A lone tree, long dead and covered in moss, stands in stark relief to the inky night sky. The last remnants of the sun sends smudges of orange and red across the horizon, illuminating just faintly the tree's scarred bark and twisted branches. Wisps of fog linger on the chilled air, wrapping silently around the jagged limbs of the barren tree. Just beyond, half hidden from the narrow dirt road that winds past the tree, a small abandoned shack sits half-crumbling to the ground. Faint streaks of red paint cling to the old barn, a sad testament to the long history of a place now deserted and long neglected. Suddenly, a shriek pierces the night, a howling, nearly inhuman cry that disappears almost as quickly as it began …
Now that I’ve set the mood, let’s talk haunted locations. I pass the above tree and barn every day on my way to work (minus the dirt road and screams) and, since it is now October and my imagination is in overdrive, it was spooky enough this morning to inspire a blog about the creepy places, haunted houses, and other bizarre spots across the country. If you enjoy an authentic Halloween fright, live near one of these intriguing locations.
Starting with my favorite haunted city (and yes, I did encounter some strange things here): St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the country, founded in 1565. From the spooky Old Jail to the even spookier St. Augustine Lighthouse, this place is perfect for those who enjoy surrounding themselves in legends, ghosts, old forts, and haunted locations.
Savannah, Georgia is another great place – the lacy moss cascading from the canopy of trees alone makes this city seem other-worldly. Add in the amazing, historical architecture and stories of pirates and ghosts and you have a recipe for haunted perfection. Savannah has some great ghost tours, but stroll past the Bonaventure Cemetery and you’ll know why Savannah is one of the spookiest locations in the country.
Of course, the haunted South brings to mind one city in particular: New Orleans, Louisiana. The residents of New Orleans happily embrace the stories and legends, the voodoo, the witchcraft, and the ghosts of their unique city. You may be familiar with Mardi Gras, but in October, New Orleans is home to another weekend-long festival – the Voodoo Music Experience. There are some seriously creepy places in New Orleans, but none quite as creepy as the imposing LaLaurie House – it takes “haunted house” to a whole new level.
The Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692 and has fascinated and horrified people ever since. Salem, Massachusetts is a beautiful place to live – but one with a chilling history. The Witch House embraces that history – it is the original home of the 1692 Witch Trial judge, Jonathan Corwin. Today it is a museum and the location of several special events – especially during the month of October. The House of Seven Gables, built in 1668, was the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel of the same name.
A place that is creepy just by its location would have to be Rachel, Nevada. If you’ve never heard of it, Rachel is a small, unassuming town in the Arizona desert. It is also the closest town to Area 51, the mysterious and top secret Air Force base. The Extraterrestrial Highway runs right past Rachel – and yes, that is the highway’s official name. It was named that because of all the mysterious UFO sightings that take place along the highway. If you enjoy a good conspiracy theory, aliens, and tales of alien abduction, Rachel delivers big-time.
Speaking of aliens and conspiracy theories … Roswell, New Mexico is the place where aliens supposedly crash-landed in 1947. From spacecraft debris to dead aliens to a government cover-up, the stories and rumors spread like wildfire. Today, Roswell celebrates its notoriety with an annual UFO Festival.
Midlothian, Illinois is home to what is supposed to be the most haunted location in the country: Bachelor’s Grove. Bachelor’s Grove was a small settlement that developed in the 1820s. Eventually, it was abandoned and forgotten. The cemetery was rediscovered in the 1960s by teenagers who used it as a hangout spot. Then, in the 1970s the groups who visited the cemetery had more sinister intentions – they desecrated the graves and held satanic rituals there. Some believe that the hauntings began when the graves were dug up and the tombstones destroyed or stolen.
The Midlothian Turnpike runs past the Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and it has a mystery all its own. Numerous people have experienced phantom car crashes along this road – some so intense that people report feeling the impact and hearing the crushing of metal. When they get out to check the damage, their car is fine – and the mysterious car that ran into them is gone.
From Sapelo Island, Georgia to San Francisco, California, there are mysterious locations in every state. Want to live in a place straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe tale? In the perfect setting for an Alfred Hitchcock movie? Or perhaps you’d be happy in a Nebraska; Skullhead, Georgia; or Bloody Corners, Ohio. Find your favorite creepy location and let your imagination run wild.