If there’s one thing on Earth that we can all agree is most likely to be haunted, it’s a graveyard. Since the advent of civilization we’ve gathered our dead and placed them in burial plots together. And it’s no surprise that people talk of the spirits that linger, not far from the final resting place of their bodies, perhaps clinging to life or serving as a grim omen for what’s to come when we all meet our end. Some of these cemeteries, however, boast more ghost stories than others.
Here are the 10 most haunted graveyards across the United States.
10. Stull Cemetery, Kansas
The Stull Cemetery in Stull, Kansas already has the perfect horror movie setting: a sleepy town and an abandoned church. Several stories have been passed down over the years of witchcraft and diabolical occurrence surrounding the overgrown cemetery and its crumpling church. Stories include tales of a sudden and terrifying wind in the night, stories of rain and snow not touching the ground of the church despite it having no roof, and claims that the Devil himself stalks the grounds. The stories originate from a grizzly murder that took place in the 19th century when the mayor was stabbed inside a barn on the property that eventually was converted into the present day church. There’s also legend that an old tree on the grounds was used as a gallows. Either way, there’s something eerie about this place that’s unsettled visitors for decades.
9. Western Burial Ground, Maryland
This graveyard in Baltimore, Maryland has one thing going for it already: it’s the final resting place of horror writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. If that doesn’t give you chills, maybe some of the stories will. This cemetery has an unfortunate history of live burials. Many spirits are said to haunt the ground, looking for revenge on those who buried them prematurely. There’s even tales of a buried skull, placed there to block out the sound of screams that seemed to be coming from the severed head of a former minister. Many have claimed to hear the sound of screams and some even claim it caused detrimental effects to their mental health.
8. Boothill Cemetery, Arizona
The Wild West is a place awash with ghost stories, from murdered cowboys to desecrated native populations. And Tombstone, Arizona has the honor of being among the most haunted of the bunch. Several graves from the winning of the west mark the grounds, but the cemetery became famous when a photographer released a photo of what appeared to be a full bodied ghost in the background, brandishing a knife. This has lead many to flock to the area to see this phenomenon for themselves.
7. St. Louis Cemetery #1, Louisiana
When you think of famous cemeteries, New Orleans probably comes to mind. This cemetery is filled with picturesque and lavish vaults but that’s not the only thing said to call the grounds home. The spirit of famous voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau is said to be spotted not far from her grave in the cemetery. Henry Vignes, a man who died suddenly and was placed in an unmarked grave as a result, is said to be seen as well and there is also stories of an unnamed young man walking the grounds in solemn despair.
6. Hollywood Forever, California
This cemetery in Hollywood, California goes back to the 19th century and is the eternal host to several famous Hollywood stars. The Psalms Mausoleum is said to be haunted by cold drafts, eerie sounds, and the ghost of Clifton Webb. The grave of Virginia Rappe is also a hotbed for cold spots as many believe her spirit seeks justice for her unsolved murder. One such ghost story, recently thrust back into the spotlight thanks to season 5 of American Horror Story is that of Rudolph Valentino whose grave is said to be visited often by a mysterious apparition in black that leaves fresh roses at his vault.
5. Howard Street Cemetery, Massachusetts
Few places in the world are more rife with talk of paranormal happenings than Salem. Giles Corey famously cried out for “more weight” when he was pressed to death after a conviction of practicing witchcraft. Perhaps less well known are his cries that he cursed the land of Salem before his death. Since then, Salem residents, including the famous Nathaniel Hawthorne, claim to have experienced the apparition of Corey haunting the place where he died and the cemetery. Others have mentioned the strange aura the cemetery seems to take on at night, appearing incredibly quite for its busy location in the town.
4. Union Cemetery, Connecticut
This cemetery is so haunted, that famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren once visited to conduct an investigation into the mysterious White Lady. Several origin stories exist for this prankster spirit, including the theory that she was murdered early in the 20th century or she is a wandering woman who died in childbirth. Either way, many have captured pictures of this specter and she’s been known to play possum with unwitting drivers.
3. Resurrection Cemetery, Illinois
The name enough is a little bit ominous already. This Catholic cemetery in Chicago is said to be host to the spirit of a small girl who appears to visitors in the form of a hitchhiker who eventually vanishes when you get too close. A similar tale is of a slightly older woman, also vanishing just as young men would offer her rides home. In fact, stories of these “vanishing hitchhikers” go back decades into the cemetery’s history. Several stories exist of a young woman being killed while attempting to hitchhike near the cemetery long ago. Does her spirit still linger on the grounds?
2. Cemetery Hill, Pennsylvania
No town conjures up more images of ghosts than Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This unsuspecting town played host to some of the fiercest fighting of the American Civil War and paid the price for it in a number of ways. One, is the lingering presence of spirits in the town. Cemetery Hill was the place of a gruesome summer battle that resulted in bodies piled high, awaiting burial. People claim to experience a “phantom smell” of rotting flesh sometimes in the area. Some have even seen full apparitions that have touched them or communicated with them, often warning them to leave.
1. Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Illinois
We’re back in Chicago, but this time for a small, abandoned cemetery hidden away by a cluster of woods in the suburb of Bremen. Several famous paranormal investigators have visited the site and many claim to see orbs floating among the small, ruined tombstones. Others claim to see a dog, a woman, a farmer, and even a monk stalking the grounds with no explanation. The area is also a well-known dumping ground for victims of organized crime in Chicago, which has added to the gruesome mood surrounding the area.
Want more creepy stories? Sign up for The Lineup’s newsletter, and get our strangest tales delivered straight to your inbox.