5 Haunted Places You Can Visit this Fall
As the seasons change from summer to fall here in the northern hemisphere, Americans enter the seasonal phase we like to call “spooky season.” Many of us love a good ghost story this time of year, along with a tradition of frighteningly fun experiences such as haunted attractions and ghost tours. For more thoughts on why humans enjoy scary things so much, take a side visit to our blog post covering the history of horror comics. To really get into the spirit of spooky season, we’ve compiled a list of five haunted places you can visit this autumn that will scare you right out of your fuzzy fall boots.
Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Dubbed the second-most haunted destination in the world by Planet Cruise, Eastern State Penitentiary is renowned for its reportedly unsettling paranormal activity. Opening in 1862, Eastern State was a model for the separate system of incarceration, in which prisoners were kept solitary, away from other inmates, so that they could reflect upon their crimes and repent. Notable inmates include Willie Sutton and Al Capone, who spent seven months at the prison in surprising comfort. Although the prison prioritized rehabilitation over punishment, many inmates did not escape the brutal abuse and torture inflicted upon them by rogue wardens and guards. Eastern State closed in 1971 and fell into ruin, but the cells and hallways still echoed with the ghostly whispers of its tormented past. Today, Eastern State Penitentiary is being actively preserved in a semi-ruined state by the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, a non-profit committed to keeping the story and history of the prison, its inmates, and staff alive and available to the public. Both daytime and nighttime tours and attractions are open for visitors, including five haunted house attractions that are open during the Halloween season, themed bars and lounges, live performances, and flashlight tours. Many visitors have claimed to have experienced ghostly activity such as apparitions and unexplained sounds while touring the site, making Eastern State Penitentiary a must-see destination for paranormal aficionados seeking haunted places to explore.
The Cecil Hotel (Los Angeles, California)
The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, California is a peak destination of interest for enthusiasts of mystery, intrigue, and paranormal activity. With a history marred by mysterious deaths and disturbing events, it has earned a reputation as a hotbed of ghostly encounters. Guests and staff have reported unexplained phenomena, including shadowy figures, strange noises, and unsettling whispers throughout its halls. Built in 1924 and almost instantly entering decline due to the Great Depression, the Cecil Hotel has had more than its fair share of tragic and terrifying events. In 1931, the body of guest W.K. Norton was discovered in his room alongside a bottle of poison capsules, and in 1938 guest Grace E. Magro fell from a ninth-story window mysteriously wrapped in telephone wires. It is also rumored that infamous murder victim Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia,” was spotted having a drink at the Cecil just days before her death in 1947. The hotel is notorious for hosting serial killers as well, including true crime journalist Jack Unterweger, who actually committed most of the murders he reported on, and Richard Ramirez, otherwise known as the Night Stalker, who killed 38 people, dumping some of the evidence in the trash at the Cecil Hotel. The hotel’s unsettling past fuels the belief that restless spirits may still haunt the premises. More recently, the mysterious demise of student Elisa Lam lit up the internet in 2013, as armchair detectives attempted to decipher her bizarre behavior exhibited in elevator camera footage and to solve the mystery of her death in a rooftop water cistern. (Spoiler alert: her death was eventually ruled accidental.) The Cecil Hotel remains an enigmatic site, drawing both curiosity seekers and paranormal enthusiasts eager to uncover the secrets hidden within its haunted walls.
The Queen Mary (Long Beach, California)
The Queen Mary, once a stately and luxurious Art Deco style ocean liner, and now a fully renovated and popular hotel in Long Beach, California, has been designated one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America by Time Magazine. The Queen Mary took her maiden voyage in 1936, and during her years of service through 1966 saw at least 49 deaths aboard ship. Some of those poor souls, it is rumored, still roam the hallways and decks of this grande dame of ocean vessels today. Visitors and staff have recounted encounters with apparitions, mysterious footsteps, and phantom voices echoing in the long corridors. One of the most haunted areas of the ship is Stateroom B340, where a passenger mysteriously died in 1948 and where subsequent passengers have reported seeing the apparition of a man, hearing disembodied knocking at the door, and experiencing flickering lights. The pool is also an area of paranormal interest, with multiple guests witnessing the sudden appearance and disappearance of a woman in a wedding dress, a young woman dressed for tennis on the stairs, and a small child who vanishes upon approach. Another famous ghost is that of an engineer who perished on board in a gruesome crushing accident and is regularly sighted in the vicinity of Hatch Door #13. Paranormal enthusiasts who stay at the hotel will be thrilled to discover they may actually sleep in Stateroom B340 and participate in haunted tours by day while anticipating haunted encounters by night. The lingering presence of the spirits of those who lost their lives on this ship make the Queen Mary a hub of fascination for ghost hunters and thrill-seekers of haunted places hoping to uncover the enigmatic stories that dwell within its haunted decks.
Lizzie Borden House (Fall River, Massachusetts)
The Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts, is notorious for its grim history and eerie paranormal activity. Of interest to ghost hunters and true crime enthusiasts alike, the property was once home to Lizzie Borden, who, in 1892 at the age of 32, was accused of murdering her father and stepmother in a brutal axe attack. Lizzie was acquitted after a widely publicized trial during which numerous contradictory witness statements swayed the judge in her favor. Afterwards, she remained in Fall River until her death in 1927. Though Lizzie was absolved by the courts, her community could never quite fully believe in her innocence and ostracized her from society. Today, Lizzie Borden House is a Victorian style bed and breakfast where visitors can stay and experience all the paranormal activity the home has to offer. The ghost of Lizzie’s stepmother Abby Bordon is said to roam the second-floor hallway and the guest room where she died. Guests who sleep in this room report feeling Abby smoothing and tightening their sheets as if continuing to make the bed as she did on the day she was killed. The spirit of Lizzie herself has been witnessed on the staircase and heard crying in the dead of night. The bed and breakfast also offers daily tours, nightly ghost walks, and late night ghost hunts to prime visitors for their own supernatural experiences. Are you brave enough to spend the night at the site of one of the most infamous double murders in US history?
The Whaley House (San Diego, California)
Built on the site of a public execution, the Whaley House in San Diego, California began as the Greek Revival dream home of thriving entrepreneur Thomas Whaley in 1856. Not only did the Whaley family live in the home, but they also offered parts of it to the community as a theater, a courthouse, and a general store. Tragically, their 18-month-old son Thomas died of scarlet fever in the home within just a few years of its completion and is said to be one of the first of the spirits to haunt the property, along with Yankee Jim Robinson, the horse thief executed on the site that became the Whaley House. Throughout the generations, Whaley family members who passed away within the walls of the home are said to remain in the house they knew and loved in life. Steeped in the rich history of San Diego and laced with spine-chilling tales of ghostly sightings, the Whaley House, a National Historic Landmark, provides visitors with the opportunity to experience their own paranormal investigation, complete with unexplained sounds, footsteps, and otherworldly sensations. The Whaley House, now a museum, calls itself The Most Haunted House in America, as guests have reported seeing the spirit of a grieving young woman, heard the tiny footsteps and giggles of baby Thomas, and experienced flickering lights, swaying chandeliers, and smelled mysterious aromas. Clearly, the Whaley House still belongs to the family that called it home for so many generations. Do you think you can handle visiting some of the most haunted places in America?
Interested in more haunted destinations? Check out our brand new 2024 Vintage Haunted Places Calendar, featuring 13 photos of eerie locations throughout the United States and including extended commentary detailing the chilling history of each landmark.For more hair-raising content, take a look at our collection of calendars with spooky seasonal flair: