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Find frights at the best haunted destinations in the U.S.

10Best logo 10Best 10/19/2020 10Best Editors, Special to USA TODAY 10Best
a dirty old room: Abandoned stairway © iStock / BDphoto Abandoned stairway

Frights await

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The United States is filled with purportedly haunted locations, each with their own ghost stories and paranormal occurrences. So, we asked experts to nominate 20 places that most fit that description.  Then, our readers voted for the best of them – and these are the top 10 winners. a large building with a grassy field: Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park © iStock / ericfoltz Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

No. 10: Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park - Mandan, North Dakota

One of the most popular state parks in North Dakota is also among the state’s most haunted places. Established in 1872, the fort was once home to Lt. Col. George A. Custer, who is said to haunt his former house alongside the spirit of his wife Libbie.

Winchester Mystery House with a pond in front of a house © Winchester Mystery House Winchester Mystery House

No. 9: Winchester Mystery House - San Jose, California

This peculiar mansion in San Jose has more than 160 rooms and 2,000 doors, many that cannot be walked through. Some believe Mrs. Winchester continued modifying her home to escape the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle.

a large brick building with grass and trees: Waverly Hills Sanatorium © Waverly Hills Sanatorium Waverly Hills Sanatorium

No. 8: Waverly Hills Sanatorium - Louisville, Kentucky

Considered one of the most haunted locations on the planet, this closed sanatorium outside Louisville is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of former patients treated for tuberculosis during the early 20th century.

a small clock tower in front of a building: West Virginia Penitentiary © iStock / NoDerog West Virginia Penitentiary

No. 7: West Virginia Penitentiary - Moundsville, West Virginia

This former state penitentiary in Moundsville opened in 1876. In the years between its opening and eventually closing in 1995, the Gothic facility saw its fair share of turmoil, from prison riots to executions. These days, visitors can tour the grounds, step inside the cramped cells or even test their mettle with a midnight tour of the supposedly haunted grounds.

a person standing on top of a tower: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum © St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

No. 6: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum - St. Augustine, Florida

Paranormal activity reported at the St. Augustine Lighthouse includes the disembodied voice of a woman asking for help. Dark of the Moon ghost tours take visitors into the lighthouse at night to learn about the spirits that may still haunt the 1876 Keepers’ House and 1874 lighthouse tower.

a sign in front of a brick building: Fort East Martello Museum © Fort East Martello Museum Fort East Martello Museum

No. 5: Fort East Martello Museum - Key West, Florida

The Fort East Martello Museum in Key West protects and preserves the unfinished remains of a fort dating back to the Civil War. The fort has its fair share of ghost stories, but none are quite as famous (or mysterious) as Robert the Doll.

This handmade doll, made at the turn of the 20th century, purportedly causes electronic devices to malfunction, and staff members have reported creepy giggling in the museum, and swear his facial expressions have changed.

a bench in front of a building: The Grove © The Grove The Grove

No. 4: The Grove - Jefferson, Texas

This historic property in the riverport city of Jefferson, Texas was built in 1861 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ghost stories at the house, now a privately owned residence open for tours, date back more than a century. Common sightings include a lady in a white dress, a man walking through the lily beds in the garden and an entity in the den.

a castle on top of a mountain: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum © Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

No. 3: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum - Weston, West Virginia

Purportedly one of West Virginia's most haunted sites, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum opened its doors in 1864. By the 1950s, the facility was operating way over capacity with inhumane conditions. Visitors can spend the night in the asylum during free ghost hunts open to the public.

a stone building that has a bench in front of a brick wall: Yuma Territorial Prison Museum & Park © iStock / Tashka Yuma Territorial Prison Museum & Park

No. 2: Yuma Territorial Prison Museum & Park - Yuma, Arizona

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park in Arizona has been a hub of paranormal activity. Reports include spirits of inmates on death row, a woman wandering the banks of the nearby Colorado River looking for her drowned daughter and a small child in a red dress who pinches passers-by.

a house with trees in the background: Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum © Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum

No. 1: Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum - Las Vegas, Nevada

This quirky Las Vegas museum showcases original collectibles from supposedly haunted destinations around the United States in a 1938 property that is itself believed to be haunted. Explore more than 30 rooms filled with artifacts, and keep an eye out for spirits roaming the halls.

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.


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