Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary

At these haunted hotels, bars, and asylums, the locals have been around for centuries and things go bump in the night.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

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Horror movies don’t get more horrific than this: in a prison meant to hold 250 people, 1,700 inmates were tortured by sadistic guards who soaked them in freezing water outside in the middle of winter, kept them in solitary confinement for days, forbade any conversation between inmates, and looped chains from an inmate’s tongue to his wrists, which were then bound behind his back. Once the prison was shut down in 1971, the ghosts of those criminals supposedly took over. The prison, which is a National Historic Landmark, does host family-friendly events, as well as ghost tours and an annual Halloween haunted house called Terror Behind the Walls.

easternstate.org

America's Most Haunted Places

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Horror movies don’t get more horrific than this: in a prison meant to hold 250 people, 1,700 inmates were tortured by sadistic guards who soaked them in freezing water outside in the middle of winter, kept them in solitary confinement for days, forbade any conversation between inmates, and looped chains from an inmate’s tongue to his wrists, which were then bound behind his back. Once the prison was shut down in 1971, the ghosts of those criminals supposedly took over. The prison, which is a National Historic Landmark, does host family-friendly events, as well as ghost tours and an annual Halloween haunted house called Terror Behind the Walls.

easternstate.org

Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary

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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