Do you love a haunted house or a good ghost story? Just in time for spooky season in 2020, the website SlotSource.com has issued a spine-tingling report on the most haunted states in America. (If you want to see the latest list of the scariest and most haunted places in America in 2021, check out “America’s Most Haunted Houses And Scariest Places: Survey Ranks Spookiest States.”)
Compiled using findings from Ghosts of America, the 2020 list ranks the states that are home to the scariest hauntings and most phantasmagoric happenings in the country. Coming in at the top of the list is Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas—even the ghost sightings—which is probably why the Lone Star State was named the most haunted state in America. In fact, its residents have witnessed a whopping 6,845 paranormal activities since 2005. California is second on the list, with 6,444 reports since 2005. Ohio comes in third with 2,555 sightings.
So what makes a place haunted? “You’ll see unexplained shadows or movements in the side-vision of your eyes, or soft whispers of a conversation near you and no one is there,” the Psychic Medium Sisters tell SlotSource. Other telltale signs: cold spots, creepy sensations or the feeling that you’re being watched.
Ghosts don’t float your boat? Then the place for you is Delaware, which came in last on the list, thanks to the fewest apparitions in the United states.
Here, we take a look at the top 10 scariest states and some of the spookiest highlights. Spoiler alert: If you want to sleep easy tonight, stop reading now.
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1. Texas: Texas tops the list of the most haunted state in America. After all, this is the home of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and locations like Marfa. Way out west in the middle of nowhere, this tumbleweed town has a reputation for its cool art scene and the mysterious Marfa Lights. People started spotting these unexplained colorful glowing orbs back in the 19th century.
Spooky Spot: Remember the Alamo? Seems that ghosts do, too. Many people say San Antonio is the most haunted city in Texas—which is no surprise, since it was the setting for one of the deadliest battles in America. Explore the city on foot with Ghost City Tours or stay at the Emily Morgan Hotel, where you’ll find spirits roaming the halls. The property once housed a morgue and a psychiatric ward and is now known for its paranormal activity.
Most Haunted Hotel: The man who built Austin’s Driskill hotel loved the place so much he never wanted to leave: He still haunts the grounds, along with the ghost of a Texas senator’s 4-year-old daughter who fell to her untimely death on the hotel’s grand staircase.
2. California: Second on the list of most haunted places, California is known for superstars and supernatural occurrences—especially at places like Eureka’s Fort Humboldt State Historic Park. Here, hikers report seeing the ghost of a dead commander staring at them through the hospital windows.
Spooky Spot: You could say that the city of angels is also the city of ghosts. Los Angeles is a hotbed of spookiness, the most star-studded being Hollywood’s Hotel Roosevelt, where former guests Marilyn Monroe and actor Montgomery Cliff still hang around the property.
Most Haunted Hotel: Known as the “haunted ship,” the Queen Mary is a cruise liner from the 1930’s that’s now docked in Long Beach, operating as a hotel. The property embraces its spooky side with ghost-hunting tours. One of the creepiest rooms is Stateroom B340, which has had so many scary episodes that it was closed off for a number of years.
3. Ohio: Third on the list, Ohio is rife with paranormal stories, from the Twin City Opera House in the tiny town of McConnelsville—where something hides behind the curtains—to Mansfield’s Ohio State Reformatory, which hosts regular ghost hunts and was the setting for the Shawshank Redemption.
Spooky Spot: Flickering candles, flying objects, scary screams—Waynesville has been called the most haunted town in Ohio. Check it out with The Museum at the Friends Home, which runs Ghostly History Walking Tours.
Most Haunted Hotel: Newbury’s Punderson Manor used to be an estate in the 19th century and later became a girls’ camp. These days, the hotel looks welcoming enough with its Tudor mansion and hillside cabins. But it’s so haunted that psychic mediums and paranormal experts often visit to investigate the otherworldly happenings.
4. Michigan: From Detroit’s Michigan Central Station (a truly haunted building that hosts an annual spooktacular event) to a number of haunted lighthouses, Michigan has its share of creepy tales, earning it a high spot on the list.
Spooky Spot: Part of an island chain in Lake Michigan, South Manitou Island has beautiful dunes and legends of dead sailors who were buried alive and still haunt the place.
Most Haunted Hotel: Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel is known for its front porch—the world’s longest—and its ghostly guests. Keep an eye out for a man in a top hat who likes to play the piano in the bar or a woman in Victorian clothing who sometimes climbs into people’s beds.
5. Illinois: There’s been plenty of strange and unexplained phenomena in the Prairie State, which is why Illinois ranked fifth on the list.
Spooky Spot: Do you love a road trip? How about a haunted road trip? This route is only for the most daring, going from Bloods Point Cemetery near Rockford to the haunted Cahokia Mounds way south of Springfield.
Most Haunted Hotel: It is said that the gangster Al Capone haunts Chicago’s Congress Plaza Hotel, but he’s not the scariest permanent resident. Staffers often report sightings of a 6-year-old boy whose mother threw him out of a 12th story window. And in Room 441, a female ghost kicks guests while they’re sleeping.
6. Indiana: The Hoosier state is known for corn, basketball—and hauntings.
Spooky Spot: Don’t like ghosts? You might want to avoid Indiana University in Bloomington. The campus is crawling with paranormal activity, from the Career Center, where babies are sometimes heard crying, to the Indiana Memorial Union, which is haunted by a ghostly dog.
Most Haunted Hotel: Spas, golf courses…and ghosts? French Lick Springs Hotel is a resort getaway that is haunted by its founder, Thomas Taggart, who still enjoys soaking in the property’s onsite mineral springs and likes to hold parties in an empty ballroom. Housekeepers also find blood in a bathtub where a jilted bride took her life.
7. Pennsylvania: You might want to call it “Paranormal Pennsylvania.” This state has lots of terrifying tales, from Eastern State Penitentiary—which celebrates its checkered past with tours by day or (for the really daring) by night—to the Hell’s Hollow Wildlife Adventure Trail, which is as scary as its name would suggest.
Spooky Spot: During a deadly Civil War battle, more than 50,000 men perished at Gettysburg—so it’s no wonder this is one of the most haunted spots in the state, if not America. Hear stories about the spirits who still lurk here on one of the Ghostly Images of Gettysburg Ghost Tours. Or stay at the Gettysburg Hotel, where a Confederate nurse walks the hallways.
Most Haunted Hotel: In the charming town of New Hope, the Logan Inn has been creeping out its guests since 1722. The spookiest room is Number 6, where you can often smell the lavender perfume worn by the mother of a former owner and hear crying at night.
Spooky Spot: It has been said that Guthrie—one of the oldest towns in the state—is the spookiest place in Oklahoma. There are at least eight haunted locations, from the Stone Lion Inn, inhabited by the spirit of an 8-year-old girl, to the Blue Bell, a onetime bordello where the former madame and some of her clients still make their presence known.
Most Haunted Hotel: The Skirvin Hilton Hotel is not only the oldest hotel in Oklahoma City, it’s also a place where its ghosts are said to have caused basketball teams, including the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls, to lose games.
9. New York: When you think “haunted,” the Headless Horseman—who roamed the Hudson Valley searching for his head—immediately springs to mind. But that was just a made-up character. The Empire State has many real ghosts to discover.
Spooky Spot: You can’t get away from ghosts in New York—especially in Manhattan. Some visitors to the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights claim that they see strange things and hear voices. And then there’s the House of Death at 14 West 10th Street, where Mark Twain once lived and documented supernatural experiences. Twain still roams the place, along with 21 other ghosts.
Most Haunted Hotel: Lake George’s Sagamore hotel has been a favorite vacation spot since it was built in 1883; so it’s no wonder spirits continue to lurk here, including a silver-haired woman wearing a polka-dot dress and ghostly children who are sometimes spotted on the golf course.
10. Virginia: Given Virginia’s rich past, it figures that the state would have a ghostly present.
Spooky Spot: Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to soak in American history and meet some captivating ghosts. One of the most notorious is Lady Ann Skipwith, who broke a heel right before she took her own life. Now, people touring the George Wythe House sometimes hear the sound of a heel banging on a staircase.
Most Haunted Hotel: One of the most elegant hotels in Hunt Country, the Black Horse Inn used to be a Civil War hospital. Today’s guests report visions of wounded soldiers and even a laughing nurse wandering through the hotel.