Most Paranormal Places in America
In celebration of Halloween and everything strange, this list of the most paranormal places in America will guarantee thrills, chills, and terrifying stories for everyone brave enough to visit these locations.
Throughout the world, there are locations that just don't quite seem "right." Whether it's due to some horrifying tragedy, too much hearsay about strange goings-on, or something that humanity genuinely has yet to understand, certain places just have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them seem mysterious, unearthly, or paranormal in nature.
Certain places are just magnets for the strange. Be it for their alleged alien sightings, their ghostly hauntings, or just an overall cobbled-together network of high strangeness, these are considered to be the most paranormal places in America. Would you be brave enough to spend a night in these locales?
Eastern State Penitentiary — Philadelphia, PA
When it was still a functioning prison, Eastern State Penitentiary had a strong reputation for its brutal punishments, infamous inmates, and corrupt guards — but now, it's known as one of the most paranormal places in America due to the sheer amount of ghosts that inhabit the cold concrete corners of the now-abandoned prison.
If any place could be listed as one of the most haunted prisons in America, it'd have to be Eastern State. At its very beginnings, it was known for isolating prisoners in complete silence until they went mad and would attack themselves. Once the extreme isolation practice subsided, other forms of torture were implemented.
Over the years, many famous gangsters, bank robbers, and criminals were sent here. Some never came back out, and at night, it's said that the residents try to make themselves known to anyone who is willing to hear them.
According to paranormal investigators, it's one of the most actively haunted places in the world. Some of the strange phenomena that's been spotted includes:
- The Ghost of Al Capone and "Jimmy" in Cell Block 6. The famed gangster allegedly haunts the place where he was forced to live when he was doing time. Legend has it that his cell was already haunted, though, by a man Capone would only call "Jimmy."
- Full-bodied Apparitions. Many visitors to Eastern State Penitentiary claim to see visions of people wearing old jail clothes, as well as guards who walk through the blocks, only to disappear.
- Disembodied Voices. Many ghost hunters have caught evidence of disembodied voices during EVP sessions here. Some voices giggle, others cry, and even moretell people to "Get Out."
- Shadow People. Shadows have a tendency of moving on their own at Eastern State. Currently, this is the most common kind of ghostly evidence reported by paranormal investigators who spend the night searching for ghosts.
Skinwalker Ranch — Uintah Basin, UT
Few places are as notorious for high strangeness as the Skinwalker Ranch. In fact, of all the most paranormal locations in America, only the Skinwalker Ranch was taken seriously by the US government and investigated by scientists hired from NIDS.
Throughout its existence, the area of the Uintah Basin, especially Skinwalker Ranch, was known as a place where strange things happened. For centuries, Native Americans avoided the place, citing that it was home to skinwalkers — dangerous and evil witches capable of shapeshifting.
What makes Skinwalker Ranch one of the most unusual paranormal hotspots in America is that this place allegedly has no hauntings whatsoever. It does, however, have portals to other dimensions — and that alone is enough to terrify most.
According to those who have visited this unearthly land, the paranormal occurrences are unlike anything they could have ever expected. Investigators have reported the following, just to name a handful of the strange sightings involved at this location:
- Unrecognizable Animals That Appear and Disappear Right Before Your Eyes. These included a wolf the size of a car that appeared to be impervious to bullets, a strange hyena-like creature with a bushy tail, colorful birds of unknown origin, as well as birds that glow in the dark.
- Skinwalkers. A lot of people who were investigating the area claimed to see animals that would shapeshift into people. These are what skinwalkers are in Native legends, and just like in the legends, they emanate evil.
- Invisible Creatures Attacking Livestock, Technology, and People. Most alarmingly, investigators claimed to have seen animals being attacked by unknown forces. Cameras that were set up often were found damaged by unseen hands, or even just disconnected through force that couldn't have been done by human beings without getting attention.
- Animal Mutilations. Former ranch owners claimed to have had dozens of animals die due to bizarre mutilations.
- Sentient Lights. Unexplained lights are a common occurrence in many of the most paranormal places in America, but these aren't your typical "ghost lights." Some of the lights actually appear to be sentient, and have been known to attack people and livestock. Those around the lights claim to feel an intense feeling of dread. Some have also claimed to see the lights "zap" people.
- Disembodied Voices. The voices often sound like radio voices, and include a man, a little girl, and people discussing something in an alien language. At times, the voices will describe people on the ranch!
- UFOs. A huge variety of different UFOs have been reported in the area, including "flying refrigerators," "glowing orange footballs," as well as strange airplane-like crafts that fly without making a sound.
- Open Vortexes. One of the owners of the Skinwalker Ranch claimed he used to see "holes opening up in the sky" at night, with the inside of the hole showing a bright daytime sky — or a deep orange glow of a sunset inside.
Due to the sheer amount of danger that comes with the reputation of this area, it's best not to try to go anywhere near it.
Mammoth Cave — Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
Mammoth Cave got its name because it's absolutely massive inside, and though it's one of the most popular attractions in Kentucky, it also has a pretty terrifying reputation. You see, Mammoth Cave has seen a lot of pain and suffering during its existence because it was both a slave hideout and a tuberculosis hospital(!) at different points in history.
Rumor has it that the natural stone interior of the cave tends to bring out the souls that passed here — and that's why it's regularly called the most haunted natural wonder in the world. Some of the ghostly residents that allegedly live in this massive cave include:
- The Ghost of Stephan Bishop. Stephan Bishop was a former slave who ended up staying in Mammoth Cave. He's known for being an explorer who often follows tour groups around during late night tours. He's allegedly so realistic, tour members often mistake him for a fellow tourist.
- The Ghost of Floyd Collins. Floyd Collins was a former owner of the Mammoth Cave who went into the cave, got pinned by a falling rock, and was stuck for weeks as he died from a variety of terrible complications. People claim to have seen him, and also hear him asking for help in distant corners of the cave.
- Phantom Coughing. Many of the people who died in Mammoth Cave were put at a place called Corpse Rock. Today, people claim to hear phantom coughing near the rock. Could it be that some people never quite got over the way their sickness consumed them?
- Shadow People. Another common sighting that might just be a trick of the light is the presence of shadow people. People claim that these are the souls of those who died due to TB or that they may be something different altogether.
- Levitating Objects. Many visitors on the ghost tours claim to have seen things move on their own accord. Could it be a cheap tourist trick, or are ghosts really begging to get out of the cave that took their lives?
Antietam National Battlefield — Sharpsburg, MD
Much like Gettysburg, Antietam is a Civil War location that gained a reputation for being one of the most paranormal locations in America due to the sheer amount of bloodshed that it's seen.
According to the legends, the battle at Antietam was one of the most gruesome — and the amount of pain that people experienced there caused the entire battlefield to have a permanent pall over it. Generals chose one slightly sunken road in particular to be the place of battle, and that's where most of the paranormal activity seems to be found.
Bloody Lane, as it's called, supposedly sank down into the ground because of how much blood was trapped in the soil. Today, it's considered to be a heavily haunted location that emanates an overwhelming eery feeling every night.
Some of the apparitions linked to Antietam include:
- Ghostly Civil War Soldiers. Many park visitors claim to have seen what they thought were reenactor's walking down the road, only watch them vanish right before their eyes.
- Ghostly Gunpowder. During certain months, visitors to the park often claim that they can smell gunpowder in the air — despite no gunpowder being anywhere nearby.
- Dismbodied Voices and Ghostly Gunshots. Much like with other haunted locations, paranormal investigators have gotten EVP recordings of ghostly gunshots on tape. Casual visitors have also claimed to hear voices shouting, guns shooting, or nonexistent people singing what sounds like Christmas carols. (This is surprising, since not many people knew that some soldiers sang in Gaelic before they headed to battle here, and the refrain sounded a lot like "Fa-la-la-la-la" from a classic Christmas carol.)
- Reincarnation Evidence. Believe it or not, one of the more recent events happened when a local fire chief named Jeffrey Keene visited Antietam Battlefield. He claimed to feel a strong feeling of disress and sadness at the battlefield. Upon further research, he found out that he had uncanny similarities with General John B. Gordon — a man who died in the Civil War. People who read Keene's story often believe it to be one of the more promising examples that suggest that reincarnation may be real.
Grouse Lake + Surrounding Areas — Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite National Park is one of the biggest paranormal hotspots imaginable. It's a place that has seen some serious stuff — much of which can't be explained by ghost stories alone. With a huge variety of different paranormal phenomena reported, it's one of the most paranormal locations in America that you can camp in.
The center of all the craziness seems to be Grouse Lake, located in the heart of Yosemite National Park. This location has a reputation for paranormal activity long before Western settlers showed up, and it seems like there may be a bit more danger to this seemingly placid park than people may want to admit.
Native American legends claim that a young boy drowned in the Lake, and now lives there, trying to make others fall victim to his fate. They also claim that this area is home to an "evil wind" that pushes people to drown themselves.
Ghost hunters and paranormal researchers have found a number of strange occurrences around Yosemite and Grouse Lake in particular. They include:
- The Dead Boy's Ghost. People regularly hear a distinct, shrill pitch similar to that of a lost puppy emanating from the lake. Legend has it that it's the cry of the drowned boy trying to get another person to drown at the bottom of the lake so he can stop being alone. People also have claimed to feel legs grab them and try to pull them deeper in the water, too.
- The Po-Ho-No. This is a malevolent spirit that gives people an urge to look over the edge of the falls, then pushes the fool who listens to their urge to their death. At least three people were found after plunging to their deaths at the lake. Could this be the work of the Po-Ho-No?
- The Curse of Tenaya Canyon. After the State of California forced Natives out of their homes in Yosemite's Canyon, legend says that Chief Tenaya of the Ahwahnechee tribe laid a curse on the land. Ever since then, hikers of all different walks of life have been known to mysteriously vanish in this Canyon — never to be seen alive again. Most disappear near others, without a single trace. Those who are lucky enough to be found alive are often found in a daze, with shoes missing. Due to the sheer number of strange disappearances, it's been nicknamed "the Bermuda Triangle" of Yosemite Park.
- Nightcrawler Cryptids. One of the strangest reasons Yosemite has been called one of the most paranormal locations in America are sightings of what the internet has called "Nightcrawlers." These strange ethereal creatures look like walking pairs of pants — and have allegedly been recognized by Native Americans for centuries. Thankfully, these strange beings are peaceful in nature and are supposed to be here to reunite man and nature.
- Wendigos. A not-so-friendly cryptid that allegedly dwells in Yosemite is the Wendigo — a cannibalistic monster that was once a human being, now cursed to wander the world due to the sins they committed. Many people believe that the strange, almost paranormal disappearances throughout Yosemite may have something to do with Wendigo attacks.
- Bigfoot. Yes, Sasquatch apparently also lives near Grouse Lake, too. Does this surprise anyone?
- The Hanged Camper. At one point, rangers discovered that a camper hanged himself in the woods. No suicide note was found, but people have claimed to still see his body swing in the breeze between 11 PM and 3 AM on certain nights...
- UFOs. Strange lights have seen in the skies of Yosemite, especially near Area 51 and in the skies above Tenaya Canyon. Perhaps aliens are to blame for the people who went missing? Either way, some of the sightings have been caught on video, so it's clear that ghosts alone are not the only thing going on here.
Route 491 — Multiple Cities, UT
Could a road be cursed right from the get-go? If you believe in numerology possibly. Though Route 491 doesn't sound so foreboding right now, it used to have the name, Route 666. According to the legend, the negative vibe of the name caused this lonely stretch of road to be one of the most paranormal locations in America.
Nicknamed "the Highway to Hell" by locals, Route 491 passes near a number of different areas that are known for paranormal activity — including Four Corners, a major hotspot for UFOs. Much of the road is composed of endless stretches of desert highway, which makes it a naturally thrilling route for road trips.
However, as thrilling as it is, it has a reputation for being filled with dangers at night. If you listen to the rumors, you might run into problems of the paranormal kind, including the following:
- Skinwalkers. People have reported seeing animals shapeshift into people who run at inhuman speeds alongside their cars. Native Americans claim that these are skinwalkers who are looking to attack their next victims.
- Hellhounds. Some unlucky cruisers have spotted large black dogs with glowing red eyes alongside the road at dusk. They often are a warning sign of bad things to come up ahead, such as the next point below.
- Unexplained Accidents. For reasons unknown, Route 491 tends to be the site of accidents that can't fully be explained. Single-person crashes, suddenly burst tires, and sudden engine breakdown of brand new cars are the norm on this lonely highway road. Moreover, many of the accidents that occur shouldn't have be fatal — but are.
- Sudden Feelings of Dread. Many travelers on Route 491 get a gripping, terrifying feeling of impending doom. It's not uncommon to hear of drivers who had to pull over in order to collect themselves due to a random-onset panic attack at night.
- Satan's Sedan. Another strange sighting that makes this road one of the most paranormal places in America would be an intimidatingly brightly lit black sedan nicknamed "Satan's Sedan." Legend says that it chases people down stretches of the road, only to disappear at random — or that the sedan tries to make drivers crash by veering off the road once it pulls up next to you.
- The Demonic Semi. Satan's Sedan isn't the only ghost car on this highway. Multiple drivers claim to have been run off the road by a glowing semi truck that spews fire from its exhausts, too. People who have seen it claimed to feel "targeted" by the truck, which is why legend suggests the driver may have a grudge against the living.
- The Girl in White. Perhaps the only non-malignant ghost to be found on Route 491 is the Girl in White. She's a young girl who's often found walking down the road. Concerned motorists offer her a ride, only to see her vanish as they ask her if she needs help.
- UFOs. Though the renaming of the road and the baptizing of the road may have cut down some paranormal sightings, it's still a place you can go to check out strange UFO sightings, too. No matter how you cut it, it's one of the most paranormal locations in America — ghosts or not.
Interestingly, most of the activity happens at night. So, if you are afraid of the dark, you should avoid driving down this road.
The City of Sedona — Sedona, AZ
While many of the most paranormal locations in America have negative connotations, Sedona is anything but negative in nature. This paranormal hotspot is known for having unusually warm, welcoming, and healing vibes permeate throughout the city — with the pinnacle of the positivity emanating from the nearby mountains.
Local legends have differing explanations as to why the area feels so good, or why so many visitors literally feel a vibration when they are near the mountain portion of the city. Native American legends claim it's a spiritual vortex. Christians believe it to be angels that come to others' aid. UFOlogists often ascribe it (and the strange sightings) to beings from another planet or dimension.
Some of the stranger things seen in this New Age hotspot include:
- The Sedona Vibrations. Many visitors claim to feel a warming, loving vibration the closer they get to the alleged locations of Sedona Vortexes. Guided tours popped up because of how positive the energy feels.
- UFOs. There has been a high level of UFO activity reported in and around Sedona over the past decades. This is why Sedona's considered to be a major UFO hotspot.
- Disembodied Dancing Lights. Locals also say that it's common to see strange balls of light dancing throughout the Sedona area — most commonly, near the mountainy areas.
Point Pleasant and Surrounding Areas — Point Pleasant, WV
West Virginia's own Point Pleasant became infamous as the site where people saw the Mothman — but Mothman sightings alone aren't enough to put you on a list of the most paranormal locations in America. Truth be told, this tiny little country town has seen a lot of high strangeness in its years, and it definitely deserves the recognition it's attained for the paranormal activity in the region.
Though this town is most famous for being the inspiration for The Mothman Prophecies, looking at a laundry list of the occurrences in Point Pleasant reads like a medley of episodes from Stranger Things and X-Files. Mothman aside, paranormal investigators pointed these strange sightings that happened in the area, too:
- Men In Black. Not to be confused with the hit sci-fi movie, the Men in Black who have been spotted in Point Pleasant are intimidating and often arrive to silence people who may want to report UFO sightings and paranormal phenomenon to authorities. According to witnesses, these "men" do not appear human, tend to have anachronistic clothing, and often have strange mind control abilities.
- UFO Sightings. It's not surprising that many people believe the Mothman to be alien in nature. Dozens of different UFO sightings have been reported by Point Pleasant's people in the past couple of decades.
- Bizarre Electrical Disturbances. There have been hundreds of occasions where visitors noticed strange electric disturbances that affected their equipment. TVs are known to suddenly lose signal, GPS doesn't always work, and others also report sudden battery drainage to be an issue as well.
- Missing Time. At least five sober people have claimed to travel to Point Pleasant, only to wake up without knowing how they got to where they were — and being unable to explain how time passed. Could time glitches have something to do with the UFOs in the area, or is it just a misperception?
- Animal Mutilations. Some claim that this is the Mothman's doing, while others believe it to be the work of UFOs. No matter who did it, the fact is that unexplained animal mutilations happen here — and in large quantities.
The Bridgewater Triangle — Bridgewater, MA
Most people have heard of the Bermuda Triangle, but not the Bridgewater Triangle. This strange triangular patch of land runs between three small towns in Massachusetts and easily rivals many of the other most paranormal locations in America when it comes to high strangeness.
Unlike other places on this list, there's no real explanation as to why this area attracts so much paranormal phenomenon. It's just bizarre energy, at least, from what we can tell.
This strange plot of land has recorded an unsettlingly high number of strange happenings throughout the centuries. Among other claims, the Bridgewater Triangle allegedly is the site of the following strange things:
- UFOs. UFO sightings are a dime, a dozen in the Bridgewater Triangle. They range from noiseless versions of stealth jets to classic flying saucers, to rapidly moving bright lights that just glimmer in the night sky.
- Mysterious Disappearances. Much like with other places on this list, people have been known to vanish without a trace in the Bridgewater Triangle — even when others are literally feet away from them.
- The Redheaded Hitchhiker. A ghostly redheaded hitchhiker is said to ask for a life on Route 44. When the hitchhiker gets into the car, they vanish without a trace.
- Bigfoot Sightings. Many people have seen a tall, hairy, ape-like being walking through the local Hockomock Swamp then vanishing without a trace. Could Sasquatch be whisking careless hikers into another universe here?
- Thunderbirds. Since 1971, people have been claiming to see large black birds with wingspans topping 15 feet in length flying through the trees in the Bridgewater Triangle. Often described as "living pterodactyls," no known bird matches that description. (One Thunderbird was allegedly caught in the early 20th century, but its body has been lost to time.)
- Ghostly Native Americans. Many legends in the area suggest that the Bridgewater Triangle has witnessed a lot of crimes against Native Americans. Perhaps that's why people have run into ghostly Natives, heard disembodied voices speaking in Algonquin, and approached bonfires only to have the fire (and the people sitting around it) disappear.
- The Demon Dog. One of the more terrifying reports to surface in the Bridgewater Triangle is the sighting of a hellhound. Two people witnessed a dog the size of a calf with bright red, glowing eyes attack two ponies. The ponies were later found mauled to death, with no trace of a dog to be found.
The LaLaurie House — New Orleans, LA
If you've watched American Horror Story or other clips of the scariest shows on Netflix, then you might already know of Delphine LaLaurie — and surprise, she was a real person! She's also the reason why one of the most paranormal locations in America exists.
For those not in the know, Delphine LaLaurie was one of the most well-known socialites in Louisiana high society during the 18th century, but she hid a terrible secret.
She was unspeakably cruel to her slaves.
LaLaurie was known for butchering slaves, sexually assaulting them, and even performing experiments on them. Somehow, LaLaurie was able to hide her torture by keeping "punished" slaves in the attic.
Eventually, one young slave realized that she was on the (literal) chopping block. That night, she started a fire, which caused the locals to investigate the house's attic to ensure everyone got out.
What locals saw was horrifying, and after evidence of LaLaurie's torture and murder games surfaced, she was run out of town. Legend has it that the slaves who died there never left — and neither did Delphine LaLaurie's spirit.
As years passed, the house saw more and more tragedy, including at least one unsolved murder. Ghost hunters who investigated the house have reported the following strange phenomena in the area:
- Shadow People. Many people claim to see their shadows move of their own accord, or to find shadows of nonexistent people peering out from rooms.
- Disembodied Voices. Investigators have heard a number of different voices crying out for help — as well as voices begging for forgiveness. To be fair, hearing disembodied voices seems to be standard for visiting almost all of the most haunted places in America.
- Delphine LaLaurie. Several ghost photographs show a woman dressed in early 18th century clothing looking out from the house's window or wandering through the house. It looks like remaining paintings of LaLaurie. So, could she still be around, looking for her next victim?
- Phantom Tugs. Women often will feel someone tugging at their skirts or jackets, as if someone's trying to alert them to danger around them.
- "House Sprites."A tenant who was found murdered in the house claimed that he was having issues with "house sprites" that were hellbent on killing him. His items regularly would go missing, or levitate on their own — which leads many paranormal investigators to believe that he was killed by a demon, rather than a human rival.
- Attacks. Many people who boarded at the house would wake up with unexplained scratches and bruises. Could it be a demon, or just the work of cruel Madame LaLaurie?
About the Creator
Ossiana M. Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!
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