Halloween is going to be extra-weird this year, but you can still make the most of it. Wear masks, party responsibly, and obviously play our two new virtual Halloween games, Virtually Haunted: The Online Halloween Scavenger Hunt and the Halloween Trivia Slam Game. Those virtual games involve haunted places, ghost stories, and Halloween trivia, and here’s a taste of all three.
The Restaurant Where It Happens
A long-ago horse stable turned upscale restaurant, One If By Land, Two If By Sea is considered one of New York City’s most romantic. It’s also haunted. A ghostly presence has been known to smash dishes, pull chairs out from under patrons, and even remove women’s earrings. Some say it’s the ghost of Aaron Burr, who kept his horse-drawn carriage there when it was a stable. Others say the ghost is Burr’s dear daughter. What was her name?
Theodosia, the daughter to whom Burr sings “Dear Theodosia” in the Broadway musical Hamilton
At the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, some folks check in, but they don’t check out. The switchboard still receives calls from rooms that no longer exist, and in the Blossom Room, a little ghost named Caroline still looks for her mom while an agitated man walks back and forth. On some evenings you can still hear Montgomery Clift practicing his bugle in room 928.
What bygone blonde bombshell likes to join in on the monkey business, appearing in a hallway mirror and by the pool?
Marilyn Monroe has been glimpsed near the pool and in the mirror of room 1200, where she lived while on her way to stardom.
Man About Town
Philadelphia boasts one of the most terrifying haunted places in the country, the notoriously ghastly Eastern State Penitentiary, plus plenty of ghosts all over town. Those include Alexander Hamilton and local legend Ma Gillin.
One founding father’s spirit has been spotted sleeping at Old City Hall, hanging around Independence Hall, lurking about his gravesite at Christ Church, and even checking out one of his favorite haunts in life: the library at the American Philosophical Society. Who is he?
Benjamin Franklin, of corpse—er, of course!
The historic Granary Burying Ground in Boston started accepting permanent residents around 1660, so it has accumulated its fair share of famous names—like Thomas Paine and John Hancock—as well as ghosts. People have reported seeing glowing orbs, full-bodied spirits, and even Paul Revere himself astride a spectral steed.
Among the cemetery’s less-haunting locals is the woman whose unusual, matronly moniker lives on in its association with fairy tales and nursery rhymes. What was that woman called?
“Mother” Goose, as she was known, was the second wife to one Isaac Goose. His first, Mary, is also buried in the Granary Burying Ground. Awkward. “Mother” Goose didn’t write any nursery rhymes—her name was purportedly borrowed by the real author, though not all historians agree on that.
Stephen King Slept Here…Poorly
Colorado’s haunted-est place, The Stanley Hotel, is known to horror fans as Stephen King’s inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Guests have reported ghosts in their rooms and long-dead former workers wandering the grounds.
Something very un-supernatural about the Stanley can pose a danger to unprepared guests, though. Simply walking the halls of the hotel has been known to leave some paler than death and shockingly weak. What is the cause of their troubles?
Altitude: The Stanley Hotel stands almost 8,000 feet above sea level, where even the most mundane activity can wreak havoc on someone who isn’t used to such heights.
Haunted House of Mouse
Did you know the Happiest Place on Earth is also haunted? And we’re not talking about the Haunted Mansion ride. Disney parks in California and Florida are home to numerous phantasms and urban legends, from caught-on-camera creepers to the ghost of Walt Disney himself.
Those might all be ghost stories, but this is very much fact. What attraction once prominently featured actual human remains?
Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland originally used many real human skeletons. The park says they’ve since been replaced with fakes, but some Cast Members (a.k.a. workers at the park) insist some real bones remain to this day.
Crazy Mansion Lady
After her husband died in 1881, Sarah Lockwood Winchester moved from Connecticut to California and spent the rest of her life overseeing the construction of America’s strangest building: the Winchester Mystery House. Featuring secret passages, trap doors, stairways to nowhere, and many more oddities, Winchester purportedly built the house as a labyrinth to confuse vengeful ghosts.
A psychic medium warned Winchester that angry spirits wanted payback because her husband earned his fortune designing…what?
Guns: Among other weapons, William Wirt Winchester created the Winchester rifle, dubbed “the gun that won the West.”
Don’t Go Into the Woods
Deep in a forest outside a little town in Maryland sits a big, flat slab of stone called Coffin Rock. In the 1880s, a little boy went missing in those woods. He found his way back to town, but the search party that went looking for him never did. No, their bodies were found tied up and disemboweled on Coffin Rock. The bodies later disappeared before they could be buried.
What woods-haunting witch earned the blame for those heinous acts, and in turn inspired one of the creepiest movies of all time?
Locals blamed the Blair Witch, whose legend lives on thanks largely to the low-budget horror film The Blair Witch Project.
Together to the End…and Beyond
In Louisiana, the spot where they died in a hail of gunfire. In Nevada, the bullet-ridden Ford they once drove. In Texas, the Baker Hotel where they once stayed. What duo keep busy in the afterlife by supposedly haunting all three of those?
Bonnie and Clyde, though technically only Bonnie has been “caught” at the Baker Hotel
Seriously, What Is It with Ghosts and Hotels?
A famous playground for celebrity troublemakers, Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont is said to be very, very haunted by the king of ’em: John Belushi. Since he died in the hotel’s Bungalow 3 in 1982, his lingering presence has been felt countless times. Most famously, in 1999, a 2-year-old guest in Bungalow 3 kept laughing at apparently nothing. When his parents finally asked what he was laughing at, the boy replied, “The funny man!” Yikes.
What famous singer, herself a “good girl gone bad,” told Rolling Stone in 2013 that she avoids Chateau Marmont because of its ghost problem?
Rihanna told the magazine, “You can feel it, man. It’s borrowed space.”
Photo credits: Lead photo by cottonbro from Pexels; Roosevelt Hotel photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash; Granary Burying Ground by Rhododendrites – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0; Winchester Mystery House by TilTul – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0; Chateau Marmont by Gary Minnaert (Minnaert)) – Own work, Public Domain