The Best Ghost Tours in America's Most Haunted Cities
Sure, haunted houses have their own place in the pantheon of scary fall activities. But there's one problem with all those bloody chainsaws, zombie brides, and moaning corpses: they aren't real. True connoisseurs of the paranormal have to dig a bit deeper to scratch their itch for things that go bump in the night.
To the detriment of our nerves, we've done that digging for you. What follows are six of the top cities for ghost tours in America. Though these haunted tours and overnight investigations aren't for the easily startled, they should appeal to those with a grim fascination for the undead.
Savannah is a stronghold of the Southern gothic, and with good reason. Aside from its rich Civil War history, it gets an extra creepy rep thanks to the 1994 bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil about a shocking murder commited by an important Savannah socialite. Visitors can tour Bonaventure Cemetery, grab a pint while looking for the Lady in White at Moon River Brewing Co., and even spend a night at The Marshall House, a hotel that's served as a hospital three times since opening in 1851.
For more spooky encounters, check out one of these Savannah ghost tours or shop all Savannah tours:
At this point, New Orleans is practically synonymous with witchcraft and the supernatural so it only makes sense that it regularly tops the lists of the most haunted cities in America. Right on Bourbon Street, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, a former 18th-century pirate's den turned bar, is said to be home to the ghost of Lafitte himself. The city's cemeteries also prove a spooky sight since unlike most, all of the graves sit above ground rather than buried beneath it because the city is below sea level. And if you saw American Horror Story: Coven, you'll recognize Lalaurie Mansion, which was once the home of an unusually cruel slave owner that was the inspiration for Kathy Bates's character.
For more spooky encounters, check out ones of these New Orleans ghost tours or shop all New Orleans tours:
Gettysburg's claim to fame is an obvious one: site of one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles. Over the course of three days, Confederate and Union solidiers duked it out resulting in more than 40,000 casualties. That many fallen soldiers means there's plenty of room for restless spirits on the old grounds. The Gettysburg Hotel is said to be the home of a dancing spectre, and The Daniel Lady Farm (a former field hospital for the Confedaracy) is supposedly haunted by no less than 10,000 spirits.
For more spooky encounters, check out one of these Gettysburg ghost tours or shop all Gettysburg tours:
Thanks to prohibition, Chicago became a hotbed of gangster activity in the early 20th century. The site of the bloody St. Valentine's Day Massacre is still a hit with tourists even though the warehouse that was there at the time is no longer standing. While Al Capone ruled the streets with an iron fist, the city has another gruesome claim to fame: H.H. Holmes. Holmes is said to be America's first serial killer and his murderous exploits were detailed in full in The Devil in the White City. Many tours take guests to the sites outlined in the book where his victims' ghosts might still be found.
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As one of America's oldest cities (settled in 1630), Boston is definitely one of the most haunted. Beautiful Boston Commons was long ago the site of many public hangings and the city's cemeteries have gravestones dating back to the pilgrims. The Pilot House, a 19th-century hotel for ship captains, hosts the Lady in White—an apparition that has appeared regularly to guests as a glowing figure. For more updated digs, try to snag a room at the Omni Parker House where you might not only run into the long-dead owner, but the spirit of Charles Dickens who once stayed at the hotel.
For more spooky encounters, check out one of these Boston ghost tours or shop all Boston tours:
Not nearly as old as most of the cities on this list, Los Angeles is no less haunted. The ghosts of old Hollywood literally walk the halls of the city's most famous hotels, from Jim Beliushi's spirit at the Chateau Marmont to Marilyn Monroe's at the Roosevelt Hotel. The famous Hollywood sign itself is even alleged to be haunted by the ghost of a stage actress who threw herself off the top of the "H", falling to her death. There's even a luxury liner, the Queen Mary, where you're welcome to spend the night (if you dare).
For more spooky encounters, check out one of these Los Angeles ghost tours or shop all Los Angeles tours: