The 7 Spookiest Cities in the U.S.
Things that go bump in the night. Faint cries coming from empty rooms. Shadowy figures that fade from view. It’s all deliciously creepy fun.
If you’re a ghost hunter or you just love feeling a chill run up and down your spine, hop on the road to visit these seven destinations that are well known for their spooky history.
1. Mackinac Island, MichiganWhy it’s spooky: Being on the island is like traveling back in time — cars have been banned and people get around with bicycles, on foot or by horse and carriage, according to Mackinac.com. With a rich history that includes Native American legends and military lore from Fort Mackinac, the island has its fair share of ghost tales.Most famous ghost: The ghost of a young man named Harvey famously haunts guests at Mission Point Resort, the Mackinac Island Town Crier reports. Harvey died on the bluff behind the hotel. Today he’s said to turn on lights when guests are sleeping, steal or rearrange their personal items and appear on the bluff on starry nights.
2. Salem, MassachusettsWhy it’s spooky: It should be no surprise that the location of the Witch Trials draws flocks of tourists every year to this Eastern port city. In the ancient cemetery in the center of town, the gravestones of people involved in the 1692 trials still stand next to a new monument bearing the names of the people who were executed during that difficult time, according to Smithsonian.com.Most famous ghost: Bridget Bishop, a wealthy owner of a local tavern, was the first woman killed for witchcraft during the Witch Trials. She is seen regularly at the Lyceum Bar and Grill, which was built on the site where Bridget owned an apple orchard, according to the Travel Channel.
3. Charleston, South CarolinaWhy it’s spooky: This Southern city boasts 300 years of reported hauntings, according to the Travel Channel. It’s a very well-known destination for those who love all things eerie, so much so that there’s even a series of bestselling ghostly novels, the Tradd Street mysteries, by Karen White, set in the city’s antebellum mansions.Most famous ghost: Reported ghost sightings are plentiful in Charleston’s White Point Garden, where 50 pirates were hanged in the 1700s. Their spirits are said to haunt this popular tourist attraction to this day. Visitors report unexplained cold spots on hot days, and have seen shadowy figures floating between the trees.
4. New Orleans, LouisianaWhy it’s spooky: New Orleans’ association with voodoo, ghost stories and vampire novels makes it an eerie place on the brightest of days, not to mention on foggy nights.Most famous ghost: The ghost of notorious pirate Jean Lafitte is said to make regular visits to his old haunt, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar on Bourbon Street, where he is rumored to have hidden a treasure before his death, Travel+Leisure reports. Patrons and employees alike have reported seeing his red eyes glowing behind the fireplace downstairs, staring at them before disappearing.
5. Savannah, GeorgiaWhy it’s spooky: For all of its Southern charm, Savannah is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the country, with many of the historic mansions, pubs and inns having their own resident ghosts, the Travel Channel reports.Most famous ghost: The City Hotel on Bay Street (now the Moon River Brewing Co.) had an unexpectedly rough history, according to the Travel Channel. Legends include a bar fight that ended in murder and, amid the tensions of the Civil War, a mob of customers brutally beating a visiting New Yorker. It’s reported that apparitions appear on upper floors and bottles are thrown by invisible forces. But if you feel a push in the billiard room while no one’s around, it might be Toby, the ghost of a young boy.
6. St. Charles, MissouriWhy it’s spooky: St. Charles, where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark started their famous expedition to explore the area west of the Mississippi River, is home to historic shops and restaurants in buildings that date back more than two centuries — and nearly all of them have a story about ghostly hauntings, Minnesota’s StarTribune reports.Most famous ghost: According to local legend, the spirit of a little girl floats in and out of many shops and restaurants on South Main Street, and an elegantly dressed couple regularly waits for a table at a restaurant, only to disappear when the host or hostess arrives to seat them, the StarTribune reports. There’s even a story that tells of a ghostly dog that ambles down Main Street. But the most famous ghost is the Lady in White, who is said to stand in front of the church in the old cemetery at the center of town, smiles at people who notice her and then fades away.Image courtesy of Explore St. Louis.
7. Charlotte, North CarolinaWhy it’s spooky: Spirits are said to float in and around many of the Civil War-era homes and restaurants in the historic district of this city that is otherwise dripping with Southern charm, the Travel Channel reports.Most famous ghost: The Cajun Queen, an old mansion that was converted into a restaurant, is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a woman who once lived there, according to the Travel Channel. Because the bar is located in what was her bedroom, she supposedly haunts those who are bold enough to stop for a drink.
Originally published September 26, 2016.