With Halloween lurking around the corner, we thought it only pertinent that we list some of the eeriest and most haunted places in America. Abandoned asylums, sanatoriums, and prisons are exceptionally creepy and, luckily for those of us with a strange fascination with the paranormal, many across the U.S. are open for tours — some even offer overnight stays … if you dare.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, West Virginia)
Construction took place between 1858 and 1881, and was designed to allow an abundance of sunlight and fresh air into the long wings. However, due to an eventually deteriorating facility and changes in patient treatment, the hospital closed in 1994. The structure remains the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America.
Patients who came seeking treatment were often forced into cramped conditions; many were exposed to electroshock therapy and lobotomies. Hundreds of patients died at the facility, and visitors and staff at the once cramped asylum claimed to have seen and heard those who checked in, but never left.
The former asylum is open for heritage and ghost tours between April 1 and November 5.
Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
During its more than 140 years of operation, no official executions took place — however, there were a number of murders among inmates. Additionally, hundreds of prisoners died of disease and old age … and many are thought to still roam the cell blocks.
The prison is open year-round for tours. It also hosts a massive haunted house each fall.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Louisville, Kentucky)
There was a high death rate among tuberculosis patients at the facility. Some estimates go over 8,000 over the time the sanatorium was in operation. A special tunnel — dubbed the “death tunnel” — was used to secretly transport those that perished away from the hospital so as to keep the morale high among living patients.
While the tour season is closed for the year, the annual haunted house at the sanatorium is open every Friday and Saturday night through October 28, 2017.
Ohio State Reformatory (Mansfield, Ohio)
Over 200 people, including two guards and the superintendent’s wife, died on the facility during its almost 100-year tenure.Haunted history aside, the Romanesque-style structure has been the backdrop for several movies, including The Shawshank Redemption.
The former halfway stop for young offenders is open for tours but check the calendar for full dates and special events.
The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)
Unlike the prisons and asylums above, The Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909, has a peaceful past. The spirits that purportedly roam the iconic property, nestled at the Gateway to the Rockies, are of a more harmonious nature than those depicted in King’s novel.
The hotel still welcomes guests and even offers spirit tours around non-guest areas of the hotel .
The Myrtles Plantation (St. Francisville, Louisiana)
The most famous of the ghosts that inhabit the over 200-year-old home is Chloe, a young slave girl. Modern photos of the house depict a young African-American girl dressed in period attire.
Evening mystery tours are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Feature image by Jeff Fusco.
- The Ultimate Supercross Experience Includes a Riding Lesson from Ricky Carmichael
- Stock Your Home Bar With Best Barware (Without Ever Leaving Your Home)
- Shake Off a Hangover with a Corpse Reviver Cocktail
- Looking Ahead to History: 5 Scientific and Cultural Milestones That Might Just Happen in 2018
- 6 Incredibly Clever Travel Gadgets