It’s not too late to line up some Halloween fun. These places are truly haunted, so you MAY see a ghost or have some kind of ghostly encounter. But while that may or may not happen, one thing I know for sure. You will be frightened at least a little bit! It is 100% certain that you will get good and scared if you dare to go to one of these spooky events.
Warning! These events are NOT for the faint of heart!
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, West Virginia) is one of the most haunted places in America. The 242,000-square–foot building is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America and the second largest in the world. The enormous and creepy-looking structure definitely does not look inviting to anyone but ghosts, but it reportedly has plenty of lingering spirits. It is believed that some of the tortured souls who were locked up here may still be here, as well as some of the men and women who died during experimental treatments and procedures. Also, a child named Lilly is believed to haunt the place. In addition to their year-round history and ghost tours, they offer an Asylum Haunted “Malice” House during October. The entrance fee is $25 and the haunted house is open nightly from 9/30 – 10/31. Here’s what their site says about this attraction “In the halls of what once was the area’s most reputable hospital, a demented doctor has brought his patients’ nightmares to life. Society’s undesirable souls have been abandoned in the dark recesses of this safe haven. Their sole purpose is to serve the good doctor and his sadistic experiments. Scratching and clawing their way through their new existence, patients succumb to delirious visions before becoming one of the doctor’s creatures. Pushing the limitations of reality, Doctor Cerebus continues to seek immortality. Can you survive a journey into the Asylum, where the veil between life and death has been lifted?” Good luck! This is one of the scariest places I’ve investigated over the years and that was without the Malice House attraction, which sounds positively frightening! www.theasylumwv.com
2. Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA) is among the most haunted places in our country. This is the first penitentiary in existence in the world, but it is better known for one of its infamous inmates, Al Capone. The most haunted areas of the prison are Cellblock #4 and Cellblock #12. Strange sounds, including footsteps and cries, are heard when no one [human] is there. Some visitors have complained of out-of-body experiences. Ghostly images and orbs have appeared on photos taken in ESP. In addition to its normal tours, this historically “preserved ruin” hosts an annual Terror Beyond The Walls. This nightly attraction runs from 9/16 – 11/5. The cost is $19 – $45 and includes six attractions, including LockDown, the Uprising and Infirmary. www.easternstate.org. Sounds pretty darn scary!
3. Waverly Hills Sanitorium (Louisville, KY) began as a TB hospital in the early 1900s but is now known as one of the most haunted places in the United States. A man wearing a white coat who is believed to be the spirit of a doctor who once worked in the sanitorium has been seen. The figure has been seen on many occasions walking through the old kitchen. The smell of food cooking on the stove and bread baking in the oven can be smelled in the kitchen area even though it hasn’t been used in many years. The fifth floor is supposed to be the most haunted area of the building. In addition to historical and paranormal tours, the sanitorium offers a haunted house attraction from 9/23 – 10/29. The cost is $20 for general admission or $60 for a VIP ticket. Like most of these attractions, bringing small children is not advised. www.therealwaverlyhills.com
4. Ohio State Reformatory (Mansfield, OH) has been featured in many Hollywood movies, such as Air Force One, Shawshank Redemption, and Tango and Cash. With its blend of Gothic, Queen Anne, and Romanesque style architecture, it is not surprising that it is popular with film makers. Nor is it surprising that it is home to many ghosts given that it housed more than 150,000 inmates during its 100 years in operation. Visitors can see grave markers for 215 of those inmates. In addition to being haunted by some of these inmates, it is believed to be haunted by a couple of guards who lost their lives in the line of duty. Some believe a former warden and his wife, Helen, haunt the old reformatory. The most haunted areas include the warden’s residence, the chapel the basement, the West Wing shower, and cell blocks in the East Hall Building. Visitors that come during October can also participate in the Paranormal Penitentiary. This is a manmade haunted house created inside the old prison. Hint: It involves participants becoming SLAYERS OF THE DAMNED! The cost is $20 for general admission or more if you want the “ultimate experience.” www.mrps.org
5. Spend the night inside a real haunted house. For those who have no fear of ghosts, you can spend the night with a house full of ghosts. Two of the most haunted houses in our great nation offer overnight stays: Villisca Murder Axe House (Villisca, Iowa) and Prospect Place (Dresden, OH). Eight unsolved murders took place one night inside the Villisca Murder Axe House, which explains its name and why it is haunted. Up to six guests can stay overnight for $400 from 3/1 – 11/1. Anyone seven years and older can take a day tour. Seniors and ages 7 – 11: $5. Adults: $10. www.villiscaiowa.com. Prospect Place was once a thriving plantation and an Underground Railroad station. Nowadays, no one lives here but ghosts. Day tours are permitted on select days and overnight stays are allowed but they book up fast, especially during October. See their website for specifics, www.prospectplace-dresden.com.
Information for this article was compiled from A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to The Most Haunted Places in America and A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to The Most Haunted Houses in America. These books discuss the most haunted places and houses in America. Each chapter includes detailed histories, photographs, fun facts, and visitor information, including accessibility, tips, addresses, and websites. They are available in paperback and all digital formats. FYI: One house has been officially certified as “haunted” by the U.S. government! The history and hauntings of all these places is beyond fascinating!