Trick-or-treating. Jack-o-lanterns. Crisp fall weather. Leaves changing colors. And everything spooky. It’s Halloween! While researching topics for this time of year, over and over, articles about the most haunted places continued to show up in my search results. With so many hauntingly good locations to choose from, this post will be the first in a two-part series. Reader beware- some of these articles are not for the faint of heart!
Whether forty years ago or two, many newspapers published articles with lists of the most haunted places. The San Antonio Star included a top ten list of haunted cities and how many ghosts there were in each one. Chicago housed the most with 175 ghosts. The Traverse City Record-Eagle published a list of the most haunted places in North America, while the Twin Falls Times shared a piece titled “Legendary Lairs Have Stories to Tell,” including pictures of a few of the haunting residences.
Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, Louisiana
Considered by many to be the most haunted house in the United States, the Myrtles Plantation was built by General David Bradford in 1796.
“The Myrtles – Is this the Most Haunted House in America?” tells the adventurous tale of Frances Karmeen purchasing the plantation and its inhabitants along with a spooky tale or two of the house.
“Visitors Find That Plantations Can Be Haunting Experience” provides an account of the happenings at the Myrtles Plantation by guide Connie Pruitt. The house, currently a bed and breakfast, has spooked some guests into leaving in the middle of the night, while others have taken photos with images of figures that cannot be explained.
Villisca Ax Murders of 1912 – Villisca, Iowa
On June 10, 1912, Villisca, Iowa, was the site of a horrific murder scene. That night Josiah Moore, his entire family, and two young friends were brutally killed.
By June 12th, the Cedar Rapids Republican had possible theories on who the murderer might have been, as well as the governor of Iowa offering up a $500 reward for the capture of the evil-doer.
Over the years, the house has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. In 2002, there was quite a stir with relatives of the family when a local radio station initiated the “Thrillseeker” contest where contestants would “perform tasks alone in the house as they are filmed by paranormal investigators,” much to the dismay of a living relative of the Moore family.
To this day, the culprit was never caught, and the mystery is unsolved.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Louisville, Kentucky
In Louisville, Kentucky sits a two-story hospital more than a century old that was originally built to house tuberculosis patients in the early 20th century.
Many results of a Waverly Hills search at NewspaperArchive end with a death notice or obituary for a patient of the infamous hospital like Death of Arthur Roby, Former Soldier Dead, and the obituary of Claude Leroy Campbell.
Since its time as a tuberculosis hospital, the sanitorium has become one of the most well-known haunted places in America. “A Historical Haunting” was part of a specially published supplement to the Daily Republican Register that showcased the history of Waverly Hills as a sanatorium and its fame with paranormal activity.
Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One of the oldest prisons in America, the Eastern State Penitentiary, opened in 1829 and was operational until 1971.
In 1977, the Evening Sun published an article about the then 147-year-old prison. Local officials were trying to decide what to do with the facility “too good to tear down, too old to use.” Eastern State Penitentiary, known as Cherry Hill when originally built, practiced Quaker theory of penitence. Prisoners would know first-hand what solitary confinement felt like on the daily.
Eventually Eastern State was turned into a museum complete with unusual artifacts like a mug shot book from 1904 and a death ledger that dates from 1834.
The Intelligencer published a haunting portrayal of life in the penitentiary, while another newspaper attempted to attract paranormal enthusiasts with an article called “Surviving the Nation’s Most Haunted Prison.” Alongside that article is one to set the mood for Halloween entitled “A Perfect Music Playlist for October.” Why not listen to some spooky music while reading about these haunting locations?
Interested in finding more haunting tales of places in the US and around the world? Visit NewspaperArchive.com for a 7-Day Free Trial.