the South. The most famous ghost story brings us to the Cajun Queen, which is an old mansion that was converted into a restaurant. This area is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a woman who once lived there. The bar is located where her bedroom used to be and she haunts those who are bold enough to come in for a drink.
St. Augustine, Florida
The oldest city in the US is also one of the spookiest. With over 300 years of ghost stories for us to enjoy, one of the most impressive takes place at the Castillo de San Marcos. This large fort has been guarding the city since it was founded and you might feel the cold hands of a former prisoner wrap around your wrists or shoulders during a tour. You might even catch a glimpse of a Spanish Soldier when you visit near sunrise or sunset.
Once home to over 2,000 people and a robust coal mining operation, Centralia used to be bustling and busy. Now, as one of the spookiest cities in America, the population is down to less than 10. This town truly looks like a ghost town. Steam and smoke rise from under the town because of a fire that began in 1962 that rages on today. This look gives the town a ghostly vapor and a place where you might see some of the former residents who died in the early years of the underground fire still haunting the town.
San Francisco, California
While the city of San Francisco is home to bright houses and is home to the tech industry, just off the coast is a location that makes this one of the spookiest cities in the country. The famous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on Alcatraz Island housed some of the most famous and nefarious criminals in our history. Today, visitors claim to hear banjo music coming from the shower room where Al Capone used to play his famous instrument. Other spooky occurrences, such as the rattling of chains, blood-curdling screams, and chilly areas in the prison make this a very spooky place indeed.