(Posted at Allianz Travel)
It’s not that hard to meet a ghost, or even spend the night with one. Every state has its own famous haunted hotels and haunted houses. But if you’re looking for scary places to visit that are out of the ordinary, try these three spooky destinations.
The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA
The Queen Mary is unique among America’s haunted places to visit: It’s an enormous ship that’s also a hotel, restaurant, museum and event space. Launched in 1936, the Queen Mary was one of the world’s most luxurious ocean liner, boasting cocktail bars, swimming pools, a squash court and an enormous ballroom. During World War II, the ship shed its luxury trappings and served as a troop ship, carrying thousands of soldiers to the European front.
In 1967, the Queen Mary was permanently moored in Long Beach. The ship is now one of the most popular scary places to visit in California. The Ghosts and Legends Tour brings to life the many spirits said to inhabit the ship, from the seamen who drowned in a tragic collision during World War II to children who died in the ship’s pool. For a closer encounter, stay the night in this haunted hotel – or buy a ticket for the October Dark Harbor haunted maze with costumed performers and entertainment.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA
The forbidding stone Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the East Coast’s best-known spooky destinations. Built in 1829, the supposedly escape-proof prison had a lofty goal: to reform the criminals within its walls by forcing them to consider their misdeeds. Inmates were kept in silent, solitary confinement and given only Bibles to read. This treatment was later deemed inhumane and abandoned, but the prison continued to house criminals – including gangster Al Capone – until 1971. Hear personal accounts from inmates and staffhere.
Today, visitors can explore the Gothic ruins with daily tours of Eastern State Penitentiary (not recommended for children under seven.) The adventurous can climb down into “the Hole” to see the four windowless cells used to punish prisoners. If you’re looking for truly scary places to visit, every fall Eastern State Penitentiary opens its doors for Terror Behind The Walls, an enormous and popular haunted house.
Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, KY
From the outside, this honky-tonk outside of Cincinnati looks unremarkable: a long, squat building on the banks of the Licking River. Yet Bobby Mackey’s Music World has become one of the best-known spooky destinations for ghost hunters and thrill seekers.
The list of legends and occurrences associated with the nightclub is long. In the 1800s, the site was occupied by a slaughterhouse that spilled blood into the river via a basement well, attracting (some say) Satanic worshippers. In 1896, a young woman named Pearl Bryan was found decapitated nearby; many years later, a pregnant cabaret dancer poisoned herself. In recent years, the club’s staff and ghost hunters have reported seeing apparitions and a glowing hexagram, as well as being scratched by unseen claws.
Is this honky-tonk really one of America’s most haunted places to visit? There’s one way to find out: walk in the door. Bobby Mackey’s Music World is still a lively nightclub that offers haunted tours of the club’s labyrinthine basement on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as special two-hour tours on weekdays (by reservation only). Ghost-hunting teams may also conduct investigations for a fee of $595.