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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.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, New Orleans

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Voodoo queen Marie Laveau and sadistic killer Marie Delphine LaLaurie could find some fellow ghostly company at this old Bourbon Street bar, supposedly haunted by pirate Jean Lafitte. Opened in 1772, the bar was rumored to be a front for Lafitte’s smuggling operation and the hiding place for his stolen booty. Many believe his treasure is still somewhere beneath the charred ash and brick and that Lafitte—whose red eyes glow from behind the downstairs fireplace—remains to protect it. Some staff and guests even claim to have seen the ghost of Lafitte himself staring at them from the bar’s dark corners, only to vanish seconds later, leaving the faint trace of a tobacco smell behind as a warning to those who go in search of the bounty of his past pillaging.

lafittesblacksmithshop.com

America's Most Haunted Places

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, New Orleans

Voodoo queen Marie Laveau and sadistic killer Marie Delphine LaLaurie could find some fellow ghostly company at this old Bourbon Street bar, supposedly haunted by pirate Jean Lafitte. Opened in 1772, the bar was rumored to be a front for Lafitte’s smuggling operation and the hiding place for his stolen booty. Many believe his treasure is still somewhere beneath the charred ash and brick and that Lafitte—whose red eyes glow from behind the downstairs fireplace—remains to protect it. Some staff and guests even claim to have seen the ghost of Lafitte himself staring at them from the bar’s dark corners, only to vanish seconds later, leaving the faint trace of a tobacco smell behind as a warning to those who go in search of the bounty of his past pillaging.

lafittesblacksmithshop.com

John Elk III / Alamy

America's Most Haunted Places

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.

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.

Even for skeptics, playing along can be irresistible. So turn out the lights, and get ready to conjure some spirits at these haunted places.

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