Haunted USA: 8 Spooky Destinations

From famous ghosts to spine-tingling legends, we’ve rounded up some of the most haunted places in the USA.

New Orleans, LA: LaLaurie Mansion

LaLaurie Mansion
New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. Photo © Zeitgeistagency | Dreamstime.com

The curious gray LaLaurie Mansion has a dark history. While it’s not open to the public, it’s routinely included on the walking ghost tours offered in the French Quarter. This notorious mansion was once owned by the twice-widowed Madame Delphine Macarty de Lopez Blanque and her third husband, Dr. Louis LaLaurie. After a fire broke out in the mansion in 1834, newspapers reported that several of the men and women the LaLauries kept enslaved were found in the attic tortured, starving, and chained. As word spread of the mistreatment, a mob gathered intent on damaging the home. To evade punishment, Delphine and her family fled to Europe, where she supposedly died several years later.

Over the ensuing decades, the building has served as headquarters of the Union Army, a gambling house, and the home of Nicolas Cage. Through all of its incarnations, however, the LaLaurie Mansion has often been the source of ghostly tales, with reports of moaning, phantom footsteps, flickering lights, and sightings of apparitions.

Can’t get enough of New Orleans’ creepy past? Let Moon New Orleans guide you through the Big Easy.

Boston, MA: The Omni Parker House

Boston’s Omni Parker Housethe oldest continuously operating hotel in the United States—opened in 1855, and the history inside its doors is as captivating as that of the Freedom Trail outside. John F. Kennedy used the hotel as a base for both his candidacy for Congress and his bachelor party, and everyone from Malcolm X to Emeril Lagasse to Ho Chi Minh has been on the hotel’s payroll.

But with so much history comes a spooky side, as well. Numerous visitors have spotted the ghost of Harvey Parker, the former owner, who once even appeared smiling at the foot of a young guest’s bed. There is also a mirror supposedly haunted by the spirit of Charles Dickens (don’t say his name three times!), and Room #303, which is said to be the basis for Stephen King’s short story 1408, was converted into a storage closet due to so many complaints of hauntings from guests. It doesn’t help that the city’s oldest cemetery (and notorious paranormal hotspot), King’s Chapel Burying Ground, is right across the street.

Think you’re brave enough to spend the night? Moon Boston is your best bet.

Los Angeles, CA: Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory. Photo © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Griffith Park feels worlds away from Hollywood Boulevard, the 405 freeway, and the rest of L.A.’s traffic-laden corridors. This is a place where you can lay a blanket, read a book, eat a picnic lunch, and hike trails across more than 4,000 acres. It’s serene, refreshing, and…cursed?

Legend has it that a curse was placed on the land in 1863 by Dona Petronilla Feliz, the niece of the original landowner who believed she was the rightful heir to the land. While it’s hard to say if the years of drought, wildfires, and livestock deaths on the land can be considered supernatural, the eventual owner Griffith J. Griffith donated the property to the city to rid himself of the tainted land after a particularly bad ostrich stampede. (You can’t make this stuff up.) Ghosts have been sighted here for decades, including the spirits of Peg Entwistle, the actress who jumped from the Hollywood sign to her death in 1932, and even James Dean, whose film Rebel Without a Cause was filmed at Griffith Observatory. The strangest story of all is that of a coyote-like beast that stalks the park, rumored to be a demon unleashed by the original curse.

For more L.A. lore (and a sunnier look at the city), pick up Moon Los Angeles.

Savannah, GA: The Kehoe House

view of the front of the red Kehoe House building
Guests of The Kehoe House have reported hearing children laughing, running and playing in the hallways. Photo © Jim Morekis.

The Kehoe House, a Queen Anne brick mansion designed for owner William Kehoe in 1892, is one of Savannah’s premier bed-and-breakfasts. It’s also a former funeral home with a creepy history and countless reported hauntings. Some of the Kehoe children died in the house, including the twin boys who, as the legend goes, were trapped while playing in a chimney.

Although this particular story has been met with skepticism, guests report hearing children laughing, running and playing in the hallways, even when no children are present. In Room #203, guests have claimed to have seen a child at the foot of the bed, felt as if someone was kissing their cheek and touching their hand, and watched lights go on and off by themselves. Spooooky.

Ready to take on this historic (and haunted) city? Check out Moon Savannah.

Jerome, AZ: Jerome Grand Hotel

The Jerome Grand Hotel used to be a hospital, and from the outside it still resembles an old sanatorium, perched on a hill and heavy with secrets. Inside, the rooms are tastefully decorated and comfortable, though a good night’s sleep is not guaranteed: It’s believed that 9,000 people died at the Jerome Grand during its time as United Verde Hospital from 1927 to 1950. There are a number of other creepy incidents as well, like the two deaths in Room #32 and the time a maintenance man was crushed to death by the elevator. Guests report hearing a hospital gurney at all hours, unexplained voices, doors opening and closing, lights turning on and off, and other standard paranormal activity, including ghost sightings.

Want to experience Jerome for yourself? Moon Arizona & the Grand Canyon has ghost towns galore.

Chicago, IL: Oriental Theatre

view of Oriental Theater from the street
The Oriental Theatre was built on what was once the site of the Iroquois Theatre, which burned down in one of the deadliest fires in US history. Photo © Andrey Bayda/Dreamstime.

Opened in 1926, the Oriental Theatre screened motion pictures and staged vaudeville acts amid its ornate, over-the-top east Asian decor. Today, the beautiful theater hosts pre- and post-Broadway shows, concerts, and other events, and the lobby’s elaborate architecture and design is worth checking out even if you don’t see a show. But where the Oriental now stands was once home to the Iroquois Theatre, the site of one of the deadliest fires in US history, claiming around 600 lives in 1903. Today, both performers and audience members report mysterious activity, particularly in “Death Alley,” the narrow passageway behind the theater. Ghostly figures are seen and even captured on camera, cries are heard, and unseen hands have reached out to touch the living.

Key West, FL: Captain Tony’s Saloon

sign over door at a saloon
Captain Tony’s was, at different times during its history, a speakeasy, a cigar factory, a wireless telegraph station, and the city morgue. Photo © Joshua Kinser.

Captain Tony’s Saloon, a Key West tradition since 1851 and the original location of Sloppy Joe’s from 1933 to 1937, promises, among other things, live music every day and a glimpse at Ernest Hemingway’s former stool. It also promises a scare or two—no surprise given its sordid past. Captain Tony’s was, at different times during its history, a speakeasy, a cigar factory, a wireless telegraph station, and the city morgue. In 1865, during the morgue phase, a hurricane washed bodies out into the street. In the 1980s, the skeletal remains of several people were found inside the walls. Other tales include eerie vibes and pranks in the ladies’ restroom, where a child was murdered during Captain Tony’s speakeasy days, and the Lady in Blue, the ghost of a woman who was hanged (along with 16 pirates) from the tree that grows through the roof of the building.

If you prefer an ice-cold drink to an icy chill from the great beyond, check out Moon Florida Keys.

Estes Park, CO: The Stanley Hotel

cloudy sky over a white hotel building
There’s no missing The Stanley Hotel when you drive into Estes Park. Photo © Erin English.

The Stanley Hotel, the most distinctive building in Estes Park and one of the oldest, was built in 1909 by F. O. Stanley, who, along with his twin, was the co-owner of the company that built the famous Stanley Steamers. Stanley and his wife Flora craved the more refined accommodations and social scene they were used to on the East Coast, so they decided to build a grand colonial revival hotel with innovations like electricity throughout the building. Today, the 140-room hotel is known for its amazing views from every window, and for frequently landing on lists of America’s most haunted hotels. The Stanley is famous for its ghostly guests, including Stanley and Flora, who plays her antique piano in the middle of the night, and for serving as horror writer Stephen King’s inspiration for the terrifying Overlook Hotel in his best-selling novel The Shining.

Feeling inspired by Estes Park? Find out more in Moon Colorado.

Pin it for Later

haunted usa pinterest graphic