Our modern-day Halloween festivities are inspired by an old European tradition of wearing costumes and dancing around blazing bonfires to ward off ghosts. Today, many Americans have become obsessed with the supernatural and do everything they can to find ghosts. Vampires, zombies, ghosts, and ghouls are all the rage when Halloween draws near.
There’s no better time to get your vehicle in gear and take off on a road trip to explore America’s best haunts. These devilish destinations will feed your paranormal curiosity and send chills up your spine – whether you believe or not.
Alarming apparitions in Louisiana
Louisiana’s history is saturated with tales of vampires, spirit worship, hauntings, and other paranormal activity. You’ll be looking over your shoulder at every turn.
The Myrtles Plantation: Start your trip in St. Francisville to tour what is considered to be one of America’s most haunted houses. The Myrtles Plantation is famed for both its antebellum splendor and for “Chloe,” the “Ghost Girl” who mysteriously appears in photographs. Many accounts over the last century tell of apparitions, frigid cold spots, and creepy noises.
USS Kidd: Travel south to Baton Rouge and climb aboard the USS Kidd, a mighty U.S. Navy destroyer that was sent into battle during WWII and the Korean War. The floating museum is rumored to be haunted by 38 sailors who were killed when the vessel was out to sea.
New Orleans: Next stop, New Orleans – where you can search for vampires in the eerie backstreets of the French Quarter, tiptoe through the “cities of the dead” (centuries-old above-ground crypts), and cross paths with voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau herself at the LaLaurie Mansion, featured in “American Horry Story: Coven.”
Spooky spirits in Georgia
There are plenty of scary places to visit across Georgia – the Masquerade night club in Atlanta, Bellevue Hall in Augusta, and the Devil’s Bridge in Cochran. But there’s no better place than Savannah to see an active population of apparitions. Here are two of many spooky sites to see in America’s other most haunted city.
Olde Pink House: Unexplained activity happens on a daily basis at this popular Savannah restaurant and tavern. Dine on some shrimp and grits while the spirit of the mansion’s former owner, James Habersham, straightens up the dining room and his children lock women in a bathroom with no locks. Chills!
Moon River Brewing Co.: Formerly the City Hotel, this building has seen its fair share of violence and death. Be careful here, because it’s said that one ghost in particular, Toby, can get a bit aggressive with patrons. Hold on tight to that pint.
Wandering witches in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has centuries of turbulent Native American and colonial history, including the well-known Salem witch trials in Salem. Be extra cautious driving through these terrifying towns, as you might not make it out alive.
Salem: The charming modern-day town of Salem hides its secrets in the bricks of the buildings and sidewalks that saw the bloodshed of the 1692 witch trials. If ghosts exist, this place has them. Check out the Hawthorne Hotel, built on an orchard owned by one of the first women to be executed as a witch, and the Gallows Hill Museum/Theater, for a spine-chilling adventure.
Bridgewater Triangle: Head south to a region that has an inordinate number of unexplained occurrences. Touted as Massachusetts’ paranormal vortex, this 200 square mile area has reportedly been the site of murders, satanic cults performing human and animal sacrifices, UFO and ghost sightings, wandering creatures including Bigfoot, and a host of other bizarre phenomena.
Within the Triangle, check out the Taunton State Hospital, Hockomock Swamp, and the Freetown-Fall River State Forest (the “Cursed Forest of Massachusetts”).
Get your ride in gear
Before you go ghost hunting, be sure your vehicle is in road trip shape, so you don’t end up in the ultimate horror movie plotline: stuck on a dark country backroad, with a flat tire and no cell phone service. Take these steps to minimize your risk:
- Check your tires’ tread and inflation pressure. Check your spare tire, too.
- Check your brakes, fluid levels, and oil color (black means it’s dirty and needs to be replaced).
- Check your lights and wipers.
- Pack a car care kit that includes road flares, jumper cables, water, and an extra cell phone battery (and maybe some garlic to ward off vampires!).
Haunted sites all across America offer road trippers a chance to experience the unexplainable this Halloween. Where will you go to search for the spirits of the dead?