Are you one for creepy scenes and disturbing background stories? Then these places may just be the perfect additions to your bucket list. From abandoned theme parks to a house of murder, these places are rich with history and plenty of ghost stories to go along with them. Here are just a few historically haunted locations you may need to pack your bags for immediately.
Land of Oz
Land of Oz is an amusement located in the town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, which is renowned for ski resorts. In 1970, Land of Oz was opened in hopes that the ski resort would become a year-round attraction. The park was designed for visitors to assume the role of Dorothy and experience the transporting tornado, follow the yellow brick road, and meet the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow along the way. However, after the death of the owner, Grover Robbins, and a fire in the Emerald City, Land of Oz had to close its doors 10 years after opening.
After closing, the park faced theft and vandalization, and a decade later there was a renovation. Now, two days a year in October, the park is open for “Autumn at Oz”. There are rumors of the stone Munchkins moving on their own and reports of hearing wailing throughout the park. Some like to say the wailing comes from owner Grover Robbins, who was devastated by his failed amusement park. But if you love the Wizard of Oz and being generally creeped out, Land of Oz is the place for you!
Eastern State Penitentiary
This penitentiary is found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was in operation from 1829 to 1971. ESP refined the system of solitary confinement and was controversial in America during the time. Most prisons operated on a system of prisoners working together in total silence and physical punishment. ESP went against this and its system became a model for over 300 prisons.
However, in reality, those employed at ESP were involved in a variety of physical and mental torture on the inmates. For example, they would spray them with cold water during the winter months, chaining their tongues to their wrists, and strapping them into chairs with leather restraints that cut off their circulation. All of this combined with the solitary confinement took a toll on the inmates of ESP, and it is not entirely surprising that with this dark history there have been numerous reports and sightings of wailing ghosts.
The penitentiary is open year around where guided or self-guided tours are available. During Halloween, ESP has its annual event known as “Terror Behind the Walls,” which is a haunted house within the penitentiary.
The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida has quite a history. It was originally a hotel that hosted extravagant fashion shows, golf tournaments and water shows in the largest pool in the world during that time. During the 1920s, there was a party on the 13th floor of Biltmore where a gangster named Thomas “Fatty” Walsh was shot and killed over a poker game.
Thirty years after opening, the hotel was converted into a military hospital during World War II. Even after the war ended, it continued as a hospital for veterans until it closed in 1968. After it closed, kids began breaking in and sneaking around the old hospital. That’s when the ghost stories began. The kids reported seeing the ghost of Fatty and WWII vets and a nurse waving goodbye to them from a window as they hightailed it out of the hotel.
The Biltmore was renovated and restored in 1983. A woman named Linda Spitzer began having weekly Thursday night sessions where she would tell stories of the hotel’s history. For example, the original elevator often rises to the 13th floor despite needing a card key to access the floor. She would often joke that Fatty Walsh needed company for the day. Unfortunately, Spitzer moved away and the Biltmore now shies away from its history of hauntings.
Miss Molly’s was established as a bed and breakfast in Fort Worth, Texas in 1910. The boarding house caught the tail end of the Wild West frontier life, lived through the prohibition period, and was a brothel for a short of period of time before returning as a B&B. With such a long history, there have been countless rumors of guests overstaying their welcome.
The hotel has seven themed rooms, and the Cattlemen’s and Cowboys room has the most frequent stories of paranormal activities. A vast majority of the ghost sighting involve the working girls that worked during Miss Molly’s brothel days. Stories from guests also include that toilets, doors, and lights behave entirely on their own. According to a former owner, a maid quit because she kept finding coins in rooms she had already cleaned.
The B&B has been visited by a lot of paranormal investigation groups and is considered one the most haunted places in Fort Worth. But if strange phenomena and apparitions are your thing, you can book your room today!
Villisca Ax Murder House
In Villiscax Iowa in 1912, sometime during the night, eight people at the Moore family home were brutally murdered. The Moore family consisted of Josiah Moore, his wife Sara, and their four children. The Moore’s had two other children from the Stillinger family staying over. During the night, the Moore family and Stillinger children were bludgeoned to death with an ax. They were found by their neighbors the following morning.
The murders created ten years of investigations, and while there were many accusations and suspects, there was no definite guilty person and the murderer remains a mystery today. The house was reopened in the 1990s and was restored to its 1912 appearance. The owners of the house offer both a tour of the house and a chance to spend the night. According the the official website for the house, “Tours have been interrupted by children’s voices, falling lamps, moving ladders and flying objects.”
Creepy abandoned theme parks, ghosts from the 1920s, and an ax murderer – what else do you need to pique your interest? Unlike haunted houses made for entertainment during Halloween, these places are scary year around. Each place has its own unique story and the only way to get the full story and experience is to visit them in person! With Christmas break coming up, what are you waiting for?