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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

6 of the Best Haunted Places in the United States

With Halloween right around the corner, many of us will be celebrating the evening’s festivities through the joy of trick or treating, or elaborate costume parties. While some will engage in age-old fun, others will be daring themselves to attend ghost tours and haunts. As North America is rich with history and stories full of color and intrigue, it is also quite plentiful with legends, myths and stories that will haunt you to the very core.

Whether you’re a believer or not, there is always something more to life than meets the eye. North America is filled with ghost stories that are passed down from generation to generation—from haunted houses to military spots, each of these creepy locations are filled with grisly tales of suffering, death and sadness. Perfect for Halloween, here are six of the best haunted places in the United States.

The Hannah House

Located: 3801 Madison Avenue in Indianapolis, IN

{Image Credit: My Paranormal Podcast}

The Hannah House is known as one of the most haunted places in Indiana, but is there any truth behind these claims? In an episode of My Paranormal Podcast nearly four years ago, the two former paranormal investigators discovered haunting tales of this house that still spook many till today. As a hide-out for many slaves until they could be moved to the next underground spot, the Hannah House has seen its fair share of hauntings, particularly in its mansion’s basement. As shared with the podcast pair from a Hannah House representative, the slaves—cramped up in the basement—sent the basement ablaze as an oil lamp tipped over one fateful night. Many were killed in that basement and in an attempt to cover up traces of the incident, the dead were buried in the cellar.

Since it happened, many have witnessed and experienced paranormal activity occurring in the house and cellar. From spectral slaves hiding in the shadows, to moans and voices, and cold spots—there are various accounts from tourists and those maintaining the house. It appears that though some of the slaves died that night, some may have stayed around and are still hiding in the safety of the basement.

The historic house hosts several events throughout the year, along with open house tours. For more information, visit them at The Hannah House.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

Located: 81 Lighthouse Avenue, St. Augustine, FL

{Image Credit: My Paranormal Podcast}

Originally built by Spanish settlers during the 1600s, the St. Augustine Lighthouse became an official US lighthouse in 1824. However, due to tidal erosion, the original lighthouse was replaced and located 1/4 mile away where the now haunted lighthouse was built in 1874. Since then, the St. Augustine Lighthouse has seen a lot of paranormal activity according to numerous paranormal investigators and tourists. It is believed that the buildings around the lighthouse and the grounds are haunted.

With stories of little girls drowning and a lighthouse keeper falling to his death, many who have visited the Lighthouse have encountered strange, paranormal activity. Several paranormal investigators have explored the old lighthouse and even captured mysterious incidents on video, like the  TAPS crew (The Atlantic Paranormal Society, Ghost Hunters) who captured the disembodied voice of a woman asking to “help me, as well as shadowy figures being captured on screen. Paranormal investigator Louis Charles of Angels & Ghosts collected EVPs that are absolutely chilling. The lighthouse has spooked so many that Ghost Hunters actually revisited the location two years later.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum Ghost Tour is the only ghost tour that grants you access to inside the tower at night. For more information on their ghost tours and hunts, visit their official website.

The Skirvin Hotel

Located: 1 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK

First opened in 1911, the Skirvin Hotel is not only one of Oklahoma City’s oldest hotels, but is one of the city’s most haunted sites. Built by oil tycoon W.B Skirvin, the hotel was famous in the early 1900s because his daughter Pearl Mesta became the ambassadress to Luxembourg. Her prestigious status put their hotel on the national map, helping to garner large, rich crowds. During the prohibition era, The Skirvin Hotel became the hub of excitement and scandal. The hotel brought in several types of individuals (a lot going under the radar), including high-class “social escorts” who would service the hotel’s gentleman guests. One night as such, a young woman met her death in one of the rooms and has since haunted the hotel. Many men who have stayed at the hotel have claimed to see a naked woman roaming around their room, and even appear in the shower with them. With a seductive voice calling them out and propositioning them, it has creeped out many.

{Image Credit: Skirvin Hilton}

While the guests were once serviced above and beyond the call of regular customer service, W.B Skirvin had his own secrets. In a time of social discretion, the tycoon had an affair with an employee and impregnated her. But to avoid scandal, he kept her captive on the 14th floor before and after her pregnancy. Known as Effie, the young mistress would scream and bang on the doors, but to no aid. Eventually growing mad, she jumped out the window with her baby in arms. Hotel staff and visitors have claimed to see a woman roaming the halls, a figure standing by the windows and heard the cries of a baby throughout the night.

In 2011, the New York Knicks encountered several apparitions while playing their rivals, the OKC Thunder. Several players found great trouble sleeping and were convinced from their experiences that the hotel was indeed haunted. The Chicago Bulls might not like the Knicks, but they agreed as they too have found themselves in the middle of paranormal activity, with their bathroom doors slamming.

The Skirvin Hotel is now known as The Skirvin Hilton and while they don’t have tours, they are still reports from tourists today of its hauntings. So why not take it upon yourself to pay a visit and see for yourself?

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Located: 4400 Paralee Ln, Louisville, KY

This former tuberculosis hospital has been called one of the “most haunted places on Earth” by paranormal investigators. With unconfirmed reports of nearly 8,000 deaths at this site, property owners, workers, and investigators have claimed at almost any time of day, strange lights, phantasms, and shadows move around corridors and rooms of the building. With EMF meters going nuts, others have reported seeing shadow people roam the halls, heard doors slam for no reason and seen floating heads.

Looking up the body chute from the bottom at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. {Image Credit: The Cabinet}

First opening in 1910, this two-story hospital would accommodate TB patients but with the rate of the “White Plague” increasing each day, patients were dying before treatment could take place. With the sight of dead bodies plummeting morale and as a means to combat the disease from spreading, doctors used the hospital’s tunnel as a means of disposing bodies. From the tunnel, the hospital staff would transfer the bodies to be cremated or buried. Today, voices are often heard along the long eerie passage, as well with many sharing that they’ve seen fast moving shadows along the chute trail.

Countless paranormal reality shows have visited this famous hospital with Ghost Hunters exploring the local myth of a nurse’s murder or suicide in Room 502. Legend found that she was pregnant by the Sanitorium’s owner without being married and contracted TB. Because of her dire situation at a time where many frowned upon pregnancies out of wed-lock, the nurse hung herself with a light bulb wire outside the room she was in at the time. Paranormal enthusiasts, investigators and tourists have witnessed dark shadows, the faint sounds of a woman crying and cold spots in that very room.

Every Halloween, the Sanatorium features haunted house tours with visitors experiencing the famed Waverly Hills in all its glory. It is open year-round though for tours and ghost hunts. For more information, visit their official website.

The Grey Lady Ghost of Willard Library

Located: 21 First Avenue, Evansville, IN

{Image Credit: Willard Library}

Remember the beginning of Ghostbusters with the library ghost? It was a hilarious scene with the film’s beloved trio trying their best to “get her!“, but did you know that ghostly tale has truth to it? Nestled in Evansville, Indiana, the The Willard Library is home to The Grey Lady Ghost—or, better known as Louise Carpenter. Carpenter was the daughter of financier, Willard Carpenter who not only funded construction, but donated the land for the two-story brick building. Built in 1885, this library has seen its fair share of ghostly encounters. over the years.

With a ghostly figure first seen in 1936 by a maintenance worker, there have been an influx of reports since then by many of the library’s staff and visitors. While some witness the elusive “lady” walking the grounds and peering into a pool of water, others experience cold spots and phantom smells of strong musky perfume. In the late 80’s, parapsychologist Lucille Warren saw The Grey Lady in garb from the early 19th century, describing her hair and overall style, and sharing that while she was able to communicate with her, Carpenter was shy and haunting more of the field outside than the actual library.

The Willard Library has created a website dedicated to the Grey Lady with live cameras set up in various parts of the building where most of the encounters have been reported. To see if you can catch The Grey Lady for yourself on their feeds, check it out here.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Located: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Known as one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was not only the prototype to over 300 prisons across the US, but it is regarded as one of the most haunted places in the country. The penitentiary now stands in ruins and is a haunting world of crumbling cell-blocks and empty guard towers. With its grand architecture, strict discipline and desolate setting, this was a prison designed to inspire penance and true sorrow in the being of heartless convicts like Al Capone or “Slick Willie” Sutton. Today many people believe that Eastern State Penitentiary is haunted with reports dating back to the 1940’s where officers and inmates reported mysterious visions and experienced eerie moments in the ancient prison. The ghost sightings have only increased since Eastern State was abandoned in 1971 too, leaving many to explore the deserted prison.

{Image Credit: Wikipedia}

In a very “Shawshank” sort of feel, the cells were vaulted and prisoners would get a glimpse of sunlight known as “The Eye of God” through a slit in the cell’s ceiling. With many of them being desperate for human interaction, they would tap and bang on pipes, and whisper through vents. However, being discovered by penitentiary guards meant inmates would face abuse and harsh discipline like having an iron clamp on their tongue so they would no longer whisper, or be thrown into an ice bath, or hang upside down for hours at a time. Many inmates who suffered these forms of torture died, while others would be put into a hole, dug under Block #14—which was nothing but a dark pit with no light and little air.

A few years ago, the TAPS crew of Ghost Hunters visited the site and captured interesting footage of a figure approaching the camera, but then abruptly turning around and going the other way. Today the penitentiary is opened to the public and hosts tours. Over the years, there have been countless paranormal investigations that take place in many of the cell blocks, and according to Assistant Program Director Brett Bertolino, they almost always find evidence of activity. Tourists and employees of the now-museum have reported hearing heavy weeping, giggling and whispering coming from inside the prison walls.

Do you dare to visit? For more information on the Eastern State Penitentiary and schedule your own visit, check out their official website.

* * * * *

What are some of the most haunted places you’ve visited? Share with us in the comments below!

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  1. Happy Halloween from The Hudsucker! | The Hudsucker - October 31, 2014

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