So, I polled some other travel bloggers and we came up with some spooky places to visit for Halloween in the USA! So, if you love this holiday as much as I do and want to get into the Halloween spirit, check out these creepy destinations and get ready to feel scared (but like, not toooo scared).
SPOOKY PLACES TO VISIT FOR HALLOWEEN IN THE USA
OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Contributed by Megan of Bobo & Chichi
KRBLIN JIHN CABIN IN CALIFORNIA
Contributed by Carol of California Crossings
Dust and tumbleweeds surround the Krblin Jihn cabin in Joshua Tree, California. It looks like a run-down miner’s cabin, but in fact it’s part of a kooky art project designed by artist Eames Demetrios (of the Eames Chair dynasty).
Demetrios has imagined a parallel universe to ours called the Kcymaerxthaere. It has heroes, struggles, religious wars, hubris and all manner of life’s mess. The Kabin tells the story of a religious war in the region centered on an argument over whether Jerusalem is located at the nearby Salton Sea or another puddle in the desert. The losers were declared heretics and banished to the cabins as prisoners of war. As a heretic, Krblin spent his time in isolation, studying religious geography, and scribbling barely coherent sayings on the wall.
What’s creepy about the place is that it really could be a ruin in any of the ghost towns that dot the area. The writings on the wall have a creepy sort of fervor, made more so by the exclusion of the letters “c” and “o”, which the heretics found offensive.
Visiting the broken building and reading the fevered mutterings of Krblin gave me a shiver, but it’s also a fascinating creative project. It’s definitely worth adding to a Joshua Tree National Park itinerary.
“End he kast dwn thee pietses uv silver in thee temple, ehnd departed, ehnd went ahnd went ehnd hanged himself” –Krblin
WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE IN CALIFORNIAThe Winchester Mystery House is a bizarre mansion located in my hometown of San Jose, CA. It was owned by Sarah Winchester, who inherited a huge fortune after the death of her husband, William Winchester. He worked as the treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which manufactured rifles.
After Sarah’s husband died of tuberculosis and her infant daughter passed away from marasmus, Ms. Winchester decided to visit a psychic to determine what to do next. The medium advised her to move west, and continually build for both herself and the spirits of those killed by the guns manufactured by her late husband’s company – the Winchester Rifle.She purchased an 8 room farmhouse that she turned into an 7 story mansion (although it is now just 4 after the 1906 earthquake). It is said that she was afraid of the spirits the psychic had told her were haunting her family, so she had things built to purposely confuse them, like doors and stairs leading nowhere, and only one working toilet that she used – the others were said to be decoys to confuse the spirits! She also slept in a different bedroom every night, again to throw off the spirits.
She was also obsessed with the number 13, so many of the things she owned were of that number.
There are several ghosts that have been spotted in the house. “The Wheelbarrow Ghost”, a resident spirit named “Clyde”, is seen working in a fireplace or pushing a wheelbarrow. Visitors and employees that work at the mansion have reported hearing footsteps, gentle tugs on clothing, shadowy figures, and more spooky happenings around the house!
You can now visit the house as part of a guided tour. They even offer a Victorian Candlelight Tour during which you can visit the house at night to complete all of the creepy vibes! I went one Halloween and it did not disappoint.
Bodie’s population exploded after a large amount of gold was discovered in 1876. It was booming form 1877 to 1880, but was described as a ‘ghost town’ in 1915 and completely abandoned in the 1940’s.It’s eerie to wander around the now deserted town, with only the sound of the wind rustling the grass, and think of it being a once bustling and lively place to live. At its peak, Bodie is thought to have had at least 10,000 residents!
It’s also known as one of the most wild Wild West towns – it was common for gun fights to break out. You can even visit the cemetery at the top of the hill, or purchase special tickets to see the park after dark for the ultimate creepy vibes.One of the most interesting phenomenons was actually started by the park itself. Even though it was protected as a state park, visitors would occasionally take things for themselves. The park wanted to put a stop to this and started a rumor that if you took something home with you, the curse of Bodie would be upon you! Now, they receive many letters from people mailing back the things they stole, claiming that they brought so much misfortune into their lives afterward!
Contributed by Crystal of Wandering CrystalSalem, Massachusetts, is known for the witch trials hysteria from 1692. With a city full of so much dark history, there are plenty of stories about spirits left behind.
Bridget Bishop, the first woman executed in the witch trials, is known to haunt Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall. She comes with the pleasant smell of apples and is often seen reflected in mirrors and windows.
Be sure to spend the night at the very haunted Hawthorne Hotel. The hotel is home to sailors and sea captains’ spirits, which turn lights on and off. Guests often report feeling the cold hands of spectral beings touch them in the night.
Want more places filled with spooky witch trials ties? You must visit the Old Burying Point. The historic cemetery is located right next to the Witch Trials Memorial on Charter Street. The cemetery is home to a few judges and people associated with the Salem Witch Trials history.
As I was gallivanting around town taking photos, I thought I saw the spooky spectral of one of Salem’s many ghosts in the window – on another closer look; it was just my reflection. Still just as scary as a ghost, though.
THE STANLEY HOTEL IN COLORADOContributed by Kara of Destination: Live Life
For fans of things that go bump in the night, a stop at the infamous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO is a must! Opened in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame, you could say it had “clean” beginnings. However, it wasn’t long after opening that haunted happenings began scaring away clientele. For unknown reasons, ghosts of former owners, staff and guests have chosen this hotel as their paranormal stomping grounds. Due to this, the hotel’s popularity faded by the 1970s. But that all changed when Stephen King, who was based in Boulder, CO at the time, spent one night at the Stanley and was inspired to write The Shining.
Today, fans flock to the Stanley hoping to see something paranormal. Rooms 217 and 428 both have high reports of paranormal activity by guests staying there. And in the Concert Hall, a ghost named Paul is known to speak out, nudge people, and flicker lights. Finally, for those who really want to experience it all, be sure and take the hotel’s historic Night Tour. It was the highlight of my visit! This tour takes you through the best paranormal spots while explaining the spooky history behind their presence. It’s no wonder the hotel has been a popular feature on shows like Ghost Hunters!
Round out your trip by making a stop where Stephen King started it all. There are tons of things to do in Boulder, CO, a short drive from Estes Park.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIAContributed by Tatiana of Family Road Trip Guru
San Francisco, California is considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. Why so? It has been destroyed many times by earthquakes and fires so there were lots of lives lost here under violent conditions.
It is also often covered in fog which creates very eerie atmosphere. The fog in San Francisco even has a name, like a living being, – Karl the Fog. And to see Karl rolling in, no, CREEPING upon you is a bit of a hair raising experience in itself.
There are many spooky ghost stories circling in the city. There is a famous legend about a lady ghost of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, there is a whole set of ghost legends coming out of Chinatown and more.
To really get first-hand experience of this paranormal activity throughout the town I suggest you go on one of San Francisco’s ghost tours. We had a great experience with San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour. The success of a ghost tour does not only depend on whether or not you see any actual paranormal activity. It very much depends on the guide, how good he/she is, how much in details he/she knows the history of the city and how well he/she can create the aura of suspense during the tour. Christian Cagigial of San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour succeeds in all these three categories.
If you do decide to to visit, it can get chilly in San Francisco after dark, literally and figuratively.
SAVANNAH, GEORGIAContributed by Rhonda of Travel Yes Please
As the oldest city in Georgia, Savannah has been around long enough to see a significant amount of dark and somber events play out inside its borders. There have been bloody war battles, the selling of slaves, deadly epidemics, and notorious murders, all which contribute to Savannah’s haunting energy.
To experience Savannah’s supernatural side, there are several interesting ghost tours you can take in the Historic District. I did one led by a paranormal investigator and got to use a PX device to communicate with some local spirits. My first experience as a ghost hunter was both exciting and spooky! Years later, it’s still the most memorable and talked about part of my trip to Savannah.
Another way to learn about the people and events that haunt Savannah is to go on a tour of Bonaventure Cemetery. Many high profile people have been buried here, along with their secrets. A good guide will not only bring to life their intriguing stories, but will point out the symbolism found in the cemetery.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Contributed by Alanna of Periodic AdventuresOne of the most haunted towns in America is New Orleans, which boasts a rich, yet gruesome history with epidemics, fires, torture, and voodoo! It might sound brutal (and it was at the time), but lots of deaths means lots of juicy ghost stories!
One of the most famous stories is of Madame Delphine LaLaurie who kept slaves and tortured them in secret from her neighbors. After a fire broke out, her horrible secret was discovered and her reputation was shattered (rightfully so). Now, her mansion in the French Quarter remains a haunted relic of the past. While this might be the most famous, it’s certainly not the best nor the only spooky tale about New Orleans.One of my favorite things to do in New Orleans is to take a ghost tour by locals where you learn about ghost stories and see the landmarks associated with them. I’ve done two tours by Free Tours by Foot and each time a local shared their favorite stories including what really happened at the LaLaurie Mansion, the ghosts of Pirate Alley, and more. The selection was different each time! Don’t forget to visit the above ground cemeteries, like Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, where you can see famous residents’ graves and learn about the “cities of the dead.” In short, bodies are buried above ground because New Orleans sits at or below sea level. When bodies were buried underground, the wooden caskets would often float back to the surface! Creepy!
CENTRAL CITY CEMETERIES IN COLORADOThere are several cemeteries around Central City (an old gold mining town), with the most haunted rumored being the Free Mason Plot in the Central City Cemetery (across the street from the Central City Cemetery). Every November 1st and April 5th, a woman dressed in black is said to visit the grave of John Edward Cameron, who was a Free Mason and died in 1885.
My cousin and I visited the Central City Cemetery and Knights of Pythias Cemetery, which was fitting as they are right next to each other. The Knights of Pythias Cemetery is supposed to be especially haunted, and it’s said that your phone can turn on and off randomly or die for no reason.
The border between the Knights of Pythias and the next cemetery, the Oddfellows Cemetery, is said to have quite a bit paranormal activity. There is one lady who is supposedly seen in this area who has dark curly hair but no face. She disappears immediately after being spotted.
On the edge of the Central City Cemetery, you’ll also find an abandoned mine shaft area.
These cemeteries are a nice place for a walk, as they contain many trails surrounded by aspen trees. It’s a beautiful place to be buried.
My cousin and I walked around on Halloween day and left in the evening, but I can only imagine what happens if you stay for nightfall.
To get to the Central City Cemetery area, follow the Google Maps directions out of Central City’s downtown. The directions will stop at a group of townhouses, but continue to drive straight up the main road onto the dirt road (with the townhouses on the left) and you’ll come to the cemetery.
AMARGOSA HOTEL & OPERA HOUSE IN CALIFORNIA
Imagine driving in the middle of the desert, with nothing to be seen for miles. The last set of instructions you received were from a trailer shop which said drive for 8 miles turn right then just keep going. Anxiety starts to set in as you’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s pitch black…But then there it is. Marta Beckets Amargosa Hotel and Opera house.
Situated at Death Valley Junction with ‘some of the darkest skies in North America’ no TV’s in the rooms. With only hand painted murals on the walls and the opera house in the top right corner of the hotel for company. There is an audience painted at the back of the stage, so that when Marta was dancing she always had an audience.
You can go out in the day amongst the horses, explore the desert and have a real adventure out in nature. Come back, relax, enjoy something from the Cafe or make your own. Then spend the afternoon with a tour around the Opera house, and if you are lucky enough there will be a show on that evening. Then you can wind down for the evening by the fire. And hope the resident ghosts don’t make an appearance, in this quiet town of population 5…
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