What Is the Most Haunted State in America?
America is home to thousands of disturbing destinations, from ghost towns to graveyards, and bloody battlefields to Native burial grounds. Many states could stake a valid claim to being the most haunted in America.
It’s impossible to say which one is the most haunted because there are so many ways of measuring— do you go on the number of ghost sightings per state? The number of haunted places? Or the number of people who claim to have seen a ghost?
We’ve put together a list of states that crop up on all of those lists, with descriptions of one or two of their most famous haunted locations.
Haunted Location: Texas is home to more alleged supernatural sightings than any other state. Among the most famous are the Marfa Lights; strange, colored orbs seen moving above the desert at the western edge of the state. Recent studies have attributed them to atmospheric reflections of car headlights on the nearby highway. But that doesn’t explain why sightings of the Marfa Lights have been reported since 1883. Something more sinister, perhaps?
Haunted Location: Visitors will get more than a history lesson when they enter The Alamo, a Mission in the city of San Antonio (one of the most haunted cities in the world). The site of one of America’s most famous battles, thousands of soldiers were killed here in 1836. Anguished battle cries and the shadowy figures of soldiers are among the supernatural phenomena reported here.
Haunted Location: Bodie, one of California’s most famous ghost towns, was once a booming gold-mining hub with a population of up to 10,000 people. Mining was notoriously dangerous and many miners perished. The metal dried up and people left to seek their fortunes elsewhere, but some say the spirits of the departed miners linger among the shafts and ruins.
Haunted Location: In the 1800s, Chicago’s Lincoln Park was once the site of a huge cemetery where thousands of bodies were interred. The Great Fire of 1871 ravaged the city and destroyed all of the wooden grave markers. As many as 10,000 unmarked graves may lay beneath the lush fields of the park, which ghost hunters believe explains the high level of paranormal activity in the area.
Haunted Location: An innocuous-looking townhouse in Greenwich Village is one of the Big Apple’s most haunted places. Spooky and unexplained events have been linked to the house for over a century. Mark Twain lived here for a year in 1900, and even that famous ghost-skeptic claimed to have witnessed a supernatural event. Subsequent residents have reported seeing Twain’s apparition— one report even mentions the ghost of a man who gave his name as Clemens (Twain’s real name) and said he had a problem he needed to settle, before vanishing into thin air.
Haunted Location: The Tennesee State Prison in Nashville was as brutal a prison as any in America from 1898 to 1992. It was the first to use an electric chair to execute prisoners, with around 100 sent to their doom by ‘Old Sparky’. Many more prisoners died here, due to suicide or from the effects of the terrible conditions. After the prison’s closure, the public was prohibited from entering. However, the few foolhardy souls who dared to trespass will no doubt have been unsettled by the eerie ruins, in which the spirits of the deceased prisoners are said to wander. Much of the prison was destroyed by a tornado in 2020, but you can get a sense of the building’s creepiness from this drone video, shot before the disaster struck.
Haunted Location: Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit was used by the US Army from 1848 until 1972. The fort never saw battle, so the spirits of fallen soldiers do not linger here. However, it does sit on the site of a Native American burial ground. Visitors to the fort have reported hearing disembodied voices and footsteps, and seeing unexplained shadows on the walls of the tunnels.
Haunted Location: Few tales reach such a level of notoriety that they have a nursery rhyme named after them. The famous ditty of Lizzie Borden recalls the brutal murder of her parents, who were both found dead in their house in Fall River in 1892. Both had died from multiple axe wounds, and their youngest daughter Lizzie was the prime suspect. Though she was acquitted, her name has been associated with the horrific event ever since. The house is actually now a Bed & Breakfast, where brave souls can stay the night in the very room the bodies were found. Perhaps they’ll catch a glimpse of a female apparition in Victorian clothing, or hear footsteps and weeping from empty rooms.
Haunted Location: Salem, just north of Boston, is the location of one of America’s most infamous events: the Salem Witch Trials. In 1692-93, over 200 hundred people in the area were accused of witchcraft— 19 of these were executed by hanging in the largest witchhunt in US history. The town is home to many places said to be haunted by the angry souls of the unjustly executed. One such place is the Joshua Ward House. Several of the accused lived here— and sadly, it’s also where some were tortured until they confessed.
Haunted Location: Myrtles Plantation, northwest of Baton Rouge, has been named one of America’s most haunted houses— its past is riddled with ghost stories. The most famous of these regards Chloe, a slave girl who, as the story goes, poisoned the plantation owners and was murdered and thrown in the river as punishment. Visitors report sightings of a girl wandering the house, and she can even be seen lurking in the background of photos taken at the property.
Haunted Location: From July 1-3 1863, the town of Gettysburg played host to the bloodiest battle in the American Civil War. As many as 50,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the battle, and several thousand of them were buried quickly and without grave markers. Residents of the town say these soldiers never left. But there are dozens more freaky stories from the aftermath of the battle, and ghost tours are a huge attraction. Perhaps the most disturbing is that of the National Soldiers’ Orphanage Homestead, where the vicious headmistress Rosa Carmichael chained children to the walls of the basement and brutally beat, starved, and abused them. It’s been voted as one of America’s creepiest places.
Haunted Location: Lake Lanier is a stunning reservoir, with over 10 million annual visitors enjoying boating and bathing in the blue waters. But the lake has a dark past. Beneath the surface lies the town of Oscarville, which was flooded during the reservoir’s construction in the 1950s. In the early 20th century, the town was a thriving black community and was the site of numerous racially motivated lynchings and riots that eventually led to the town's abandonment. While some of the area’s cemeteries were relocated, many graves were left behind to be submerged. Some say this could be linked to the unnaturally high number of deaths that have occurred at the lake in recent years.
Haunted Location: The town of St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-inhabited European settlement in the US. Naturally, it’s full of haunted spots. One of the most famous is the St. Augustine Lighthouse, where several unusual deaths have occurred. Chief among these is perhaps the death of three children when the brakes on the cart they were playing on mysteriously broke and they were thrown into the ocean. Their footsteps and laughter can allegedly still be heard there today.
Haunted Location: America is brimming with haunted hotels, and the Martha Hotel and Spa is one of them. During the Civil War, it served as a hospital for wounded soldiers, so it saw its share of grisly deaths. Visitors report eerie presences and the appearance of unexplained bloodstains around the hotel.
Haunted Location: Featuring on TV shows and polls listing America’s most haunted places, the Whispers Estate has the look of a haunted house. When Dr. Gibbons resided here with his wife, Jane, several strange deaths occurred. One of the children they adopted, Rachel, accidentally started a fire that resulted in her death. Another infant later perished in the master bedroom, as did Mrs. Gibbons herself. Guests can stay overnight, and many report hearing the walls ‘whispering’ and the ghost of Rachel running and giggling around the house.
Haunted Location: The town of Guthrie is said to be the most haunted place in Oklahoma, and the Stone Lion Inn is one of its noted spooky spots. This Victorian mansion is apparently haunted by the ghost of an eight-year-old child who was accidentally poisoned by a nurse in the house. Guests speak of being tapped on the cheek while they are sleeping and hearing a child’s footsteps on the third floor.
Haunted Location: The Grand Hotel in Jerome was once the United Verde Hospital— over 9,000 deaths are said to have occurred here. The hotel has a log where guests can record strange happenings, and hundreds of pages are filled every year. The third floor is particularly rife for supernatural activity, as this was the location of the operating rooms where the majority of deaths occurred. Also, Room 32 receives more reports than most, possibly due to the fact that several people are said to have leaped to their deaths from the balcony in years gone by.
The Haunted States of America
We’re sure that every corner of the US has its own ghost stories. Even if your state didn’t make the list, there’s no doubt that you won’t be far away from somewhere that’s claimed to be haunted.
Has all this talk of hauntings got you in the mood for more hair-raising research? Why not discover the History of Horror Movies — if you dare?
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