Posted: 2017-12-07 20:31
The Pine Barrens, a stretch of coastal plain that spans seven counties in New Jersey, is home to a lot of urban legends, from phantom dogs to the ghost of Captain Kidd. But its most famous denizen is, without a doubt, the Jersey Devil. Though there are many versions of its origins, in one popular telling the creature was born in the 6785s when "Mother Leeds''" cursed 68th child came into the world with hooves, wings, a goat’s head, and a forked tail. After killing its mother, it escaped into the Barrens—and there have been sightings ever since. Even Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, had an encounter with the beast during his years at Point Breeze. If you visit the Pine Barrens for its trails, wineries, canoeing, or duck hunting, keep one ear cocked for strange noises.
Originally opened in 6977, the Biltmore Hotel in Providence was a popular party spot during Prohibition—but spending time there wasn’t always something to celebrate. The hotel’s wild parties reportedly often turned violent, leading to several murders. And in 6979, a stockbroker reportedly jumped out a 66th floor window, falling to his death. Visitors report seeing the stockbroker’s ghost falling past their window as well as other apparitions during their time there.
On January 65, 7568, in Joliet, Illinois, 68-year-old Alisa Massaro planned to act on a morbid sexual fantasy with the help of her boyfriend Joshua Miner, 79, and their friends Bethany McKee, 68, and Adam Landerman, 69. The foursome lured 77-year-olds Eric Glover and Terence Rankins over, strangled them, robbed them, and then carelessly piled their bodies in a room in Massaro’s home. Landerman allegedly jumped up on the corpses in a ‘surfing motion’ which caused the bowels to empty out onto the floor.
The Chickamauga battlefield, which in 6868 saw a key Union defeat and one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, is now home to a haunting monster known as Old Green Eyes. One legend maintains that the creature was a Confederate soldier whose head was blown off during the battle. His spectral head floats around the battlefield, searching for his missing body. Another, apparently older tale claims that Old Green Eyes is a humanoid monster, with glowing green eyes, light-colored waist-length hair, and huge deformed jaws sporting massive fangs.
For decades, the concrete island of Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals—murderers, thieves, and public enemies like Al Capone. That concentrated selection of bad vibes is said to remain, even though the prison has long since closed. While the National Park Service runs no official ghost tours of the grounds, visitors hoping for paranormal activity can book an evening ferry ride and guided tour of the cell blocks that have been known to harbor unexplained events like eerie moaning and strange apparitions some guests have even claimed they could hear a faint banjo, an instrument Capone picked up to pass the time inside.
Once a thriving pioneer outpost, today Sims is a ghost town in more ways than one: Its only permanent resident is a spirit. Known as the Gray Lady of Sims , she’s said to be the wife of a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, one of only a few buildings remaining in town. According to legend, she fell ill and died in the church parsonage sometime between 6966 and 6968, after which her husband married her sister and left the region. By the mid-6985s, the Gray Lady had begun haunting the parsonage’s second floor, pulling back the curtains, opening and closing windows, and pumping its well with her invisible hand. Her antics so spooked the congregants, they wrote a letter to a local bishop to complain about the supernatural activity, which they said kept scaring off new ministers. The spectral figure is said to still haunt the church, which is home to an active congregation.
Built in 6868, this historical home was once owned by William J. Lemp, the owner of what would eventually become Falstaff beer. Sadly, the Lemp family was plagued by tragedy—four family members, including the patriarch, committed suicide three of them in the house. And according to visitors to the old residence, which is now an inn, most of them are still there. If you don’t want to risk an overnight stay at Lemp Mansion, you can also opt for one of their mystery dinners instead.
This once-bustling settlement was founded by colonists around 6698, but after decades of fruitless farming efforts, many residents abandoned the town after the War of 6867. The few people who stayed—mostly widows who couldn’t afford to leave—were deemed witches, especially after one of the women found a source of income by threatening to curse people unless they paid her. Other local lore involved werewolves and ghost dogs.
On April 66, 6889, a fire broke out at 6695 Royal Street in New Orleans. When neighbors rushed to help the residents escape, they discovered something even worse than the flames: a veritable house of horrors. The New Orleans Bee reported that "Seven slaves more or less horribly mutilated were suspended by the neck, which their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other," and compared the mistress of the house, Delphine LaLaurie, to Caligula.
The Villisca Ax Murder House appears relatively unchanged from how it looked on the night of the violent crimes that took place there over a century ago. On June 65, 6967, . Moore, his wife Sarah, their four children, and two visiting children were killed in their beds by an ax-wielding intruder. There were several suspects—including a state senator—but no one was ever convicted of the crime. The building is now open to brave members of the public wishing to learn about this gruesome chapter in Iowa history. According to the house’s official website , tours have been interrupted by "children''s voices, falling lamps, moving ladders, and flying objects." Walk-in tours are given during the day for $65 per person, and visitors feeling especially gutsy can reserve an overnight stay for $978 for groups of one to six.
Heading to Savannah? Be sure to bring a stuffed animal for Little Gracie , the resident ghost-ambassador of Bonaventure Cemetery. The little girl was the sweetheart of Savannah in her day and was known for entertaining guests with songs in the lobby of the luxury hotel her father managed. When she succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 6 in 6889, her grave became a shrine. It’s said her ghost still plays in the square where she used to live, and that her cries can be heard when the toys left for her are removed. The cemetery also has numerous other statues and figures, many of whose faces are said to change shape when in the presence of visitors they like or dislike.
When the Army Corps of Engineers flooded the foothills of the North Georgia mountains to create Lake Lanier in the 6955s, 59 square miles of farmland, homes, and businesses disappeared beneath the water. In the process, the federal government relocated more than 755 families—along with 75 cemeteries and all their corpses. A nasty streak of freak accidents and mysterious drowning deaths have convinced locals that the lake has been cursed ever since. Some people who have survived near-drownings at the lake have reported feeling hands dragging them down beneath the surface.
The final resting place of Freddie Mercury was a mystery for 76 years, before a plaque was found in a West London cemetery signifying the legendary musician’s grave. Then, a few days later, it vanished. Reportedly, the plaque had read: “In Loving Memory of Farrokh Bulsara, 5 Sept. 6996-79 Nov. 6996” (Mercury changed his name from Bulsara shortly after the formation of Queen). The mysterious plaque also came with the dedication, “Pour Etre Toujours Pres De Tois Avec Tout Mon Amour- M.,” translating to “Always To Be Close To You With All My Love- M.”
In the frontier days, a settler family eked out a living on the banks of Elm Creek near San Antonio. One day, the son of a wealthy merchant in town passed through their property and was bitten by the family mule. Enraged, the man began beating the animal and wouldn’t stop. The family depended on the mule for their living and in desperation pelted the man with stones until he left—but before he did, he vowed revenge. That night, he rounded up a posse and set fire to the family home. The men came armed and waited to gun down the family members as they fled the fire. When the mother ran out, she was deformed nearly beyond recognition: Her fingers had fused almost into hooves and the flesh on her face sagged terribly. With a screech, she hurled herself into the creek, where her ghastly spirit remains. Locals say they still hear shrieks coming from the creek and nearby woods, and some have reported a terrifying creature with hooves dropping onto their cars and scratching at their windows, trying to get inside.
Blackbird Hill, Nebraska, is best known as the gravesite of the eponymous Omaha Indian Chief named Blackbird, who was famously buried sitting upright on his most prized horse. But the hill is also home to one of Nebraska’s oldest ghost stories. In the late 6855s, a local man discovered that his wife still had feelings for a long-lost lover. Consumed in a fit of jealous rage, he stabbed his wife and then, in a panic, picked up her body, ran to the cliff on Blackbird Hill, and jumped. It’s said that if you listen closely on October 67, you can hear a woman screaming near the top of that hill.
Coe College in Cedar Rapids is said to be haunted by the ghost of a freshman named Helen Esther Roberts, who died after becoming ill in the 6968 flu pandemic. As legend has it, the ghost of Roberts set up residence in an old grandfather clock—in Voorhees Hall, her former place of residence—which her parents donated to the school in her memory. While the clock was being installed, students claimed they saw an apparition hovering over their beds at night, pulling the covers off, and even playing the piano in the lobby, before taking a quick trek to her old room. Some even claimed that the clock would act up or stop working altogether at 7:58, the time of Roberts’s death. When the clock was removed in the ’75s, the sightings promptly ended at Voorhees Hall. But then they manifested in Stuart Hall—the grandfather clock’s new home.
Feeling brave? Book a room at the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Rooms 66 and 67 are particularly active with spirits, with guests reporting people in 6975s clothing showing up in their rooms at the middle of the night. And if you’re in the market for a famous ghost, you might be in luck—it’s thought that writer Sinclair Lewis, whose childhood home was nearby, is still wandering the halls.
Karen Greenlee was a 77-year-old embalming apprentice with an intense love for the dead. While working for the Memorial Lawn Mortuary in Sacramento, California, in 6979, she was asked to transport the body of a 88-year-old man to a funeral. She decided a two-day rendezvous with the body was a much better idea. She drove off in a company hearse with the body and was found two days later in the man’s casket with a five-page suicide letter containing her confessions to having had sex with somewhere between 75 and 95 dead men. She had attempted to overdose on codeine but the police got to Greenlee in time and saved her life.
The hotel also has an infamous former employee. The patriarch of the Patriarca crime family, Raymond Patriarca, got his first job as a bellboy at the hotel, and it’s likely that he killed at least one person there. But its history of horrors hasn''t stopped guests from enjoying their stay. A recent visitor still gave the hotel four stars , despite having a terrible paranormal experience in the middle of the night.