Do you believe in ghosts? Do you prefer graveyard strolls to long walks on the beach? Is the sound of things that go bump in the night the soundtrack to your life? If you’ve got a taste for the macabre and you’ve already been to every spooky site in your neighborhood, maybe it’s time to move to a town that sends chills up your spine.
If you’re considering a move this Halloween season, we suggest choosing one of these haunted towns.
Fall River, Massachusetts
With its crisp autumn air and thick forests, New England feels like it was designed to be a scary story—maybe that’s why Stephen King wrote so many of them about it. When it comes to choosing the spookiest town in the area, it’s hard to beat the legend of Fall River, Massachusetts.
The sleepy town on the bay is the site of the infamous Lizzie Borden house. In 1892, Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were murdered one August morning with an ax, hence the “Lizzie Borden took an ax” rhyme (though it’s worth noting that the husband and wife were slain with 18 and 11 whacks respectively, not 40 and 41). Lizzie Borden was the prime suspect, and though she was acquitted, many believe she did the heinous deed. The case remains unsolved to this day.
If you move to Fall River, you can tour the house or even spend the night in one of eight rooms. Make a point to swing by in August for a reenactment of the crime. Other creepy Fall River adventures include a trip to the Factory of Terror, a haunted house with 30 rooms of frights and plenty of Lizzie Borden themed scares.
Estes Park, Colorado
Speaking of places that remind us of Stephen King, this Colorado mountain town is the best place to move to if you want to live in the shadow of the real-life hotel from The Shining.
Located at the gateway of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado’s Front Range, Estes Park is a high altitude hamlet that’s the site of the scariest hotel in the west. The Stanley Hotel inspired former Colorado resident Stephen King to write The Shining. The book—and subsequent Stanley Kubrick film—tells a harrowing tale of isolation inspired madness. Without spoiling the plot, we’ll just say that spending a winter snowed in at a haunted hotel doesn’t always work out.
The real-life version of the book’s Overlook Hotel has seen its share of hauntings. Guests have recalled hearing mysterious laughter and piano music drifting in the mountain air. We recommend moving to Estes Park in the fall, when the icy chill and the unearthly sound of bugling elk give the town a ghostly feel.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most haunting figures in literature, so a move to his former hometown is a perfectly spooky idea. The original goth himself, who wrote chilling works like “The Raven” and “The Telltale Heart,” began his writing career in Baltimore.
If you want to walk in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe, you can visit the house where he lived and then wander some other Poe-themed Baltimore locales. Stop by his burial site at Westminster Hall, where a mysterious figure known as “The Poe Toaster” has been known to leave roses and cognac on Poe’s grave. Grab a drink at the Annabel Lee Tavern, named after the last poem that Poe wrote before his death.
In addition to the specter of Poe, you can take a ghost tour through the haunted sites of Baltimore’s Fells Point, where spirits of sailors drift along the foggy seaport.
Virginia City, Nevada
Situated on the barren slopes of the lonesome Nevada high desert, you’ll find the haunted Victorian mining town of Virginia City. In its heyday, Virginia City was home to 25,000 people, many of whom came to the isolated spot to seek their fortunes in the reserves of gold and silver beneath the town.
Virginia City was also home to one of the worst mining accidents in Nevada history. In 1869, a methane fire broke out in the depths of the Yellow Jacket Mine. It burned for days and killed countless people. Most bodies were never recovered, and legend has it that the ghosts of those miners still haunt Virginia City to this day.
You can view the eerie mine shaft if you dare, but that’s not the only haunted site in Virginia City. Other scary places include the Silver Terrace Cemetery, which is haunted by the ghost of a little girl. There’s also the E. Clampus Vitus Building, which may or may not have been the meeting place of a murderous cult. If you’re feeling extra brave, step into The Washoe Club, a former gentleman’s club that served as a dumping ground for dead bodies during winters when the ground was too frozen to dig graves.
The mist shrouds historic Victorian buildings in this eerie coastal town. A move to Eureka, California is like traveling back in time.
Modern day Eureka still bears the echoes of the past, including a few ghostly residents. If you dare to meet them, take a ghost tour and hear the story of the headless spirit who hovers above the train tracks or the sea captain and his bride who haunt the shoreline. Wander Eureka’s downtown after dark and you just might hear the phantom sounds of footsteps from within closed down shops. Stop by the Vance Hotel and look for the ghost of the former owner who met his death after jumping from one of the windows.
And be sure to check out the Carson Mansion. If the ominous gothic house from the late 1800’s looks familiar, it’s because it’s literally the inspiration for countless works of art that depict haunted houses.
West Milford, New Jersey
You may have never heard of West Milford, New Jersey, but if you love haunted places, you’re going to want to move there immediately after reading this.
The town of 25,850 people, located on the New York border, is home to the most haunted road in America. The Clinton Road twists and turns for 10 miles through a dark forest that’s played host to recurring paranormal sightings. Legend has it that the woods surrounding the Clinton Road have harbored witches, cannibals and satanic cults. In the early 80’s, a mysterious frozen body was found discarded amongst the trees.
Mark Moran of the website Weird NJ, describes it as a “dark highway into people’s innermost fears.” We couldn’t agree more. Journey along the Clinton Road and you’ll find an abandoned iron smelter where people claim to have witnessed dark rituals. You’ll travel across a bridge that’s haunted by a ghost boy who throws coins at you from the water. You may even encounter a phantom truck that appears and runs drivers off the road.
In other words, if you move to West Milford, New Jersey, travel carefully.