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American towns from coast to coast are filled with stories passed through the generations of local haunted places and spaces. If you’re seeking a spooky escape this season, check out this list of spots to explore. Let the goosebumps begin!
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Even if the filming of Stephen King’s “The Shining” happened on a soundstage in L.A., guests have been inspired to visit this grand old hotel ever since the author spent time there in room 417. While at the hotel, King said he experienced a number of unusual things consistent with tales from other guests – from lights turning on and off to hearing phantom children giggling in the halls and reports of having belongings mysteriously unpacked. The hotel plays up its haunted reputation, showing the uncut R-rated version of the movie 24 hours a day.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia
This asylum, open from 1864 – 1994, was designed to serve 250 people, but by the 1950s it was crammed with more than 2,400 patients locked in cages, chained to walls or given lobotomies or electroshock therapy. Some of the spirits said to haunt the facility also date back to the Civil War-era, when the grounds served as a military post.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, New Orleans
Opened in 1772, this Bourbon Street bar is one of the oldest in America and reportedly haunted by pirate Jean Lafitte. Rumored to be a front and hiding place for Lafitte’s smuggling operation, many believe his treasure is still stashed there, which is why Lafitte – whose red eyes glow from behind the downstairs fireplace – remains to protect it. Staff and guests claim to see his ghost appear in the bar’s dark corners and smell faint traces of his tobacco.
Whaley House, San Diego
Built in 1856 on the site of the city’s first public gallows, the Whaley House is home to Yankee Jim Robinson, a drifter and thief who was hanged four years before the house was built. Visitors touring the property claim he can be heard walking the halls, opening and closing doors and making chandeliers swing with no explanation. Guests also report feeling a sadness in the home, which is attributed to Whaley’s daughter, Violet, who committed suicide there.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
This spooky prison, now a National Historic Landmark, was originally meant to hold 250 people but swelled to contain upwards of 1,700 inmates, who were tortured by sadistic guards. It was shut down in 1971 when the ghosts of those criminals, like “Slick Willie” Sutton, supposedly took over and started to relentlessly haunt the grounds – which they still do today.
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