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At these haunted hotels, bars, and asylums, the locals have been around for centuries and things go bump in the night.
Whaley House, San Diego
America's Most Haunted Places
Whaley House, San Diego
Built on the site of San Diego’s first public gallows in 1856, the Whaley House’s most famous ghostly resident is Yankee Jim Robinson, a drifter and thief who was hanged four years before the house was built. He can allegedly be heard walking in the halls, opening and closing doors, and making chairs rock and chandeliers seem to swing of their own accord. Many guests have also felt a sadness in the home, attributed to Whaley’s daughter, Violet, who committed suicide here. When Regis Philbin visited in 1964, he remarked: “There was something going on in that house.” It remains open for day and evening tours and ghost hunts.
Some guests of Savannah’s Kehoe House have dismissed the sound of giggling and running up and down the hallway as typical kid antics—until they learn there’s an adults-only policy.
Young twins who died while playing in a chimney are rumored to haunt the 19th-century Kehoe House, one of many hotels and other sites across America where tales of the supernatural persist. In a New Orleans bar, a long-dead pirate guards the riches of his plundering; a screeching monster in the New Jersey woods has spooked locals for generations; and a one-armed stagehand roams the catwalks above an Illinois theater.
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Ghost hunting has become big business, with paranormal experts offering as evidence dark shadows and orbs of light caught on film, recordings of strange noises, and unexplained temperature drops. Most haunted places capitalize on the attention by offering ghost tours. Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY, even lets you spend the night. Request room 502 only if you want company: the spirit of a nurse who hanged herself from a lightbulb wire.
But not all ghosts are scary; some just want to have fun. One specter spends her days stealing earrings from female patrons at a historic New York restaurant, while the apparition of a little girl faithfully turns up to watch rehearsals from her favorite seat at a Memphis theater.
Related: America’s Coolest Ghost Towns
Even for skeptics, playing along can be irresistible. So turn out the lights, and get ready to conjure some spirits at these haunted places.