There are a lot of places around the world that have been abandoned due to specific reasons. Some places are heavily guarded with security and other places are just left there. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, here are a few scary places that prove to have haunting lore that is often rooted in very real and traumatizing histories.
The LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans, Louisiana
For Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, she was a Louisiana socialite who was known for hosting ritzy soirees in her lavish French Quarter mansion in New Orleans during the early 19th century. The guests gorged on fine food and champagne, while not knowing what was being unfolded two stories above them. When everything fell apart, it was when the local police responded to a kitchen fire in 1834, and right then and there is how they discovered the bodies of many horrible mutilated enslaved people in the attic. When the public learned of LaLaurie’s horrifying secret, a mob stormed into the house, having her fleeing to France. Right after LaLaurie disappeared from New Orleans, people have claimed over the years that they hear the phantom screams of her victims spilling from the house in the middle of the night. A little spooky Fact: In 2014, LaLaurie was reborn in the television series, American Horror Story: Coven as Kathy Bates.
The Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon
In the early 19th century, Portland was one of the most dangerous ports in the U.S., it became the epicenter of an illicit maritime practice known as shanghaiing, a form of human trafficking. Having said that, according to the local lore, these people that would be imposters in a way would prey on unsuspecting men in the local saloons, which were often outfitted with trap doors that dropped the victims directly into a system of underground tunnels. These men that were being kidnapped were then supposedly held captive, drugged, and eventually transported to the waterfront. After that, they were sold to ships as unpaid laborers; some of them worked for several years before they were able to find their way back home. The tunnels are said to be haunted by the aggrieved spirits of the captives who died in the dark recesses beneath the city. A fact about here was the practice of kidnapping men to work on ships came to be known as shanghaiing because the ships they were sold to were often headed to East Asia. If you ever want to visit, Portland Walking Tours and the Cascade Geographic Society (unfortunately are currently closed due to COVID-19) offer guided tours of the Portland tunnels, where visitors get a sinister history lesson in the dark and don’t worry, they provide the flashlights.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
This prison opened in Philadelphia in 1829 and became the first in the U.S. to implement solitary confinement, a hotly debated practice. This menacing Gothic-style place held Prisoners that resided in stone cells with no human contact, anytime they were moved, hoods were placed over their head. Proponents of this system believed that solitude would lead to penitence, which would ultimately result in rehabilitation. Critics, on the other hand, believed it incited emotional anguish comparable to physical torture. In several other states and in Europe, they would replicate the so-called “Pennsylvania system”. After the prison closed down in 1971, it is believed that the prisoners’ ghosts took back the prison and haunt the prison till this day. The visitors claim to see the inmates’ apparitions walking around the corridors and hear mischievous whispers in abandoned cell blocks. A little fact about the prison: Back in the mid-1800s, thousands and thousands of tourists would visit the prison—as well as Charles Dickens who wrote “The system is rigid, strict and hopeless solitary confinement, and I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel and wrong…” if you ever want to visit the Penitentiary, it offers daytime tours all year-round, even special events. Terror Behind the Walls, one of the country’s top haunted houses, has been suspended for 2020 due to COVID-19. But if you’re feeling brave this fall, explore the decommissioned prison and Alphonse “Scarface” Capone’s cell under the moonlight with Eastern State Penitentiary’s recently launched night tours.
Robert the Doll, Florida
For Robert the Doll, he is more than just some typical doll, this 19th-century boy who was named after Eugene “Gene” Otto is located in Key West, Florida. This life-sized, straw-filled doll is said to have some supernatural abilities, which tormented Gene and his family with manic giggling and movements. The first time Robert the doll became active happened one night when Gene was only ten years old at the time and woke up to find Robert the Doll sitting at the end of his bed staring at him. His mother had been awakened by his screams for help and the sounds of furniture being moved around in her son’s bedroom. When she finally was able to open the locked door with a wrench, she saw Gene curled up in fear on his bed, his room was all messed up, while Robert The Doll sitting at the foot of the bed. “Robert did it,” that was the only thing Gene would say growing up in his childhood and when anything supernatural or mysterious would happen. His mom locked Robert the doll in the attic. After Gene’s parents passed away, he inherited his parents’ house and returned Robert to his childhood bedroom. Robert The Doll sits inside a glass case, but it doesn’t seem to stop him from inflicting fear and discomfort to museum staff and visitors. Staff members report that Robert’s facial expression changes, hearing demonic giggling and have even seen Robert put his hand up to the glass. The visitors themselves have reported hearing the doll laugh, seeing it move from window to window from outside the house. Some people have said the doll drove Gene’s wife crazy, literally. Today, you can visit Robert the Doll at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, but make sure you ask permission before taking a picture — Robert is known for casting curses on those who don’t. It is also to be said that in the picture, he’ll be having a smirk towards the person in the picture.
Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana
Myrtles plantation is located in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and was built in 1796 by General David Bradford and is to be considered one of America’s most haunted locations. Rumor has it that the house is built on top of an Indian burial ground and is home to at least 12 different ghosts. Legends and ghost stories abound, one of the tales is from a former slave named Chloe, who had her ear chopped off by her master after she was caught eavesdropping. She was able to get her revenge by poisoning a birthday cake that killed two of the master’s daughters. She was later hung by her fellow slaves. Now Chloe is to be reported roaming the plantation, wearing a turban to conceal her missing ear. Another legend on the plantation is of a mirror located in the house supposedly holds the spirits of Sara Woodruff and two of her children. From what the legend has it, the mirrors are covered after death, but for some reason that after the poisoning of the Woodruffs, this particular mirror was overlooked. The uncovered mirror reportedly trapped the spirits of Sara and her children, who are occasionally seen or leave handprints in the mirror. Another ghost that haunts the plantation is of a young girl who died in 1868, despite being treated by a local voodoo practitioner. Legend has it, she is reported to appear in the room in which she died and has been reported to practice voodoo on people sleeping in the room.
Overalls for these haunted locations or items in this world, something seems to be attached to it one way or another. We can still visit some of these places, a few might be able to do bed and breakfast, while the other locations can do tours at daytime or night to make it more challenging for some tourists.