By Terrance Zepke
A Harris Poll revealed that 51% of us believe in ghosts. What’s more, 23% say that they have seen a ghost or believe they have been in the presence of one (AP poll). Almost one-fourth of America believe that we can communicate with ghosts (Baylor Religion Survey). While there are lots of haunted places across our great nation, some seem to be more so than others. And while there is no guarantee of a ghostly encounter, a visit to one of the fifteen places discussed in A
Ghost Hunter’s Guide to The Most Haunted Places in America (Safari Publishing, 2012, available in print and ebook formats) is likely to result in a paranormal experience. Ghost enthusiasts may want to include a visit to one of these places this fall. They are all open to the public—for those who dare to go! Here are a few of the creepiest, scariest, and most haunted places in this country:
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (West Virginia)…where experimental lobotomies were performed. It is believed to be haunted by many of the sad souls who were confined to the facility, many of whom died here. It is open for exploration through a variety of tour options, including a Civil War tour, photography tour, and history tour, as well as overnight ghost investigations. www.trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com
2. Birdcage Theatre (Arizona)…where 140 bullet holes offer a clue as to the violence that occurred here. There is so much interesting history found here. One reason is that it never closed. The Birdcage was open 24/7 until the day it shut down, which was in 1889. There was a poker game that lasted for years. It was a high stakes poker game with a $1,000 buy-in and the game didn’t end for eight years, five months, and three days. One newspaper referred to the Birdcage as “the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast.” At least 26 documented deaths occurred here and 140 bullet holes have been found inside the theatre. No wonder it is haunted! www.tombstonebirdcage.com
3. Colonial Park Cemetery (Georgia)…where thousands lie in unmarked graves. Mass graves were dug during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1820. Over the years, many tombstones and graves have been disturbed. One of those times includes the Civil War when Union soldiers vandalized gravestones, robbed mausoleums, and removed bodies from crypts so that they could use the tombs as shelter. The cemetery was made into a public park in 1896. Ever since then, visitors have literally walked on top of the dead. Many famous folks are buried here and there seem to be lots of restless spirits.
4. Queen Mary (California)…where one psychic predicts there are hundreds of spirits on board. More than 1.5 million people visit the museum ship every year. Many opt to shop, tour, or dine on board while some brave souls spend the night on the haunted ship in hopes of having a paranormal encounter. And their odds are good given past reports of doors being heard slamming, knocking on the doors, clanging of metal, cries, footsteps, muffled voices, laughter, and other unexplainable noises are heard when no one is there. Faucets and lights turn on and off without a mechanical explanation. Some guests claim that their bed sheets have been pulled off during the night by an unseen presence. Cold spots are inexplicably felt in several places on the ship. Complaints of cigarette and pipe smoke have been made but no evidence of smoking is found on board the ship where smoking is not permitted. Even more disturbing are the sightings. A pretty young lady wearing a white ball gown is sometimes seen in the Queen’s Salon, which was once the first class lounge. A dark-haired man has been seen in some of the first-class staterooms wearing a 1930s era suit. The spirit of a little girl has been encountered and the sounds of a little girl laughing and whispering have been heard on audio recorders. www.queenmary.com
Terrance Zepke has a B.A. in Journalism, a Masters degree in Mass Communications, and has studied parapsychology, which is the study of paranormal phenomena, at the renowned Rhine Research Center. She is the author of numerous ghost books and travel references, such as A Ghost Hunter’s Guide To The Most Haunted Places in Amerca, The Best Ghost Tales of North Carolina, Ghosts of Savannah, and Lowcountry Voodoo: Tales, Spells, and Boo Hags. She is in demand as a speaker and has appeared on The Learning Channel, History Channel, and Travel Channel. For more about the author and her titles or to sign up for her Ghostly Postings blog, visit www,terrancezepke.com.
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