Many USA towns are filled with horror stories whether you are a believer or not. Anyone can find haunted spots in any state of the USA, but some are more haunting than others. According to a recent report by Slotsource, there have been a daunting 6,845 paranormal activities reported in Texas alone since 2005. Other states among the top scary places include California, with a staggering 6,444 paranormal sightings. With figures like these, it’s no wonder so many people flock there every year.

Are you ready? Here we will discuss the three most haunted places in the USA, offering a mysterious journey for the willing traveler.

1.The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Photo by Jordan M. Lomibao on Unsplash

History & Location of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel opened in Estes Park in 1909, designed by inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley. After the Rocky Mountain National Park foundation in 1915, this top-notch resort helped make Estes Park a popular tourist destination.

The Stanley Hotel has 142 rooms an extremely grand entrance lobby and is located only a short 15 minutes drive East of Rocky Mountain National Park. The hotel itself is famous for a couple of paranormal reasons.

Firstly, is its historical location, and secondly is its connection with Stephen King, the famous horror novelist. King stayed at the hotel in the 1970s, during a time of significant ageing of décor as the hotel had been on hard economic times. Combined with the hotel’s atmosphere, these surroundings inspired his third highly successful novel, The Shinning (1977), which was later a hit movie in 1980.

Following this, the hotel gained much notoriety as the inspiration behind a spine-chilling tale of horror. Today, many guests rush to the hotel to visit and stay in the historical and haunted rooms (ahem…217) to experience the multitude of alleged hauntings and paranormal activity related to the hotel.

Bizarre Facts About the Stanley Hotel

So, what’s the deal with room 217? It is reported that a housekeeper named Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson worked at the hotel at the start of the season in 1911. Unfortunately, the power was out, and Mrs. Wilson was doing rounds, going into the rooms with a candle to light the gas lamps. When she came to room 217, events took a dangerous turn as an unknown gas leak ignited, sending Mrs. Wilson into the Ballroom below and taking out approximately 10% of the hotel.

Surprisingly, she survived the event, albeit with two broken ankles amongst other injuries. Mrs. Wilson then continued to work at the Stanley Hotel as the head chambermaid for many more years. In fact, it was 40 years later when she died of a heart attack in the hotel. Where? You guessed it, in room 217! It is supposedly her ghost that now haunts this room, and it is, of course, room 217 where King stayed in 1974 before being inspired to write of the hotel’s hauntings.

The Stanley Hotel is quite possibly the spookiest inn in the USA, regularly visited by Ghost Hunters. Flickering lights and shadowy bodies are often reported by those who stay in the hotel. A portion of the detailed paranormal activity includes:

  • Mysterious figures showing up on the staircase
  • Clothing being folded and stored in rooms
  • Piano playing in the concert hall without anyone around
  • A strange apparition in portraits
  • Inconspicuous noisy children running in the corridors
  • Moving nightstands and shadowy figures

2. Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California

Image by Egor Shitikov from Pixabay

History & Location of the Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House is a unique architectural creation and historic milestone in San Jose, California. Previously, it was the home residence of Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester and heiress to a significant inheritance from the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune.

Before her move out to California, a great misfortune happened to Sarah. Her baby girl had died of a childhood illness, and only two years later, her husband was taken from her by tuberculosis. Stricken with grief, Sarah moved out west to San Jose and began renovating her new home.

Sarah was a wealthy woman after the passing of her husband, as she inherited 50% shares of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, as well as $20 million (which would have been equivalent to a whopping $536.3 million in 2020). 

Sarah herself later died on September 5, 1922, of heart failure in her sleep, and The Winchester Mystery House is currently working as a popular tourist attraction.

Haunting Facts about the Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House was constructed from 1886 to 1922 on an area of 24,000-square-feet, situated at 525 South Winchester Boulevard in San Jose, California. Every evening, Sarah visited a Séance Room she had built to talk with the spirits regarding plans for the house’s strange arrangement. Sarah was making a riddle full of encryptions inspired by English philosopher Francis Bacon that shows she was an individual from a highly spiritualist society.

Of an eccentrically unique design, The Winchester Mystery House flaunts:

  • 160 rooms
  • 10,000 windows
  • 47 staircases & fireplaces
  • 2000 doors
  • 13 bathrooms
  • 52 skylights
  • 17 chimneys and,
  • 6 kitchens

In addition to this is a threesome of lifts and once-pivotal components like fleece protection, carbide gaslights, power, and an indoor shower, complete with a sewage waste framework.

Sarah was known to give such bizarre demands to her builders, including the need for hidden entryways, a bay window in the floor, cobweb windows, and flights of stairs that led nowhere!

On August 8, 1974, The Winchester Mystery House acquired milestone status. Presently, The Winchester House is a particularly bizarre and spooky spot for those that desire to have their very own paranormal experience.

3.The Shanghai Tunnels, Portland, Oregon

Unknown author, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

History & Location of the Shanghai Tunnels

In the USA, numerous cities like Seattle, Sacramento, Prescott, and Butte, ended up with underground tunnels under the roads of their unique midtown regions. These tunnels kept the street traffic clear when cargo and people were making their way on and off ships in these busy port cities.

In Portland, Oregon, these tunnels became better known as Shanghai tunnels, owing to the destination of many of the ships at that time, heading to Shanghai, China. A series of catacombs in the Shanghai tunnels were connected to the basements of many dance halls, saloons, gambling parlors, and a few hotels where prostitution was an active service.

Owing to the interconnectedness of the tunnels and the demand for ship’s crew in the period from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, the Shanghai tunnels were an active site of human trafficking. Many individuals going through these tunnels would be kidnapped and then trafficked to different areas. Women were warned of the dangers of visiting establishments at night, where they could be taken against their will and forced into services such as prostitution.

Bizarre Facts about the Shanghai Tunnels

During the 1700s, Portland utilized these passages during daytime hours to convey products to businesses. However, during the evening hours, these tunnels became a hub for various illegal activities, including drugs, prostitution, and terrible acts of human trafficking. The trafficking of people to sell as ship’s crew became known as shanghaiing. This is due to the destination of the ships, where those unfortunate enough to be taken would be bound. Some people would be drugged in the bars and saloons above with embalming fluids or opium before passing out and being taken underground. If that is, they survived the intoxication.

Many prisoners passed on in the numerous Portland tunnels’ underground cells, where they were held during transit. These deaths were due to harsh treatment, lack of food and water, and drug overdoses. It is reported that the tormented souls of these badly mistreated individuals haunt the area where they died.

People have reported hearing a chorus of terrified cries and moans getting louder and louder and coming closer to them. These cries, it is said, can be heard at the trapdoors that lead into the dark tunnels below the city. This brutal and misfortunate past makes Portland one of the most haunted cities in the USA.