7 Haunted U.S. Cities Turned Tourist Traps

Chicago is just one of many popular tourists destinations known for its haunted happenings. (Image source: Pixabay.com)

Are you a big paranormal buff but don’t know where to go for ghostly fun? There is no doubt a library of paranormal hot spots for tourists to consider visiting. Here are just seven of these hot spots:

Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California, is home to the legendary Queen Mary (1936-1967), a ship which had two occupations: a luxurious cruise liner, and its warship alter ego, the “Grey Ghost,” during World War II. The ship’s last stop was on Halloween 1967, which spawned many rumors of the ship being haunted by the souls of people who died on board from engine room accidents, or by murder.

In 2008, Time magazine even included Queen Mary among its “Top 10 Haunted Places”.1

Today, tour packages include either booking a room, or simply visiting for a day. The most popular time to visit is on Halloween, of course.

RMS Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967 and subsequently purchased by the city of Long Beach. (Image credit: Altair78 / Wikimedia Commons)

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s history is most known for its mob murders, deadly disasters, and cold cases. One tragic example is the Oriental Theater, formally known as the Iroquois Theater. In 1903, a fire broke out that killed almost 600 people inside. Horrifically, their corpses were stacked in the alley behind the theater—it’s now called Death Alley, because people have reported seeing their ghosts there.

Estes Park, Colorado

Are you a big fan of Stephen King’s The Shining? Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, located in the mountain wilderness of Este Park, is well-known for being in the horror film, based on a story of a Massachusetts couple, the Stanleys, opening the hotel in 1909 and never leaving. Today, guests may hear Mrs. Stanley playing the piano at night, and Mr. Stanley may show up in photos. And since the hotel was in The Shining, guess what movie is played on a 24-hour loop on a TV channel in guest rooms…


Boston, Massachusetts

In Boston, Massachusetts, behind the modern-day scenery of Boston Common’s family picnic outings and carefree leisure, is a gruesome history of public hangings. Not only were criminals and outlaws hung at the Common, but also women accused of witchcraft, or people who defied Puritan laws. The Common was also a battleground, where U.S. soldiers were killed, along with British soldiers, and even Confederate soldiers years later. Instances of being grabbed from behind and the appearance of shadows near the Great Elm (the former hanging site) have been reported by tourists.

Boston Common
Pleasant and green despite its dark history, an aerial view of Boston Common. (Image credit: AbhiSuryawanshi / Wikimedia Commons)

New Orleans, Louisiana


New Orleans has always been a mystical, and dark, place to live. There have been massive fires there, yellow fever epidemics, not to mention the slave market which was a booming business back in the day. As such, it is said that when you go to Jackson Square, you might hear people screaming at night. Or, if you visit the St. Louis Cathedral, you’ll get a little history of how slaves and criminals were executed during the 18th century—and quite possibly run into their ghosts in the process.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 1829, the Eastern State Penitentiary had opened its doors, and became the first prison in the U.S. to use solitary confinement as punishment. There, prisoners were refused human contact, and had hoods put over their heads at any given moment. At the time, this form of punishment was highly debated, with supporters saying that it restrained unruly prisoners, while naysayers compared it to physical torture. Now, despite closing up shop in 1971, it is open to tourists, with there being stories of how the ghosts of the inmates have taken back the prison. Today, the six haunted attractions housed inside the old cell blocks are aptly named “Terror Behind the Walls.”

The Eastern State Penitentiary was operational from 1829 until 1971. Some of its former inmates, it is whispered, are said to remain there. (Image source: Public Domain)

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is known for the Battle of the Alamo. The San Fernando Cathedral made waves in 1936 when construction workers uncovered the remains of what seemed to be a few of the fallen soldiers from the Battle of the Alamo a century before. It was also said they may have been victims of a terrible fire. Whoever the fallen were, it is said they now haunt the living.

Eerily, people have reported seeing shadowy figures dressed in hooded, monk garbs behind the church.

The Emily Morgan hotel also adds to the rumor of hauntings—the hotel is said to have once housed wounded Alamo soldiers, who now surprise current guests by slamming doors and moving objects at night. 

Whether you’re superstitious or a skeptic, San Antonio and the other places mentioned in the list are out-of-this-world with history and lore. And whether you’re visiting on Halloween, or on a regular day, the paranormal will always be around. Happy haunting!


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About Molly Crockett 1 Article
Molly Crockett writes for both Bigassignments and Stateofwriting. As a lifestyle blogger, she shares her latest personal development ideas and blogs at Eliteassignmenthelp online writing service.