The world is a scary place. And by scary I mean, restless spirits haunting our nation’s heartlands. I love a good ghost story, but when you tell me about a place that is known to induce paranoia before anything has even happened or before I’ve heard the creepy ghost stories … I’ll just wait in the car while everybody else fulfills his or her curiosity itch. Here are 3 haunted places in the United States that I’m too chicken to visit. Are you?


Photo Credit: Elena Bouvier ~ Eastern State Penitentiary

3 Haunted Places in the United States

The weather is starting to cool off, leaves are beginning to change, and empty stores at the local strip malls are now being setup with witches and zombies. This can only mean one thing: Halloween season is almost here. And with Halloween, comes the creepy, the spooky, and the paranormal.

Many places have a reputation of being haunted. From brutal prisons and horrifying hospitals to a home being haunted by a little girl.  Read on for 3 haunted places in the United States that you’ll never find me exploring! But that doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t!

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky

1 of 3 Haunted Places in the United States: Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky. Do you dare visit?

1 of 3 Haunted Places in the United States: Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky. Do you dare visit? Photo Credit: Allison Taylor/Research TravelingMom


According to their website, Waverly Hills Sanatorium is one of the “most haunted places on earth.” I’m not going to ask any questions. I’ll just trust that conclusion.

Our Research Traveling Mom, Allison Taylor visited Waverly Hills Sanatorium on a date with her husband last year and read here her opinion of the tour.

History of Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Background: Waverly Hills Sanatorium was considered the most advanced tuberculosis sanatorium in the country at the peak of TB. Many patients survived their stay at Waverly Hills, however, it is estimated that hundreds died here at the height of the epidemic.

While the patients who survived both the disease and the treatments left Waverly Hills through the front doors, the majority of patients left through what came to be known as the “body chute”. The body chute was an enclosed tunnel for the dead that led from the hospital out to the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. Using a motorized rail and cable system, the bodies were lowered in secret to the waiting trains.

Encounters: A man in a white coat has been seen walking in the kitchen and the cafeteria and the smell of cooking food occasionally drifts through the room. While this seems harmless, the encounters don’t stop there at this haunted place.

Ghost researchers have always been drawn to the fifth floor of the former hospital. The fifth floor consisted of two nurses’ stations, a pantry, a linen room, medicine room, and two medium-sized rooms on both sides of the two nurses’ stations. One of these, Room 502, is the focus of many rumors and legends. This is where, according to the stories, people have jumped to their deaths, have seen shapes moving in the windows, and have heard spiritual voices that order trespassers to “get out.”

No worries, fifth floors ‘residents.’ You won’t find me anywhere close to your neck of the woods!

NOTE: During Halloween season, a portion of the Sanatorium is transformed into a terrifying Haunted House that is sure to make you question your own sanity. No thanks, Waverly Hills. I won’t even try your FAKE Haunted House … let alone your REAL one!

The Sallie House, Atchison, Kansas

Photo Credit: The Sallie House

Photo Credit: The Sallie House

In the photo, it doesn’t look so creepy … right?  But you are looking at one of the most infamous haunted houses in the world.  It’s no wonder that the Sallie House has been the subject of many TV documentaries like Sightings and The Travel Channel!

Haunted History of the Sallie House

Background: The House, later known as The Sallie House, was first built in 1867 in Atchison, Kansas. One Michael C. Finney, who moved in with his family to start a new life, purchased the land on which it was built on. Finney had a wife, two sons, and daughter. The house remained in the possession of the family until the death of Agnes and Charles Finney, both of whom were Finney’s descendants, in 1939 and 1947 respectively.

When Agnes and Charles died, the house was rented out to various boarders. However, people never stayed long in the house and for whatever reason (I think I can guess the reason),  few records exist of the people who stayed there.

The 19th-century house originally got its name due to the haunting of a little girl, who was later given the name “Sallie.” The couple that owned the house believed that the little girl was trying to warn them about the evil spirits, which dwelt within the house. Several stories surround this theory, and you’ll have to check out the website to hear more about those stories.

Haunted Encounters: It has been known that numerous, violent attacks have been carried out on anyone who lived or lives inside this haunted place or investigates its mysteries. Although such attacks are usually directed at certain groups of people, leading a lot of people to believe in the hostile nature of the house and the possibility of demonic presence within its walls.

I don’t know about you, but I’m good with never knowing whether I’m in that minority group of people in which the attacks are directed towards.

In addition to the attacks, visitors and witnesses also reported full-bodied apparitions, flying objects, phantom furniture, and sounds of strange unidentifiable animals, human voices, and mysterious items appearing and disappearing at random points throughout the house.

In addition to witness accounts, a surprisingly large amount of EVP was also recorded of strange voices from men, women, and children, not to mention strange smells emanating from various areas around the house.

The video on the website asks for skeptics to experience The Sallie House on their own. But I’m going to have to say that I’m in the category of NON-skeptical. I don’t need to experience it. Thanks for the invite, though.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Photo Credit: Michael Cevoli ~ The Eastern State Penitentiary

The prison, which closed in 1971, is considered by several sources to be one of the most haunted places in America. I’ll just trust them on that. No arguments there. I’m sure the sources check out. I don’t need to see for myself. Thanks.

Haunted Eastern State Penitentiary

Background: Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but today it stands in ruin. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline (ie: the water bath, the mad chair, the iron gag, and the hole), this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence and regret, in the hearts of the prisoners. To learn more about the harsh punishment measures used, you’ll have to make a visit to the penitentiary yourself – if you dare. Or check out their website.

Known as being the most expensive building built in the U.S. at the time, the Eastern State Penitentiary became a prototype in design to 300 prisons. Its vaulted cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone. The prison’s 142-year history is full of suicide, madness, disease, murder, and torture – making it easy to envision the spirits of troubled souls were left behind to roam its abandoned halls.

Encounters: Cellblock 12 is known for echoing voices and chortling. Cellblock 6 for shadowy-like figures darting along the walls. And Cellblock 4 for visions of ghostly faces by the hundreds. Many people have reported seeing a silhouette of a guard in one of the towers. Footsteps. Cries. Voices. Giggles. Whispers.

One of the most legendary tales of this haunted place comes from Gary Johnson, who helps maintain the crumbling locks at the prison. In the early 1990’s, Mr. Johnson had just opened an old lock in Cellblock 4 when he says a force gripped him so tightly that he was unable to move. He described a negative, horrifying energy that exploded out of the cell. He said tormented faces appeared on the cell walls and that one form, in particular, summoned to him.  (EEK!)

Today, the penitentiary is opened to the public. In a typical year, maybe two-dozen paranormal investigations take place in the cellblocks. According to Assistant Program Director Brett Bertolino, they almost always find evidence of activity.

NOTE: The Eastern State Penitentiary does offer a really great NOT-SO-CREEPY tour of the prison where you can visit Capone’s cell, take audio tours, and have the kids go on a scavenger hunt.  Our own Fitness TravelingMom, Jenn Mitchell can tell you more in her post after her visit to the penitentiary. (You can still count me out. I told you … I’m a total chicken!)

While I’m big on adventure and thrills, if you ever plan on visiting any of these scary places and thinking about asking me to tag along, I’m going to have to pass you up on that offer. I tend to like my skin UN-crawly, but thanks!

Have you ever been to any of these places? What about another place that’s known for creepy hauntings?