October is the perfect time to visit spooky places around the U.S. This post highlights 10 different sites across the country that are famously haunted, and notably historical. Whether you believe in ghosts & goblins or not, you will definitely find the history of these places very intriguing! We specifically chose states where many of our clients and employees reside. We highly recommend visiting the location closest to you!
1. Yuma Territorial Prison – Arizona
As one of the Old West’s most feared prisons, Yuma Territorial Prison–in Yuma, Arizona– has become a living museum of the Old West. The prison held over 3,000 inmates from the time it housed its first prisoner in 1876 until it closed its doors 33 years later. One of the most daunting parts of the prison is “the dark cell.” This 10-foot by 10-foot cell is where serious offenders were confined without human contact and chained to the stone floor. The only light that entered the cell was through a small vent in the ceiling. Records indicate that two prisoners left this cell, but only to be transferred to a psychiatric facility. The “dark cell” is visited by ghosts of Yuma today (I). Visitors that come to the Museum can hardly stand to be in the “dark cell” for more than a moment (H). Cell number 14 is another eerie section of the prison. An inmate, John Ryan, committed suicide during his imprisonment at Yuma in this very cell, and is said to haunt the cell today (I).
2. Sloss Furnaces – Alabama
The Sloss Furnaces are a National Landmark located in Birmingham, AL. The Sloss Furnaces were once, “The largest manufacturer of pig iron in the world (SlossFurances.com).” It stands today, frozen in time, as a tribute to the Industrial Revolution. The furnaces were in commission between 1882-1970. But from 1900 to 1906 the dismal working conditions became deadly under the direction of James Wormwood, the graveyard shift foreman. Wormwood pushed his workers to produce at hazardous speeds which lead to 47 deaths and many injuries. Wormwood himself passed away at the plant when he fell into a pool of molten steel. Karma? Wormwood’s presence still looms at the Sloss Furnaces and workers have reported feeling pushes from behind or being told to “get back to work” by a mysterious voice (SlossFurnances.com). Check out this National Landmark and learn more information by clicking here.
3. Queen Mary – California
The Queen Mary, located about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, embarked on her maiden voyage in 1936. This ship sailed with eminent people aboard such as Winston Churchill. This luxury ship was emptied of her luxuries and transformed into a WWII troopship in 1940. After WWII, the Queen Mary was reconstructed to be a passenger ship once again, but fully retired in 1967. Now the Queen Mary services as a hotel on the water in Long Beach, California. Ghosts from the ship’s past have been spotted aboard today. Guests are able to participate in haunted tours and unique events throughout the year. Make sure you check out the ship and book a tour or nights’ stay at this floating historical site!
4. The Story Inn – Indiana
The Story Inn located in Story, IN, was built in 1851 and is the only structure still standing from the small mining town. During the Great Depression the building was not functioning but was later restored in the 1960s and functions today as a charming bed and breakfast (B&B). The B&B is known to have a resident ghost referred to as the “Blue Lady.” She appears when the blue light in the room(s) above the restaurant are turned on. It’s important to note that if you smell cherry tobacco during your stay, she has already come and left. To book a night and experience this haunted yet charming B&B visit their website.
5. Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Kentucky
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is considered one of the most haunted places in the country. In 1910, the land in Louisville, KY—once the site of a mansion—became the site of tens of thousands of painful deaths. A majority of death that occurred here was the result of the Tuberculosis outbreak, also known as the “White Plague.” Louisville in particular fell subject to many cases of Tuberculosis because of the swampy conditions surrounding the area. Treatments in the early 1900’s were not Kosher and resulted in more deaths than cures from the illness. Because of the numerous deaths at this facility, a “death tunnel” was constructed to rid of bodies from the facility discreetly, so as not to cause panic amongst other patients with a constant parade of hearses (C). You can learn more about this historical site by visiting & touring the facility, or buying tickets to the haunted house this season here.
6. Ohio State Reformatory – Ohio
The Ohio State Reformatory was built in 1886 and is located in Mansfield, about 80 miles south of Cleveland and 80 miles north of Columbus. This prison has been used in several famous films such as The Shawshank Redemption. The Reformatory boasts a beautiful, immaculate architecture, but don’t let its beauty fool you as this Reformatory was shut down in 1990 due to abuse, torture, and murder. Civil rights activists denounced the Reformatory for “brutalizing and inhumane conditions” (Mansfield Reformatory). To learn more and tour the facility head to https://www.mrps.org/.
7. The Old Tooele Hospital – Utah
The Old Tooele Hospital built in Tooele, Utah, about 35 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Today, the hospital has two functions. Half of the hospital serves as a home for the elderly and the other half is a haunted attraction, Asylum 49. The haunted Old Tooele Hospital was originally built in 1873 as a home for the Lee Family. By 1913 the space had been converted from a family home to a home for the elderly, referred to as the “County Poor House” (HauntedPlaces.org). In 1953, it opened as an underfunded hospital that is still partially functioning today. To learn more about the unique ghost stories and paranormal activity in this hospital look here.
8. St. Augustine Lighthouse – Florida
As the oldest brick structure in the country’s oldest city, St. Augustine Lighthouse is undeniably haunted by several popular ghosts. Two of this historical beacon’s most famous ghosts, Eliza and Mary Pittee–daughters of Hezekiah H. Pittee, the superintendent of lighthouse construction–drowned in the bay while playing in a cart on the property in 1873. Many claim to hear the girls laughing at night, or even spot Eliza floating around the grounds in the dress she died in. Several other ghosts supposedly share the property with the Pittee sisters. The Light Keeper in 1859, Joseph Andreu, plummeted 60 feet to his death while painting the tower. He is still spotted and heard by visitors and staff today. You can see for yourself by booking a tour here.
9. The Pfister Hotel – Wisconsin
Advertised as the “Grand Hotel of the West,” the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, WI opened its lavish doors in 1893. Businessmen, Guido, and his son, Charles Pfister wanted to erect a luxurious hotel for elite visitors that came to Milwaukee. To this day, it is visited by distinguished guests and celebrities from around the world (G). It also has quite the reputation as a “haunted hotel.” Oddly enough, both MLB and NBA players that have stayed there in the past have many stories about the unusual activity that occurs at the hotel. Some have claimed to have seen a ghost wandering the halls of the hotel, believed to be the ghost of Charles Pfister himself (F).
10. The Dock Street Theatre – South Carolina
This operating theatre in the Lowcountry is an attraction for many who visit Charleston today. It is one of the most haunted places in the state of South Carolina. It has weathered relocation, a city-wide fire, and an earthquake throughout its lifetime, not to mention a parade of unique visitors that died on the property. The bones of the theatre once belonged to the Planter’s Hotel — a luxurious spot for the upper class planters to stay, imbibe, and entertain themselves. One of the ghosts that haunts the theatre today is said to have been a prostitute that frequently attended to male guests at that hotel and eventually died on the property when she was struck by lightning from the 2nd floor balcony (D). The other infamous ghost that haunts the halls of the Dock Street Theatre belongs to the father of John Wilkes Booth, Junius Booth, a famous actor of his time. While he did not die on the property, he was a frequent visitor after it was restored into a theatre once again in 1936 (E).