Haunted houses are a Halloween staple, but if you’re looking for more than jump scares and buckets of fake blood, you’re going to want to seek out the real thing. Ghost lovers don’t have to go far to find evidence of the paranormal. Almost every town in America seems to be home to at least one supposedly haunted house. From the notorious hauntings at sites like the Winchester Mystery House and the New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion (featured in American Horror Story: Coven) to lesser-known local legends, there’s no shortage of spooky sites for ghost hunters to explore. Amateur paranormal investigators can even spend the night at some of these notorious haunted houses, though whether you’ll survive the night is anyone’s guess.
1. Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and Museum
One of the most infamous unsolved murders in American History took place in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892, when Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were murdered with an ax. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie was the prime suspect. She was arrested and tried for the murder, but ultimately acquitted. (Many are still convinced she was the real culprit, though.)
Today, the house where the murders occurred is a bed and breakfast and museum. The proprietors report spooky happenings, like creaky floors and doors that open and close on their own. You can stay overnight and judge for yourself whether the spirits of the home’s former inhabitants linger there. Five rooms are available, including the one where Abby was murdered. The B&B seems to revel in its creepiness — graphic crime scene photos are displayed throughout — and even if you don’t see an actual ghost, it’s sure to give you the willies.
2. 17 Hundred 90 Inn
Visitors to Savannah who want to spend the night with a ghost have their pick of options. The 17 Hundred 90 Inn, one of the oldest inns and restaurants in the Georgia city, is supposedly haunted by several ghosts, including Anne, a 19th century woman who reportedly committed suicide by jumping from one of the building’s balconies. Guests hoping for a brush with the paranormal should book room 204, said to be the hotel’s most haunted.
Other haunted homes in Savannah where you can spend the night include the Eliza Thompson House and The Foley House. The Kehoe House is now a B&B, but it was previously a funeral home and may be haunted by the ghosts of two children who died there. Visitors report hearing children’s laughter and the sound of footsteps running up and down the halls, even though kids aren’t permitted at this historic inn.
3. Burn Brae Mansion
None other than Linda Blair of The Exorcist endorses the Burn Brae Mansion in Glen Spey, New York, calling it one of her “favorite places to stay.” The 1907 mansion was built by a Singer Sewing Machine Company executive. Today, guests sometimes report footsteps, ghostly apparitions, doors slamming without apparent cause, and other spooky happenings.
4. Kinnitty Castle
If your taste in the supernatural runs toward the gothic, then Ireland’s Kinnitty Castle is a must-visit. A dead monk named Hugh reportedly stalks the halls, and other spirits haunt some of the guest rooms. The current building was constructed in the early 19th century (though it had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1928). Earlier castles at the same location date back to the 1200s, which means there are probably plenty of restless spirits about.
5. Magnolia Mansion
New Orleans may be the most haunted city in America, but with its gracious, all-white exterior, the Magnolia Mansion doesn’t come across as particularly creepy. But the Garden District B&B (formerly known as the Harris-Maginnis House) is supposedly haunted. Guests say they’ve seen orbs, heard strange humming sounds, and had personal items moved around. Like most old homes — this one was built in the 1850s — it’s seen its share of sad events, including two brothers who died of yellow fever within 24 hours of each other in the 1860s, which likely contributes to its spooky reputation.
6. Queen Anne Hotel
San Francisco’s Queen Anne Hotel, located in a Victorian-era mansion built in 1890, was once a girls’ finishing school. The ghost of the former headmistress is said to haunt a room on the fourth floor, which makes the hotel a popular gathering spot for ghost hunters. The ornate interior and antique furnishings also contribute to the ghostly feel.
7. Villisca Axe Murder House
In 1912, eight people, including all six members of the Moore family along with two guests, were brutally slaughtered in a home in rural Villasca, Iowa. The murders were never solved, and a century later, the home has become a popular destination for ghost hunters, who are convinced the house is haunted by the spirits of the murder victims. Daytime tours are available, but you can also book an overnight tour to conduct your own paranormal investigation of the home, which has been featured on shows like Ghost Hunters. “Very few [guests] go away without experiencing something,” the home’s owner Martha Linn told Vice.