Hundreds of thousands of people each year set out in search of the ultimate cheap Halloween thrill, looking for the best amusement park styled haunted houses in their area. What could be better than a few hours of college kids dressed like slasher movie villains? If you are seeking an authentic paranormal experience, try checking out some of America’s most haunted places.
The Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is a curious oddity that reportedly inspired the Stephen King novel Rose Red. The sprawling mansion with unique architecture was built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. Mrs. Winchester was steeply consumed with the paranormal, and it is believed that those interests contributed to the home’s unusual, seemingly never-ending construction.
The house has been converted into a public museum and tourist attraction and is not without its share of reported hauntings. There are hundreds of visitor reported experiences recorded on the Winchester Mystery House website. The reports include everything from hearing disembodied voices, the appearance of apparitions, being shoved, and other unexplained physical manifestations.
The Sloss Furnaces
The Sloss Furnaces is a former steel mill that has been described as “oppressive, evil, and murderous.” Foreman, James “Slag” Wormwood was known for being oppressive. Wormwood ran his long shifts in the extreme heat without giving breaks. There were no holidays off or vacations. The heat of the mill combined with the southern humidity made working at the furnace a nightmare, and more than 47 men died under Wormwood’s watch. The foreman himself later lost his life at the site after falling into one of the furnaces.
Dozens of visitors, paranormal investigators, and news reporters have reported hearing the voice of Wormwood while visiting the site. There have been reports of other disembodied voices, apparitions, and physical manifestations such as being pushed or tripped.
The Sloss Furnaces is a historical site in Birmingham, Alabama and is open to the public for tours.
The Villisca Axe Murder House
A family of six and two guests went to sleep on the night of June 10, 1912, only to become the victims of one of the most brutal crimes of its time. An unknown assailant entered the home and bludgeoned the occupants to death with an ax. The grisly scene became the talk of the tiny town and remains so even to this day.
The Villisca Axe Murder House is a national historical building and is open for both daylight and overnight tours. Many who have visited the house claim to have experienced unexplained occurrences, such as feelings of being watched, the appearance of orbs in photographs, and objects moving inside of the house. The house is located in Villisca, Iowa and is open for daytime and overnight tours.
The Ohio State Reformatory
The Ohio State Reformatory, also known as the Mansfield Reformatory, is said to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. The prison opened its doors in the 1800s and saw more than 150,000 inmates pass through its doors. Crudely marked graves are all that remain of the 215 men that never left the prison. Most of those who died as the reformatory succumbed to infectious disease. Others lost their lives to violence.
Those who believe in the paranormal could say that former staff members took something home with them at the end of their shifts. The Warden and his family were victims of a tragic accident. The farm boss lost his family after they were kidnaped and killed by two parolees. Many visitors to the site report seeing a figure moving about the shadows of the hallways, as well as hearing the voices of a man and a woman.
The Ohio State Reformatory is open to the public, offering a number of tour packages including a “ghost hunt” tour.
The Myrtles Plantation
The Myrtles Plantation is a sprawling plantation homestead. Built in 1796 in St. Francisville, Louisiana, the plantation is believed to be one of the oldest known haunted sites in America. The plantation features a bed and breakfast. The plantation grounds are open for both guided and self-guided tours. Overnight guests can stay in the suites inside the mansion, still fashioned in antebellum décor. Some cabins are available throughout the spread.
Owners, hired staff, and guests alike have reported unexplained activity at the Myrtles Plantation. Photographs of full, solid-bodied apparitions have been snapped on the grounds. One visitor snapped a photograph of his family, only to later discover the ghostly image of a child in full antebellum clothing in the window behind them.