It’s that time of year again! Halloween is upon us, and there’s no better way to celebrate than to share a few spooky stories. This year, we have three spots from within the United States as well as two places that can be found within Europe. From Revolutionary War forts and ancient forests to world-famous prisons and a pub with a historic claim to fame, we’ve got a real eclectic mix for you. So, get cozy under a warm blanket, turn off the lights, and try not to get too scared!
Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, PA
Sometimes called the “fort that saved America,” Fort Mifflin was originally built by the British in 1771 near Philadelphia. When the British captured the city, they were in need of supplies so they could chase Washington’s fleeing troops and end the Revolution. Only Fort Mifflin and the nearby Fort Mercer stood in the way of resupplying ships and British-held Philadelphia. In the coming days, Fort Mifflin’s 400 troops would withstand the largest bombardment of the Revolutionary War, giving Washington’s army enough time to escape to Valley Forge. It’s entirely possible that without the troops at Fort Mifflin, the Revolution could have ended in 1777.
The hardships, courage, and sacrifices of that bombardment campaign echo into today, with many guests experiencing strange phenomena. It’s now believed to be “one of the most haunted places in the country.” Sometimes, you’ll get a window into the lives of those who lived at the fort, though not always as the historical site would intend. You may experience spirits of Revolutionary soldiers still going about their duties at the fort or hear disembodied voices. You may even be (un)lucky enough to meet ghosts like “the screaming woman,” “the lamplighter,” “the tour guide,” “the sad-looking man,” or “the faceless man.” Fort Mifflin regularly holds paranormal events for those interested, such as candlelight ghost tours, open investigation evenings, and even overnight “sleep with the ghosts” investigations. As if you could even sleep knowing there’s someone called “the faceless man” wandering about.
Alcatraz, San Francisco, CA
From one historical site to another, we next have perhaps the most famous prison in the world, Alcatraz. The grounds aren’t just known for the famous inmates, its reputation of being inescapable, or the movie based on the story disproving that reputation. Set in San Francisco’s bay, “The Rock” has an interesting history beyond being a federal penitentiary. This history has left it with a deep chill that isn’t only from the cool winds that sweep in from the surrounding ocean. The foreboding, empty halls echo with each step you take. Or was it someone behind you? Was that a shadow in the that jail cell or were your eyes playing tricks on you?
Home to some of the country’s worst and most infamous criminals, it only makes sense that some would still be serving “extra” time on the island. Sounds of screams, clanging doors, whistles, and cries can be heard throughout the complex. The D-block of cells was a brutal place to stay and said to be the most haunted section of the prison. Former guards told stories of a spectral prisoner who’d walk the hallways or of the night a prisoner reportedly in cell 14-D screamed that a man with glowing red eyes was in the cell with him. The next morning, the prisoner was found strangled to death. The other blocks aren’t free from spooks. Moaning is frequently reported throughout the prison and banjo music can be heard in the showers. If this sounds interesting to you, you can schedule a night tour of Alcatraz, which may be the best time to see something ghostly.
USS Lexington, Corpus Christi, TX
Now harbored off the coast of Corpus Christi, TX, the USS Lexington was present at nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater of World War 2. The Japanese reported the Lexington was falsely sunk four times leading to it being nicknamed the Blue Ghost by propogandist Tokyo Rose. This would become an ironic nickname. Today, it’s one of the few places you can have a ghostly good time in more than one way, living up to the nickname it earned during the Second World War.
First, you can experience a real haunting on the ship through one of the specialty guided tours. The USS Lexington has fully embraced its haunted reputation by regularly hosting ghost tours and late-night paranormal investigations. Sometimes, they’ll even host overnight investigations for the particularly brave. So, what could you expect?
The museum receives “hundreds of reports of supernatural activity” each year. These reports are of everything from a helpful soldier who guides lost guests to other soldiers giving lectures on how the turbines work. Apparently, the ghosts just want to be tour guides? Others report of disembodied voices, doors closing on their own, or the sound of footsteps ringing down the corridors. Want to guarantee a terrifying experience? Try out the Lexington’s haunted escape room. They also have hosted a haunted house that winds you through the ship for those brave enough to risk a haunted house that may include a real specter.
Hoia Baciu, Romania
If haunted forts, prisons, and battleships aren’t scary enough for you, how about an entire forest? Romania’s Hoia Baciu (or Hoia Forest) is a giant, 729-acre forest of located in Transylvania. If that isn’t creepy enough, people who wander through the woods often report a creepy feeling that permeates the atmosphere. The trees are misshapen, and the sun struggles to break through in areas. The forest is often dead silent. It’s even been called the Bermuda Triangle of Romania. That’s not to say it’s only creepy. It can be a nice day hiking and spending time in nature if the stories of people disappearing or mysterious illnesses don’t frighten you. If it doesn’t, try a nighttime tour or camping overnight.
Visitors to the forest — the ones that make it out, at least — often report disembodied voices and laughter. Others claim to see glowing green eyes watching them in the distance or find shadowy figures hiding in the background of their photos. Locals tell stories about how the woods are haunted by the spirits of peasants who were killed in the forest ages ago (evidence shows people originally settled the area during the Neolithic Age). They also whisper about the shepherd who followed his herd into the forest and never returned or the young girl who disappeared in the Hoia Baciu for five years, reappearing with no recollection of where she had been. It’s no wonder the locals are afraid to enter or spend much time in the twisted woods of Hoia Baciu.
Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, UK
Finally, we’ll end tonight’s stories with the reputation of “the most haunted building in England,” the Ancient Ram Inn. Located in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK, the Ancient Ram Inn was built in 1145, where it served as a priest’s home, inn, and public house until it was purchased by John Humphries in 1968.
Today, it’s a Grade II listed building for historical significance or interest. The Ancient Ram Inn no longer serves as a traditional pub, though you can technically spend the night. Instead, it focuses primarily on the haunted aura of the building, inviting guests to investigate for ghosts at weekly overnight ghost hunts or open days. Oh, and did we mention that the building is on a 5,000-year-old Pagan burial ground? Or, that it was the hiding place of a reputed witch before she was found and burned at the stake? Or, that a young girl named Rosie was reportedly murdered there?
For visitors looking to experience something supernatural, you’ll have your pick of options. There are believed to be as many as 20 unique spirits, including the reputed witch and Rosie. People have reported seeing priests, a shepherd and his dog, and strange lights, while others have heard dogs growling in the dark and babies crying. You may even hear the screams of a man who was killed by having his head thrust into the fire. Demons are said to mistreat those who sleep in John Humphries old bedroom, who passed away in 2017. While he was alive, he spoke about how his first night in the inn, he was dragged across the room by an unseen force. Despite this, the Ancient Ram Inn continues to draw attention, and you only have to read the stories of those who visited to understand why. If you can withstand the oppressively foreboding atmosphere and really want to experience something paranormal, it seems like the Ancient Ram Inn may be the quintessential Halloween destination.
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Whether you’re heading overseas or staying in the United States, there are plenty of spooky spots that’ll keep you thrilled and chilled this Halloween season. Even if you’re at home this year, you can get into the Halloween mood by reading about these haunted locations. If you’re curious about learning more, don’t miss the rest of this series from previous years! Happy Halloween!
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