October may be the month when corn mazes, haunted houses and all things spooky pop up across the country, but there are plenty of places that maintain their eerie appeal year (century) 'round. From coast to coast there are myriad places boasting paranormal activity, so here we’ve gathered a handful that keep topping the not-for-the-faint-of-heart’s lists. What do you think are the most haunted places in the country?
There are few Most Haunted lists that don’t include these behemoth beacons of ghostly activity. Eastern State Penitentiary, built in 1829, is the Gothic-inspired prison notable for being the first to implement the concept of solitary confinement. With the belief that extreme isolation lead to penitence, prisoners were subject to severe measures of mental and physical duress, including being hooded by guards upon leaving their cells. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum opened in 1864 and was set to accommodate 250 patients. By the time the institution closed in 1994, it housed 2,400 people. The decades-long overcrowding lead to the inhumane treatment of patients, such as placing them in cages. The asylum was also notorious for its horrific medical procedures that included electroshock therapy and lobotomies. Reports of disembodied laughter and shadowy figures abound at both establishments, but which do you think is more haunted?
The story of New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion starts with its namesake, Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, a high-born socialite known for hosting elaborate parties at her home in the heart of the French Quarter. While the to-do of NOLA clinked their champagne flutes, a scene of tortuous horror was taking place but a few stories up. A fire on the premises in 1834 revealed chained slaves in the upper quarters that had been starved and tortured, and locals claim to hear their moans and footsteps to this day. The iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is most recognizable as the backdrop of Stephen King’s classic thriller “The Shining.” Even without its creepy cinematic debut, the resort, opened by F.O. and Flora Stanley in 1909, is an actual hotbed of paranormal activity, with incidents of unexplained piano music, laughing children, and flickering lights regularly experienced by the current staff and guests of the still-functioning property. Both places are deemed as actively haunted, but which gives you chills the most?
The Battle of Gettysburg may be something the majority of you snored through in history class. However, the grisly historical conflict is apparently wide-awake with a bunch of haunted activity in the area. From disembodied cries to strange orbs, visitors and residents alike have reported various supernatural goings-on throughout the years. Likewise, the Queen Mary boasts a haunted history of its own. The ocean liner first set sail in the 1930’s as a luxury cruise ship before it was used in battle during WWII. Since then there have been sightings of a woman in white who dances by herself, as well as various other ghosts, throughout its halls.
The stories surrounding the Amityville Horror house are arguably the most interesting things to have ever come out of Long Island. The house first gained notoriety in 1974 when Ronald DeFeo Jr. slaughtered his entire family supposedly at the behest of an evil presence. That terrible night, as well as the terror the house's next occupants—the Lutzes—have since been documented in books and movies, elevating the house to one of the most haunted places in the U.S. Similarly, in Iowa, eight adults and children were butchered in their beds by a mad ax-murderer who remains unknown to this day. The scene of the scene of the crime—the Villisca Ax Murder House—still rings with bodiless footsteps and apparent “bad vibes” of its restless victims.