4 Scary American Hauntings

Man with an axes
Spooky silhouette girl at night with smoke in background. Horror woman holding old axe. Selective focus

Whenever someone who doesn’t really know me discovers I’m into the paranormal, the question of, “What are some of the most haunted places in the United States” is inevitably asked. This would have to be one of the most difficult questions to give a good answer to. I mean, what makes a place most haunted? Is it the number of ghosts? The number of sightings? Or how big the gift shop selling ghostly bobbleheads is? This is not an easy question to answer. However, I have composed a list of four places that I would consider to be extraordinarily active. And if you have been to any of them and had a personal experience, do not be shy in letting us know.

Zombie Road

Fifty miles west of St. Louis, Missouri sits a lonely tree lined road that rarely sees any traffic, mostly due to how remote and isolated it is. The road, once known as Lawler Road, has gained a bit of an unwanted reputation over the last few decades. According to the few people who still traverse Lawler Road, strange things take place. Frightening events that can only be described as nightmarish. Some call it nothing more than an urban legend, while others claim it to be haunted. But to those brave souls who take the drive, they know it as Zombie Road.

Shortly after the Civil War, Zombie Road was built by the Glencoe Marble Company for the purpose of transporting marble quarried from their property. For several decades the road was a little used road, but in the 1950s, Lawler Road would gain its unsavory reputation for being a place of dread and evil. This is when locals called it by the name that reflected its reputation, Zombie Road.

Probably due to its remote location, couples seeking a little alone time drove out to Zombie Road on date nights. Not a week would go by without the local police finding a deserted car sitting somewhere among the trees, with no one was in sight.

When the occupants failed to return, police and family became suspicious and soon discovered a killer was in their midst. A man was eventually tried and convicted for murdering several teenagers over a five-year period. The killer was given the name “The Zombie” due to his complete lack of remorse. It’s the spirits of the Zombie’s victims that are believed to haunt the woods to this day.

The victims of the serial killer aren’t the only ones believed to stalk Zombie Road. A hideous old woman who appears out of nowhere shrieks at cars as they pass by. Other entities include shadows hiding among the trees as well as the souls of people who were struck by a nearby train are seen on the road. Zombie Road, due to its ghostly population fits nicely on this list even if locals consider it to be nothing more than an urban legend.

Stone’s Public House

In 1834, Captain John Stone of the local militia, felt the citizens of the small town of Ashland, Massachusetts, needed a place to gather for good food and good drink. His dream business, originally called The Railroad House, was opened to the delight of the three hundred people who populated the town. Stone would only operate his public house for less than two years, after which he leased the property to various innkeepers until his death in 1858.

As with most of these buildings, the crown jewel of Ashland sat empty for the better part of two decades and fell into disrepair. In 1976, Leonard “Cappy” Fournier saw potential in the ramshackle old building and restored it to its former glory. He reopened the doors to the restaurant and called it Stone’s Public House in honor of the man who built it a century and a half earlier. There was one thing that Cappy had not anticipated: his restaurant was home to a number of ghosts.

Starting from the very moment the restaurant was open, employees and staff had encounters with things that are not supposed to exist. Water taps would turn on and off by themselves, there was the uncomfortable feeling of being watched and people claimed an unseen hand would grab them. Faced with this unrelenting activity, Cappy decided to allow psychics and mediums in to determine what was troubling his establishment. To his dismay, he learned of an ugly secret that cast a dark shadow on the history of the building and the legacy of Captain Stone.

Shortly before John Stone’s death, it was rumored the former militia commander shot and killed a traveling gambler for the unforgivable crime of cheating. It’s believed that Stone and his compatriots buried the man’s lifeless corpse in the dirt floor of the basement. The gambler’s angry spirit wanders the building seeking vengeance on those who ended his life. 

One of the sadder entities believed to haunt the building is a little girl who was struck by a train on nearby tracks. When her body was discovered, it was brought into the bar until her parents could claim the body. The wispy figure of a child has been witnessed playing and giggling throughout the building. 

A third ghost said to reside in Stone’s Public House is Burt Philips, a local drunk who died in the building sometime in the 1890s. Philips is the spirit believed to be behind the mischievous pranks played on staff. This fun-loving spirit has been known to tap staff on the shoulders and scaring them on the top floor. If you’re looking for good food and spirits, Stone’s Public House is the place to find it.

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Villisca Axe Murder House

It’s commonly believed in paranormal circles, a haunting can be caused by violent, unexpected death. This appears to be true in a little white farmhouse in Villisca, Iowa, where a late-night bloodbath trapped the souls of the victims for all time.

Prior to the morning of June 10, 1912, the sleepy village of Villisca, Iowa, was like any other Midwestern town of the time. Neighbors knew each other well and their children played with each other with very little trouble. People greeted each other in the streets and doors were typically kept unlocked. That is, until a murder occurred that both shocked and scandalized the little town and its most prominent citizens.

On a warm early summer morning in 1912, a neighbor of the Josiah Moore family was awakened by the wild behavior of the family’s horses. Thinking it strange that not a single family member came out to quiet the horses, the neighbors decided to go next door and demand they see to their animals immediately. What the neighbor found was nothing short of horrific.

Lying in their beds were the bloody, broken bodies of Josiah Moore, his wife Sarah, their four children and two friends who stayed the night. When the neighbor returned to her senses, she fled the house and alerted the rest of the neighborhood to the slaughter. This scream for help touched off the greatest unsolved murder in American history. From that moment on the town of Villisca would never be the same.

By the time police arrived at the house, the crime scene had already been contaminated by neighbors just letting themselves in to view the bloodbath. It’s believed this may have led to perpetrator, or perpetrators, getting away with murder. Despite this, a murder weapon was discovered, a blood encrusted axe that sat silently in a corner of the living room. Police investigators were stumped by who could have possibly committed such a heinous act, but they did have their suspects.

High on the list of possible perpetrators was Frank Jones, a former business partner of Moore’s. Jones and Moore had a falling out and he was heard remarking that he would have his revenge when Josiah Moore least expected it. After intense questioning, Jones was cleared of any charges. He may have been a passionate man, but he was not capable of murder.

The second suspect was Reverend George Jacklin Kelly, a traveling minister who some said had a liking for little girls. In the early morning hours following the murders, Kelly boarded a train and told an elderly couple about the murders before the bodies were discovered. For whatever reason, despite his knowledge of the murder, Kelly was cleared.

William Mansfield, a third suspect, was an ex-convict from Blue Island, Illinois. Three years after the Moore family murder, Mansfield brutally murdered his own family in a similar manner. He was later cleared of the Moore murders when it was determined he was nowhere near the Moore house. With this list of suspects, it is peculiar that no one was ever apprehended. This could be why the Josiah Moore house is considered to be one of the most haunted houses in the United States.

Although no one lives there, it is open for tours and to any ghost hunter brave enough to unlock its secrets. Multi-colored lights have been witnessed bobbing up and down in the windows as well as hearing the screams of children begging for mercy. And the blood-soaked apparitions of Josiah Moore and his children have been witnessed by unsuspecting visitors. My hope is that one day the mystery will be solved, and these lost souls will find the peace they were denied in life.

The White House

Over its long and tumultuous history, the White House in in Washington, D.C., has seen its fair share of tragedy and distress. From 1861-1865 the United States was involved in a bitter struggle. State against state, and brother against brother and the president who presided over it all was Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps this is why his ghost is said to walk the halls of the executive residence.

Since Lincoln’s death, residents, employees and visitors have reported seeing the specter of the fallen president. Grace Coolidge, wife of former president Calvin Coolidge, was the first to see Lincoln’s ghost peering out a window in the oval office as he wrung his hands behind his back. Undoubtedly troubled by the state of the country he was elected to protect.

Employees have also reported watching the ghost of the great emancipator sitting on the edge of his bed pulling on his boots. But the most dramatic encounter with the dead president happened to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. While visiting the White House and former president Franklin Roosevelt, the Queen was found on the floor outside of the Lincoln bedroom by a cleaning person. When she was revived, she told an extraordinary story.

While sleeping, she was awakened by a tapping on her door. Angered by the intrusion, she threw open the door to scold whoever it was that dared to disturb her slumber. What she saw was the semi-transparent form of the 16th President standing before her. She fainted dead away.

Of course, Abraham Lincoln isn’t the only spirit said to haunt the hallowed halls of the executive residence. The ghost of a British soldier has been seen walking the grounds in full redcoat uniform. It’s believed he was killed when the White House was burned to the ground in the war of 1812. John Adams’ wife has been seen in the East Room scrubbing laundry. And the image of Dolley Madison has been spotted walking through her beloved rose garden. 

During the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, Wilson’s wife Edith planned on tearing out the roses because she was allergic to them. When the contractor was about to begin, Dolley’s ghost appeared and sternly scolded the former first lady. The rose garden was spared.

In conclusion, I hope you understand this list is by no means exhaustive. All across this land are countless haunted places. Haunted places that fill several volumes of books in great American hauntings.

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About Rick Hale 106 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, Spookyisles.com and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at YouTube.com.

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