Named after a British island, the state we know as New Jersey was the home of the Lenape for 2,800 years before it was colonized by the Dutch and Swedes. In fact, it didn’t become under British rule until 1664 and didn’t take on its present form until 1702. Today, New Jersey is one of the most ethnicallydiverse states in the country with large populations of Eastern European Jews, Muslims, Peruvians, Brazilians, Filipinos, Portuguese and Cubans and many residents of Italian, Irish, Hispanic, African, German Polish and Chinese ancestry.
One things all New Jersey residents seem to take pride in are their ghost stories, whether it is a tale of the fanciful spirits that haunt one of the most quaint Victorian seashore towns in the state or the devilish beast that stalks the state’s Pine Barrens. Spirits continue to hide out in a lighthouse constructed to protect an inlet named after the numerous sea deaths reported there. Revolutionary War patriots call out in agony from the tavern-turned-hospital where they spent their last hours. An infamous pirate is known to threaten children in the halls of a shoreline residence.
New Hampshire’s history comes alive in the ghostly tales that continue to haunt this New England state. A Revolutionary War fort is haunted by soldiers killed in an accidental explosion while a forlorn woman searches the tunnels underneath a state college in hopes of finding her unrequited love. Christmas-themed inn is known for spirits that spook guests, and the wife of a jealous sea captain still haunts their colonial residence.
With so many lively characters in its history, it’s no wonder Nevada seems to be a haven for some of the afterlife’s more lively spirits. Spirits roam historic ghost towns, both those immortalized in film and lost to obscurity. The mine at the heart of the Comstock Lode is still haunted by one of the worst mining disasters in Nevada history while spirits linger in a county courthouse. A prominent businessman haunts his dream home in Nevada’s capital city, and the spirits of gangsters and their mistresses are said to roam one of the oldest Las Vegas casinos.
As the American West opened, many people settled here in the hopes of building a farm, buying cheap land or just because they gave up halfway to Oregon and California. Today, the Cornhusker State is still battling some of the demons of its past, including the push for Civil Rights, the pressure put on immigrants from Americans of English descent and the Native American tribes forced off their ancestral lands by farmers and ranchers. The ghosts of the past are alive and well here, finding their homes everywhere from cemeteries to theatres to parks to the seat of the state’s government.
There are plenty of haunted places in Big Sky Country, each with their own unique backstories. An old frontier prison is still stalked by the inmates of the past while a national park hotel has some tourists that never check out. The spirits of native warriors still cry out from where they were slaughtered and several ghost towns more than live up to the moniker. Whether in the rubble of a mining boomtown or the mansion of a prominent millionaire, you might not be as alone as you think in Montana.
Perhaps it is because so many people have crossed Missouri over its history that spirits seem to enjoy staying in the Show Me State. Ghosts linger around a museum that explores the dark side of the history of mental health while a shadowy figures and a phantom serial killer are said to haunt a Route 66 ghost town. A rural inn has ties to one of the first female serial killers in America, and the home of a St. Louis beer baron may have driven his family mad.
Known for its historic plantations, thick forests, the delta sands and its catfish aquaculture, Mississippi is derived from a native word meaning “Great River,” and is known for the river that shares its name. It is on this silt-rich soil that some of the state's most frightening legends were born. The spirits of Civil War dead roam the war’s most famous siege site of the war, and while one of Mississippi’s most famous writers is still seen in his historic home. A friendly ghost is often found humming in a theatre in Elvis’ hometown as a southern river is said to sing with the voices of dead Native Americans. A demonic spirit has scared more than one person away from a Gothic-style church.
Despite its frigid winters, Minnesotans are generally thought of as friendly, civic minded individuals with a love for their state and fellow man. Of course, every state has its dark side and Minnesota’s can be found in the spirits who haunt it. The cries of a Native American mother are still heard in a local park while strange things are heard in caves that were once a popular hideaway during Prohibition. A museum to one of America’s favorite transport lines ghosts who moved in from a nearby cemetery, and the spirits at the bar aren’t the only ones located in a hotel that inspired Sinclair Lewis. The ghosts of miners forever trapped in rubble still cry out from beyond the grave. There is much more to Minnesota than meets the eye.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Wolverine State attempted to remake its image, as evidenced by its history as Native American territory, a land of French traders and trapper and a center of water-based commerce connected through the Erie Canal. However, the one bit of history Michgan can’t shake its its haunted history. A group of local ghost hunters hope paranormal experiences can help preserve a dilapidated mansion while a family-style restaurant is haunted by its connections to a historic brothel, Al Capone and the Purple Gang. Unsolved mysteries still stalk one of the largest Masonic temples in the world and children still cry out from a former orphanage.
A historic fort protecting the Boston area is haunted by spirits from its past while those staying overnight at a historic inn find they aren’t alone after crawling into bed. Star-crossed lovers continue their affair at a bed and breakfast long after their death and a British general stalks the halls of a building on a women’s college. Visitors stay overnight at the home of an infamous murderess in hopes of seeing spirits while the victims of America’s most famous witch hunt still haven’t found their eternal rest. Massachusetts is just as steeped in history as it is in hauntings.
Spooky stories and terrifying tales found along the road less traveled.