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8 Truly Haunted Churches

From the headless spirit of a famous actor to the restless ghost of Woodrow Wilson, these sacred sites have a dark side.

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Because even ghosts can say ‘Hallelujah.’ Here are eight terrifyingly haunted churches.

1. Adams Grove Presbyterian Church (Pictured Above)
Dallas County, Alabama

Located in the middle of rural Alabama (about 20 minutes from Selma), Adams Grove Presbyterian Church is no longer used for services, but a spirited congregation still remains. It has been reported that a man with red eyes, wearing a hat, wanders the cemetery, while a Confederate soldier protects the grave sites themselves. One theory for the paranormal activity states that the church was built on sacred Native American land – aren’t they all?

haunted churches: st. paul's chapel

2. St. Paul’s Chapel
New York, New York

This place of worship in lower Manhattan has one frequent visitor: an actor named George Frederick Cooke, who donated his head to science to pay for medical bills. His ghost has been seen wandering the cemetery grounds, looking for this missing piece of anatomy. Unfortunately, he’ll never know that his actual skull was used – ironically – as a prop in theater productions. So he remains adamant in his search.

haunted churches: christ church

3. Christ Church
Alexandria, Virginia

A registered national landmark, this Episcopal church was frequented by the likes of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. It is rumored that souls of the dead, who have not crossed over, rise in and out of the graves in the cemetery, frequently making eerie cameo appearances in photos taken on church grounds.

haunted churches: st. louis cathedral

4. St. Louis Cathedral
New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy is definitely no stranger to haunting, and St. Louis Cathedral, one of the country’s oldest churches, is no exception. The locally influential Spanish Capuchin Friar Antonio de Sedella is said to to roam the alleyway near his grave, in the early morning hours.

haunted churches: st. mark's episcopal

5. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Cheyenne, Wyoming

In quiet Cheyenne, Wyoming, a humble little church is alive with apparitions. It all began after the construction of the bell tower in 1886. One of the workmen, a stonemason, died while building the tower, and it’s said he remains there still, mumbling to himself and banging the walls. He has yet to ring the bell, though.

haunted churches: most holy trinity

6. Most Holy Trinity Church
Brooklyn, New York

The Most Holy Trinity Church, built in the late 1800s in Williamsburg, sits atop a former cemetery. It is said that not all the bodies were properly exhumed, so their souls continue to haunt this Roman Catholic house of worship. The souls of the dead fill hallways with their voices and turn lights on and off at random.

haunted churches: washington national cathedral

7. Washington National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.

Presidents can be ghosts, too. Stories persist about Woodrow Wilson walking the halls of the neo-Gothic Washington National Cathedral tapping his cane against the walls. Another reason the church is riddled with tortured souls: a library fire in 1946, which left unhappy lurkers in the church’s basement. Many visitors to the lower level reported extreme feelings of uneasiness and of being watched.

haunted churches: church of st. andrew

8. Church of Saint Andrew
Staten Island, New York

The beautiful Church of Saint Andrew, founded in 1708, is still in operation today and serves as a relic of New York City’s early colonial history. But some early settlers are still present within its walls. It’s been reported that the flames of candles move with no explanation – and heavy music chimes ring and shake in the middle of the night.

Andrew Wood / Flickr