With summer firmly in the rear-view, and the leaves beginning to fall, it is fast approaching the spookiest time of year. There are frights to be found and scary tales to be told, with plenty of fiendish offerings that can be found across the destinations that we represent. Carry on reading at your own peril…
Below are the stories behind some of North Carolina’s more unusual tomb stones and monuments, which can be visited today.
“Little Girl Buried in a Rum Keg,” Beaufort
At the Old Burying Ground, people leave toys and tributes for the girl, who died on a voyage from England in the 1700s. Her father preserved her body in spirits so he could bring her home for burial.
Nina Simone Plaza, Tryon
In the town where Simone (née Eunice Wayans) was born, Zenos Frudakis’ larger-than-life sculpture shows the singer and civil rights activist at the keyboard. Welded inside is a bronze heart that contains some of her ashes.
Junaluska Memorial, Robbinsville
The great Cherokee warrior saved General Andrew Jackson’s life in the war of 1812, only to be forced from his homeland when President Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. Junaluska returned on foot five years later. The memorial at his gravesite includes a medicinal trail.
Mount Mitchell State Park, Burnsville
At the highest point east of the Rockies, you’ll find the tomb of the park’s namesake, Dr. Elisha Mitchell. Mitchell died in a fall while trying to resolve a dispute with a state senator (and former student) over which peak was truly highest.
Springers Point Preserve, Ocracoke
Prosperous resident Sam Jones loved his horse Ikey D. When Ikey D died, Jones arranged a proper burial (and a plaque), then years later joined his companion in an adjacent plot. Visit their graves at Springers Point Preserve, which happens to be where Blackbeard was killed.
Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill.
The “collection” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Museum includes the remains of William Hayes Ackland, whose bequest led to the museum’s creation. Ackland’s tomb is near the entrance.
Louisiana has plenty of places where you can get your spook on – here are some ideas for haunted trips.
In the capital city, Baton Rouge, pay a visit to Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, where Avoyelles Parish Legislator Pierre Couvillon suffered a heart attack after a spirited speech about corrupt politicians. Couvillon’s large footprints have been found on the Senate floor, and a rumpled bed in the exhibit hall could have been his resting spot for the night. Others have seen the motion detectors going off (meaning someone was in the museum) when no one was there, and nothing was caught on security tapes.
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville is said to be one of the most haunted houses in the USA. It all began when Chloe, a slave punished for eavesdropping on the family, found vengeance by baking a poisoned birthday cake. Within hours, three of the main family members were dead. Chloe’s ghost
is still reported to haunt the premises. Many ghosts have been documented in photos, featured in TV shows and witnessed by residents and tourists alike. Those brave enough can stay overnight.
While there has been many a story or sighting of the spiritual world, few have captured peoples’ imagination like Marie Laveau. Famous for being a Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau’s story is shrouded in mystery. Visitors can find the tomb of Marie Laveau at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Laveau is one of the many famous residents buried in—and said to haunt—New Orleans’ oldest cemetery.
New Orleans is probably home to more haunted Hotels than any other city in America. The Dauphine Orleans Hotel, for example, has many tales of twisted fates. One of these is the Lost Bride ghost, believed to be the spirit of a young woman, Millie, who was working in May’s Place as a courtesan. She met a young Confederate soldier and they fell in love and were set to be married. She became obsessed with the wedding and perfecting her wedding gown. The morning of the wedding ceremony, her groom was shot in a gambling dispute. Millie never recovered from the grief and took to wearing the wedding gown around May’s Place and even after her death many years later, Millie still roams the Dauphine.
Haunted Holly Springs – Holly Springs
Haunted Holly Springs returns for its eighth terrifying year in 2022! Haunted Holly Springs has become a local Fall tradition. For 2022, they are offering three classic ghost walking tours, each packed with famous ghost stories, local legends, and true tales of murder, death, plague and pestilence! The Hill Country Hauntings Tour visits many of the most haunted locations in Holly Springs. From the famous ghost of Lizzie McEwen to the infamous “Ghost Clown of Randolph Street”, this tour is sure to scare.
Natchez Ghost Tour – Natchez
Discover some of the ghost legends of Natchez, enjoy an exhilarating journey and venture inside a spooky, dark and frightening local institution that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end!
McRaven House – Vicksburg
Named Mississippi’s “Most Haunted House,” visit the McRaven Tour Home where ghostly demeanour has been broadcasted on A&E, The Travel Channel, 48 Hours, and “Look Around Mississippi.” Enjoy strolling through the three-acre gardens, once a Confederate campsite and field hospital. Discover and experience the famous and infamous people of McRaven, and why their spirits have never left.
The Witch of Yazoo – Yazoo City
Yazoo City’s public cemetery is a grave surrounded by chain links known as, “The Witch’s Grave”. The legend of the Witch of Yazoo became famous in Willie Morris’ book, Good Old Boy published in 1971. According to the legend, the old woman lived on the Yazoo River, and was caught torturing fishermen who she lured in off the river. The sheriff is said to have chased her through the swamps where she was half drowned in quicksand by the time the sheriff caught up with her. As she was sinking, she swore her revenge on Yazoo City and on the town’s people. “In 20 years, I will return and burn this town to the ground!” No one thought much of it at the time. Then came May 25, 1904…
The Fire of 1904 destroyed over 200 residences and nearly every business in Yazoo City – 324 buildings in total. Many theories evolved as to how the fire started, but none were conclusive. It is the strange and fierce winds that were blowing on that fateful day, unusual for the time, that lead many to blame the witch. The flames were said by witnesses to have jumped through the air, as if driven by some supernaturally forceful winds. Area weather reports from May 25, 1904, make no mention of high winds in the area. A group of citizens made their way into Glenwood on the day after the fire and found the large chains around the grave of the witch broken in two.
Read House Hotel’s Room 311 – Chattanooga
There are those who believe Room 311 at this historic hotel is haunted by the ghost of Annalisa Netherly, a guest who was allegedly murdered by a jealous lover in 1927. Over the years, guests reported paranormal activity in the room, including unexplained noises, flickering lights, running water, shadowy figures and more.
Victorian Séance Experience at Mabry-Hazen House – Knoxville
A true manifestation of spirits or clever parlor tricks? Sitters can decide for themselves at the Victorian Séance Experience inside the front parlors of the 1858 historic house. Re-enactors follow 19th-century Spiritualism rituals to give an immersive experience filled with mysterious and startling wonders.
Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary – Petros
Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was known as the “end of the line,” holding some of the state’s most violent inmates, like James Earl Ray. During the day, former guards and former inmates give tours, but on certain nights, it turns into a haunted history lover’s dream with Brushy’s overnight paranormal tours. Small groups can tour the prison with equipment in hopes to capture evidence and hear the stories that still echo through the walls and cell blocks.
Thomas House Hotel – Red Boiling Springs
One of the most haunted places in the U.S., the Thomas House Hotel is built on an ancient Native American trail and has been witness to deaths, murders, accidents and a home for a cult. Guests reported feeling cold spots, hearing disembodied voices and seeing dark figures. The hotel hosts overnight ghost hunt weekends throughout the year.
The Historic Commodore Hotel – Linden
Guests at the Historic Commodore Hotel, built in 1939, reported eerily spooky encounters that might stir the curiosity of true ghost hunters, including seeing a little girl in a blue dress, pigtails and pink ribbons in her hair in the hallway or sitting in a chair. The ghost is supposedly very friendly.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – Nashville
One of Tennessee’s most popular historic destinations grows darker at night, and a spine-tingling chill hangs in the air with ghost stories and dark, mysterious tales at the home and grounds of former president Andrew Jackson. Embark on a spooky voyage during Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Ghost Tours 7 and 9 p.m. as you explore the mansion, grounds, and cemetery by lantern light. Hear stories about ghosts of the Battle of New Orleans and Jackson’s infamous meeting with the Bell Witch.
Orpheum Theatre – Memphis
One guest at the Orpheum Theatre, in particular, Mary, hauntingly enjoys the theater from her balcony seat in C5. Many patrons, workers and actors have seen Mary watch the performances. She has allegedly been spotted dancing in the hallways and playing pranks on housekeepers by hiding their tools.
For Ghostly Ground Zero…
Salem Haunted Happenings Salem MA
Salem will this year celebrate its 40th year of special events and what they claim is the largest Halloween celebration in the world. This infamous corner of Massachusetts’ wild and beautiful coastline was the epicentre of the 1690’s witch trials and it is at the heart of Haunted Happenings every October. Visitors can visit the Peabody Essex Museum to see authentic documents from the witch trials and as Hocus Pocus 2 comes to our screens after a 30 year wait, you can step inside 318 Essex Street where scenes from the film were actually shot. Attend a live spell casting including lessons in the steps of a ritual circle or explore the home of witch trials judge Jonathan Corwin.
For the Social Hauntagrammer…
Haunting at Mill Hill 2022 (Oct. 22 – 28): Norwalk CT
As the sun sets…the spirits come out to play…
Among the crooked stones of the Mill Hill graveyard, ghostly entities are waiting to share their stories of tragic death, murder, insanity and destruction. Hear chilling tales based on real events from Norwalk’s hidden past. What might scare you the most is that all these stories are true!
Celebrate survival with refreshments and…if you dare…get a photo taken with the spirits in our “Hauntagram” photo area.
For the Thrill Seeker – Careful What You Wish For…
Nightmare New England Litchfield NH
In the Fall of 2009, Spooky World joined forces with the horror scream park powerhouse, Nightmare New England, to create America’s number one haunted destination in the Northeast. Throughout the years Spooky World has continued to grow and win awards thanks to a creative team that is always looking for a new way to deliver a fright. In 2021, the Spooky World owners and creative team worked together to dream up and develop a haunt with the latest in fright technologies – Asylum 47. A new theme in Spooky World’s collection of attractions, this haunt is set in the year 1947 on New Year’s Eve. With terrifying scenes and secrets around every corner, Asylum 47’s actors and real-as-anything animatronic patients are eager to start their new year – and poised to disturb.
New Hampshire is Not for The Faint Hearted…
USA Today has just voted Haunted Overload at DeMeritt Farm #6 on its best haunted attractions of 2022 list. The fact that this is an (albeit horrifying) genuine working farm seems to add an extra frisson of fear to any visitor brave enough to enter through the menacing gates. Haunted Overload is a no-holds barred, fully immersive, terror trail through the New England woods, past an old, dilapidated mansion straight out of your worst nightmares. However, for those of a more delicate disposition, and families there is a slightly less horrifying – think traditional Jack O’Lantern – style experience that is even open during the day
For (Covered) Bridges That Go Bump in The Night…
Emily’s Bridge Stowe VT
Vermont is known for its over 100 Instagram ready covered bridges but time it right and you might get a very strange image if you snap Gold Brook Bridge. Built in 1844 this beautiful, covered bridge has come to be known by locals as Emily’s Bridge as it is haunted by a young woman. The Emily in question either hanged herself or threw herself from the bridge after being jilted by the lover she was meant to elope with. Ever since stories have surrounded the bridge with tales of strange lights, sounds, shadows and apparitions but most notable, and most common of horses, vehicles and even people being severely scratched as they cross over bridge. People visit from all over and leave roses on the bridge.
The New England coast is known for its almost 200 beautiful lighthouses protecting mariners from its treacherous coastline and wild winter storms. Keepers have been faithfully working in these wildest locations for more than 300 years, sometimes giving their own lives to protect others. The tragic story of the appropriately named Lucas Bright and his wife Katherine is just one. Sometime in the mid-1800s, First Assistant Lucas Bright arrived at Boon Island Lighthouse with his new bride Katherine. Four months after they arrived on the tiny barren rock, gale force winds from a severe December nor’easter storm were blowing across the tiny island, sending huge waves over the rocky island. Lucas set out mid-storm to light the lantern for any poor mariners stuck in the storm. He tied a rope to his waist as he left the warm house, into the biting winds and spray. Suddenly a huge rogue wave swept him into the freezing waters, and he drowned. Katherine saw the accident and managed to grab the rope tied to her husband to keep him from drifting away. She went out into the storm and pulled her husband’s body ashore and dragged it over the icy rocks to the lighthouse tower. Overcome with grief and shock, she sat with her husband and held his hand for as long as she could bear.
The storm continued and Katherine knew she had to tend the light to protect New England’s seas farers. For five days and nights during this seemingly endless storm, Katherine, stricken with grief, took over all the lighthouse duties. Each evening she climbed the tower’s 168 stairs to the lantern room, in freezing temperatures, and lit the lamp to protect any mariners or fishermen still out during the storm. She would then stay near her husband’s frozen corpse, sometimes holding his hand. She was eventually rescued but died shortly afterwards from a mixture of exposure, her ordeal and subsequent grief. Ever since keepers have reported variously seeing a stricken woman, hearing sobs or screams or finding the light has been lit when for whatever reason they themselves have been unable to tend it.
For Getting in a Small State in a Small State…
White Horse Tavern Newport RI
Rhode Island may be America’s smallest state, but it is famous for miles of enchanting coastline, awe-inspiring Gilded Age architecture, and a few skeletons in its closet. The oldest, and supposedly most haunted tavern in America, White Horse Tavern opened in 1673 at which point it served as a courthouse; and a meeting place for a heady mix of colonists, British soldiers, pirates, sailors and founding fathers; and lastly, a private residence. According to legend, and some eye-witness tavern employees, several ghosts still occupy the tavern, with accounts of being tapped on the shoulder and footsteps overheard from nearby empty rooms reported often. Spirits are said to include an elderly man in colonial garb, a seaman who previously died on the premises, and a female reported floating above one of the dining tables.
Ready to plan your Halloween trip to New England? Here’s some of the most haunted places to stay or visit for a spookiest road trip.
Captain Grant’s 1754, Poquetanuck CT: An authentic colonial home built by Captain William Grant who died at sea. Each room has bedside journals where ghost stories are written and passed along between guests. The “Adelaide” room is considered the most haunted room in the house and sits a few feet away from a 400-year-old cemetery.
Captain Daniel Packer Inne, Mystic CT: Sea-faring captain Daniel Packer purchased the inn in 1754. Over the years, guests and staff members have reported paranormal activity that has been attributed to a 7-year-old girl named Ada Clift, who lived and died in the inn in the 19th century. The inn is also a stop on Mystic’s popular guided Downtown Ghost Stroll hosted by Seaside Shadows Haunted History Tours.
The Mark Twain House, Hartford CT: Featured on the Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel’s My Ghost Story, the Mark Twain House — home of the famous American writer — is thought to be haunted by a “lady in white.” Throughout fall, visitors can see for themselves during Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours.
The Omni Mount Washington Hotel Bretton Woods NH is set in a stunning and remote location, perfect to enjoy the end of the Fall season. The lobby, Madison Room and room 206 are all said to be haunted. The lobby is said to be haunted by a little girl, babies are heard crying in the Madison room and a malevolent lady is believed to haunt room 206.
It can be Halloween all year round with a stay in the ‘Haunted Castle’ at Adventure Suites in North Conway. Adventure Suites is a one-of-a-kind property where themed suites are combined with many add-on experiences to make each stay an adventure. The haunted castle suite can sleep up to 18 people and features includes a gangway bar overlooking the living area, 5-person, second story outdoor (covered) hot tub, a draw bridge leading to the 3 bedrooms (including the 3 tier Dormatorium), castle architecture and a guaranteed haunting sensation.
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