Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Ghost Stories are almost everybody’s favorite around-the-fire pastime. It gives a sense of thrill and an adrenalin rush through our bodies. But what if you could visit a real-life haunted place? That would be the next step for your ghostly adventures. Here are five places in the US that are known to be haunted. You can visit these places and see for yourself if the stories that people say are true.

The Stanley Hotel, Colorado

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Freeman Oscar Stanley built the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. He was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and the doctors advised that he should get fresh air. He built the mansion in Estes Park, Colorado as a summer retreat center. His wife and he visited yearly. Stanley used the 100-room mansion as a gathering place for friends and family. Inspired by the East Coast architecture, the mansion is colonial-style. Harry Houdini, the famous magician and escape artist performed in the hall of the Stanley hotel. The trapdoor that he used exists till today. The whiskey bar of the mansion is now the largest in the state. People drank, played pool, and frolicked. In 1930, Freelan Stanley sold his building to a corporation that transformed the house into a hotel.

It wasn’t until 1974 that the spotlight fell on the Stanley hotel. Horror author Stephen King visited that year and had very strange dreams. He dreamt that his three-year-old son was screaming and running away from a fire hose that was chasing him. There was horror in the boy’s eyes. Stephen King woke up and decided that he knew what his next novel was going to be about.

So is the Stanley hotel really haunted? Author Stephen King does think it is. In 1911, room 217 exploded and sent the chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson flying through the floor. She survived with two broken ankles. Guests say that Elizabeth haunts room 217. They have reported feeling a presence on the bed or waking up in the middle of the night in shivers. Others say that they have seen an apparition on the fourth floor. Supposedly the ghost of Stanley’s wife. If you don’t believe the story, you can ask for a consultation with the on-site psychic in Stanley hotel. Their hotel even hosts daily spirit tours, and special bookings are available for room 217. Build up your courage and book a visit to the most famous hotel that is known to be haunted in the US.

The LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans.

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If you accidentally venture onto 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans, you will be within sight of the foreboding LaLaurie Mansion. A mansion that cannot be taken lightly, it once belonged to a cruel lady by the name of LaLaurie and her family. There are stories that say she was a cruel woman who kept slaves at her residence and treated them inhumanely. There have been numerous incidents of the mysterious deaths of slaves and even her two consecutive husbands. Around 1832, because of widespread accusations of the inhuman treatment of slaves, a lawyer went to the mansion but apparently found no wrongdoings. After the lawyer’s visit, neighbors said that they witnessed an eight-year-old girl running away from LaLauire who held a whip. The girl fell down from the roof and the mansion and died.

This incident led to an investigation, and they found the LaLauries guilty of illegal cruelty. They freed the nine slaves, but somehow they were brought back to the residence through a relative. On April 10th, 1834, a fire broke out in the mansion. The police got there and found the slave cook chained to the kitchen stove. She said she set the fire as a suicide attempt to escape torture. Bystanders saw the fife and rushed to the rescue. When the news of the mistreatment of the slaves reached the public, a mob took to the streets, went to the mansion, and destroyed it.

The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans is a place filled with horror and violence. No wonder people say that it is haunted. When the mansion was converted into an apartment, a tenant died under mysterious circumstances. Later, in the mid-nineteenth century, the mansion was formed into an all-girls school. The girls at the school reported bizarre and frightening physical assaults. Today the mansion stands as a reminder of its horrific past and casts a spooky aura around itself. The mansion has also inspired the show ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ on Television.

Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Massachusetts.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Lizzie Borden Bed and breakfast house sits on 230 Second Street in the city by name of Fall River, In Massachusetts. It was a house where Andrew Borden, his wife, and their daughter Lizzie Borden stayed.

In 1892, legend says that some strange force took over Lizzie, and she carried out the gruesome double murder of her father and step-mother. When the people got to the house, they saw an ax through the murdered bodies. Ever since then the house is known to be a haunted place in the US.

The story of the house was featured in an episode of ‘Supernatural (Season 11, Episode 5), and inspired a heavy metal band to call themselves ‘Lizzie Borden’.

Today, Lizzie’s mansion has is a Bed and Breakfast. The current owner Martha McGinn says that the room where the murders took place is the most requested room. The Fall River Historical Society also promotes his hotel as a tourist attraction. There are organized guided tours to search for paranormal activity inside the premises. A medium by the name of Maureen Wood, and “paranormal scientist” Ron Kolek say that they can feel ghostly events happening inside the house. If you want to get to the truth of it, you will have to visit this haunted place and see for yourself.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

People say that the Eastern Stare Penitentiary is the most haunted prison in the US. The prison closed in 1971 but has a history of suicide, madness, and torture. The harsh punishment inflicted on the prisoners are enough to make any person shiver and think twice before visiting the place.

The haunting stories told by the guards, inmates, and visitors since the 1940s are quite scary. They say that they experienced paranormal activity in the form of apparitions of tortured prisoners’ faces, screams, footsteps, and whispers. The most striking story is told by Gary Johnson, the person who maintains the prison. In 1990, when he tried to open an old lock of the cells, he experienced a ghastly force grip him so tightly he couldn’t move. He says that he saw horrid faces appear on the cell wall and beckon him closer.

Tour guide Ben Bookman cautions people to not exploit the imager of the prison. The staff gets angry when people go to the penitentiary to look for ghosts and make movies. They say that real people lived there, real people suffered and died there. It is not right to glorify or make fun of what people went through in that prison. The horrific stories suggest that this place is known to be haunted by dark and evil forces caused by the inhumane treatment of the prisoners.

Myrtles Plantation, Louisiana.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

General David Bradford built the Myrtles Plantation in 1796. It was formerly called “Laurel Grove”. It is a place known to be haunted in the US, and some even call it the most haunted house in the US. It is a home built over an ancient Indian burial ground, and people have reported seeing the ghost of a young Native American woman. Historical records say that an attorney by the name of William Drew Winter lived at the plantation from 1865 until 1871. A stranger shot him, and he died on the 17th step to the upper floors of the house. A lot of people, including employees of the Myrtles hotel allege that they can hear the dying footsteps of the man even today.

Added to this, the proprietress of the Myrtles plantation took a photo in 1992, and in that photo, you can see the apparition of a slave girl between the two buildings. The wall behind her can be clearly seen through her. This photo was sent to the National Geographic Explorer, and they made a postcard out of it. On further research of the postcard by researcher Norman Benoit, he found out that the apparition fits the dimensions of a human form. This postcard is known as the “Chloe Postcard”. Sometime later a teacher and her students took a picture that shows the apparition of a girl behind a window of the house. The photograph travels around the world, and several researchers try to figure out what is in it. There is still no explanation for the image of the “Ghost Girl”.

The Myrtles plantation is a house that has inspired The National Geographic Explorer to write a documentary on the plantation. Dave Young of Paladin Paranormal was so impressed with the photograph of the Ghost Girl, he sent it to the Society of Psychical Research in England. In 2002, ‘Unsolved Mysterious’ filmed a piece about the plantation, and the host said that the production crew faced many technical difficulties. The Myrtles plantation also appeared in an episode of ‘Ghost Hunters’ in 2005. The television series ‘Ghost Adventures’ and ‘Most Terrifying Places in America’ also featured the Myrtles plantation. You will know if it is haunted only if you go see for yourself. They have a website on which you could book a visit. The five places in the US that are known to be haunted have inspired many Hollywood productions. These are real places with real ghost stories. These are not TV shows, these are places that TV shows and films are inspired by. Some are riddled with old legends and mysterious stories and some of them are harder to digest than the others. But that’s the point of a good ghost story, isn’t it?