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America’s Most Haunted Halloween Attractions

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With Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm) bearing down on the East Coast, many are wondering about how the storm will impact Wednesday’s Halloween celebrations.

Even if this year’s celebrations are a little stormy, the spooky season doesn’t have to be over. Remember, there are some haunted attractions that you can visit year-round. Watch Peter’s report for CBS This Morning to see his pick for haunted hotels, haunted attractions and even entire cities that are known to be haunted.

Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, Philadelphia

Creepy any time of the year, not just Halloween, Eastern State Penitentiary is the former prison which once held legendary criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Opened in 1829, the prison was designed to be a place of reform; however reports from the prison told a very different story. Punishment methods included dunking prisoners in icy water, hanging them from the walls overnight, and tightly strapping them to chairs for days at a time. The prison was eventually closed in 1970.

Some believe that the prison is haunted, with reports of supernatural activity going back as far as the 1940s, with reports increasing after the closure in 1971. Visitors report hearing giggles and whispers from the walls, spooky ghosts, and a locksmith working alone in a cell block reported experiencing an enormous force of negative energy when removing an old lock from a cell door.

The Terror Behind the Walls experience focuses less on blood and gore and more on startle effects with its elaborate production, 3D effects, and interactive elements. The tour even includes exit spots along the way for those who are too freaked out to continue.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, credit Beadmobile via Flickr Creative Commons

Voodoo queens, pyschics, seances….New Orleans has long been linked to the paranormal, so it’s no surprise that so many of its landmarks are thought to be haunted. From hotels to historic mansions, eerie cemeteries and even a haunted golf course, ghostly sightings are practically de rigueur in New Orleans.

Some of the most haunted spots include the LaLaurie House, where socialite Marie Delphine LaLaurie lived. After locals responding to a fire in the mansion found evidence of horrific torture and murder of several slaves, LaLaurie fled to Paris and the house was sacked by an angry mob.

The cemeteries of New Orleans are also notorious, especially St. Louis Cemetery #1, where an above ground vault holds the remains of many of the city’s notable figures including Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

Hotel Provincial has a long and bloody history as a former Civil War military hospital, and to this day, countless guests have spotted apparitions of injured Confederate soldiers.

A local known as Bloody Mary hosts historic haunted tours and workshops all year long. Things really start to pick up around this time of year, with haunted pub crawls, voodoo doll making classes, and cemetery tours.

Charleston, South Carolina

Bulldog Tours offers a number of spooky experiences featuring ghosts, a haunted house, voodoo, and Charleston’s unique Lowcountry stories.

The spooky dungeon tour allows guests to explore the Provost Dungeon which opened in 1781, where prisoners were confined in horrifying conditions. Since reopening as a museum in the 1960s there have been reports of swinging lights and the sounds of people screaming and crying.

Poogan’s Porch is a restaurant known for the ghost of Zoe St. Amand who lived in the building until her death in 1950. Since then her spooky ghost has been spotted at least 200 times by locals and visitors who claim to see her apparition, place settings rotating, and felt an eerie feeling that so often accompanies ghost sightings.

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

The Stanley Hotel, first opened in 1909, was built by F.O. Stanley, best known for the Stanley Steamer. Numerous sightings of ghosts have occurred by those staying at the hotel, especially in the Ballroom where there are often sounds of music or partying to be heard when the room is completely empty. It is also said that the spooky ghost of his wife, Nora Stanley, can be heard from time to time playing the piano in the Music Room. Those who have heard the music in the room claim to also be able to smell her distinctive rose perfume.

The hotel also served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. During King’s time as a professor at the University of Colorado he ended up spending the night at the hotel in room 217 on what happened to be the last night of the season (the hotel is now open year-round). As a result of the imminent closure the hotel was empty except for King and the staff. During the night King said he experienced incredibly vivid dreams including visions of twin boys…two weeks later, he handed in the compete manuscript to The Shining.

The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina

Ashland, North Carolina’s Grove Park Inn is said to be haunted by the mysterious “Pink Lady”. Assumed to be the spirit of a young woman who fell to her death while wearing a pink dress in the 1920s, The Pink Lady appears most often as a dense cloud of pink smoke. The story goes that she was staying in the hotel while carrying out an affair with a married man and, supposedly he either broke her heart causing her to leap to her death from the fifth story, or pushed her to her death upon her revealing that she had become pregnant. Either way her spirit is said to frequent her former room, 545, as well as the atrium where she died. Her spirit is said to be a bit of a prankster – many who have encountered her recount being woken by her tickling their feet – but is benevolent and sometimes even comforting.

For more haunted travels, check out:

By Steven Knight for