FOLKLORE & LEGENDS
Travel Haunted America
Elaborate costumes, mouthwatering treats and bone chilling scares — Halloween is a day unlike any other. While other holidays require tons of preparation — who doesn’t love getting up at 5 a.m. to put a turkey in the oven — your only job on Halloween is to dress up and have fun. Perhaps that’s why this holiday has the ability to bring out the kid in us all. Even the Hollywood elite can’t help but join in the festivities. The Kardashians are known for their racy costumes. Neil Patrick Harris gets his whole family involved in adorable themed ensembles. Heidi Klum not only goes over-the-top with her elaborately costumes, every year she throws one of the most epic Halloween parties imaginable.
While not all of us are prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars on extravagant events or willing to purchase specialized prosthetics and hire a team of make-up artists and stylists to become a super scary apparition, it doesn’t mean we can’t experience an unforgettable Halloween adventure. America is a country seriously rich in spooky legends and folklores. In fact, America boasts some of the most haunted cities on the entire planet! This fall, embrace the spirit of Halloween with a visit to one of these chilling destinations…we dare you.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, often referred to as the #1 haunted city in America, is well- known for its otherworldly residents. Here, hundreds of years of folklore involving voodoo curses, treacherous murders, revolutionary pirates and civil war soldiers create an irrefutable ambiance of mystery and intrigue. Much of this spiritual activity takes place in the French Quarter, where gothic fiction writer Anne Rice set her wildly popular series of novels The Vampire Chronicles. Many vestiges of the haunted past still remain such as the terrifying LaLaurie Mansion, where the lady of the house committed un- speakable acts of horror. Other ghostly sites include the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, the Gardette Le Prete House, the Louisiana Supreme Court Building, Pirates’ Alley, and of course, St. Louis Cemetery, the city’s oldest graveyard.
As one of DC’s oldest neighbourhoods, Georgetown is well-known for its storied past. Here, you’ll find the steps from The Exorcist, the eerie Oak Hill Cemetery, as well as the Old Stone House. But perhaps the scariest place in the city is the White House itself. No, this isn’t a joke about President Trump. Over the years, numerous reports of ghostly encounters are said to have taken place by White House staffers. Some have claimed to feel the presence of President Lincoln, while others have reported hearing Abigail Adams doing the laundry.
Home to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the picturesque city of Salem certainly has a dark story tell. Here, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed — earning it the moniker “The Haunted Witch City.” Visitors come from all over the country to unravel fact from fiction along the narrow streets, and in the strange museums and haunted houses. Explore the Gallows Hill Park, said to be the site of the hangings, and examine the cemetery where epitaphs of history can be read on the graves. The city also hosts Salem Haunted Happenings, a festive cel- ebration of Halloween and fall where you can partake in a Grand Parade, Family Film Nights, as well as ghost tours, haunted houses and more.
The Great Chicago Fire, the Eastland disaster of 1915 and the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre are just a handful of tragedies that make the Windy City one of the most haunted places in America. Legend has it the city is home to a number of notorious spirits including Resurrection Mary the “vanishing hitchhiker.” In addition, you’ll find countless haunted structures including the cursed Hancock Building, a tower that has seen many murders, deaths and suicides. Frequented on many ghost tours, this ominous building is claimed to be the doorway to the occult, the inspira- tion behind the movie Ghostbusters and the location where Poltergeist III was filmed.
Established in 1773, Savannah, Georgia has a long and vibrant haunted history. If you’re looking to hear unnerving, ghost-filled tales this is the place to be. From spooky plantations and eerie cemeteries to haunting Civil War locations and historic building with ghostly pasts, Savannah has it all. Paranormal activity is said to abound at the Marshall House, Fort Jackson, and The Hamilton-Turner Inn, where the mysterious sounds of children laughing can sometimes be heard in the dead of the night. Perhaps the most famous destination in Savannah, and also the oldest, is The Pirates’ House, a former saloon and rest stop for seafarers from abroad. Today, the building is home to one of Savannah’s most well-known restaurants…but The Pirates’ House remains haunted by its chilling past. There are many secrets to be discovered at this site including underground tunnels that run from the basement to the Savannah River, where men were once forced into pirate slavery, and where undoubtedly their ghosts still linger today.
Other Honourable Mentions
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Sleepy Hollow, Pennsylvania San Francisco, California Portland, Oregon