10 Most Haunted Cities in America for Trick-or-Treating Slideshow

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Gear up for Halloween by reading about these 10 historically haunted cities
San Francisco

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Over 3,000 people died in the Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906.

10 Most Haunted Cities in America for Trick-or-Treating

San Francisco

Photo Modified: Flickr / David Goehring / CC BY 4.0

After consulting existing lists and two paranormal experts, we’ve come up with 10 of the most haunted cities in America. They’re good places to trick-or-treat on October 31, but they’re also teeming with reports of unexplained occurrences that may astonish you any day of the year. 

Boston

Boston

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Boston was involved in the creating of our country, and can you imagine the passion and the energy that went into that?” Marsh said. “That was the heart of the American Revolution at one point. That’s where our founding fathers were. All of those spirits stuck around because of that.” Boston Common is said to be haunted by two women in nineteenth-century clothing often seen walking arm in arm. Multiple people who disobeyed strict Puritanical laws were also hanged in Boston Common. Alvis mentioned the sheer amount of people who had been “fighting for something they believe in, so much that you have an area where so much energy that passed through it seems to almost have collected itself and made itself a place of significance, especially when it comes to paranormal activity.” 

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

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Infamous Southern plantations and Civil War battlefields contribute to a lot of Charleston’s history and help explain why it’s considered one of America’s most haunted cities, but Alvis cites the old Charleston jail as being one of the most haunted locations in the area. It’s been featured on multiple television shows and is along the routes of ghost tours. One of its supposed resident ghosts is Lavinia Fisher, who was executed after being charged with highway robbery. Alvis said Fisher claimed she would haunt the area, and people still attribute paranormal phenomena in the area to her.  

Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

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During the Civil War, the Confederacy was based out of Montgomery, and related ghosts are said to hang around the city. A woman in Civil War-era clothing supposedly haunts the State Capitol Building. “There’s actually a country song, [“Midnight in Montgomery” performed by Alan Jackson], about a haunting there – about talking to Hank Williams’ ghost,” Marsh said. “It’s got to be pretty good if there’s a country song about it.”

New Orleans

New Orleans

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It’s no secret that New Orleans is often considered one of the most haunted cities in America. Catastrophic events, battles, and epidemics all contribute to this title, while an undercurrent of stories about voodoo add an extra factor. “The history surrounding New Orleans [goes] back to the founding of the country,” Alvis said. “The voodoo, different types of belief systems, and magic, if you will, associated with New Orleans definitely lend[s] to the idea of it being a very haunted place – or having the formula of a very haunted place.”

New York City

New York City

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“There’s not much that hasn’t happened in New York,” Marsh said. “You can’t not feel the energy when you go there.” It’s true that a city founded in 1624 is steeped in history. The city’s haunted buildings include the Dakota, where John Lennon was assassinated, and Mark Twain’s former abode, which people claim houses up to 22 ghosts and is nicknamed the “House of Death.” According to Alvis, New York City’s North Brother Island has a dark history as well – it’s been a quarantine area, a mental hospital, and the site of the General Slocum Disaster, where a steamboat caught fire and sank, killing over 1,000 people.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

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Our nation’s first capital is most likely haunted by great patriots and everyday people alike. “Part of my thrill with investigating the paranormal is just the experience – the thrill of getting in there and finding all these different layers of spirits,” she said. “A ghost can be from 1776 or 1976.” Alvis, however, had his own experience with paranormal activity in the city when he investigated the Eastern State Penitentiary, one of America’s oldest prisons, in 2010. “I had some of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “I went there when I was a very heavy skeptic and had multiple experiences. I recorded two disembodied voices… That jail is one of the most haunted places in America.”

San Francisco

San Francisco

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San Francisco is definitely one of the more haunted places in America, and I’ve experienced that personally by spending the night in Alcatraz as well as investigating the Meek Mansion,” Alvis said. The city has seen a lot of history, and its cemeteries have an interesting past – only two still exist within the city limits because the rest were moved south to Colma, a necropolis south of San Francisco. The city is also known for the Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906, which was followed by fires and was responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 people. “That’s such an intense event, and one of the things that can create a haunting is intense emotion,” Marsh said.

St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida

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St. Augustine is no stranger to turmoil – British, Spanish, and American soldiers battled there between 1565 and 1842. It was established by the Spanish in 1565 and is considered the country’s oldest continuously occupied European settlement. Reports of ghost encounters abound in this city, and Marsh has her own story that occurred while touring a historical fort in 1982. The guide was explaining a period in the fort’s history when Native Americans had been imprisoned there, and Marsh felt like she’d been there before. “I don’t know if a spirit entered me, or I was seeing through the eyes of someone who had been there.” She felt the warmth of the sun on her face, saw the coastline through the cell window, and smelled salt water. The guide told her that her vision accurately portrayed the way the coastline would have looked when Native Americans were imprisoned there. “It involved all of me for just a few moments,” Marsh said.

Savannah

Savannah

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Savannah is one of my favorite cities to go to for ghost hunting,” Marsh said. “It has such a history.” She added that almost every war fought so far in the United States has touched this attractive Georgia city, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. Pirates often visited and took part in violent behavior; the city in the 1870s saw an epidemic of yellow fever so vile that it wiped out almost a third of the population; and reports abound of experiences with ghosts who were Native Americans, slaves, and soldiers. 

Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada

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Virginia City is the nation’s largest historical district, as the entire city is designated a National Historical Landmark, and extensive history makes for interesting stories. “One of the things that can keep a spirit around is the energy in a location – there are some places where there’s been so much emotion and passion a spirit just stays there,” Marsh said. “It could be for number of reasons, like unfinished business, or they’re not ready to cross. They may just like the energy and want to hang around.” The city was also an iconic mining town. “I’ve done a lot of investigations there over a span of almost 10 years now,” Alvis said. “That place has so much history, going back to the Wild West.” He cites a place where shootouts occurred in the street on a daily basis, as well as general lawlessness, and epidemics. “No matter where you go in that city, there’s a story about ghosts,” Alvis said.