With Halloween fast approaching (one of my favorite holidays), I thought I’d share a few places to visit that have a creepy vibe. Some of the places I can tell you that this is true, because I have visited them myself. While others, are places I intend to visit, because I heard they are just as creepy.
If you are like me, and love ghost stories, the paranormal, or are intrigued about connecting with the other side, then going to places with some haunted history might be something you would be interested in? I have created a list of places to visit that have a background in folklore of hauntings, ghost encounters, witchcraft, vampirism and the paranormal that should satisfy travelers seeking destinations with some supernatural or unexplained phenomenons at its location.
Here are 5 creepy destinations to visit in the United States:
Salem, Massachusetts is most well know for its witches and the infamous witch trials. The witch trails started in the spring of 1692, after a group of girl in Salem village said they were possessed by the devil, blaming their alleged curse on several local woman of using witchcraft on them. Mass hysteria and paranoia ensued and the township decided to take action to rid of these so-called witches. The trails were a series court hearings of those charged with practicing witchcraft, mostly all women. The one’s convicted were hanged. Twenty were executed during these trials. Eventually the colony admitted that this was wrong and an injustice and compensated the families of the slain.
Today you can visit the Witch Museum and go on a guided tour with a self-proclaimed witch. You can also visit their many gift shops that are filled with witchcraft, magic spell kits and even get your palms read. Bus loads of tourists flock in every year during the Halloween season. Goth-style is considered very cool here. The city now embraces its history and connection with witchcraft, as they should, since tourism helps the revenue of Salem’s local restaurants, pubs, shops and hotels. The place is creepy but it is also a beautiful seaport town in Massachusetts. If you are in Salem, Massachusetts and have a chance visit during October, you not only, get to feel the energy of its most popular “witching-season”, but you also get to see New England at its best with its display of fall foliage.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has had its creepy connection, dating back to the 1700’s, with the belief of vampirism. During this time, people were suffering from debilitating epidemics, with death tolls skyrocketing. Porphyria, which was wide-spread among New Orleans residents, is a human blood disorder condition that had resulted in many to be “diagnosed” Vampires. People suffering from porphyria became extremely sensitive to light, some also had skin lesions develop, and their teeth became brown or reddish-brown in color. Their gums receded, giving the canine teeth a “fang-like” look.
Another rampant disease was tuberculosis, which would cause a patient to cough up blood. This caused people to think it was from people ingesting blood. The symptoms from these diseases started the rumors that those who were infected were actually vampires.
New Orleans didn’t just have the fear of vampires, but also dealt with Voodoo. In 1791 Haitian slaves revolted and fled to Louisiana, bringing the voodoo religion with them. This dark religion practiced black magic spells, snake worship, conjuring spirits and had animal sacrifice ceremonies. The Voodoo religion became very popular in 1830, because of the influence of the infamous Voodoo priestess, referred to as the Queen of Voodoo, named Marie Laveau.
Today, New Orleans has kept up with the history of vampirism and the Voodoo religion, and is very proud of both. The locals love to tell stories of all the spirits that still inhabit this crescent city along the Mississippi. During a popular ghost tour, I took this past June, the guide spoke of the curse of the Grande LaLaurie mansion, home of the Voodoo Queen herself, located in the French Quarter. Before Marie Laveau owned it, it was owned by Dr. Louis LaLaurie and his wife Delphine. Delphine was accused of torturing slaves in their mansion and it is believed that the spirits of the slaves, still curse this house today. It is said that anyone who tries to buy this home has a 7 year curse. Actor Nicholas Cage bought this house on Friday, November 13, 2007 and had problems from the start. He ended up losing the house to foreclosure due to having a tax lien put on it for 6.26 million dollars. It was also ironic that soon after his house purchase, all of his movies flopped, having terrible reviews and lost money. Was his streak of bad luck a curse or a coincidence? I guess we will never know that answer? Everyone before and after him, who bought the house, all had misfortunes. Today, the address where the mansion stands at 1140 Royal, New Orleans, is considered the number one most haunted house in America.
When visiting New Orleans, you can still feel the eeriness of all the history in the air. Taking a ghost tour, visiting the voodoo and vampire shops will definitely add to the creepiness. You can also have a psychic reading , learn how to cast spells and visit the famous St. Louis Cemetery #1, where Marie Laveau is buried and where many locals have claimed to have seen ghosts in. Besides all the spooky things, you can’t visit New Orleans without having a beignet at the world-famous, Cafe DuMonde.
St. Augustine, Florida (St. Augustine Lighthouse)
St. Augustine, being the oldest city in American, it’s no wonder that it has a history of ghosts stories. The most infamous of ghost stories is the hauntings of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. This lighthouse has seen its share of tragedy and death in its time, possibly, being the reason for so much supernatural activity. It has many stories of people associated with it. It was built in 1824 and owned by Dr. Alan Ballard. He was forced to sell it to the government in 1865 because they claimed it would be swallowed up by the sea. He was furious and said he would never leave. There was the story of the cigar smoking, lighthouse keeper, named Peter Rasmussen who was very meticulous with his care and loved the lighthouse. Then there was the story of Joseph Andreau, who was hired to paint the lighthouse and fell to his death in the 1850’s. The most famous story though, was of the deaths the two daughters of Hezekiah Pity, Eliza 13, and Mary-15, who were with him while he was doing restorations of the lighthouse, and drown while playing near the shore.
Today, there are many spirits that are thought to haunt this, still running beacon for ships, on Anastasia Island. It is now also a Maritime Museum and guests can tour the lighthouse and visit the gift shop. Guests report seeing a man in the window of the lighthouse, believing it to be the ghost of Dr. Alan Ballard. Many report that they smell a cigar, assuming it was the ghost of the lighthouse keeper Peter Rasmussen. There is always reports of footsteps and unexplained sounds that could even be the ghost of Joseph Andreau. The most common sighting although, is a little girl with a blue velvet dress and a blue hair bow, believed to be the ghost of the oldest of the Pity daughters, Mary. People also hear girls laughing late at night, making guests wonder if that is the spirits of the two little girls.
Estes Park, Colorado (The Stanely Hotel)
The Stanely Hotel in Estes, Colorado is considered extremely haunted with ghost stories dating back to the 1970’s. Freelan and Flora Stanley moved to Colorado as a suggestion by Freelan’s doctor, due to his battle with tuberculosis. He decided to build this hotel, completed in 1909, as a vacation spot for the elite. The movie, “The Shining” by Stephen King was inspired by this hotel, after he stayed in room 217 and experienced some ghostly encounters himself.
The Stanely Hotel took this notoriety of being haunted to the bank. They host ghost tours, offer psychic readings and guests can stay in the most famous haunted rooms (room 217 and 401) at an increase of $150.00 more per night, than the rates of their non-haunted rooms. Staff and guests report unexplained happenings all the time. Some report hearing a piano playing, which was one of Freelan’s favorite pastimes. Guests who stay in room 401 claim to hear knocking and banging on the closet in the room and see a man standing inside. While others report, while staying in room 217, seeing a ghostly maid and if she likes you, will help you unpack. This is the room where Stephen King stayed, which inspired his cult classic, “The Shining”.
I have not visited this location, but have always wanted to since I was little, due to being scared out of my wits, watching that movie, “Here’s Johnny!”
Fall River, Massachusetts (The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast)
On an unusually hot day in August 1892, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees, a business man named Andrew Borden and his wife Abbey, were axed to death in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. The person that was charged for these heinous murders was his youngest daughter Lizzie. This was an extremely shocking case because of its gruesome nature and that a young girl was thought to be the one who has committed it. She was acquitted of these crimes and the case was never solved. This was a sensational trial that people from all around were intrigued by.
The popularity of this case is still present today. The Lizzie Borden house is now a bed and breakfast and museum. People come from all over to visit the historic site and can even stay in the bedrooms of Lizzie if they choose. Each year they have a reenactment of the murders that the public can attend and if you stay as a guest you can also eat the breakfast they had on that fateful day in August 4,1892.
Staff a guests claim to experience strange things all the time in the house. Some hear a woman weeping, some hear footsteps, and muffled conversations, while others swear they have seen a women in Victorian period clothing dusting, but then suddenly disappear. No one knows for sure if Lizzie did indeed, murder her parents or if her spirit remains in this house, but these stories of hauntings have not let up in all of these years since.
These are just a few examples of creepy places to visit in the United States, as there a many more. These are the one’s that most interested me.
If you are seeking some creepy things to do while in Salem, Mass or New Orleans contact me and I can give you a few suggestions, since I have just been to both recently.
Have you been to any of these places and experienced anything strange during or after your visit, like I did in New Orleans? Here is a link to my story on what happened to me when I visited St. Louis Cemetery #2, in June, http://www.thewanderlustyogi.net/2015/06/29/i-got-a-graveyard-curse-in-new-orleans/