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11 Offbeat Commemorative Plaques

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Getty Images

A quick glance at a shiny metal plaque can often serve as shorthand for “Something important happened here.” But if you step closer, the events such plaques commemorate are often far from simple. From presidential kisses to witchcraft to events that may or may not have actually even occurred, plaques are rich and often underestimated sources of history that’s weird, funny, or just plain creepy.

1. Barack and Michelle Obama’s First Kiss

In 1989, a young Barack Obama took Michelle Robinson out for ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. The night ended with a sidewalk kiss that is now forever memorialized with a plaque (above) at Dorchester Avenue and 53rd Street in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Set in a boulder surrounded by flowers, the plaque is inscribed with these words from the president: “On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.”

Though the area has changed a bit since then (for one, that Baskin-Robbins is now a Subway restaurant), the owners of the building were intent on immortalizing the kiss, first commissioning the marker back in 2010. Obviously, it was a successful date; Michelle even recalled Barack as “hip, cutting edge, cultural, sensitive.” Said the president: “Take notes, gentlemen.” Or at least visit the birthplace of America’s current reigning power couple.

2. The Barney and Betty Hill UFO Incident

Courtesy of New Page Books

Thanks to this plaque, UFO junkies can visit the exact spot where one of the world’s most famous alien encounters allegedly took place. In 1961, Barney and Betty Hill were returning from a trip to their summer home when they spotted a large “cigar-shaped” aircraft full of “strangely not human” figures along the New Hampshire highway. Spooked, they quickly drove away, but they later experienced an amnesia-like gap in memory from the following two hours; they also found mysterious tears and scrapes on their clothing neither could account for, along with odd circular shapes on their car. Later, under hypnosis, both produced details of an alien abduction experience.

This seemingly conclusive evidence of an alien landing has since been the subject of many books, films, and, in 2011, a plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of the encounter. The plaque, displaying the official New Hampshire state seal, calls the incident “The first widely-reported UFO abduction report in the United States.” It can be found at New Hampshire’s Indian Head resort, just north of the spot where the mysterious aircraft is said to have appeared.

3. The half-sunk USS Murphy

When diver Dan Crowell discovered the remains of a U.S. World War II destroyer 75 miles off the shore of New Jersey, it led to another rather confusing discovery: According to the U.S. Navy, that destroyer, the USS Murphy—which Crowell had positively identified using a tag recovered in the wreck—never sank.

Here's what happened: On October 21, 1943, the Murphy fell victim to a hit by a German U-boat. The bow of the ship was lost to the freezing Atlantic, along with 38 crew members. The stern, however, miraculously stayed afloat. The remaining half of the Murphy was restored with a new bow, soon after to support the Normandy invasion at Omaha Beach; the destroyer eventually ended its career with four battle stars for its World War II service.

So what about the long-forgotten half of the Murphy discovered by Crowell? Today, the undersea wreck is home to a commemorative plaque inscribed in memoriam to the dozens of crew lost with the ship that sank—but didn’t.

4. One small step for Bill Murray

Flickr: Olivander

Woodstock, Illinois is a nondescript burg of roughly 20,000 people, but it wasn’t about to forgo its 15 minutes of fame—specifically, that time Bill Murray stepped in a puddle for a scene in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day.

Though the film revolved around Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and its famous rodent inhabitant, the small northern Illinois town was actually the film’s primary shooting location. Actual Woodstock signs and storefronts can be seen throughout Groundhog Day, but the most iconic feature of the town is a lowly square of concrete where Murray’s grumpy character repeatedly stepped in a puddle as he lived that day over and over. In honor of the iconic scene, the city of Woodstock placed a plaque nearby with an outline of Murray’s shoe, reading “Bill Murray stepped here” and “Movie Groundhog Day, 1992."

5. Putting the “dead” in deadpan humor: The Devenish-Phibbs family benches

Courtesy of Croy Devenish-Phibbs

When dryly humorous memorial plaques started popping up around the U.K. with messages such as “If you can read this, you’re less dead than me, Bonnie Devenish-Phibbs 1899-1942,” they were mostly regarded as an elaborate gag. All of the bench plaques claimed to be in memoriam of deceased members of the Devenish-Phibbs family, and all were inscribed with darkly witty, far from reverent messages (“’This was one of my favourite views. You can see it better if you move along the bench a bit. Come on shuffle along. Bit more. More. No, more. There, now look.’ In commemoration of Barbara Devenish-Phibbs: Mother, wife, nag”).

But when a supposed descendant of the Devenish-Phibbs clan came forward to ask the public for information about his family tree, the hoax became even more complex. Croy Devenish-Phibbs claimed to be 102 years old, a student in an Internet class for senior citizens, and a disowned member of the family memorialized on the benches. Rather than claiming responsibility for the benches, Croy instead asked the public to send him pictures of the plaques in order to help him piece together his long-lost family history, offering rewards in return. That last part was no joke; one woman who emailed him received pearls.

More than 70 people have sent in pictures of the Devenish-Phibbs plaques so far. Despite obvious skepticism, Mr. Devenish-Phibbs continues to insist his search is genuine, and has even expressed surprise at claims of conspiracy. “I would have thought an ancient old wreck searching for information about his family would be as mundane as things get,” he wrote.

6. The Traffic Jam that Killed a King

Courtesy of Cool Stuff in Paris

Visitors to Paris’s Place de la Concorde can view the exact spots where King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and other key figures were executed via guillotine during the French Revolution. However, just a few miles away, you can see the spot of a less famous royal assassination. Henri IV reigned from 1589 to 1610, the year he was killed in broad daylight in the busy neighborhood of Les Halles. Allegedly, a man named Francois Ravaillac simply ran up to the king’s coach, which was idled by traffic, and stabbed him to death. Two plaques mark the assassination, both located on Rue de la Ferronnerie. One simply commemorates the assassination, reading, “In this place, King Henri IV was assassinated by Ravaillac on May 14, 1610.” The second plaque, a few yards down the street, shows a symbol on the sidewalk that claims to mark the exact spot of the stabbing. To the left of this plaque is a Histoire de Paris sign that shows an artist’s rendering of the assassination, as well as this interesting detail: In 1554, Henri’s grandfather, Henri II, tried and failed to get the narrow street widened—if he’d succeeded, the traffic jam that proved fatal might not have happened.

7. Freddie Mercury’s vanishing plaque

The final resting place of Freddie Mercury was a mystery for 21 years, before a plaque was found in a West London cemetery signifying the legendary musician’s grave. Then, a few days later, it vanished. Reportedly, the plaque had read: “In Loving Memory of Farrokh Bulsara, 5 Sept. 1946-24 Nov. 1991” (Mercury changed his name from Bulsara shortly after the formation of Queen). The mysterious plaque also came with the dedication, “Pour Etre Toujours Pres De Tois Avec Tout Mon Amour- M.,” translating to “Always To Be Close To You With All My Love- M.”

The “M.” likely stood for Mary Austin, Mercury’s closest friend, who inherited Mercury’s mansion and is believed to have been the sole recipient of the Queen frontman’s ashes. Many fans speculate that Austin removed the plaque, following a deathbed promise to Mercury that she never reveal the whereabouts of his remains. Said Austin, “I made a promise on his death bed that I would never reveal where his ashes were. I do know where they are but that’s all I have to say on it.”

8. The Lars Homestead in Tunisia

After filming finished on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the film crew packed up and left, leaving the intricate set of the Lars Homestead (the Tatooine home of young Luke Skywalker) to decay in the Tunisian desert. The homestead was left undisturbed for years, preserved by southern Tunisia’s dry climate, until it was discovered by photographer Rä di Martin.

Di Martin’s photographs caught the attention of a group of fans, who then decided to venture out into the desert and restore the set to its former glory. A six-person team from five different countries worked with Tunisian locals to repair the set, enduring sweltering temperatures as high as 120 degrees. They reported the restoration process through the website Save the Lars Homestead, eventually collecting over $11,000 through a Facebook page.

After restoring the Lars Homestead to its original state, the group went the extra mile, installing a red and white entry coder to imitate the one seen in the film, as well as a commemorate plaque for all brave Star Wars fanatics who wish to see the Homestead for themselves.

9. “That strange aircraft…” The disappearance of Frederick Valentich

Courtesy of Atlas Obscura

On October 21, 1978, Frederick Valentich was piloting a light aircraft over Australia’s Bass Strait, traveling to King Island to catch some crayfish. Then, the 20-year old pilot noticed something truly fishy. During his 127-mile flight, Valentich contacted Cape Otway air traffic control that he was being tailed by an unusual aircraft that was hovering about 1000 feet above him. Air traffic controller Steve Robey responded, assuring Valentich that there were no planes in the vicinity, but the young pilot insisted that the unidentified aircraft was “playing games” with him. He then reported that the aircraft emitted a bright green light before vanishing. After a brief moment of relief, Valentich radioed back saying that it had reappeared. The last words Valentich was ever heard to say were, “That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again…it is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.”

The disappearance quickly drew the attention of UFO fanatics and tabloids, who return to the spot every year to hold vigil at the nearby Cape Otway lighthouse. On the 20th anniversary of Valentich’s vanishing, his family erected a commemorative plaque at Cape Otway. The plaque was unveiled by Steve Robey himself, the last human to have ever heard from Frederick. 

10. The Cemetery at Snake Hill

Courtesy of Weird N.J.

New Jersey’s Snake Hill has been the subject of ghost stories for Turnpike-area kids for years. After all, over the course of its history, the area has been home to a snake infestation, a few hospitals, a penitentiary and, most notably, a psychiatric asylum. Although the asylum had been demolished for many years, it still continued to stir up controversy.

After the demolition, the asylum’s adjoining graveyard still contained graves dating from the 1880s through 1962. When construction on a nearby train station began, a large number of pine coffins were unearthed, leading to the discovery that about 4000 deceased lay in the area. It’s likely most were mentally ill, immigrants, or indigents.

Following the discovery, families of those buried near Snake Hill began a campaign to preserve and memorialize them. Efforts began to identify their relatives among the field of largely unmarked graves. Eventually, a mass exhumation was ordered by the court. Today, a plaque at Laurel Hill Park commemorates the dead of Snake Hill whose resting place was disturbed. 

11. A “White Witch” gets a blue plaque

In the United Kingdom, witchcraft—the practice of the pagan religion today known as Wicca—was outlawed in the 15th century, and wasn’t legalized again until 1951. One year later, a young Doreen Valiente was introduced to Gerald Gardner, who initiated her into the “craft.” Today known as “The Mother of Modern Witchcraft,” Valiente took parts of Gardner’s well-known witchcraft book, The Book of Shadows, and re-wrote and added to it. These revisions became the basis of the rituals of today’s Wicca, or modern witchcraft.

Valiente is credited with clearing away much of the superstitious mystique that made witchcraft frightening, choosing to focus on healing rather than hexing. In June 2013, Valiente's work was recognized with a blue plaque, a mark of distinction in the United Kingdom for something historically or culturally significant. The plaque was installed at her old block of apartments in Brighton, where Valiente had lived until her death in 1999. A neighbor of Valiente described her as “very gentle,” adding, “We used to refer to her as a white witch, which is a good witch.”

Valiente, who once called paganism the “original green party,” emphasized the love of nature and animals as a pillar of Wicca. John Carmichael, a representative from Visit Brighton, commented, “To have a plaque for a witch is something that will be great for visitors because it gives them an insight into the people who live here and make the city what it is.”

BONUS: “On This Site in 1897, Nothing Happened.”

Ever seen one of those wacky “On This Site in 1897, Nothing Happened” plaques? You’re not alone. They’ve been spotted all over the world, and have been in existence since at least the 1980s. You can buy one online, pre-antiqued, for around 30 bucks.

The Best Apple Pie From All 50 States

There are few things better than a slice of warm apple pie. Here's a roundup of the top pies from every state, whether you prefer yours à la mode, à la carte, or à la delivery.


Pie Lab sign

Location: Greensboro, Alabama

At the Pie Lab in Alabama, baker Kelley Whatley mixes pecans into her apple filling to give the dessert an unexpected crunch. Her pies are good for the soul in more ways than one: All profits from the bakery are donated to a local charity organization that provides resources to the homeless.


The exterior of the Roadhouse.
mazaletel, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Talkeetna, Alaska

Somewhere between Anchorage and Denali National Park, a combination diner-hostel in the town of Talkeetna is serving up the best apple pie in the state. When the Talkeetna Roadhouse first opened in the early 20th century, they loaded up their horse and buggy with baked goods to bring to miners and trappers in the hills nearby. Today you’ll have to sit inside the actual restaurant for a taste of their apple pie. The item is so popular that the roadhouse even offers pie-making classes October through March.


Apple crumb pie from Apple Annie's orchard.
Jessica Spengler, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Willcox, Arizona

The award-winning pies offered at Apple Annie’s are made with fresh, hand-peeled apples harvested from the family-run farm. After indulging in one of their homemade baked goods, visitors can roam the orchards and pick their own peaches, pears, and apples to take home.


sour cream apple pie from Ms. Lena's
Courtesy of Ms. Lena's

Location: De Valls Bluff, Arkansas

If you pass by this roadside gem when it’s open on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, it’s worth making a pit stop. One of Ms. Lena's recurring specialties is a tangy, sour cream apple pie served inside a crispy crust.


A close up of red apples.

Location: Julian, California

In a town that prides itself in being one of America’s premier pie destinations, Apple Alley Bakery is a local favorite. Their caramel apple pecan pie is topped with a healthy swirl of caramel and a sprinkling of crushed nuts. We recommend eating this with an extra napkin or two.


Caramel apple pie from Granny Scott's Pie Shop.
Courtesy of Granny Scott's Pie Shop.

Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Granny Scott’s Pie Shop offers as many as 25 different pie varieties on any given day. Their caramel apple is a standout—made with Granny Smith apples and European caramel, it took first prize at the National Pie Championships.


Oronoque Farms apple pie
Courtesy of Oronoque Farms

Location: Shelton, Connecticut

Oronoque Farms got its start in 1949 as a humble stand selling pies on the side of the road. They’ve since grown into a full-blown bakery that uses fruit harvested from local orchards, including their own. Their classic apple pie was voted best in the state by Connecticut magazine.


French apple pie from Arner's Restaurant and Bakery
Courtesy of Arner's Restaurant and Bakery

Location: New Castle, Delaware

Arner’s Restaurant and Bakery has not one but three varieties of apple pie on their menu (four if you count the apple walnut cheesecake). Their French apple pie comes served with an artistic splatter of icing on top.


boxes of apple pie from The Good Pie Company
Courtesy of The Good Pie Company

Location: Davie, Florida

The Good Pie Company’s moniker is straightforward and incontrovertibly true: they do make a good pie! The Davie, Florida shop is run by married couple Frank and Marti Reich: he bakes the sweet pies while she tackles the savory ones. What’s the most popular menu item? The tried-and-true classic Apple pie, of course! They also make an Apple Cranberry pie; you’ll have to try that one on your second visit.


Southern Sweets Bakery apple pie
Courtesy of Southern Sweets Bakery

Location: Decatur, Georgia

The apple pie at Southern Sweets is piled high with glistening slices of cinnamon-sugar-coated apples. The baked good’s description reads: “Doctors love this one. You will, too.” Now trying telling that to a medical professional with a straight face.


A view of palm trees from beneath the trees.

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Apple pie cravings can strike anywhere—even on a tropical island. The family behind Hawaiian Pie Co. serves a menu of buttery, fruit-filled pies that are baked fresh daily. Tropical fruits like mango and pineapple are often highlighted, but it’s hard to beat Grandpa Yoshio’s classic apple pie recipe.


A photo of salted caramel apple pie from Bramble.
Courtesy of Bramble

Location: Boise, Idaho

Of the two dozen pies rotating through the menu at Bramble, the salted caramel apple is a customer favorite. The made-to-order pie service has plans to open a brick-and-mortar storefront in the near future. In the meantime, their pies can be found by the slice at select restaurants and coffee shops in the area.


An apple pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Company.
Photo by Brian M. Heiser // Courtesy Hoosier Mama Pie Company

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Hoosier Mama Pie Company is a Chi-Town institution. For their flaky apple pie, the Ukrainian Village bakery sources apples from Ellis Family Farms in nearby Michigan.


A picture of Apple Works's apple pie surrounded by apples and a container of sugar.
Courtesy of Apple Works

Location: Trafalgar, Indiana

According to their website, the Apple Works orchard was founded in the late 1980s “with the goal of raising the absolute best apples possible.” And that’s exactly what you’ll find in their outrageous double-crust apple pie. One Indiana travel site named the over-stuffed pastry the best apple pie in the state.


The exterior of Deal's Orchard.
Courtesy of Deal's Orchard

Location: Jefferson, Iowa

During weekends in the fall, visitors to Deal’s Orchard have the opportunity to take home one of the homemade pies baked from apples grown on the property. And if you’re looking for something to wash that down with, they also ferment their own hard cider on site.


A tablespoon of grated nutmeg on a table surrounded by whole nutmegs and a grater.

Location: Overland Park, Kansas

The Upper Crust Pie Bakery is run by a pair of Midwestern sisters who grew up “privileged to know what real pie looks and tastes like.” For their take on apple pie, they use their grandmother’s recipe and add a bit of nutmeg.


The exterior of Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky., Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

The name says it all—if you’re in Kentucky, this is the place to come for ice cream and pie. Their award-winning dutch apple caramel pie almost looks too good to eat, but with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on top, it’s impossible to resist.


Cowbell's apple pie in front of a sign that says "pie."
Sara Essex Bradley

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

The menu at this gas station-turned-restaurant is as funky as New Orleans itself. For dessert, diners at Cowbell can order a slice of the scratch-made apple pie served with caramel and crème anglaise.


Pies on the shelf at Two Fat Cats Bakery in Maine.
Courtesy of Two Fat Cats Bakery

Location: Portland, Maine

Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland is Maine’s number one destination for classic Americana baking. Their seasonal apple pie, made with Cortland and McIntosh apples, packs enough flavor on its own without any fancy toppings.


An apple pie on a teal tablecloth.
Maryland Science Center, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

You may not expect rock 'n' roll and baked goods to vibe together, but at Dangerously Delicious Pies they’re a match made in heaven. The Baltimore joint was founded by a musician with a passion for baking, and his dedication comes through in the ambitious menu. The apple crumb pie comes topped with a crunchy layer of brown sugar, oats, and butter.


Didriks, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Somerville, Massachusetts

Petsi Pies describes themselves as an “indie” bakery and coffee bar serving up sweet and savory offerings to pie-lovers within walking distance of Harvard. When it comes to apple pie, patrons have their choice of salted caramel apple, apple crumb, or a classic apple pie with a pastry crust.


Location: Traverse City, Michigan

To create their beloved Apple Crumb with Pecan and Caramel, bakers at Grand Traverse Pie Company upgrade their Peninsula Apple Crumb pie with toasted pecans and a caramel drizzle.


Rustic Inn Cafe
Courtesy of Rustic Inn Cafe

Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota

Rustic Inn Cafe offers up a caramel apple pecan blueberry gooseberry crumb. Overflowing with gooey, nutty filling, this dessert doesn’t skimp on decadence.



Location: Richland, Mississippi

Sometimes the best pie is the one you can pick up and eat with your bare hands. That’s what customers get at Tom’s Fried Pies, and it doesn’t disappoint. In case a regular-sized fried pocket of apple pie filling isn’t satisfying enough for you, they also offer a super-sized “Big Guy Pie."


tempest tea, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Kimmswick, Missouri

In many ways, The Blue Owl is your typical homestyle, Midwest restaurant. That’s why the appearance of this towering monstrosity on their menu is so alarming. The "Levee High Caramel Pecan Apple Pie" is made with 18 Golden Delicious apples sliced by hand and piled high inside a comical domed crust. The “world-famous” pie has been featured on Food Network and the Today Show and was chosen as one of Oprah’s favorite things.


Loula's Cafe

Location: Whitefish, Montana

The best pies in Montana can be found at the bottom of a historic Masonic Temple. The restaurant is run by friends Mary Lou Covey and Laura Hansen (the “Lou” and “La” of Loula’s Cafe). They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but their real specialty is their fruit pies—of which they sell 3000 to 4000 every year. You can’t go wrong with one of their four varieties of homemade apple pie.



Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

This restaurant’s tagline reads: “Coming to Stauffer’s is like coming home to Grandma’s.” With a claim like that, you better have some amazing pie to back it up. Diners can order dutch apple, sour cream apple, caramel apple, or the familiar classic to satisfy their cravings for home cooking.


Several pies on baking racks.
Courtesy of Wet Hen Cafe

Location: Reno, Nevada

This cozy Reno cafe specializes in rustic comfort food with a French twist. But their famous apple pie, piled with tender apple slices and a crumbly crust, is all-American.



Location: Boscawen, New Hampshire

Plenty of farms sell pies made from apples grown on the property. At Richardson’s, they're also churning up their own homemade ice cream that’s perfect for scooping onto a slice of their warm apple pie.


New Jersey

Location: Swedesboro, New Jersey

Sweetsboro Pastry Shoppe was founded in 2007 by two friends who grew up together in North Philadelphia and since transplanted to New Jersey, where they’re selling some of the Garden State’s best pies. The sugary lattice crust on their apple pie is good enough to eat on its own.


Apple green chile pie from Range Cafe
Courtesy of Range Cafe

Location: Albuquerque and Bernalillo, New Mexico

The apple green chile pie from Range Cafe is a uniquely New Mexican treat, topped with a piñon nut streusel for a slightly savory crunch. Try it with vanilla ice cream for added indulgence.


Apple pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Daniel Zemans, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Brooklyn, New York

At this Brooklyn bakery it’s all about the pie. They source seasonal, local ingredients whenever possible and bake with natural, unrefined sweeteners. The salted caramel pie they serve is kissed with just the right amount of saltiness to make those classic flavors pop.


Apple crumb pie from Scratch bakery
Courtesy of Scratch Bakery

Location: Durham, North Carolina

The North Carolina apple crumb pie at Scratch Baking is a true southern treat. Owner Phoebe Lawless, a farmer’s market alum herself, works with local farmers and producers to get her hands on the best ingredients her community has to offer.


Apple pie from the Tower Travel Center
Courtesy of Tower Travel Center

Location: Tower City, North Dakota

A truck stop may not be the first place most people would go to for delicious pie. But the Tower Travel Center is no ordinary truck stop. The apple pie there is so tasty that it’s worth planning your road trip around it.


Apple pie from Just Pies
Courtesy of Just Pies

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Just Pies offers a full menu of award-winning pies, but their apple crumb is the most popular with customers. Baked with Jonathan and Spy apples, it’s finished with a layer of sweet streusel on top.


Apple crumble pie from Pie Junkie
Courtesy of Pie Junkie

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The two women behind Pie Junkie in Oklahoma City make the blasphemous claim of serving up pies even better than their grandmas'. But they do give credit where credit is due: The high standards their grandmothers held in the kitchen continue to inspire them to bake top-notch treats, like their brown sugar and oat-topped apple crumble pie.


Apple pie from Random Order
Chris Coyier, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Portland, Oregon

This quirky neighborhood cafe does pies like no one else. For their award-winning version of apple pie, they toss Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples in a homemade caramel sauce and bake that inside a Tahitian vanilla sugar-salted crust. Excuse us while we look up the next flight to Portland.


Apple pie from The Pie Place
Chris Winters, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Almost everything is baked from scratch using local ingredients at this hidden delight in Pittsburgh. The apple pies at The Pie Place have won awards, and you can choose from classic or Dutch apple; sugar-free versions are also available.


Dutch apple pie at Pastiche Fine Desserts
Courtesy of Pastiche Fine Desserts

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

The Dutch apple pie is a standout at this European-style cafe beloved by locals. The filling is a blend of sweet and tart apples from a nearby orchard, mixed with cherries and baked beneath an oat walnut crumb topping decorated with pastry leaves. It's almost too beautiful to eat, but somehow people manage.


Apple pie from Kaminsky's
Courtesy of Kaminsky's

Location: Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina

It's hard to choose among the fancy desserts and beverages at Kaminsky's cozy dessert cafe, but locals rave about the apple crumble pie, served with a heavy dollop of whipped cream as well as delicious ice cream.


The Purple Pie Place, Custer, SD
Richie Diesterheft, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Custer, South Dakota

If you ever find yourself passing through Custer, South Dakota, this place will be hard to miss. Inside the Purple Pie Place's vibrant violet walls you’ll find the best pies in the Black Hills. The secret to their irresistible pies, including their classic apple, is in the crust. The recipe achieves the perfect balance of sweetness, and it’s a secret shared by only three people.


Nashville, TN

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

The apple pie at this popular Nashville bakery is "a taste of Southern perfection," according to the menu. The filling of thick-cut apples and cinnamon is cradled by a lusciously flaky crust.


Tootie Pie Co. apple pie
Courtesy of Tootie Pie Co.

Location: Boerne, Texas

The original apple pie at Tootie Pie Co. requires a healthy appetite, but Tootie’s most ravenous customers can sign up for their Pie Rollers Club and get a different flavor delivered to their door each month.



Location: Mt. Carmel, Utah

Surrounded by the breathtaking cliff faces of Zion National Park, Thunderbird Restaurant is worth a trip for the views alone. But their apple pie with rum sauce would be a knock-out dish served in any setting.


Fall foliage in Vermont

Location: Proctorsville, Vermont

Vermont Apple Pie serves hungry locals from 8 a.m. til noon. And with a full bakery that includes their namesake apple pie, dessert is always an acceptable breakfast option.


Fresh-picked apples in buckets

Location: Occoquan, Virginia

Opening a restaurant called “Mom’s Apple Pie” sets the bar pretty high for your signature dish. Thankfully, their homestyle pie made with Shenandoah Valley apples and just the right amount of sugar lives up to the name.


French apple pie at A La Mode Pies, Seattle, WA
A La Mode Pies

Location: Seattle, Washington

At A La Mode Pies, owner Chris Porter strives to reinvent his mom’s recipes using high-quality ingredients. His French apple pie is a Seattle treasure (with or without a scoop of ice cream on top).


Apple pie, Sugar Pie Bakery, Charleston, WV
Courtesy of Tabitha Stover Photography

Location: Charleston, West Virginia

Sugar Pie Bakery bakes their items fresh from scratch every day using the finest ingredients. Customers can order everything from cupcakes topped with detailed fondant decorations to more rustic specialties like their apple crumb pie.


The Elegant Farmer, Mukwonago, WI
Bev Sykes, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Mukwonago, Wisconsin

It’s hard for anything not to taste great when it’s drenched in caramel sauce. In the case of the “Gourmet Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag" from The Elegant Farmer, the pie underneath is even better than the topping. Their unique paper bag baking method creates a perfectly flaky crust every time.


Apple pie from Cowboy Cafe in Dubois, WY
Courtesy of Cowboy Cafe

Location: Dubois, Wyoming

Don't miss this charming café on your way to Yellowstone National Park. The homemade warm apple pie—best with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top—gets rave reviews from visitors.

Haunted Locations You Can Visit in All 50 States

Have your nerves of steel inoculated you against scary movies? Friends leaping out of the shadows getting boring? If you feel like having a more immersive experience, you might want to head to a local haunt instead. Take a look at some of the scariest destinations in all 50 states that guarantee a night of frights.


Location: Irondale, Alabama

It doesn’t get much creepier than Bass Cemetery. Drive down the dirt road at twilight, turn off into the woods, and keep your eyes and ears open. The Civil War-era cemetery was the final resting place for both soldiers and slaves, many of whom reportedly return to walk the grounds at night. Visitors report seeing ghostly figures and hearing spooky voices, and at least one tomb has been visibly vacated.


Location: Skagway, Alaska

A preserved brothel room in the Red Onion Saloon. Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In its heyday, the Red Onion Saloon offered a slice of the Old West in the Last Frontier. Built in 1897, the upscale saloon and brothel was one of the hottest spots in Skagway, Alaska, during the Klondike Gold Rush. Today, the establishment functions as a museum and, according to their blog, it’s "home to more than one spirit." Accounts of footsteps, cold spots, apparitions, and a strong perfume smell have all been reported on the upper floors that once served as the bordello. Most disturbances have been attributed to one spirit in particular: a former prostitute named Lydia. Thankfully she seems to be friendly, even going so far as to water the plants for the homeowners. Visitors can hope to catch a glimpse of her on the museum’s Ghosts & Goodtime Girls Walking Tour.


Location: Wickenburg, Arizona

The Vulture Mine, located just outside of Phoenix, was once Arizona’s most successful gold mine, and the surrounding settlement, established in 1866, was a boomtown home to 5000 residents. The mine was closed down in the 1940s and Vulture City became a ghost town, but some of the spirits of those who died at the mine may still remain. The mine was plagued by theft, and 18 high graders—miners who pocketed their discoveries—were put to death at the Vulture hanging tree. In 1923, due to lack of support structures, seven miners died in a cave-in, and their bodies are still trapped within the mine. The ghostly location was featured on the Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures in 2010, and the hosts claim that spirits threw rocks at them.


Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Looming high over the town of Eureka Springs, this stately hotel is supposedly home to a colorful cast of spirits. There’s Michael, the stonecutter who fell to his death during the building’s construction, and Dr. John Freemont Ellis, the former hotel physician whose pipe smoke some guests claim they can smell. The Crescent has embraced its haunted reputation, offering ghost tours for visitors and ESP packages for diehard spook hunters.


Location: San Francisco, California

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

For decades, the concrete island of Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals—murderers, thieves, and public enemies like Al Capone. That concentrated selection of bad vibes is said to remain, even though the prison has long since closed. While the National Park Service runs no official ghost tours of the grounds, visitors hoping for paranormal activity can book an evening ferry ride and guided tour of the cell blocks that have been known to harbor unexplained events like eerie moaning and strange apparitions; some guests have even claimed they could hear a faint banjo, an instrument Capone picked up to pass the time inside.


Location: Estes Park, Colorado

If roaming a murder hotel is your idea of a good time, The Stanley is the place for you. Horror buffs will recognize the haunted hotel as the inspiration for The Shining (1980)—a fact not lost on its owners, who offer regular ghost tours for a small fee. The original owners? Well, they're supposedly still roaming the halls, with Flora Stanley's piano being heard playing in the middle of the night, and her husband, F.O. Stanley, reportedly showing up in the background of billiard room photos.


Location: Dudleytown, Connecticut

You can’t enter Dudleytown, a.k.a. the Village of the Damned, but you probably don’t want to. Legend says the settlement was founded in 1740 by the aristocratic Dudley family, whose reputation of treachery and scandal preceded them into the New World. Over the next six decades, the little town reportedly saw its share of horrors—people going insane, children disappearing—before being abandoned in the 1800s. The settlement itself has vanished; today, the site is private property, lost to an overgrown dark forest. Those who have ventured close speak of a suspicious silence in the woods and bright orbs in the air.


Location: Pea Patch Island, Delaware

Take the ferry from Delaware City and make a day of it at Fort Delaware State Park, which offers picnic areas, wildlife, and, of course, ghosts. The spooky, pentagonal fort itself was built in 1859 and is so famously haunted that it was featured on a 2008 episode of Ghost Hunters. The show’s hosts recorded eerie noises like cannon fire and movement in the fort’s tunnels. But for the amateur paranormal investigators out there, you will love the night-time ghost tours.


Location: Brooksville, Florida

You want it, the May-Stringer House has it: footsteps, creepy dolls, weird mists, sudden drops in temperature, even children’s laughter. The Victorian-era mansion has seen more than its share of death, from childbirth and smallpox to suicide, and is known as one of the most haunted buildings in Florida. Ghost hunters with a little extra cash will want in on the late-night investigations package, which allows visitors free rein to roam the building with their ghost-sensing equipment until 2 a.m.


Location: Savannah, Georgia

Heading to Savannah? Be sure to bring a stuffed animal for Little Gracie, the resident ghost-ambassador of Bonaventure Cemetery. The little girl was the sweetheart of Savannah in her day and was known for entertaining guests with songs in the lobby of the luxury hotel her father managed. When she succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 6 in 1889, her grave became a shrine. It’s said her ghost still plays in the square where she used to live, and that her cries can be heard when the toys left for her are removed. The cemetery also has numerous other statues and figures, many of whose faces are said to change shape when in the presence of visitors they like or dislike.


Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Several urban legends surround this sharp curve of Nuuanu Pali Drive in Honolulu. The true origins of its ghastly reputation trace back to the murder of a 68-year-old widow that took place nearby in 1948. Since then, the spot has been connected to tales of paranormal activity, and today it’s a stop on the "Orbs of Oahu" ghost tour held on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights.


Location: Boise, Idaho

The Idaho Penitentiary housed over 13,000 inmates when it was a functional prison. Not all the residents served their time peacefully: The building was the site of many violent riots, culminating in the fire that shut it down for good in 1973. According to some accounts, the spirits of former prisoners still roam the halls. Visitors have reported overwhelming feelings of anxiety and dread upon entering the place and some even claimed to have heard unexplained whispers and screams. Anyone looking to experience the eerie atmosphere can attend one of the historical site’s various tours, including investigations led by the "International Paranormal Reporting Group."


Location: Chicago, Illinois

The Congress Plaza Hotel is rumored to be one of the most haunted hotels in the Windy City. It was built to house the influx of visitors coming into Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair (an event with a seedy history of its own). Several ghosts—including those of a Czech boy who jumped from a window with his mother and a Spanish American war veteran who shot himself before his wedding—are now said to haunt the building. And that’s not all: Unplugged kitchen appliances suddenly turn on; pianos play spontaneously; and visitors hear disembodied humming and whispers—and phantom gunshots that come from out of nowhere. Chicago Ghost Tours makes the hotel their first stop—tours begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Fridays.


Location: Martinsville, Indiana

A typical visit to Morgan-Monroe State Forest might include a hike, a picnic, and a leisurely stroll through an abandoned cemetery. Stepp Cemetery was opened in the 1800s and is home to less than three dozen gravestones. Visitors to the site—which, according to urban legend, was founded an orgy-loving, snake handling cult called the Crabbites—report strange sounds in the graveyard and sightings of a ghostly woman dressed in black who is said to be watching over the graves of her family members.


Location: Villisca, Iowa

The Villisca Ax Murder House appears relatively unchanged from how it looked on the night of the violent crimes that took place there over a century ago. On June 10, 1912, J.B. Moore, his wife Sarah, their four children, and two visiting children were killed in their beds by an ax-wielding intruder. There were several suspects—including a state senator—but no one was ever convicted of the crime. The building is now open to brave members of the public wishing to learn about this gruesome chapter in Iowa history. According to the house’s official website, tours have been interrupted by "children's voices, falling lamps, moving ladders, and flying objects." Walk-in tours are given during the day for $10 per person, and visitors feeling especially gutsy can reserve an overnight stay for $428 for groups of one to six.


Location: Atchison, Kansas

Whatever paranormal experiences interest you, you can probably find them at Sallie House: Visitors to the home have experienced apparitions, strange smells, objects flying through the air, and disembodied voices. Though the residence is named after a little girl who allegedly died of appendicitis there at the turn of the century, according to some mediums, "Sallie" is just one of the many spirits stuck in the house.

If you find yourself in Atchison, you may as well take a look around—the entire town, besides being the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, is said to be the most haunted in Kansas and is full of spooky stories and strange happenings.


Location: Louisville, Kentucky

From 1911 through 1961, Waverly Hills was a tuberculosis hospital, able to house 50-60 patients trying to recover from the disease at any given time. Unfortunately, many of those patients didn’t recover: Thousands succumbed to the illness before an effective treatment was introduced in 1943, and apparently, many of them are still there. Room 502 is a particularly popular spot for ghost sightings, with reports of a ghostly nurse still making her rounds there.

In addition to hosting tours from March through August, the current owners convert the place to a haunted house attraction every fall. They plan to use proceeds to renovate the hospital into a legit hotel—presumably one where no one gets any sleep.


Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

On April 11, 1834, a fire broke out at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans. When neighbors rushed to help the residents escape, they discovered something even worse than the flames: a veritable house of horrors. The New Orleans Bee reported that "Seven slaves more or less horribly mutilated were suspended by the neck, which their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other," and compared the mistress of the house, Delphine LaLaurie, to Caligula.

The house has since been renovated and sold many times, including once to actor Nicolas Cage. But it’s no surprise that owners and visitors alike report ghostly goings-on, from hearing chains in the attic to strange phone calls coming from the house. The LaLaurie House is a highlight on most of the innumerable New Orleans ghost tours.


Location: Biddeford Pool, Maine

In 1896, a terrible tragedy took place on Wood Island, Maine—during an argument about an overdue rent payment, local fisherman Howard Hobbs shot game warden Fred Milliken, who died 45 minutes later. Distraught about what he had done, Hobbs shot himself with the same gun. People, including the wife of one of the lighthouse keepers, believe their shell-shocked spirits are still there. You can visit the lighthouse during the day, if you prefer, or take a haunted lighthouse tour to hear more about the various hauntings that happen in these isolated spaces.


Location: Washington County, Maryland

More than 23,000 people lost their lives at the battle of Antietam during the Civil War, so it’s not surprising that a few of them may still be hanging around. One location in particular, deemed "Bloody Lane" after 5000 soldiers died there, is especially known for ghost sightings—people reportedly think they’re seeing Civil War reenactors, until the "reenactors" disappear into thin air.

Other visitors to the national park have reported seeing balls of blue light, hearing drums playing, and hearing soldiers chanting. Legend has it that there’s a house nearby where the wounded were taken, and after even after centuries and countless attempts to sand and refinish the floors, there are blood stains that refuse to disappear.


Location: Gloucester, Massachusetts

This once-bustling settlement was founded by colonists around 1693, but after decades of fruitless farming efforts, many residents abandoned the town after the War of 1812. The few people who stayed—mostly widows who couldn’t afford to leave—were deemed witches, especially after one of the women found a source of income by threatening to curse people unless they paid her. Other local lore involved werewolves and ghost dogs.

Though history is on the side of the "witches" these days, there’s no doubt that some disturbing activity has taken place in those woods, which still bear remnants of the cellars built by the original colonists. A woman was killed there in 1984, and it’s said to have been the scene of several suicides.


Location: Mackinac Island, Michigan

That old "Native American burial ground" horror movie trope is absolutely true on Mackinac Island, which was once, indeed, a burial ground called Michilimackinac. In fact, more remains were discovered during a construction project just a few years ago.

That might set the stage for paranormal incidents on the tiny island: it is also home to a ghost named "Harvey," thought to have been a student at the Mackinac College in the 1960s, and soldiers from the War of 1812 who are occasionally spotted on the golf course of the hotel. You’re sure to hear their stories, and more, on any number of Haunted Mackinac tours.


Location: Sauk Centre, Minnesota

Feeling brave? Book a room at the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Rooms 11 and 17 are particularly active with spirits, with guests reporting people in 1920s clothing showing up in their rooms at the middle of the night. And if you’re in the market for a famous ghost, you might be in luck—it’s thought that writer Sinclair Lewis, whose childhood home was nearby, is still wandering the halls.


Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi

Known as the most haunted house in Mississippi, McRaven has been called a "time capsule of the south." It was used as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War, and of course, not all of the soldiers made it. "We do have 11 unknown bodies buried on the property," the house manager has said.

In addition to Confederate soldier ghost sightings, there’s also a young mother named Mary Elizabeth Howard who died in the house shortly after childbirth, and a robber named Andrew Glass who used McRaven as a hideout. Both haunted tours and regular history tours are offered at McRaven.


Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Built in 1868, this historical home was once owned by William J. Lemp, the owner of what would eventually become Falstaff beer. Sadly, the Lemp family was plagued by tragedy—four family members, including the patriarch, committed suicide; three of them in the house. And according to visitors to the old residence, which is now an inn, most of them are still there. If you don’t want to risk an overnight stay at Lemp Mansion, you can also opt for one of their mystery dinners instead.


Location: Deer Lodge, Montana

In 1959, the Montana State Prison experienced the darkest moment in its history: a 36-hour prison riot that resulted in the deaths of several people, including the murder-suicide of two of the ringleaders when the Montana National Guard came in to end the uproar. The damage they did—machine guns and bazookas were fired into the cellblock—can still be seen on various historical or ghost prison tours today. People touring the prison have reported hearing strange things and feeling like they’re being touched. Cell No. 1 is especially active with what some believe is the spirit of Paul Eitner, an inmate who spent 49 years at the prison.


Location: Omaha, Nebraska

At the entrance to Hummel Park in Omaha, Nebraska, there are a set of trees that bend eerily and unnaturally in one direction. Local legend holds that the trees were used for hangings—so many hangings, in fact, that the branches are permanently bowed from the weight of the bodies. The deaths may explain the strange things said to happen in the park now: howling wolves, people who live in the trees, animal sacrifices, and a creepy set of stairs that seem to change in number for each person who attempts to count the steps. Though there’s no evidence to back up the rumor of hangings, there is evidence to support another theory: that the area was once a Native American burial ground. In fact, in 1945, Boy Scouts used a skull found in the park to decorate a totem pole.


Location: Tonapah, Nevada

The Lady in Red suite, via The Mizpah Hotel

Built in 1907 to accommodate folks hoping to strike it rich with the recent silver discovery, the Mizpah is said to host several ghosts, including at least a couple of miners and some impish children. But the Mizpah’s most famous revenant resident is the Lady in Red, a woman who was killed on the fifth floor by a jealous husband or ex-boyfriend. It’s said that she’s particularly fond of whispering "Hey you" in the ears of men who are in the elevator alone.

The hotel closed its doors in 1999 and remained shuttered for more than a decade. It reopened under new management in 2011, so you can have a close encounter with the Lady in Red if you’re so inclined. They even have a suite themed after her.


Location: Hollis, New Hampshire

Pine Hill Cemetery’s ominous "Blood Cemetery" nickname doesn’t come from blood spilled within the grounds, but from a permanent resident there named Abel Blood. Blood’s 1867 tombstone featured an engraving of a hand, which people swear pointed skyward during the day, but gestured down at night. The stone was broken and removed at some point, but that hasn’t stopped the spirits—there are still sightings of shadowy figures and fog that seems to appear out of nowhere. The public cemetery is open from dawn until dusk.


Location: southern New Jersey

The Pine Barrens, a stretch of coastal plain that spans seven counties in New Jersey, is home to a lot of urban legends, from phantom dogs to the ghost of Captain Kidd. But its most famous denizen is, without a doubt, the Jersey Devil. Though there are many versions of its origins, in one popular telling the creature was born in the 1730s when "Mother Leeds'" cursed 13th child came into the world with hooves, wings, a goat’s head, and a forked tail. After killing its mother, it escaped into the Barrens—and there have been sightings ever since. Even Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, had an encounter with the beast during his years at Point Breeze. If you visit the Pine Barrens for its trails, wineries, canoeing, or duck hunting, keep one ear cocked for strange noises.


Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

On February 2 and 3, 1980, the Santa Fe State Penitentiary was the site of one of the worst prison riots the country has ever seen: 33 inmates died, more than 200 were treated for injuries, and seven officers were severely beaten or sexually assaulted. The deaths were horrifically violent; even today, hatchet marks said to mark the site of a beheading are still visible in the concrete floor. Since then, visitors have reported cell doors slamming shut of their own accord, a “winged demonic specter,” and other phenomena. Though the prison opens for visitors only rarely, after a five-year revitalization is complete, it will have a museum and regular tours.


Location: Staten Island, New York

Any old Victorian house lends itself to an aura of spookiness, but this estate has real horrors to back up the vibe. A brick magnate named Balthasar Kreischer built the mansion for one of his sons in the 1885. When family fortunes fell, that son, Edward Kreischer, committed suicide in 1894. Afterward, locals began to talk about odd happenings at the house, including strange lights and voices. Rumored ghosts include Edward, his brother Charles, a German cook, and a couple of children. A century later, in 2005, the home was the site of another incident: a Mafia hit carried out by the property caretaker, who stabbed, drowned, dismembered, and finally incinerated his Mob victim in the estate furnace. The mansion opens for events from time to time, including yoga retreats and Halloween parties—and, if you’re so inclined, you can probably purchase the house soon if you’ve got a couple of million burning a hole in your pocket. It seems to go on the market every few years.


Location: Asheville, North Carolina

With 250 rooms, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is the largest privately owned house in North America. The man who constructed it, George Vanderbilt, is allegedly still there. Keeping him company is his wife, Edith, who can be heard calling his name down the corridors. But don’t just rely on secondhand ghost stories—book a tour and see for yourself.


Location: Morton County, North Dakota

Though General George Custer died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, legend has it that his widow, Libbie, is still waiting for him to come home. According to tour guides and workers at the Custer House, the general himself also makes appearances from time to time, moving objects and wiping his hands on the linens—perhaps lamenting that he only spent a couple of years in the home before his death. In addition to being open for historical tours year-round, the house also hosts special Halloween events.


Location: Athens, Ohio

Once called the Athens Lunatic Asylum, the Ridges accepted its first patients in 1874. It eventually developed a reputation for experimentation with shock therapy, lobotomies, and transorbital lobotomies. The facility closed in 1993, but spirits of the thousands of patients that suffered there over the years still linger, according to some. One is said to be Margaret Schilling, a patient who disappeared in the hospital in December 1978 and wasn't found for more than a month. Her body was so badly decomposed that fluids had seeped into the concrete floor, leaving a stain that remains there to this day. The Ridges is now owned by Ohio University, which uses the old administration building to house the Kennedy Museum of Art. The school demolished the dangerous, decaying, “haunted” part of the facility in 2013 because it drew too many trespassers and vandals, but a local history center gives outdoor tours of the grounds throughout the year.


Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Originally built in the 1880s as a hotel, the Constantine Theater was turned into a performance space in the early 1900s. Ghost investigators who recorded 40 hours of video and audio on the stage and throughout the theater heard mysterious footsteps and knocking; they also captured a couple of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs). The ghost in question, some say, is Sappho Constantine Brown, the daughter of the theater’s owner. It’s not clear why her spirit has decided to stick around the place, but we’d like to believe she’s still waiting for her chance at the stage. You’ll have to buy a ticket to a show to find out.


Location: La Grande, Oregon

Once a popular resort for people seeking healing waters to treat what ailed them, the bed and breakfast at Hot Lake Springs is only the latest iteration of the area’s hospitality options. The original Hot Lake Hotel operated from 1864 to 1934, when part of the building burned down. It later served as a nurses’ school, an insane asylum, and to store dead bodies during a typhoid epidemic, among other things. With a history like that, it’s no wonder that there are a number of restless spirits wandering around. In 2001, the property was featured on the show Scariest Place on Earth; two years later, it was purchased by the Manuel Family, who renovated and restored the property. Current visitors report spooky sounds in their lodgings, especially on the third floor, which once housed a hospital.


Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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There were some 51,000 casualties (men who were killed, wounded, captured or missing) during three-day battle at Gettysburg in 1863, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Naturally, there are some ghosts said to lurk in the area. From phantom smells linked to the stench of bodies left rotting in the heat after the battle, to strange sounds and sightings of soldiers in local buildings used as field hospitals and shelters, there’s a ghost story for just about any location in the Gettysburg area. Visitors to Devil’s Den—an area where some of the fiercest fighting took place and where many bodies were left to rot in a ravine—report apparitions of sharpshooters and malfunctioning camera equipment.


Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Wil C. Fry via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Originally opened in 1922, the Biltmore Hotel in Providence was a popular party spot during Prohibition—but spending time there wasn’t always something to celebrate. The hotel’s wild parties reportedly often turned violent, leading to several murders. And in 1929, a stockbroker reportedly jumped out a 16th floor window, falling to his death. Visitors report seeing the stockbroker’s ghost falling past their window as well as other apparitions during their time there.

The hotel also has an infamous former employee. The patriarch of the Patriarca crime family, Raymond Patriarca, got his first job as a bellboy at the hotel, and it’s likely that he killed at least one person there. But its history of horrors hasn't stopped guests from enjoying their stay. A recent visitor still gave the hotel four stars, despite having a terrible paranormal experience in the middle of the night.


Location: Summerville, South Carolina

According to legend, a woman used to walk her husband home from the train after work every single night along a certain stretch of dirt road here, carrying a lantern. When he died in an accident, she kept coming, walking up and down the road waiting for him. When she died, a mysterious light began appearing in the same area she used to walk, just around midnight every night. Ghost hunters say to go past where the pavement ends on Sheep Island Road and keep a look out for a single orb of light in the distance.


Location: Deadwood, South Dakota

Seth Bullock, the first sheriff in the gold-mining town of Deadwood, helped corral the lawless locals into something approaching civility. In addition to his policing, Bullock constructed an ornate hotel in the heart of the area, before dying in room 211 in 1919. Newly restored, the hotel is open for guests, dining, and tours, where many say you can still feel Bullock patrolling the grounds. Visitors can even make note of unexplained phenomena in the hotel’s guestbook.


Location: Church Hill, Tennessee

You won’t have to endure long lines to experience the reputed gloom of this traffic tunnel in East Tennessee: Locals avoid it and advise others to do the same. Although no one knows how the tunnel got its reputation, several anecdotes have sprung up over the years relating to murder. Supposedly, driving through could mean a dead engine, or worse: Strange figures and noises have been said to appear. Defaced with graffiti and worn to cracks, it’s not a place for the faint of heart.


Location: Corpus Christi, Texas

A World War II-era battleship that’s now open for tours, the USS Lexington saw fierce combat in her day. It’s said that the spirits of departed soldiers still patrol the vessel. For additional scares, there’s an annual haunted attraction onboard the ship.


Location: Ogden, Utah

The grounds of the Ogden City Cemetery have more than their fair share of spooky stories. Legend has it that a statue of a World War I soldier has trouble in mind for anyone who drives or walks around his monument three times, while the headstone of Florence "Flo" Grange is said to be the haunted home of a young woman killed by a car while waiting for a date. If you flash your headlights at her tombstone three times, her ghost might materialize.


Location: Stowe, Vermont

Locals in the small town of Stowe call this quaint structure "Emily’s Bridge," named for a woman who was said to have committed suicide after being stood up by her groom. Strange noises, lights, and apparitions reportedly greet those who visit after daylight hours.


Location: Radford, Virginia

This establishment has an uncomfortable history. It’s a former boys' school that became a mental hospital known for experimental treatments. It’s also located on ground that was once the site of a Civil War battle as well as a number of skirmishes between colonists and Native Americans. Those who dare to visit won’t want to miss the "Suicide Bathroom" and the "Electroshock Therapy Room." And if you need a more traditional place to rest up after your visit, there’s a not-so-haunted hotel just down the road.


Location: Bellingham, Washington

A playful spirit named Judy supposedly haunts this historic theater. For decades, projectionists and ushers have told of sudden breezes and eerie bursts of cold, or being tapped on the shoulder and hearing a ghostly voice whisper their name. While renovating the theater 20 years ago, a worker snapped a picture of a hallway filled with white mist. Some say it was a hoax, while others claim it’s Judy making an appearance.


Location: Rock, West Virginia

There’s nothing creepy about an abandoned amusement park set back in the woods, right? Six children perished on the park’s swings and rides before owners shut it down in 1966. Rust and vines have overtaken most of the structures, but locals and paranormal investigators claim the children, including a little girl in a bloodstained dress, still come out to play.


Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The ghost of Charles Pfister, who built this historic hotel in 1893, supposedly haunts its rooms and corridors, but enough activity has been noted by guests that he can't possibly be the only spirit up to no good. Not convinced? Check out a few testimonies from numerous Major League Baseball players who have stayed there. Their stories include rearranged furniture, flickering lights, radios turning off and on, and even ghosts climbing into bed with them.


Location: Buffalo, Wyoming

The Occidental has all the ambience of an Old West hotel—including an unwanted guest straight out of that era. According to legend, when the building housed a brothel, the young daughter of prostitute died in a second-story room, and has haunted the hotel ever since. Guests have reported moving furniture, mysterious lights and the sound of children giggling.

By Stacy Conradt, Michele Debczak, Shaunacy Ferro, Kate Horowitz, Jake Rossen, and Jeff Wells.


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