Ghost Stories · Haunted Travel

Visiting the 10 Most Haunted Cities in America

As of September 2018 we’ve been to the 10 most haunted cities in the US (list here). Read about our adventures in each, including 6 ghost tours & 3 haunted hotels! And, of course, a ghost story for each!

10) Portland, OR – visited August 14, 2018

Coming in at number 10 is Portland! Due to our short time here (& maybe also in part due to some less than stellar trip adviser reviews) we didn’t get to do a ghost tour here. I have heard plenty about Portland’s ghosts though, so after a little more research I have a ghost story to share with you!

Shanghai Tunnels:

To understand this story you first need to know what Shanghai-ing is. It happened in a lot of port cities in America, which we learned about when we first moved to Savannah. See, a lot of ships were having trouble keeping crew members around. The solution? A lot of men in bars were drugged and would then wake up on board a ship sailing out to sea. And what were they told? Well, you work here now. WHAT?! We were told a story once in Savannah about a guy this happened to and it took him 2 years to get home. TWO YEARS.
In Portland these men were moved from the various bars (where they were drugged) through tunnels under the city to where they would be working. Hence the name, Shanghai Tunnels. As if that’s not horrifying enough, many didn’t survive or were left in the tunnels for an extended period of time; now, their spirits are said to haunt the tunnels as well as the bars, restaurants, etc that sit above them. Read more about it here.

9) San Francisco, CA – visited July 5-8, 2018

When visiting San Francisco this summer I thought the most haunted spot was going to be Alcatraz where we already planned to visit, so we didn’t do an official ghost tour here either. According to Alcatraz Cruises’s website though, it’s not actually haunted and I was having a hard time finding any ghost stories for the island. So, in one of America’s most haunted cities, where do you find your ghosts if not in one of their most notorious sites? Apparently you don’t have to look any further than their iconic bridges!

Haunted Bridges:

Both of the bridges in this area have had their share of tragedies and I suspected the Golden Gate Bridge would be haunted. I didn’t know the exact statistic, but according to this website, 1500 people have committed suicide since the bridge opened. That’s an average of 18 people per year. With this much tragedy, it’s no wonder it’s reportedly haunted, particularly on foggy nights.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The Bay Bridge that leads over to Oakland is also supposed to be haunted! It’s allegedly the most often seen ghost in the bay area, but since he looks so normal many people don’t realize what they have seen. In the 40’s it’s said that a man’s car broke down. As he was trekking back to get help he was hit by an oncoming car and was killed. Now, commuters claim to see him on the bridge going to get help for his broken down car.

Bay Bridge Haunt

While we didn’t have any ghostly experiences this time around we may be able to report back on this next year. We plan on doing a road trip in California, starting in the bay area. We’ll be seeing a baseball game in Oakland but staying in San Francisco. Stay tuned!

8) Chicago, IL – visited September 14-16, 2017

Hotel: Congress Plaza Hotel

We didn’t do a ghost tour in Chicago either and I was actually surprised to find out it was in the top ten list. After booking our trip and finding out it was on the list, I looked up some ghost stories just for curiosity’s sake. That’s when I found out that the hotel we were booked to stay at is reportedly haunted!

We stayed at the Congress Plaza Hotel and it had that old, glamorous feel. And once I found out it was haunted I made Jay go “ghost hunting” with me. Meaning, we walked around the different floors just seeing if something would happen. Nothing did, though we did come across a room on the 12th floor that was locked on the outside. Which is creepy as all hell.

Congress Plaza Hotel Top Haunts:

  • Al Capone is said to haunt the hotel, having done a lot of business at the hotel back in the day as well as staying there for a time.
  • There’s a ghost known as Peg Leg Johnny, who is believed to be the ghost of a homeless person that lived and died behind the hotel; he’s supposed to be responsible for turning lights on and off.
  • The saddest is the ghost of a little boy who haunts the hotel after being the victim of a murder-suicide. His mother killed him, his brother, and herself after thinking her husband had left them. Out of the three of them though he’s the only one ever reported and he likes to play tricks on guests.
  • The room with the most calls to security is room 441. It was in the opposite tower from us, so we didn’t go walk by it. We did go up to the 12th floor though to see that room locked from the outside. I haven’t been able to find anything exactly on what happened in the 12th floor (send me a message if you find something!) but it’s just said it was so bad that it had to be sealed away.
    Ghost Stories from Most Haunted Illinois Hotel
    12th Floor & Other Stories

7) Charleston, SC – frequent visits since March 2016

Ghost Tour: Bulldog Tours

On our very first visit to Charleston we did a ghost tour! There are a variety of ghost tours to choose from and we went with the ghost & dungeon tour with Bulldogs Tours. We got to walk by and learn about some local legends around town; we also got to go into the Provost Dungeon which is part of the Old Exchange Building.

Provost Dungeon Haunting:

As the name would imply, the dungeon housed prisoners while it was active. There were a variety of people kept here over time, from jailed pirates to prisoners during the American Revolution. As you can imagine, things were crammed (it wasn’t the largest space) as well as dark, damp, and just overall unsanitary. Unsanitary means disease, and disease (especially in those days) means death. So, it’s not surprising to hear that people have reported crying and screaming as though someone is in major pain.

Provost Dungeon

6) Saint Augustine, FL – frequent visits since July 2017

Ghost Tour: Ghosts & Gravestones

Being the oldest city in the US, this place is bound to have it’s fair share of hauntings! We did a ghost tour on our first visit here back in July 2017. I will say that we weren’t overly thrilled with our tour choice, but we did hear some good ghost stories. And while on this tour we got to take a night tour of the old jail.

Old Jail Hauntings:

Like many jails of it’s time, this jail was too small, too crowded, and unsanitary. Many of the inmates, who were all convicted of dangerous crimes, didn’t make it out of the prison alive. Unexplained foot steps, foul smells, screaming and creepy laughter are just a few of the things reported here at the jail. Knowing who these steps and voices belong to, it can make you a little uneasy to be in here!

5) San Antonio, TX – visited December 2016

Ghost Tour: Sisters Grimm

This city is said  to be the most haunted in Texas! The haunted sites we visited included the Alamo as well as the San Fernando Cathedral. We saw both during the day on our own exploration as well as at night on our ghost tour.

San Fernando Cathedral:

The cathedral made a list of the 23 most haunted sites in the country! That speaks to the frequency of sightings at this historic site. Apparitions as well as shadowy figures are common at this old cathedral. How old is it? It’s the oldest church in Texas to give you an idea. This all may be due to the fact that, way back when, many parishioners were buried inside the walls and under the floor of the church. In addition to that it’s said that the ashes of the fallen soldiers of the Alamo are housed here; many don’t believe that to be true, but there’s a memorial for them inside just the same.

Cathedral

The Alamo:

Given what happened here I don’t find it surprising that the grounds are reportedly haunted. The Battle of the Alamo in 1836 left no Texan survivors (189 of them vs the 1500 in the Mexican Army) and many claim to see the soldiers that died here still defending the Alamo. These claims began not long after the battle was over. After the battle, it was ordered that the church be burned down. When the men went to carry out the order they immediately ran back, saying the church was being defended by spirits holding flaming swords, blocking them from the church. To this day people still claim to see soldiers walking among the grounds, defending it still.

The Alamo

4) New Orleans, LA – visited April 26-28, 2016 & January 18-21, 2018

Ghost Tour: Free Tours by Foot

Hotel: Andrew Jackson Hotel

As many of you know, New Orleans is our favorite place to visit! Our first night ever in the city we went on a tour with free tours by foot. Their ghost tour was absolutely amazing and we loved our guide Teri.While we were on our tour we stopped outside the hotel we were staying at, the Andrew Jackson Hotel.

Andrew Jackson Hotel Haunting:

According to our guide this used to be the site of an orphanage. In 1774 though a fire swept through the city, destroying many of the buildings. The orphanage was one of those buildings and, sadly, five of the boys were trapped inside. So, it is their spirits that are said to haunt the hotel. And they behave much the way you expect little boys to! They run through the halls, they laugh in the courtyard. According to Teri they also like to pull on the sheets, mess with your feet when you’re sleeping, and will switch the tv channels to cartoon stations (which is adorable if you ask me).

This is the only place where I can say we (or just me because Jay is a skeptic but whatever haha) had an experience! One night I woke up when I felt like someone was pulling the blankets off of me. I thought that was weird because Jay sleeps hot (I always tell him he’s a human space heater). I looked over behind me and he had his back to me and all of the blankets tossed off. So…who was pulling the blankets?

3) Salem, MA – visited November 29, 2015

We didn’t get to do a ghost tour of this town (or even stay over night). While here though we went to the witch house, the witch museum, and Old Burying Point Cemetery. We didn’t hear any ghost stories while we were here, but given the history, it’s not surprising Witch City is so haunted. For anyone that doesn’t know, the Salem Witch Trials began in 1692. Accusations of witchcraft ran rampant and, as a result, many innocent people were murdered (hundreds were accused, 20 were executed).

The cemetery pictured above is the Old Burying Point Cemetery and it is the second oldest cemetery in the US. One of the judges from the witch trials, “Hanging Judge” Hathorne is buried here. None of the “witches” are buried here though, as many were buried in unmarked graves. There is a memorial for them here at the cemetery though and there are accounts of their spirits lingering around the memorial. Some claim to see the judge haunting the grounds as well.

Another cemetery in the area is haunted as well, this one being the Howard Street Cemetery. During the witch trials a woman named Martha Corey was accused of witch craft. Shortly after, her husband Giles was accused as well; the cemetery is in the field where he’s said to have died.

In those days if you were convicted of witchcraft not only would you be executed but you would also lose all your property; not wanting his step-sons to lose their inheritance, Giles wouldn’t enter a guilty or innocent plea. Trying to force a plea they had him lay down and they slowly started to crush him to death with heavy stones; this went on for 2 days. Just before his death he said, “Damn you sheriff, I curse you and Salem!”

Giles Corey is said to be a bad omen. There was a fire in Salem in 1914 that started on Gallow’s Hill (where Martha and the others were executed). According to legend Giles’ spirit was seen just before the fire started.

Witch Trials Info

Haunted Salem 

10 Most Haunted in Salem

Howard Street Cemetery

2) Gettysburg, PA – visited September 30, 2018

Ghost Tour: Gettysburg Paranormal Association

Hotel: Baladerry Inn

Our most recent haunted city trip was to Gettysburg, PA. This was also the last place we had to visit on the list! Knowing we were going to be visiting a haunted location, we made sure to book a ghost tour and I looked up haunted hotels in the area; they weren’t hard to find. We settled on the Baladerry Inn, booking their Shamrock Room.

We really enjoyed our stay here! While it’s still a convenient location (maybe a 10 minute drive) it’s surrounded by woods and feels very isolated/private. There are rooms in the main house as well as the carriage house which is where we stayed.

When we checked in they told us they had a whole file of encounters people have had at the hotel; unfortunately, we didn’t have time to check any of them out. According to what I saw online many of the hauntings are attributed to soldiers that are supposedly buried under what is now the tennis court.

While we didn’t get to read any of the accounts on site we did get to see a set of bloody footprints from when the house acted as a hospital during the battle of Gettysburg. The girl that worked there told us that they’ve tried cleaning them before but they always come back.

After showing us the footprints the girl told us about a ghost in the main house known to them as Geoffrey who typically prefers haunting women with blonde hair (so I was safe lol).

I looked up the carriage house to see if there were any hauntings there. The room across the hall from us, the Marigold Room, reportedly has a female apparition that appears at the end of the bed.

Baladerry Inn

Savannah, GA – home!

Favorite Ghost Tour: Hearse Tours

There are too many stories to pick from and too many ghost tours too! Our favorite ghost tour so far has been the hearse tours, where you actually ride around in an old hearse. Pretty wild!

Since we live here I’ll be going far more in depth with several blog post regarding haunted Savannah. Stay tuned!

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