An unexplained chill in the air, a whisper in an empty room, a flicker of movement in the corner of your eye: ghost-hunters and paranormal experts have dedicated their lives to tracking down evidence that there is a life beyond the one we live now, and, sometimes, spirits from another dimension infiltrate our world. Even if you don’t really, truly believe ghosts exist, it’s easy to be spooked by creaky floorboards and flickering lamps when you’re all alone in the dead of night.
Eerie old buildings with chilling back stories are scattered across the country, just begging thrill-seekers to come explore. Travelers with an appetite for the spooky can go on a cross-country “ghost hunt,” or even just investigate the spirits nearby. After all, , mansions, prisons, and can be found in every single state.
Yuma Territorial Prison
Established during western expansion, this “territorial prison” scored itself 111 permanent guests during its heyday between 1876 and 1909. Not one to shy from a rep of locking people into hot, dark places, Arizona has designated this a state historical park—easily one of the creepiest in the nation, and one of the most haunted spots in AZ. Guides report feeling chills when they pass Cell 14, where an inmate doing time for “crimes against nature” killed himself. In the so-called dark cell, prisoners in pitch-black solitary went mad chained to ring-bolts in the walls.
The Alaskan Hotel
The most famous ghost to roam the halls of Alaska’s oldest-operating hotel is that of a gold miner’s wife who lived here while waiting for her husband to return. When he didn’t, she began supporting herself by working as a prostitute… until he did return. Not exactly thrilled with her new career choice, he killed her, and now guests and staff regularly report encounters (no, not like that) with her ghost.