The list of haunted attractions around the country is a long one. From dead soldiers to murder victims, from tragic lovers to serial killers, a wide variety of places around the U.S. are reputed to be spooked. These are places you don’t want to be stuck in after dark — unless you love haunted houses, in which case, you’d love them. If you make it out alive…
Here are five of the country’s scariest and most haunted houses:
Prisons are not places known to have lots of good vibes, even when all the inmates are alive. At a prison that’s been closed for two decades, there is nothing left but the evil of the people who resided there. That’s what you’ll find at West Virginia’s Moundsville Penitentiary.
It was known in its heyday as one of the worst prisons in America. Cramped conditions led to plenty of riots; angry prisoners often murdered one another. In addition, capital punishment was common, and many inmates were put to death at Moundsville, either in the electric chair or via hanging.
A lot of haunted houses aren’t technically houses at all. But for people who spent weeks, months or even years in hospitals, prisons or hotels, their living quarters were home. One of these places is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
Stephen King was inspired to write “The Shining” after visiting. The novel and the movie version of the book continue to freak people out to this day. And the Stanley Hotel is still around, too, to scare the living daylights out of people with lights that turn on and off without notice, eerie piano music that nobody can figure out the source of, and — creepiest of all — guests who wake up firmly tucked into their beds as if someone, or something, did it for them.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Any place that has “lunatic asylum” in its title is bound to be a bit freaky. The facility hosted patients as early as 1864, and this West Virginia haunted attraction is said to have four paranormal “hot spots” where visitors can communicate with former patients from beyond the grave.
Villisca Ax Murder House
Again, if “ax murder” is in the name, it’s gotta be good. At an Iowa farmhouse 102 years ago, a still-unknown assailant brutally murdered eight people. The house has been renovated to remove electricity, restoring it to its 1912 state, and people brave enough can spend the night inside the haunted house — though they probably won’t get much sleep.
The Winchester Mystery House
Take one grieving, angry elderly woman, add decades of construction and you’ve got a California mansion that has hundreds of rooms and an untold number of specters. It also has lots of design elements around the number 13: chandelier candles, wall hooks, and window panes.
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