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Halloween is a time to get scared out of your wits, and haunted places are definitely the place to start. First decide whether you like you hauntings real or just for fun, then proceed to the appropriate haunted place.

Ghost hunters continue to capture evidence of life after death in these notorious or otherwise widely-documented haunted places. Visiting this places is not for everyone, and paranormal experts often warn the curious that dark spirits may latch on to you or worse. Proceed with knowledge and caution.

Alcatraz
San Francisco, CA
Experience the most haunted place in America first hand, in the complete blanket of fog and darkness. Definitely not for the kids.

Amityville House
Amityville, NY
Murders, demons, bleeding walls, hoof prints in the snow, hoaxes, Hollywood blockbusters – this house's notorious history has put it at the forefront of all haunted places.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Midlothian, IL
With plots dating back to 1830, this cemetery has a long twisted history and reports of blue lights, orbs and mists along with strange anomalies like two-headed ghosts.

Bell Witch Cave
Adams, TN
In 1817, the torment of farmer John Bell and his family began in what would ultimately result in the legend of the Bell Witch. The unseen force psychologically and even physically abused the family. Many believe that when the witch departed, she fled to the sanctuary of this cave. Tours of the 450-foot cave are held during October.

Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg, PA
In two days of battle in 1863, 50,000 Americans were killed in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Ghosts of a headless horseman and other cavalry have been seen on the fields as well as all kinds of shrieks, laughter and yelling.

Lemp Mansion
St. Louis, MO
Built in the early 1860s as a home for William J. Lemp and his wife, the house has a twisted family history resulting in four macabre suicides and subsequent haunting. It is now a restaurant and inn.

Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, LA
The former Southern plantation which is now a bed-and-breakfast is said to be haunted by Cleo, a former slave who killed two children. In all, ten murders and one suicide have spilled blood on the house.

Queen Mary
Long Beach, CA
This 1936 ocean liner is now permanently berthed in Long Beach, CA and many areas including the swimming pool and the engine room are rumored to be haunted. Daily paranormal themed tours and haunted mazes are offered, some of which allegedly have special effects added for dramatic effect.

Rio Grande
El Paso, TX
The legend of La Llorona, the ghost of the weeping woman who drowned her children to spite the man she loved, haunts the length of the Rio Grande wailing endlessly. Many reports from 1930 onward have spotted the woman in white, face shrouded and nails outstretched.

Villisca Ax Murder House
Villisca, IA
In June 1912, the small town in Iowa was the sight of a grisly slaughter: two adults and six children were brutally murdered in their beds with an axe. The crime was never solved and a motive was never established. The house is now a museum to the slain Moore family, and its widely reported to be haunted.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Louisville, KY
Opened in 1910 as a hospital for tuberculosis patients, the building would see over 60,000 deaths... some of those were untimely deaths of staff members. The most famous feature is the "death tunnel", an underground pathway used to discreetly remove the dead bodies. The building is closed to the public.

Winchester Mystery House
San Jose, CA
In 1884, a wealthy widow named Sarah L. Winchester began a construction project of such magnitude that it was to occupy the lives of carpenters and craftsmen until her death 38 years later. The gothic and sprawling Victorian mansion, designed and built by the Winchester Rifle heiress, is filled with so many unexplained oddities, that it has come to be known as the Winchester Mystery House. Tours are held daily, with special nighttime Flashlight Tours during the month of October (and every Friday the 13th).

 

Haunted Attractions

Haunted places are scary. Many people prefer not to meddle with the things that go bump in the night. Luckily, there are much "safer" environments to enjoy hair-raising fun. Whether mazes, labyrinths cut into cornfields, or haunted hayrides from hell, these haunted attractions are sure to make you scream.

Gradyvile, Pennsylvania
more pyrotechnics, more explosions, high scares in the back woods
www.thebatesmotel.com

Kansas City, Missouri
very theatrical, real animals, anacondas, alligators, and massive rooms with no easy way out
www.kcbeast.com

St. Louis, Missouri
multiple attractions with great attention to details
www.scarefest.com

St. Louis, Missouri
very detailed with the scares, animatronics, and great actors
www.scarefest.com

Chicago, Illinois
intense actors, smells pumped into rooms, plus take a "ride in a coffin"
www.dreamreapers.com

Pontiac, Michigan
worlds largest haunted house according to Guinness
hauntedpontiac.com

Las Vegas, Nevada
Movie themed haunted house with indoor amusement park at the Circus Circus hotel
www.frightdome.com

Anaheim, California
Disneyland transforms with a gothic Nightmare Before Christmas theme
www.disneyland.com

Ulster Park, New York
Experience the story of sleepy hollow with crew of 250!
www.headlesshorseman.com

New Orleans, Louisiana
Amped up death metal freakshow haunted house on steroids
www.houseofshock.com

Atlanta, Georgia
Tons of monsters everywhere with detailed themes
www.fearworld.com

Fremont, CA
Multiple attractions boasts a pirate central theme - complete with a full size pirate ship!
www.piratesofemerson.com

Cleveland, Ohio
7 different haunted houses on the county fairgrounds
www.7floorsofhell.com

Denver, Colorado
Denver's scariest attraction thought to be truly haunted!
13thfloorhauntedhouse.com

 

 

How to Find Haunted Attractions

Haunted attractions start rising from the grave in mid-to-late September. They typically offer discounts early in the season, but there may be a few drawbacks. Attractions are typically not fully "stocked" with actors early in the season, some actors are not yet in the full spirit of Halloween, and in some cases, parts of the attraction may not be fully operational. Check their website for best prices, and note that prices get steeper and lines get longer as Halloween approaches. There's rarely much advertising for smaller attractions, so you'd be surprised by how many haunted attractions are looming near you!

Hauntworld
The leading industry magazine also has a complete listing of attractions listed by state

Halloween Attractions
Find pumpkin patches, corn mazes and much more

Haunted House
Great directory for finding attractions and everything else

America’s Best Haunts
Editorial selection of great haunted houses in the country

Haunted Bay
Your everything resource for Northern California celebration

Scarefest
St. Louis is home to three of the top haunted houses


Hauntings may come in many forms. Some are just impressions of past events. Some play on a loop unaffected by anything or anyone else. Others are decidedly more active in trying to communicate. #1-5 are basically harmless, however, #6-13 could signal a more serious manifestation than may call for greater measures.

1. Electric items turning on/off
2. Objects disappear then reappear or rearrange
3. Feeling of being watched
4. Strange animal behavior
5. Recurring event at the same time every day
6. Cold spots
7. Unexplained smells
8. Sudden emotional bursts, unusual thoughts or dreams
9. Hand or foot prints, or strange handwriting appear
10. Strange noises, whispers, voices or music
11. Shaking
12. Figures, lights, or shadows
13. Being touched, grazed, pushed or held down

Find out what to do about your haunting at About.com's Paranormal Phenomena site. You'll find many other ghostly articles of interest in this incredibly thorough site.

 


 

New England Society of Psychic Research
Home of Ed and Lorraine Warren whose most notable assignment was the investigation of the Amityville house.

American Hauntings
Ghostly research, resources and even tools by author and ghost hunter, Troy Taylor.

World of the Unknown
Pictures of everything from ghosts and hauntings to UFOs and psychic phenomena.

Haunted Places Directory
A directory of haunted places, investigations, and resources - there might be some activity in your backyard!

Haunted Houses
Maps, photos, and videos of real haunted houses across America.

 


 

Banshee – An ethereal female spirit of Irish descent seen as an omen of death; can usually be heard weeping or moaning loudly

Bogeyman - A shapeless entity that inhabits dark places like closets or basements; powered by fear but can be defeated by turning your back to it.

Demon - a malevolent spirit that was not previously human; some are fallen angels

Doppelganger – from German descent; a ghostly double of a living person is seen as an omen of danger, illness or death

Dybbuk - a malicious possessing spirit of Jewish folklore said to be a dislocated soul of a dead person with unfinished business

Ghost – Previously human spirits than linger in a house or near a place of death

Ghoul – Arabic in nature, this shape shifting demon inhabits burial grounds and feasts on freshly laid corpses; very strong and fast.

Goblin – an evil, mischievous and grotesquely disfigured creature lives in caves, hollowed out trees, or abandoned houses; insatiable appetite

Hobgoblin – ugly, small and hairy man-like creatures found inside older houses, often pull troublesome pranks at night and are very hard to get rid of.

Mothman – seen first in West Virginia and described a winged man-like creature with glowing red eyes; appears before disasters with high casualties

 

Poltergeist – physical disturbances, noises or thrown objects caused by a spirit; now linked to telekinesis and emotional outbursts of girls going through puberty

Shadow People – demonic dark forms that menace or attack people; appear first in peripheral vision; once spotted they can follow you indefinitely

Troll – very short, impish forest creatures are notorious thieves, eat children and small animals, but can be killed if exposed to sunlight.

Vampire – of European lineage, these nocturnal creatures drink blood from living hosts to survive; said to have mind control over weaker creatures; must be invited across a doorway

Wendigo – Native American demon lives in remote wilderness and survives by eating human flesh; practices dark magic and can possess people to do its bidding

Werewolf – a human that turns into a rabid wolf at each full moon; affliction is passed through a bite; must be killed with silver bullet or dagger

Witch – women who gained supernatural powers in a pact with the devil; though immortal, their bodies become warty, grey and extremely weathered with age.

Zombie – reanimated corpses with no emotion or thought; led only by strong instincts and a desire to eat brains; sometimes summoned by voodoo incantations