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? This week, we compiled a list of the eeriest haunted hotels, theatres, venues, and the like to keep you up at night. We've even included 15 real ghost stories from readers to give you a frightfully good scare. Read on if you dare...
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Most Haunted Hotels to Visit
1. 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. Constructed in 1909, some have dubbed this 420-room hotel “the Disney Land for Ghosts.” It has an infamous reputation for 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.
2. 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. 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.
3. Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, Oregon
Reader Submission: Sean Mahoney, South of Rose Communications
"I stayed at the Hotel Oregon back in the early 2000s and the hotel owners claim it's haunted. I was staying overnight and it must have been two or three a.m. when there was a very loud pounding on my door.
I was in bed asleep with my partner at the time, and I don't scare easily, so I jumped out of bed and ran to the front door and opened it. We were mid-hallway and there was no one in either direction. At that point I was scared, so I closed the door, locked it, and climbed back in bed. There was no other disturbance, but it freaked me out."
4. The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Reader Submission: Aniya Carter, Eleven Six PR
"Given the long history of The Elms Hotel and Spa since its opening in 1888, it’s not surprising that it’s built a reputation as one of Missouri’s most haunted places. Its spirits are widely recognized, especially after the hotel was featured in an episode of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters.
The stories of the spirits at the Elms vary from the spirit of a woman running around looking for her child and pulling hair, to the housekeeping staff's spiritual adviser in the form of a ghost wearing a 1920s-style uniform.
Serving as a storage space for liquor and as a party spot during prohibition, the Elms lap pool is said to host the spirit of a gambler killed by the mob. Guests can take part in an hour-long guided tour of the Elms and learn all about the rich history of the hotel, making it the perfect Halloween destination."
5. Manresa Castle Hotel in Port Townsend, Washington
Reader Submission: Michael Brein, Ph.D., Author of The Road to Strange Series
"As the author of the Road to Strange book series on UFOs and the paranormal, I am constantly interviewing people on their experience with the paranormal. Recently, I spoke with a woman named Stephanie about a mysterious encounter she had at the Manresa Castle Hotel.
Of course, I cannot be absolutely sure of the photo and the circumstances. But the woman I did the interview with seemed sincere to me. Stephanie snapped a photo of the hotel and there appears to be a hooded figure seen in a third-story window.
Her brother was in the room asleep and her husband was there, yet neither of them was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and no one messed with the photos. I think it pretty much is what it is!"
6. The Skirrid Mountain Inn in Abergavenny, UK
Reader Submission: James Watts, CEO of Own The Grill
"Six years ago, my wife and I stayed at a pub called The Skirrid Inn in a town called Abergavenny. Being a big fan of the supernatural, my wife wanted to spend the night in what was supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK, which was why we ended up in the Skirrid.
Before that night, I wasn’t a believer. But in the middle of our brief stay, I was awoken by the sound of someone walking across the floor to the bed, and their deep (almost rasping) breathing that sounded as though they were standing over and watching me.
It was pitch black in the room, so I panicked, switched on the light and there was no one there. I didn’t get a wink of sleep for the rest of the night, and the light stayed on until the morning. I don’t know what I heard, but it was enough to radically alter my belief system, and now I know that there are things beyond the veil."
7. The General Morgan Inn in Greeneville, Tennessee
Reader Submission: Todd Ramlin, Manager of Cable Compare
"A paranormal experience for me came in high school when I worked at The General Morgan Inn located in Greeneville, Tennessee. The hotel has a long history of being haunted and I worked as a host at the Brumley’s restaurant located within.
I was closing one night when I heard something on the bar fall to the floor. I was the only person in the restaurant so I was pretty freaked out, to say the least. I went to investigate and discovered that my keys had fallen to the floor. The thing is, I never had my keys on the bar, so I’m not sure how they got there. And I’m most definitely confused as to how they ended up on the floor. I had heard stories of weird things going on inside The General Morgan Inn but this was the first time it happened to me."
Most Haunted Theatres to Visit
1. 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 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.
2. Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois
Constructed 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 auditioned for a lead role in the 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...
3. 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 seeing a show there. Guests have claimed to see spirits roaming about, ghostly shadows in the rafters, and even apparitions on the stage.
4. Teatre Romea in Barcelona, Spain
Reader Submission: Marta Laurent, Founder of ForeverBarcelona
"When I was a college student in Barcelona, Spain, I used to wait at the bar of one of the oldest theaters in the city: Teatre Romea. It is said to have been built on top of the cemetery of an old convent, so you can guess the ghosts of the monks weren't too happy about it!
It is said to also be haunted by the ghost of a famous actress from the early 1900s, Margarita Xirgu, who performed there many times. Although I didn't stay late at night alone, my aunt who ran the bar did.
Several times, she saw shadows passing behind the window of the door that led to the offices when nobody else was there. The electric plugs of the bar kitchen would sometimes become unplugged when nobody had been in the kitchen except her. These were heavy outlets that she wouldn't normall unplug.
The staff that worked at night recalled similar stories, and the safety guys refused to work there on Halloween night (or All Saints Eve, as it's called here). Sometimes, the heavy pots of the entrance hall where they planted small palm trees appeared out of their usual spot overnight."
Most Haunted Venues to Visit
1. The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
On a list of Wisconsin’s most haunted buildings, the old Eagle’s Ballroom (now called “The Rave”) will always make the cut. Constructed 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. 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!"
3. The Andrew Jackson Hotel in New Orleans
Reader Submission: Monique Hamilton, Co-Founder of Unique NOLA Tours
"As a local tour company that does ghost tours, our guides have had many paranormal experiences all over the city. We take our guests to some of the most haunted spots in New Orleans and after visiting them time and time again, we’ve had a few run-ins with the supernatural.
The Andrew Jackson Hotel is probably the second most haunted venue in New Orleans and happens to be a stop on our ghost tours. Tourists have often found their photos are disrupted by green orbs and strange mist.
One of our braver tour guides decided to take an overnight stay at the hotel just to see if the rumors were true and they were. They came back and told us how their TV channel had been changed and the heater was turned on, which never happens during a New Orleans summer. We love spooky experiences and hope that everyone gets a chance to enjoy them!"
True Horror Stories from Our Readers
Are you eager for more chilling scares? Here's a list of even more stories from Tag/Talk readers. From creepy entities to spooky towns, scary spirits, and ghost folklore, you'll love these spine-chilling stories from readers like you.
Unexplained Stories from the Events Industry
Reader Submission: James Brad, Blogger at Travare.net
"I have had a few scary experiences while working in the event industry. One time, I was working an event at an old hotel that was supposedly haunted. During the event, one of the chandeliers in the ballroom suddenly came crashing down, narrowly missing one of the guests.
Another time, I was working at an outdoor event at night and I kept seeing what looked like a woman in a white dress walking around in the distance. I tried to get a closer look but she always seemed to disappear before I could get to her. These are just a couple of the many strange things that have happened to me while working in the event industry."
The Old Charleston Jail in Charleston, South Carolina
Reader Submission: Rae Miller, Co-owner at Getaway Couple LLC
"My husband and I took a nighttime tour of the Old Charleston Jail in Charleston, South Carolina one weekend, and it's a tour we'll never forget. We spent almost two hours walking through the hallways, cells, solitary confinement, torture rooms, gallows, and basement area. The entire time you feel a heaviness in the air. The negative energy and leftover trauma in the place are palpable.
While we were in the basement listening to the tour guide, my husband and I both saw a dark figure that appeared to be hunched over move from right to left in the washrooms behind the tour guide. There was no entry or exit in that part of the building. We went into the room to look around, but of course, there was no one there."
The Ghost Town of Bodie, California
Reader Submission: Gennifer Rose, Gennifer Rose Travel & Lifestyle Blog
"My husband and I did a road trip to the ghost town of Bodie, an abandoned gold mining town. There's a local spooky lore known as 'The Curse of Bodie' where visitors may experience a series of unfortunate events immediately following their visit.
We had our own series of unfortunate events directly following our visit to Bodie. The morning after our visit, we awoke to our car completely buried in unseasonal snow. After digging out the car, we returned to our cabin, only to find that the door had locked itself, leaving us stranded in the snow. To make matters worse, the cabin manager's key had also mysteriously gone missing.
While preparing to hit the road, our car unexplainably locked itself with the keys inside. After another hour of waiting for AAA to arrive, the car magically unlocked itself and we were able to get inside. Long story short, we barely made it out of Bridgeport in one piece."
Sanatorium Hill in Madison, Wisconsin
Reader Submission: Mathew Bowley, Marketing Manager at Solmar Villas
"The Northport neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin is guarded by the abandoned tuberculosis hospital that hosted tuberculosis patients from 1930 until 1966. The main structure is impressive in its vintage horror appearance, but the woods behind it and the little graveyard to the west are where much of the reported paranormal activity has taken place. Strange lights, mists, apparitions, and even physical manifestations like being touched by phantom hands have all been reported by hikers on the paths that go through Lake View Park's dense forest and neighboring cemetery."
Cafe Tacuba in Mexico City, Mexico
Reader Submission: Mariana Montes Mendoza, Vibe Adventures
"When I was 16 years old, I went to eat with my family at a very famous restaurant in Mexico City called 'Cafe Tacuba.' The waiters of the place tell you that after 5:00 pm, you start to hear inexplicable footsteps and door knocks in the women's restrooms.
"While using the ladies' room, I heard the faucet turn on and the water started running. I automatically thought it was someone else, but realized I hadn't heard anyone else come in. When I finished, I saw the faucet was still running. As I went to turn it off, the door to the last bathroom slammed shut.
At that moment, I ran freaked out and told my relatives. I honestly don't think any of them believed me. Still, since that time I have never been back to that restaurant. I don't know if it was my imagination or if someone played a bad joke on me."
A Haunted Encounter in New Orleans, Louisiana
Reader Submission: Inez Stanway, Live Laugh Create
"I was on a trip to New Orleans with some friends, and we decided to stay in an old hotel that was said to be haunted. I didn't really believe in ghosts, but I have to admit that I was a little scared when we got to our room and I saw the door swing open by itself. I tried to tell myself that it was just the wind, but then I started to hear strange noises coming from the other side of the door.
I didn't want to investigate, so I just went to bed and tried to forget about it. But in the middle of the night, I woke up because I felt someone touch my shoulder. When I turned around, there was no one there. That's when I realized that the stories about the hotel being haunted were true!"
Fort Amherst in Chatham, United Kingdom
Reader Submission: Sally, Blogger at Life Living
"I visited Fort Amherst, which is Britain's Biggest Napoleonic Fortress. I got separated from the tour group and ended up coming out of a tunnel slightly later than the rest of the tour group. When I caught up with the group, one of the other people on the tour pointed out that there were small chalk handprints on the back of my cardigan. There was no one else in the tunnel with me and no children on the tour at all. Spooky!"
A Ghostly Visit in Indonesia
Reader Submission: Jack Miller, Founder of How I Get Rid Of
"I usually am not a believer in paranormal experiences, but I did have an unexplained occurrence happen to me during a trip to Indonesia years back. I was staying at this old hotel and I woke up in the middle of the night because I felt the side of the bed next to me drop as if someone laid down on it.
My back was turned against it at the time when shortly after, I felt a warmth drape over my arm and shoulders as if someone embraced me from behind. I told the concierge about it, and all I got from him was 'Oh, I see.' As if to say, 'This happens all the time. Safe to say, I no longer stay at old hotels during my travels from then on."
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.
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