American history is full of all kinds of violence. Frontier battles, witch trials, social unrest, pioneer problems, labor strife, and the Civil War all combine to make up a small part of the country’s sometimes malevolent history. And along with those dark times often comes a macabre aftermath. Across the country, big cities and small towns alike are replete with tales of haunted houses and ghostly grounds. The afterlife is front and center for so many of us.
For generations, children have spread creepy ghost stories to their friends. They’re not the only ones who love to tell a terrifying tale, though. Americans of all ages don’t hesitate to hype up supposedly haunted spaces. There are plenty of chilling tales off the beaten path too. You may not have heard of these ten spots, but they are all said to be possessed by spirits from another dimension.
10 French Lick Springs Hotel, Indiana
The French Lick Springs Hotel was originally envisioned in the mid-19th century by a man named William Bowels. At the time, he was a doctor in Indiana and wanted to capitalize on the natural sulfur springs found around the town of French Lick. So he built a wellness resort. For four decades, the sulfur springs proved to be a regional attraction.
But things went to the next level in 1888 when French Lick’s mayor, Thomas Taggart, bought the resort. He quickly renovated it into a luxury hotel. He kept the miracle springs and bottled the water for sale. Taggart also added nearly 500 guest rooms, a spa, and two golf courses to the property. The hotel has been a tourist destination for travelers across the Midwest ever since.
That’s not to say it’s totally carefree. In fact, locals believe Taggart’s prized possession to be the most haunted place in all of Indiana. The most frequent spirit spotted around the grounds is said to be that of Taggart himself. Employees always know it’s him because the ghost does the same odd jobs around the hotel as what its owner used to do when he was alive. Observant employees can often smell the spirit coming, too. Taggart’s ghost is said to reek of cigarette smoke, just like the real man did in life. Sometimes, the former mayor’s other-worldly spirit even rides a horse down a sixth-floor hallway!
Taggart isn’t the only apparition who haunts the place, though. Guests swear there’s a bellhop spirit running around as well. In fact, they believe him to be a current employee—until they later see his picture among century-old photographs of the hotel.
9 Hotel Alex Johnson, South Dakota
Railroad tycoon Alex Johnson built a spectacular hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota, just a few years before the Great Depression. Not one to be bashful, he named it after himself. He put it in a great place, close to the world-famous Black Hills and not far from Mount Rushmore. So it was successful from the outset.
Throughout its century of operation, the Hotel Alex Johnson has hosted presidents, dignitaries, and celebrities. It even got a boost in 1959 when Alfred Hitchcock used it as a location in his thriller North by Northwest. But there’s a dark side to the hotel, too. In fact, locals believe it to be one of the most haunted places in all of the Upper Midwest.
Johnson himself is reputed to haunt the hotel. The man took great pride in his property when alive, so it makes sense he’d want to keep tabs on it after death. But the big issue in the hotel’s history is a string of unsolved deaths that have occurred on the property. Many visitors have reported seeing a little girl running up and down the 8th-floor hallway. For years, reports have come in claiming the girl knocks on guests’ doors and runs down the hall. When visitors open their room doors, she vanishes.
A second more disturbing ghostly guest is known only as the “Lady In White.” Legend has it she was a new bride who died mysteriously at the hotel on her wedding night and has haunted it ever since.
8 Myrtles Plantation, Louisiana
New Orleans is said to be one of the most haunted cities in America, so it makes sense that it would pop up on this list. The Myrtles Plantation is actually about a hundred miles outside of the Big Easy in St. Francisville, but the Southern spookiness here reigns supreme all the same. The property was an old antebellum plantation that has since become an event center and tourist attraction. Its employees know a thing or two about attracting those guests too. That’s because they boast the plantation is haunted by at least a dozen different ghosts! Legend has it that the Myrtles was the site of at least ten historical murders. With all that grisly violence in its past, maybe it’s no wonder the place is chock-full of spirits.
The most famous ghost on the plantation is known as Chloe. As the legend goes, she was a young Black girl enslaved on the property. At one point, she was said to be forced into a relationship with her owner, a man named Clark Woodruff. Chloe did her best to fight back.
When she was caught peeping through keyholes in the master’s house, Woodruff reportedly cut one of her ears off. Seeking revenge, Chloe poisoned Woodruff’s wife and children. The enraged plantation owner had her hanged as punishment. To this day, her spirit is said to remain on the property. Visitors always know it’s her when they see the green turban the girl wore during her life to cover up her missing ear.
7 Totten Trail Historic Inn, North Dakota
Two centuries ago, North Dakota was among the territories that saw much of the Old West’s savage violence. So it makes sense the Great Plains state has a smattering of spirit stories. One place, in particular, beats them all, though. That’s the Totten Trail Historic Inn located in the small town of Fort Totten.
The inn sits on the aptly-named Devil’s Lake as part of the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. The history matters, too: The inn was built just after the Civil War. At the time, government officials were forcing Native American children to attend English-only boarding schools. That was one of the inn’s early purposes, and countless Indigenous children attended forced schooling there.
According to local lore, living conditions at the school were awful. Between difficult daily life and the brutality of their overseers, many children reportedly died. Today, even after the inn has long since reverted to a hotel, the students’ ghosts are said to haunt it. For years, hotel guests have reported mysterious shadows, doors opening and closing at random, and the feeling of being watched. Some have even claimed to see apparitions.
It may not be just Native schoolchildren, either. Another legend claims the inn is haunted by a man and woman who died there not long before its most recent renovation. The couple, the story goes, roam the building wishing it were still as it used to be.
6 Stone Lion Inn, Oklahoma
The Stone Lion Inn was built way back in 1907 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. At the time, it was used as a private home by the Houghton family. The clan was well-off, and the house showed it with 8,000 square feet spread across four stories of space. In the 1920s, the Houghtons sold the property.
For the next sixty years, it was used as a funeral home. Through its mortuary tenure, it grew to be the nicest memorial spot in all of Guthrie. Then, in the 1980s, new owners converted it into a bed and breakfast. But if they were hoping for a spirit-free experience after six decades of dead tenants, they were sorely mistaken.
Today, one of the home’s best-known spirit roommates is Augusta Houghton. The little girl died of whooping cough in the home when her family still owned it. Now, she’s known to walk the halls and move things around unexpectedly. Guests say she especially likes to swipe toys. The Houghton family patriarch has shown up from time to time too.
Visitors claim they’ve seen his spirit smoking a pipe while strolling down the hall. Other guests have experienced still more strange interactions. Random and unexplained children’s noises echo through the halls and in the bedrooms. Some guests say they were even lucky enough to experience a young spirit subtly tuck them into bed at night.
5 The Driskill Hotel, Texas
Texas is one of the most haunted places in America. The Alamo’s creepy history alone brings attention, and strange events like the Marfa Lights only add to the lore. But the city of Austin boasts its own incredibly creepy spot: the Driskill Hotel. The beautiful site was first built in 1886 by a cattle baron named Jesse Driskill.
He was a bad dude during his life and lived loudly as a Southern sympathizer who made his fortune selling meat to the Confederate Army. Driskill’s aggressive ways got the best of him eventually, though. Not long after he first opened the hotel, he lost ownership of it in a poker game. Haunted for the rest of his life by the loss, he is now said to haunt the hotel as payback. For years, visitors have claimed to have seen him smoking cigars in various guest rooms.
In addition to Driskill himself, plenty of other ghosts roam the halls. Room 329 is supposedly haunted by one ghost fixated on that spot. Legend has it she killed herself in that room after her fiancé abruptly called off their wedding. Elsewhere in the hotel’s past, a young girl is said to have died there after falling down the stairs in a horrible accident. The girl was the daughter of a high-profile politician, and her death was tragic.
Today, guests swear she can still be seen playing with a toy ball in the stairwell. And on the fifth floor, she is said to haunt a painting in one of the rooms. Employees even swear that famous ghosts call the property home. Late President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, are both said to be spending their afterlife in the hotel’s beautiful ballroom.
4 Battery Park and White Point Garden, South Carolina
Stede Bonnet lived a short and aggressive life on the high seas. Born into English wealth on the island of Barbados in 1688, he chose to make a career of piracy. His well-off background earned him renown as the “Gentleman Pirate.” But when death came calling, Bonnet’s noble reputation couldn’t save him.
In 1718, Bonnet and 30 of his charges were hanged in Charleston, South Carolina. The pirate crew had been trying to capture the city when residents fought back and bested the buccaneers. Locals were so upset with Bonnet’s actions that they took revenge on his corpse. They left the pirates’ bodies hanging for days at White Point in downtown Charleston’s Battery Park. The corpses rotted under the South Carolina sun. After they shriveled up, residents tossed the bodies into a marsh.
For other privateers, it was an unmistakable sign that South Carolina wouldn’t tolerate piracy. But for Bonnet’s spirit, the disrespectful burial was an invitation to haunt Charleston forever. Locals say the ghosts of the pirates still glide around the White Point Garden. Unsuspecting parkgoers claim to have seen mysterious faces peering at them in the dark.
Sometimes, in the mist, residents swear they see bodies hanging from the trees. At night, neighbors report hearing screams across the park. Some even say the faces of the executed men can be seen reflected at the water’s edge.
3 St. Albans Sanatorium, Virginia
The St. Albans Sanatorium in Radford, Virginia, was originally a Lutheran boys’ school. Legend has it that the competitive academic environment was unrelenting. Several boys were said to have committed suicide on campus because of the stressful environment. By 1916, the school was shuttered, and the property was converted into a psychiatric hospital.
Originally, it was supposed to be a notably humane residence. Patients enjoyed a bowling alley, tended to a garden on the building’s roof, and worked a small farm on the grounds. But over the years, the real horrors began.
For decades, sanatorium patients suffered through cruel experimental treatments. Some were given electroconvulsive therapy. Others sustained forced lobotomies. The sanatorium became overcrowded and understaffed too. Living conditions were dangerously bad before it was finally shut down in the 1990s.
However, the negative energy from those experiences seems to have stuck with the building. All manner of ghost fare can be experienced here. Visitors claim to have seen full-body spirits floating through the halls. Shadowy figures and floating objects have been reported. Other guests claim to have heard disembodied voices and been touched by invisible entities.
2 Bonaventure Cemetery, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most haunted places in America. Centuries of Southern history have created a spooky spiral there. Countless ghost tours operate in the coastal town. Tourists visit just to take in the terrifying tales. And one of the most well-known cemeteries in the city is also supposedly the most possessed.
Bonaventure Cemetery was made famous by the novel and the later film adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The grounds are perfectly creepy too. The area is covered with sprawling, foreboding oak trees drooping with Spanish moss. The graves boast ornate sculptures and cryptic monuments. The novel’s famous “Bird Girl” sculpture may be the most known, but endless stone setups serve to shock.
Across the cemetery, strange happenings are commonplace. People have long claimed to hear babies’ cries near the graves of infants. Locals say creepy laughs and invisible dog barks are common. Eagle-eyed visitors even claim some of the gravestones’ statues will smile and grimace at people as they pass by.
The most infamous spirit in the cemetery is that of Little Gracie Watson. Gracie was the daughter of a well-known hotelier in town when she died of pneumonia in 1889. She was just six years old. Ever since her burial, Bonaventure Cemetery visitors have sworn they can see her sitting by her grave. When she does, the statue above the marker is said to bleed from its eyes in mourning.
1 Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub, Washington
Who says every spirit story has to be spooky? Some are just plain fun! That’s the case at Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub in Seattle, Washington, at least. The pub sits in the Butterworth Building near the city’s famous Pike Place Market. Way back when, more than a century ago, the Butterworth served as the city’s first permanent mortuary.
During the years it was used to house the recently dead, the Butterworth saw no shortage of gruesome mining and logging accidents, homicides, suicides, and all other manner of terrible fates. So it would only seem natural to have those spirits still fill the place today, right?
Maybe so, but these spirits are far from malevolent. In fact, the pub has embraced the building’s macabre past, and the ghostly residents love it. All across the bar, glasses have been known to inexplicably slide off tables. Mirrors will shatter for no reason. Guests say there’s clearly some supernatural force at work inside. But it’s not mean.
One spirit well-known to bar patrons is that of a red-headed girl believed to have died during the flu pandemic of 1918. She likes to play pranks on bar patrons and supposedly even makes toys for children. Another well-meaning ghost known to employees as Charlie likes to pop up in the bar’s mirrors. There’s nothing spooky about him, though. He’s just saying hello. Kells enjoys their ghostly guests, and the spirits seem content to soak up the party atmosphere, too!