With summer firmly in the rear-view, and the leaves beginning to fall from the trees, it is fast approaching the spookiest time of year. While trick or treating may have a different twist in 2020, rest assured there will still be frights to be found and scary tales to be told. Explore some of the fiendish offerings that can be found across our destinations below. There are some virtual events to transport you to some of the scariest places in the USA this year and some spooky holiday ideas to start planning for Halloween 2021. Carry on reading at your own peril…
While travellers can’t be in the North Carolina this Halloween, it doesn’t mean they can’t get the thrills from the Tar Heel State! The North Carolina Museum of Life and Science will be hosting a ‘Ghouls Night In’ virtual fright night on October 30th to get us in the mood for Saturday night. This adult only event will feature a scavenger hunt, spooky trivia session as well as other games to see the night through. Admission is free and costumes are encouraged!
There is no doubt that when travel does resume, horror fanatics and thrill seekers will be returning to North Carolina. The state is scattered with reportedly haunted spots and some spooky tales to go with them.
In Kenansville, Duplin County, guests can dine with a ghost at the County Squire Restaurant, Inn & Winery. The spirit of original owner Joe West is rumoured to still hang around making sure everything runs the way he likes. After enjoying your meal in a cosy, vintage setting, watch where you walk near the dartboard – darts have been known to fly through the air on their own.
For those with a real nerves of steel, guests can stay in one of several haunted hotels located in the state such as The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. Guests have reported sightings of a heavy-set man walking along the hallway and vanishing. The ghost is identified with Dr. William Jacocks, who lived in suite 252. There are reports of as many as 20 ghosts in residence at this historic inn.
Downtown indie boutique stay The Biltmore Hotel in Greensboro is also said to be haunted by two ghosts: that of a Cone Mills accountant whose body was found in the alley (he’s noisy), and that of a prostitute who was pushed down the stairs (the pink room is hers).
Fans of ghouls and ghosts will want to linger in Greensboro as the town is also home to The Carolina Theatre, where legend says the spirit of a woman who died in a blaze at the auditorium still roams the halls.
Get the whole family involved for a Haunted Online Halloween Scavenger Hunt on Halloween night! Kids and adults team up to explore real places that are said to be haunted and learn the tales of the ghosts who linger there. Participants will meet their host on Zoom before following a trail of clues across eerie websites, in search of answers to tricky questions. Discover the home of Mark Twain and who might still linger there… and get ready to learn the chilling fate of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials!
While travelling to Massachusetts might not be possible this Halloween – do not fear! There are a number of spooky and frightening attractions that are open outside of Halloween, so you can reach them in 2021!
For example, Ghost Ship Harbor! Step aboard the USS Salem for a unique haunted experience on water rather than land. This museum turned fright fest immerses visitors in several chilling storylines—including “Contagion,” where those fleeing the mainland undergo extensive examinations before they enter the ship, and “Plague,” where chaos breaks loose once the disease spreads on the ship.
There are also the Edith Wharton Ghost Tours! It starts with the sounds—creaking floors and slamming doors, fading footsteps down empty halls—a feeling of being watched, tingling taps on the shoulders, spectral shapes crouched in corners or gathered in front of fireplaces long gone cold. Tricks of the imagination in an old house once inhabited by a skilled writer of ghost stories … or something else? Edith Wharton’s Ghost Tours are currently running virtually each week so why not get a taste?
For those who want to go that one step further and spend the night in a haunted house, Massachusetts has got you covered.
The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge has been a favourite of paranormal investigators and mediums, and the fourth floor, in particular, has seen the most activity. A “ghostly young girl carrying flowers” and “a man in a top hat” are two frequently seen images and guests have awoken to the feeling of someone standing over their bed, along with cold spots, unexplained knocks, and electrical disturbances. Guestroom 301 is a favourite haunted hot spot.
There is also the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. The entire city of Salem is creepy, infamous for its 1692 Witch Trials, but this hotel has ghost stories of its own, mostly attributed to lost sea captains returning to their gathering place. Rooms 621 and 325 have had the most reports.
Louisiana has plenty of places where you can get your spook on – here are some ideas for haunted trips in 2021
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. While making rounds, a security guard felt a tap on his shoulder and heard sounds of something moving around in the dark. 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.
Built in 1915, the Gothic Hanging Jail in DeRidder is believed to be haunted by the two men hanged for the slaying of their taxi cab driver – hence the nickname “The Hanging Jail.” The story goes – Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux hired taxi driver Joe Brevelle, killed him, and dumped his body in the old Pickering Mill pond. The body was found, and the men were convicted and hanged from the third-floor gallows. The jail features a spiral staircase circling around a noose that hangs ominously, and underground tunnel that allowed prisoners to get to the courthouse next door.
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville is said to be one of the most haunted houses in the country. 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. Subsequent owners suffered tragic deaths and murders in the years that followed. The ghosts of these former residents, as well as others passing through, have been documented in photos, featured in TV shows and witnessed by residents and tourists alike. Those brave enough can stay overnight.
New Orleans is widely regarded as America’s most haunted city with numerous reported paranormal sightings and encounters. Perhaps some of these will have you itching to make a ghoulish trip of your own in 2021.
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. Madame Laveau wielded tremendous power in her community and rumours of her magical abilities were so persistent that visitors still visit her grave to leave tokens in exchange for small requests. 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. Built in 1789 and situated close behind the French Quarter, the cemetery spans only a block but supposedly houses 100,000 of the city’s dead, many of whom are thought to still walk the cemetery’s grounds.
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 was told of the news on the way to alter and never recovered from the grief. According to accounts, Millie took to wearing the wedding gown around May’s Place and even after her death many years later, Millie still roams the Dauphine hopelessly waiting for her fiancé.
The Hotel Monteleone holds four generations worth of history and there is one tale this family knows well; stories of ghosts wandering the Hotel Monteleone’s halls. Over the years, Monteleone guests have reported the ghostly visions of former employees still tending to their duties to children playing in the halls. Guests report the 14th floor of the Hotel offers a chance to spot the ghost of the mischievous young boy, rumoured to be Maurice. His parents, Josephine and Jacques Begere, were at the famous French Opera House on Bourbon Street, when a carriage accident left the father dead. Maurice’s mother died of a broken heart shortly after. It’s said Maurice’s ghost still roams the halls searching for his deceased parents.
Nashville is hosting a raft of virtual Halloween activities this autumn, to enable people to enjoy the festivities from the comfort and safety from their own home. From a virtual El Dia Del Los Muertos party, to a Virtual Haunted Museum experience from the Tennessee State Museum, there is lots to keep people entertained this October.
Across Tennessee there are plenty of haunted experiences and ghostly hotels to include in future Halloween holiday plans.
Located in Adams, Tennessee, the Bell Witch Cave will satisfy fans of the paranormal and macabre. The witch, who once identified herself as Kate Batts, an old neighbour who claimed to have been swindled by John Bell and vowed on her deathbed to haunt him and his descendants, was known to be violent toward the Bell family: beating the members, throwing things and leaving rooms in ruin. Once John Bell died and daughter, Betsy broke off her engagement under the instruction of the witch, the ghost left them in peace for seven years. She returned for a while and then vowed to return in 107 years. It is said she returned in 1935, and now inhabits the cave. Throughout October, the Bell Witch Fall Festival has storytellers and performers come to regale the legend along with other historic stories and plays.
Book a night or two at the Thomas House Hotel for Ghost Hunt Weekends in Red Boiling Springs. The hotel, built in 1890, has been named No. 2 on CNN’s Most Haunted Spots in America and was witness to deaths, numerous murders, accidents, a home for a cult, and three fires. It also sits on an underground spring and limestone and on an ancient Native American trail. Because of this, the Thomas House Hotel is rumoured to be home to disembodied voices, moving beds and dark figures.
Explore the haunted side of history during the Hermitage Ghost Tours. After dark, embark on a distinctly spooky voyage at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage while exploring the mansion, grounds, and cemetery by lantern light. Along the way, guides present stories of strange encounters such as the ghosts of the Battle of New Orleans and Jackson’s infamous meeting with Tennessee’s Bell Witch.
Be part of a paranormal investigative team, Whispers from the Past, conducting research to decide if this historic home is haunted. Nathaniel Cheairs, a major in the Confederate army, built the aptly named Rippavilla in 1853. Many say the history that followed still haunts the grounds. The property served as a field hospital during the Civil War. Staff and guests report feeling cold spots, hearing children laughing, and boots pound the wooden floors, and smell the spirits of the past, from rosewater perfume to pipe tobacco.
The five New England States offer plenty of spooky tales and haunted experiences, starting off with some new virtual experiences for the fearless to join this year….
Salem Haunted Happenings Synonymous with the Witch Trials of the 1690’s, Salem has always faithfully observed the Halloween holiday with fun and frights for all the family. 2020 is no different, despite the current global climate, with events scheduled throughout October that are both in person for locals and virtual, for us in the UK. Highlights include the Halloween in Salem Virtual House tours, the Virtual Haunted Happenings Market, and of course the Halloween at Home Costume Contest!
Witching Wednesdays by Seaside Shadows Haunted History Tours (Oct. 21, Nov. 25, Dec. 30): Monthly virtual segment on Facebook live on all things MAGIC; healing, tonics/potions, cooking, herbs, divination, spells and more.
The Connecticut Witch Trials, hosted by Seymour Public Library (Oct. 6): Attend this virtual Zoom event to learn the history about Connecticut’s infamous Witch Trials, which predates Salem, Mass. by nearly 45 years.
Haunting at Mill Hill 2020 (Oct. 22 – Nov. 8): Norwalk Historical Society’s popular graveyard tour is going virtual this year with spine-tingling, true ghost stories. More details coming soon…
Penobscot Theatre’s Ghost Hunting, Bangor, Maine: Tour the specter-laden Bangor Opera House bringing to light the spirits and history of this historic building in Bangor, Maine. Destructive fires, tens of thousands of visitors, and years of sitting deserted made the home of Penobscot Theatre Company the perfect “haunt” for wary spirits eager to find their home. Learn the history of this fascinating building, go places that most of the public never gets to, and watch for the presence of an apparition or two in the shadows. Purchase a “ticket” for a unique link that grants you admission to a one-time only performance using Zoom and other technology.
Annual Halloween silent film event from Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine. Municipal Organist James Kennerley brings life, intrigue and brilliant musical accompaniment to this American classic starring Lon Chaney. One of only two municipal organs in the U.S., the Kotzschmar is a marvel of sound and architecture. The organ has five keyboards, one pedal board, 305 keys, and more than 7,101 pipes. Its windchest is large enough for approximately 50 people to fit inside even when the organ is being played. The Kotzschmar’s main organ chamber is big enough to hold about six tractor-trailers.
Ready to plan your Halloween trip to New England in 2021, here’s some of the most haunted places to stay or visit for a spookiest road trip.
Captain Grant’s 1754, Poquetanuck: An authentic colonial home built by Captain William Grant who died at sea. The home is located in the heart of New London County and was converted into a historic inn in 1994. The owner claims there has been many signs of spirits over the years. The inn has been featured on several paranormal TV. Presently, many visitors stay at the historic inn in hopes of having their own spooky experiences. 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: Sea-faring captain Daniel Packer purchased the inn in 1754. The property served as a place to stay for travellers between Boston and New York. 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: 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. Filled with haunted history, dark tales and Victorian traditions surrounding séances and spiritualism, these evening tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing.
The Omni Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire 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.
Rhode Island offers many haunted tales; Newport 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; a meeting place for 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 seamen who previously died on the premises, and a female reported floating above one of the dining tables.
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