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Scary Stories About Haunted Houses

22 Shiver-Inducing Stories Behind America's Most Haunted Houses

Source: Flickr user Jennifer Kirkland

Brace yourself — America is more ghostly than you have ever imagined. Touring haunted houses may be a fun Halloween pastime, but places around the country are said to be filled with paranormal activity all year. The most petrifying buildings filled with spirits are explored in the new book America's Most Haunted by Theresa Argie and Eric Olsen. This read is filled with stories that will chill your bones to their very core. We dug up some of the most interesting stories from the spooky book. Check out the crazy-scary truths and rumors about America's most haunted mainstays. Warning: these spirit stories are pretty scary.

Pennsylvania's Knickerbocker Hotel: Eternally Checked-In Guests

Source: The Knickerbocker Hotel

  • Built over 130 years ago, the Knickerbocker Hotel is located in Linesville, exactly halfway between New York and Chicago. The overwhelming paranormal activity in the hotel proves that some guests checked in and never checked out.
  • One woman left her purse at her feet in the dining area of the hotel. When she reached down to get something out of her bag, it was gone. Current owner Peg Knickerbocker told the woman to ask the building to please "give it back." After pleading, "Building, please return my purse," and clearing the room of all people, the women came back to find the purse exactly where it went missing.
  • Another guest at the Knick took her grandson to the bathroom when another woman came in and started impatiently tapping her feet. The grandmother apologized and said that her grandson would be done in a minute, but the impatient woman left the bathroom. When the grandma came back out to tell Peg's sister Clara Hyder about the incident, Clara informed her that they were the only guests in the entire hotel and no other woman was there.

The Queen Mary of Long Beach: Drowning in Death

Source: Flicker user Gail Frederick

  • Known as one of the most haunted locations in the country, the Queen Mary is primarily haunted by men who fought in World War II and died on the ship when it was used for troops.
  • One ghost nicknamed "Half Hatch Harry" was an 18-year-old sailor who died when a watertight door crushed and severed him in two. He's still seen wandering watertight door number 13.
  • The ship's most famous spirit is a little girl named Jackie, who wandered into the first class swimming pool unsupervised. She drowned to death in that pool — since then, visitors and crew members have reported splashing water from the empty area and a child's laughter echoing throughout the space. Many have seen apparitions of Jackie skipping across the pool deck.
  • Investigate paranormal activity aboard the ship every weekend or take a spirit walk, where you can learn about all of the vessel's ghost stories.

The Stanley Hotel: A Paranormal Mainstay

Source: Flickr user Frank Kovalchek

  • Set among the Rocky Mountains is the Stanley Hotel, the creepy resort that inspired the story of The Shining. Every single floor of the building is known to be haunted with a variety of ghosts.
  • When the hotel first opened in the early 1900s, a homeless woman named Lucy used to hide in a small storage area under the hotel's concert hall to escape from the cold. One night, it was so cold that Lucy froze to death, and she has been haunting the area ever since. Many people have reported seeing her emaciated body and hearing her cries from the basement.
  • One paranormal investigator witnessed a table and chair jumping through the air by themselves in room 1302.
  • Experience the resort's spirits for yourself on a night ghost tour, where guests are led through the most paranormal spaces on site.

Villisca House of Iowa: A Case of the Axe

Source: Flickr user Jennifer Kirkland

  • Eight people (including six children) were murdered in the Villisca house of Iowa in 1912. All of the victims were bludgeoned to death with an ax.
  • The murder at the Villisca house remains unsolved. The house is now haunted by the victims — EVPs have picked up young girls' screams and a voice saying, "Boo!"
  • One paranormal investigator sat in the sewing room of the VIllisca house where the temperature of the room dropped so low that he could see his own breath within minutes. Scary!
  • You can book an overnight tour in the house and see if you can witness any paranormal activity for yourself. Many visitors have witnessed the presence of ghosts.

The Ohio State Reformatory: Behavior Punishable by Death

Source: Flicker user Ian McKellar

  • The Ohio State Reformatory was supposed to be a place for troubled men to find bright futures, but the building contains a history of violence as well. For example, one 22-year-old man set himself on fire in his cell in 1960.
  • The prison's ghostly residents include two murdered guards as well as the reformatory's farm boss and family; they were kidnapped and shot to death by parolees in 1948.
  • When Theresa Argie entered the superintendent's quarters where one prison warden's wife was shot and killed, she experienced an overwhelming scent of rose perfume, something that has been experienced by others, as well.
  • Explore the haunted reformatory on a supernatural tour through the building's vacant prison cells and rooms.

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium: A Patient's Ill Fate


Source: Instagram user amberb_13

  • The Waverly Hills Sanatorium held thousands of ill patients over the course of 35 years — it is estimated that as many as 63,000 people died in the facility.
  • After the building shut down in the 1980s, homeless people, drug addicts, and youth gangs filled the building. One man and his dog were found dead under the elevator shaft during this time — the pair has been spotted as apparitions in that very area.
  • Take a guided night tour of the building. Guests have witnessed strange noises and ghost-like figures during these tours.
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