The final destination of the deceased continually sparks debate between supporters of the supernatural and those firmly pitching their tents on the grounds of Camp Skeptic.
However, in 2013, a staggering 56.9 million US residents reported ghostly goings-on, scary specters and abnormal apparitions at numerous locations.
With the shadow of the Halloween season descending on the American public, here’s a selection of the some of the most haunted places that the US has to offer:
Alabama – Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham –
In the early 1900s, James “Slag” Wormwood, supervisor of the dreaded graveyard shift between sunset and sunrise at the infamous steelworks directed a group of over 100 workers in amongst an overcrowded housing site on the furnace site, forcing them to take precarious risks to speed up construction.
In total, 47 workers lost their lives during his control, and many others could no longer work as a direct result of horrific accidents, including an explosion that left six blind; a grisly rumor claims that workers slung Slag into the furnace in October 1906 in protest at their appalling working conditions.
Following his untimely demise, workers continuously complained of an “unnatural presence” in the worksite, and some even said that they were being pushed from behind or being told by a strange voice to “get back to work.”
Three terrified supervisors reported seeing a man with horrific burns, after being locked temporarily in the boiler room; the man is said to have ordered the terrified workers to, “push more steel.”
Paranormal reports have exceeded the one-hundred mark at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham Police records; Fox’s Paranormal Team have included the site amongst their scariest places.
Arkansas – The Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs –
Perched at the highest point of the county overlooking Eureka Springs and the Ozark Mountains, The Crescent Hotel glares ominously upon the landscape below.
Oozing Victorian character and a history littered with medical fatalities, The Crescent Hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted hotels in the entire of United States.
Numerous ghosts are understood to occupy the halls of this hotel, with mysterious goings-on throughout the site striking fear into the staff; full-body spirits have been reported in room 218, while a visitor to the hotel managed to photograph a ghost in their room.
In 1885, a stonemason succumbed to his death after falling from the roof – the spot where he landed is reportedly now the site of Room 218.
Delaware – Fort Delaware, Delaware City –
Owned by the Military since the 1810s after being seized from Doctor Gale, a private hunter, the French constructed the fort to defend Delaware from the confederates and other enemies.
Captain Samuel Babcock built seawalls and dykes at strategic points around the island in 1812 in an attempt to enhance the defence mechanisms at the island; the construction of the star fort was started in 1817. The second pentagonal version of the fort, visible on the island today was designed by Captain Delafield and was built between 1848 and 1859; this was completed in 1868.
Fort Delaware has been labeled as one of the most haunted places in Delaware, with the dungeons the most active area in the building. Prisoners were kept in squalid conditions without basic facilities such as beds or water; they slept on the floor in amongst the scuttling vermin – death and disease were common.
Shadowy figures and phantoms have been reported in the dungeon area and it is not at all rare to hear ghostly voices echoing through the dark halls of the fort.
Although Fort Delaware no longer serves as a harbor defense facility, the paranormal activity shows no signs of dwindling.
Maryland – Coffin Rock, Burkittsville –
Low-budget phenomenon The Blair Witch Project continues to drag hordes of visitors to Burkittsville, Maryland with one premise: to visit the eerie woods that had audiences shrieking at the turn of the millennium.
Venture into the Black Hills Forest for your opportunity to encounter Coffin Rock, a large flat rock located near a creek in the middle of the eerie woodland; in 1886, a search party hunting for a missing boy inexplicably went AWOL.
Although the eight-year old Robin Weaver soon returned to town, the members of the search party failed to return safely, prompting the launch of a second search party; when disemboweled bodies, with bound hands and feet were found on Coffin Rock, this was attributed to the work of the now notorious Blair Witch.
When the second search party brought help to Coffin Rock, they were astounded to find that the bodies had disappeared.
Wisconsin – The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee –
A regular haunt for some of the countries leading sports teams, The Pfister Hotel has a firm reputation as one of the most impressive hotels in the state of Wisconsin – unfortunately for some, there are some guests who are seemingly overstaying their welcome.
Such is the relentlessness of the strange occurrences at the hotel, there have been professional baseball players who have refused to stay in the hotel; unexplained knocking, temperamental television sets and disappearing belongings have led to hulking Major League Baseball superstars clawing for the exits.
Iowa – Villisca Axe Murder House, Villisca
If you’re on the lookout for a truly unique overnight stay that’ll set your pulse racing, look no further than the Villisca Axe Murder House, the alleged site of a savage axe-murder of eight people by an unknown intruder.
The prime suspect in this unsolved case remains a travelling minister, who had earlier taught at a church on the evening of the bloodbath – he left town in the early stages of the following morning.
Tours of the house are available, and if you’re really feeling courageous, you can spend a night in a room that had been bloodied with the lives of the innocent victims one hundred years ago.
Kentucky – Sauerkraut Cave, Louisville
Previously a fermenting cavern for sauerkraut, this cave earned legendary status for its location beneath the Lakeland Asylum for the Insane; the institution faced allegations of maltreatment of its inhabitants and overcapacity.
Reports indicate that the cave beneath the asylum was used as a method of escape for inmates, with rumors also suggesting that the cave was used to abandon the bodies of babies born within the asylum.
Many visitors to Sauerkraut Cave have described visions and voices; if you’d like to experience it for yourself, tours are available.
Oregon – Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood
This ski resort in Mt. Hood was used for the exterior shots of the petrifying Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s on-screen depiction of Stephen King’s classic horror novel The Shining.
Although the movie depicted a non-existent Room 237 at the hotelier’s request, guests can stay in Room 217 before paying homage to Jack Nicholson’s haunting performance with a selfie with the “HEEEERREE’S JOHNYYYY” display in reception.
Washington – Northern State Mental Hospital, Sedro-Woolley
This abandoned farm was once the home of 2,700 mental patients and is one of the weirdest places in Washington.
Operating from 1912 to 1973, the asylum was self-sustaining and to rumored to be haunted by patients who passed away during lobotomy procedures. Despite this, some buildings continue to be used and are restricted to the general public, but others adjacent to the cemetery can still be explored; a lumber mill, library and bakery are amongst the abandoned shells that can be investigated.
Mississippi – King’s Tavern, Natchez
Bought by Richard King in 1789, the owner soon hired a 16-year old girl, Madeline in the capacity of a server, before having an affair with her.
Upon learning about her husband’s discrepancies, the young girl was killed at the order of Mrs. King. Despite the authenticity of the story often being questioned, the discovery of the three withered bodies in the chimney is considered sufficient evidence for the events.
The Harpe brothers, America’s first serial killers often entertained themselves at the tavern – some believe that they could be held accountable given that they supposedly killed between thirty-nine and fifty people, some of which may have occurred in the tavern.
Many visitors to the tavern have claimed that they seen shadowy forms, heat coming from an unlit fireplace and mysterious footprints; doors are also said to slam when Madeleine’s name is mentioned.