Do ghosts really exist? It's one of those age-old questions that have not been answered conclusively yet. However, there is no denying the fact that, people across cultures around the world have consistently claimed to have seen them, experienced places that have been haunted, and have even photographed them. Of course, skeptics refute such experiences as mere figments of an over-active imagination, and as for photography, it can be either manipulated or distorted by lens flare. Given below are the 10 most haunted places in the U.S., that can either raise your hackles or a titter.
Most people who follow the ups and downs of the Civil War in America, would acknowledge that the battle that was fought in Gettysburg was the turning point, leading to the defeat of the Confederacy. The battle, which carried on for three days, and was fought in the surrounding hills and forests, as well as in the town of Gettysburg itself, left almost a third of the men who fought in it dead. It's no surprise that, with so much bloodshed and the ensuing horrors of houses and streets filled with the dead and dying; there are innumerable accounts of various houses and hotels, like the Farnsworth House Inn, the Pennsylvania Hall, and the Gettysburg Battlefield, haunted by the ghosts of those soldiers.
The Devil's Promenade, a road that stretches for two miles, is notorious for being the site, where an orange ball of light has been sighted every night since 1866. According to one legend, it is said that two Quapaw Indians who had been in love and committed suicide, appear as the orange light. However, another story claims that it is the lantern of the ghost of a miner, who is searching for his abducted wife and children. This light, which is also referred to as the Devil's Jack o' Lantern, the Neosho Spook Light, and the Hornet Ghost Light, is said to leave behind traces of sparks and glowing light as it moves, dodge people, and even enter into cars. It was investigated by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1946 without any success, as well as the Ghost Research Society, which discovered that it was shaped like a diamond, the center of which was hollow.
This sleepy town, where the John Bell Farm was located, is one of the haunted spots that is most famous in America. The saga of the Bell Witch began around 1817, when strange phenomena started being experienced by the Bell family. Initially, the family heard scratching sounds and rapping and knocking noises at the windows and doors of the house. Then it started threatening to kill John Bell. Later, he was beaten up so severely that his tongue was swollen, and he could not eat. One day he was found unconscious in his bed with a strange bottle of some blackish liquid by the bed. He never recovered and died in 1820. But the Bell Witch was still not done with the family. Promising to wreak havoc on them, she returned to haunt them in 1827, 1852, 1861, 1935, 1977, and in 1988. Nowadays, the specter of a fiendish woman and strange balls of light are said to appear on the Bell farm. Then there is also the Bell Witch Cave close to the family cemetery, which is supposed to be haunted by eerie screams and rattling chains.
The Goldfield Hotel, with 154 rooms was built over an old gold mine, which began operating first in 1908. Later, it underwent extensive renovations. It is thought that this hotel is haunted by several ghosts. For example, in a small room at the west end, in the employees' section room number 109, appears a pregnant woman. She has been seen chained to a radiator in the room by psychics. It is said that she was a pregnant prostitute called Elizabeth, who was chained by George Winfield, who owned the hotel originally. After she gave birth, Elizabeth was left chained in the room, where she died, while her baby was flung into an old shaft of the mine. In fact, the ghost of Elizabeth was even captured on photographic film by a reporter. It is also said that George Winfield's ghost haunts the George Winfield Room, located on the first floor. His ghost has also been seen at the staircase near the lobby, where the ghosts of two children and a midget are also seen sometimes. A room on the third floor on the southwest side and the Theodore Roosevelt Room are also said to be filled with high psychic energy. According to some psychics, the Goldfield Hotel is supposed to be one amongst the seven portals that is supposed to reach across to the so-called 'other side' that is in existence today.
San Jose, California
The Winchester Mansion, a Victorian style building with 160 rooms, was built in 1884 in San Jose by Sarah Winchester, who was a wealthy widow. It took construction workers 38 years to build it. The house includes a number of strange features, which were meant to prevent evil spirits from entering it, such as false doors, as well as a séance room, where Sarah was supposed to have made the plans for the building, which were said to have been given to her by spirits, and also a staircase leading up to the ceiling. It is said that she spoke to the ghosts every midnight. And since then, organ music has been heard from the Blue Room in which she died, as well as sightings of red colored balls of light, the aroma of chicken soup from the kitchen, cold spots, and apparitions.
St. Louis, Missouri
It is said that the Lemp Mansion, which was built by the Lemp family, the makers of Falstaff beer, in the 1860s, is haunted by this family. The family, in fact, experienced a series of tragedies. It began with the death of the son of William Lemp in 1904, followed by William Lemp himself committing suicide. Then in 1920, his daughter too killed herself, followed by William Lemp, Jr., and then Charles Lemp. The house was sold, becoming a boarding house, and after that it was turned into a restaurant in 1977, which is still in operation. The staff and the people boarding here, have claimed that they have experienced sensations of being watched, seen apparitions, heard strange noises and voices, tools vanishing, flying glasses, a piano being played by itself, and other eerie phenomena.
There is an old pub, about 164 years old, known as Captain John Stone's Inn, which was used once as a hiding place for slaves that had run away. This is also the place where Daniel Webster made his speeches. The staff and the customers of this pub claim seeing the specter of a girl, about ten years old, in a storage room by the kitchen, feeling invisible hands holding their hands under the ice when they filled ice buckets, and objects moving. Two séances have been held here which were televised and during which, contact was made with Captain John Stone, a female innkeeper, and a small girl.
St. Francisville, Louisiana
It is said that the Myrtles Plantation built in 1796, which is today a bed-and-breakfast, is home to several spirits and ghosts because of a suicide and ten murders that have taken place in the past. For example, the ghost of Cleo is seen, who was a slave and had been hung for killing two small girls by poisoning them. Along with the girls, William Winter, who had been a former owner and had been shot to death on the front porch is also seen. Some of the other ghosts that visitors have seen are that of one who meets visitors at the gate, telling them that the plantation has been closed, and of those in the slave graveyard, which is located on the property.
The Bachelor's Grove Cemetery located here belongs to the 1800s, and since 1965 has been practically abandoned, having been vandalized since then. It is said that occultist and satanic groups perform their rituals amongst the ruined tombstones, and there have been more than a hundred reports of unexplained phenomena taking place here. For example, inexplicable voices and lights, strange creatures being sighted, strange photographs, and so on.
It is said that two ghosts haunt the old Golden North Hotel located here. One of them has been nicknamed 'Mary' by the staff, who thinks she is the ghost of a young woman, who had died in her room due to pneumonia, while she waited for the return of her fiancé, who had gone on an expedition for prospecting gold. It is said that her presence is still seen in Room 23, where her apparition has appeared and guests have said that, they have felt being choked in the night. The other ghost appears as an eerie light moving around at night in Room 14.