Where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming has long been considered a wild state, home to some of the most beautiful public lands in America. Settled by the Crow, Arapaho, Lakota and Shoshone, the initial white explorers through the region felt the expansive state was uninhabited. Settled by the Spanish and French before the Lewis and Clark expedition, Wyoming later became central to the Oregon migration and later home to the first national park.
More than just the buffalo roam in the wild ranges of Wyoming. Restless spirits can also be found in this wide open state and sometimes in places least expected. A ghost ship known as a harbinger of death sails along the plains while a helpful ghost helps tend bar at a hotel named after the first western novel. A Japanese internment camp still haunts a community named for a famous American explorer and guests at a national park hotel might get more than they bargained for during their stay. A ghostly hotel housekeeper is still tucking guests into their beds long after her death. No one is truly alone on the range in Wyoming.
West Virginia is also a state known for its haunts. After all, the Mountain State is the only state where the evidence given by a ghost helped convict a man of murder. Long after Zona Heaster Shue appeared in her mother’s dream to tell on her murderous husband, things here still go bump in the night. The ghost of another woman still roams the road where she was murdered. Inmates and mental patients still roam the facilities were they were held in overcrowded conditions. An abandoned amusement park is known for providing more chills than thrills. Restless spirits walk a town marred by a slave revolt and Civil War battle, and a lady in red still lurks around a historic movie house.
Technically a commonwealth rather than a state, Virginia still manages to cling to its old ways despite its modern progress. A president’s boyhood home is haunted by dark family secrets. A mysterious female ghost haunts the historic tavern where she died nameless. Shipwreck victims and the last woman executed for witchcraft in Virginia are among those that haunt a coastal plantation built on a ferry landing. Nurses, soldiers and children are still roaming around America’s first triage hospital while the former home of an early American storyteller and Aaron Burr's lawyer is known for both its unique name and the many ghosts that haunt its grounds.
A New England state known for its skiing, maple syrup, unique dialect, and picturesque scenery, Vermont is one of the least populated states in the country, but its residents don’t seem to mind the solitude. Of course, they may not be truly alone. A haunted rowboat makes no ripples as it sails across the surface of a popular lake. Strange disappearances and a wild creature are said to haunt the cursed land around a peak in the Green Mountains. A nurse who became a patient in her own hospital still tends to the ill at the state’s police academy. One of America’s oldest military colleges is still visited by cadets from the long forgotten past. The beauty of the Green Mountain State might just belie the darker chapters in Vermont’s history.
Everyone knows everything’s bigger in Texas, and the ghost stories follow suit. Dancers are still cutting a rug at a former dance hall off Route 66. The agoraphobic wife of a Civil War veteran haunts both her former home and the dormitory that bears her name. A World War II sailors enjoys giving visitors a tour of the vessel he once served on. Spirits of the Texas Revolution still roam where they made their last stand. A seaside hotel is known for the appearance of a ghost bride. It seems spirits are never far away, even in the massive Lone Star State.
Various people have left their mark on Tennessee from the native peoples forced to march across the state during the Trail of Tears to the Revolutionary War’s Over the Mountain Boys to the soldiers who marched through it in the Civil War to the mountain people uprooted from their homes as the TVA filled valleys with water. Their presences are still felt here. One of the oldest American hauntings still strikes fear in the hearts of visitors to a small town near the Kentucky border. The soldiers who died in bloody Civil War battles cry out from beyond the grave. Performers country music landmark might find a spirited guest in their audience, and a native curse is said to haunt a popular recreation area.
From the rolling plains to the sharp rocky outcroppings of the Badlands and Black Hills, there are plenty of places for secrets to hide in South Dakota. The ghosts of native peoples roam the site where they were massacred and a former school and hospital known for its past abuse. A famed wild west town is haunted by spirits from its rowdy past. A public park has a haunting history going back to the days of Lewis and Clark. Two ghostly lovers are said to be looking for each other at a site known for a death-defying feat by a famous outlaw.
Of course, being the smallest state doesn’t mean Rhode Island lacks for history - or for hauntings. The employees of one of America’s first textile mills are still heard around their old equipment. A woman in period garb still likes to ride the old carousel at the site of a former Victorian-era amusement park. Two homes belonging to a famous Rhode Island governor have haunted legacies. A blockbuster film helped further blur the distinction between the fact and fiction of a haunting at a farmhouse dating back to the colonial period. Rhode Island certainly has no shortage of spirits.
With such a lengthy and famous history, it should come as no surprise that many of Pennsylvania’s past residents decided to hang around here long after they should have passed on. The wife and mother-in-law of a famed industrialist are still wandering the halls of the art museum that was once their home. A Wilkes-Barre residence is said to have a story more terrifying than the famed Amityville Horror house. A woman and the man who murdered her 200 years ago still haunt the riverside inn where they once worked. A house built by a famous architect is said to still house the spirit of a wronged wife. Spirits from the Revolutionary War still haunt a tavern known for its role in the famed Whiskey Rebellion.
Political turbulence arising from racism, the Great Depression and Dust Bowl continued to haunt the Sooner state and in many ways still do. Perhaps this is why Oklahoma has so many ghosts clinging to their past. A strange phenomena lights up a corner of the state known as the Devil’s Promenade. The ghost of a murdered woman is still looking for something: either her baby or her head. The King of Western Swing is still belting out tunes at the venue that launched his career. One of the most popular hotels in Oklahoma City is also known for giving out-of-state teams the fright of their lives when they come in for away games. The spirits of Choctaw girls can still be seen on the grounds of the government-sponsored school where they were killed and secretly buried. It seems not everything in Oklahoma is A-OK.
Spooky stories and terrifying tales found along the road less traveled.