As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.
For many people, Halloween isn’t just a one-day event. It’s a month-long dive into spooky stories, urban legends and haunted lore that only the bravest of the brave dare to explore. No matter what scares you, you’re bound to find a chilling place in your state to give you a proper case of the heebie-jeebies. 👻🎃
Do you believe in the paranormal? As R. L. Stine says: “Reader beware, you’re in for a scare!” Check out these seven eerie event venues that’ll give you and your guests a frightfully good scare.
1) The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When making a list of Wisconsin’s most haunted buildings, the old Eagle’s Ballroom (now called “The Rave”) will always make the cut. Built in the 1920s, this historical music venue once served as an athletic club featuring a gymnasium, basketball court, and 70-foot-long swimming pool. After multiple children drowned in the pool, the area closed, and the pool now sits abandoned. Today, employees report hearing unexplained shuffling noises, smelling bleach, and seeing the apparition of a little girl wandering the pool area.
The strange sightings don’t just stop at the pool. An employee once reported seeing a man standing on the balcony in the Eagle’s ballroom. When security went to remove the man, he vanished before their eyes.
Artists from all over the world continue to play the venue, reporting unusual sightings during their visits and feeling as though they’re being watched as they rehearse.
2) Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina
One of the most notable lost souls in the city of Charleston can be found at the Dock Street Theatre (originally the Planter’s Hotel in the 1800s). It is believed that in the early 1840s, a young woman named Nettie Dickerson made her way to the city looking for love and excitement. Unfortunately, Nettie lived in an era when 25 was considered well past the marrying age. Distraught and bitter at society, Nettie snapped and made her way to the second-floor balcony of the Planter’s Hotel one day. A storm was brewing as she shouted disparaging remarks against Charleston’s high society. Just then, a bolt of lightning came down, striking and killing Nettie.
While the Planter’s Hotel is long gone, Nettie’s spirit can still be seen at the Dock Street Theatre wearing a tattered red dress — supposedly the one she wore on the day she died. To catch a glimpse of Nettie, try booking a tour of the theatre or see a show there. Guests have claimed to see spirits roaming about, ghostly shadows in the rafters and even apparitions on the stage.
3) The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado
If you’re familiar with Stephen King’s book The Shining, you’ll be delighted to hear that this chilling tale is based on a real hotel — the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. Built in 1909, some have dubbed this 420-room hotel “the Disney Land for Ghosts.” It has a long reputation of being haunted and the paranormal activity continues today.
Room 217 is perhaps the most famed spot at the hotel. This is where King spent the night, had a terrifying nightmare, and got the inspiration for his 1977 bestseller. This room is also thought to be haunted by Elizabeth Wilson, the hotel’s head housekeeper. During a storm in 1911, Mrs. Wilson was injured during an explosion as she was lighting the lanterns in room 217. She survived but her spirit is said to still lurk there today. Guests have had their items mysteriously moved, luggage unpacked, and lights turned on and off. Mrs. Wilson is also said to keep watch over unmarried couples in the room; some have reported feeling a cold force between them as they lay in bed.
Experience the scares yourself with a 90-minute ghost hunt with the Stanley Hotel’s paranormal investigator or better yet, request to say in Room 217 if you’re feeling extra brave.
4) Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois
Built in the 1880s, the Woodstock Opera House is home to a single ghost who makes appearances during shows and theatre practices. This spirit, named “Elvira” by local theatre professionals, is rumored to haunt the opera house. Elvira was once an early 1900s actress with dreams of making it big in the performing arts. After years of hard work, she decided to audition for a lead role in a ballet but was devastated to hear that another woman had been chosen for the part. In her grief, Elvira jumped from the highest tower of the opera house and landed on the street below.
To this day, opera house visitors report seeing a mysterious woman with blonde hair appear in the building. Refusing to be forgotten, Elvira supposedly haunts the theater and “watches” performances from her favorite seat, DD113. Many have witnessed this seat lower by itself and make noises on its own. Others have also reported props falling over or completely disappearing off the stage.
If you’re brave enough, the Woodstock Opera House still puts on regular shows and musicals today. You might just want to choose your seat wisely!
5) Bobby Mackey's Music World in Wilder, Kentucky
Dubbed “the most haunted nightclub in America”, Bobby Mackey's Music World is rumored to be the site of countless hauntings, murders, and paranormal happenings throughout its years of existence. Owned by country singer Bobby Mackey, this music venue was established in 1978 and comes with a history full of paranormal stories. Mackey says that his venue was originally used as a slaughterhouse back in the 19th century but was later torn down for the construction of a roadhouse.
Visitors have reported being scratched and having objects thrown at them. Others have reported having ghosts follow them home once they leave the venue. Perhaps the most bone-chilling part of the venue’s history was the discovery of a hidden well in the building’s basement. While this well is rumored to be a source of paranormal activity, it turns out that it was used to smuggle alcohol into the previous casino establishment during the time of prohibition.
Today, the venue continues to regularly host country music performances including Mackey himself, while also being the site of many private and group paranormal investigations. As Bobby Mackey says: “Come for the ghosts, stay for the music!"
6) The Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona
The Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona is an icon of America's wild west. In 1881, the Bird Cage Theatre stayed open for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The saloon, bar and theatre hosted some of the most expensive and high-stakes gambling among silver miners in the region — even featuring a private poker room where the minimum buy-in was $1,000. For perspective, that’s about $24,500 today! Even to this day, bullet holes remain in the walls from deals and gambling sessions that went bad.
According to the saloon’s operators, over 26 ghosts still love to party at this historic building. Visitors and employees have seen spirits of former saloon inhabitants, some of which appear to be wearing old fashioned cowboy hats. People have also smelled cigar smoke and whiskey, been touched and pushed by unseen forces, and heard laughter, yelling and old timey music playing at night, much like the parties of the Old West era. One of the most infamous ghost sightings is of a man in black wearing a visor who paces back and forth across the stage.
You can visit this infamous saloon, take a ghost tour and get your fill for adventure in the “town that never dies” — that is, if you dare.
7) Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts
Originally built in 1855 and then rebuilt in 1927, the historic Omni Parker House Hotel is rumored to be one of the most haunted hotels in Boston. The former room 303 is home to one of the hotel’s most well-known ghosts. The story goes that in 1949, a liquor salesman killed himself in this room by mixing whisky with barbiturates. Guests have reported smelling whisky and hearing crazed laughter in this room. So many guests complained that the room was eventually converted into a storage closet.
The scares don’t stop there. A bearded man dressed in colonial clothing has been known to appear at the bottom of the bed in room 1012. Additionally, elevator #1 at the hotel repeatedly arrives on the third floor, though nobody is in it and nobody has called it. This has happened hundreds of times over the years.
The hotel even features a mirror said to be haunted by Charles Dickens. Dickens used to practice his reading of the Christmas Carol in front of it, though today, the mirror is said to do odd things when guests say “Charles Dickens” in front of it three times. A worker was once cleaning the mirror and saw condensation appear on the glass as if someone was breathing on it. He hasn’t cleaned the glass since.
If you’re looking for a spooky place to host your next meeting (or even your wedding!), the Omni Parker Hotel can accommodate you and your guests. You may just want to sleep with the lights on at night...
The Scares Keep Coming
As you can see, the event venues in our country hold a lot of haunting stories. Whether you take them as fact or fiction is up to you, but one thing is certain: the paranormal stories we read are deeply rooted in real history, and the ghosts among us are here to stay.
- What’s your favorite ghost story or haunted place?
- Have you had a paranormal experience?
We’re dying to hear! 🧟 (Yes, pun intended). Leave a comment below! Then read our second spooky blog in this series: Ask a Paranormal Researcher: Cryptids, Haunted Venues and Scary Legends.