Because everyone loves a good ghost story.
Ever wanted to explore a haunted house but were too chicken to step foot inside? Us, too. With these virtual ghost tours, you can see some of the most haunted places in America without having to leave the comfort — and safety — of your covers.
1. Easter State Penitentiary
Explore the grim ruins of what remains from what was then the most famous and expensive prison in the world. The gothic-inspired architecture and vaulted sky-cracked cells of the Easter State Penitentiary in Philadelphia set the scene for what was the world’s first penitentiary — that being, a merciless institution built to inspire penitence. Among those that lived inside its walls under the severity of its laws were Al Capone and renowned bank robber, “Slick Willie” Sutton.
2. Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is a sprawling mansion previously owned by Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester. Sarah was the eccentric widow of William Wirt Winchester and the part heiress to the Winchester Arms fortune. Before her husband died of tuberculosis, she suffered the loss of her infant daughter. After their ill-timed deaths, Sarah moved to San Jose where she began an enormous renovation on an 8-room farmhouse.
What started as a simple renovation morphed into an bizarre expansion of over 24,000 square feet with some 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 160 rooms, 47 stairways and fireplaces, 52 skylights, and 17 chimneys. At least you won’t have to worry about claustrophobia, right? What remains a mystery is why the widow Sarah chose to embark on the house’s never-ending construction. Did a psychic plant the idea? Did the ghosts under the Winchester guns get to her? See for yourself what secrets remain in the strange Winchester Mystery House.
3. Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast
We can only imagine the Yelp reviews this bed and breakfast would have had back in the day. Labeled as “The Dead and Breakfast”, the quaint-in-appearance Lizzie Borden B&B was the scene of the grizzly murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. The culprit? Their daughter Lizzie. It’s known as one of the most haunted houses in the country whose lore still remains in the spine-chilling nursing rhyme:
“Lizzie Borden took an axe // and gave her mother forty whacks. // When she saw what she had done // she gave her father forty-one.”
4. Pittock Mansion
The Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon was the former estate of business-mogul Henry Pittock. In 1900, construction began on the “mansion on the hill”, where Pittock lived with his wife, Georgiana, and eight other family members. Four short years later, Henry and Georgiana died. The eerily beautiful chateau remained. Since the 1960s, ground workers and visitors have witnessed paranormal activity on the grounds. Windows were said to open and close on their own, footsteps rang from its empty halls, and the apparition of a woman in a long gown was seen fixing a painting on the wall. They say she’s benevolent. We, for one, will take their word for it.
5. The Catacombs of Paris
Nothing good has ever happened in catacombs. Ever. Explore the ghostly tunnels buried under the french capital. The macabre ossuary is riddled with bones and ghoulish skulls in inexplicable passageways and dead ends. You can check it out, but all we know is that we’re not going in there. Not even through a camera. No sirree.
6. The Queen Mary
At the time its construction was finished in 1933, the Queen Mary, otherwise known as the “Grey Ghost”, was a then technological and engineering triumph. The stately cruiser remains as a hotel. Let me rephrase that, it remains as one of the most haunted hotels in the USA. Since its transformation, visitors have reported seeing the ghosts of the sailors who died in the engine room, children who drowned in its pool, and one “lady in white”.
Take the tours if you want, just make sure that you have a lighthearted Pixar movie cued up afterwards. That is, if you want to sleep at night.
[Featured image: @pittockmansion]