Ghost-Hunting For Dummies
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The following is a list of some of the places where paranormal researchers have had good luck in finding ghosts and hauntings throughout the years. After each category, I noted a couple of locations that we investigated on Ghost Adventures that I felt really illustrated the reason why each of these types of locations made the list.

Haunted houses

Many private residences, and not just old ones, have a tainted past that may include murder, suicide, or some other tragic event. Many times, these events cause a place to become haunted when the spirits connected to the event choose not to leave. These spirits can be positive or negative and haunted houses boast all kinds of different phenomena. Residual hauntings are also common, especially in older structures.

In some cases, the history of the house itself may not reveal the reason the location is haunted. It might be the land itself, which is why many new homes also become the scene of hauntings and unexplained events. Finding a source for the haunting may require researching the history of the land. It may have once been occupied by another house, a building, a farm, or perhaps even an old cemetery.

Lemp Mansion

In 2014, we investigated the Lemp Mansion and Brewery, along with the Cherokee Cave system that once stored the Lemp’s lager. After years of tragedy and several Lemp family suicides, the house has become known as one of the most haunted places in America.

Lemp Mansion

©Travel Channel.

Ghost Adventures at Lemp Mansion.

Lizzie Borden House

In Fall River, Massachusetts, we were locked inside of the Lizzie Borden house in 2011. This was the scene of one of the most infamous murders in American history.


In most cases, ordinary cemeteries are not haunted. They are simply repositories of earthly remains. However, many burial grounds do become haunted. When a house becomes haunted, it is usually because of events that occurred prior to someone’s death, or because of it. A haunted cemetery is the opposite. Hauntings occur because of events that happen after death, including tragic events, desecration of graves, vandalism, and rituals that can open portals within the confines of the cemetery. A tremendous amount of research into cemetery hauntings has been done over the years and, although controversial, these sites remain worthy of further investigation.

One thing to be careful of, though, is to check into your state and local laws about entering cemeteries after dark. Some areas expressly forbid it whereas others allow it as long as the cemetery is not posted against trespassing. Be very careful to make sure that you are not breaking the law.

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

In 2012, we took part in an incredibly active investigation at what’s been called one of the most haunted burial grounds in America. It is a haunting caused by grave desecration, grave robbery, and devil-worshipping rituals.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery Ghost Adventures at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery.

Concordia Cemetery

We traveled to El Paso, Texas, in 2017 to investigate this haunted cemetery where countless ritual jars are left on graves and where “Night Stalker” serial killer Richard Ramirez was introduced to the occult rituals and devil worship.


The entire range of the human emotion is expressed inside of a theater and this seems to attract spirits who use this energy to manifest. A theater also inspires a lot of devotion from the people who work and perform in them, causing many of them to remain behind after their deaths. The saying goes that “every good theater has a ghost” and many theaters are prime locations for all kinds of spirits.

You can normally expect two very different types of hauntings in these locations, both traditional haunts, and residual ones. Thanks to the massive expressing of energy that goes on inside of the buildings, you can expect to hear reports of ghostly footsteps, phantom applause, voices, laughter, and more. All these phenomena normally signal that residual energy is present. You should also take note of the hundreds of stories about haunted theaters where the ghosts of former actors and staff members linger, which makes them a favorite spot for many ghost-hunters.

Yost Theatre

We did a lockdown at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, California, in 2013. This venue that dates back to the early 1900s now plays host to some of the world’s best electronic DJs and also, a number of spirits.

Silent Movie Theatre

In Los Angeles, in 2017, we took part in a lockdown at the infamous Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue. During the investigation, information emerged about the double-murder of the theater’s owner and a candy counter girl, about the strange death of a silent film preservationist who lived at the theater, and we made contact with deceased actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Ghost towns

You don’t have to believe in spirits to enjoy a visit to one of the ghost towns that can still be found across the western landscape of the United States, but you may become a believer if you do. The abandoned mining towns and once-thriving settlements of the region were once filled with people, along with their hopes and dreams. But fires, disasters, deaths, and mines that eventually stopped producing forced the residents to move on to better places. Today, these towns exist as collections of buildings and other structures telling the story of years gone by.

The chaos, violence, and desperation of long ago have left an impression on these places and hauntings from the past, as well as former residents themselves, often linger behind.

Bannack Ghost Town

In 2014, Ghost Adventures traveled to Montana and the ghost town of Bannack, which is now a state park. We investigated Hotel Meade, the former site of the county courthouse of Beaverhead County. During the lockdown, we included more buildings, including the “crying baby house,” which was believed to be used as a quarantine hospital to isolate children with scarlet fever, the old Methodist church, the saloon, the schoolhouse, and also the pond where a teenage girl drowned in 1916.

Virginia City, Nevada

In the original documentary film, Ghost Adventures, we traveled to Virginia City to investigation the most haunted locations in the ghost town — the Silver Queen Hotel, the Old Washoe Club, the Virginia City Cemetery, and a cabin near the Yellow Jacket Mine. That visit turned out to be so compelling that we returned in 2011 and were locked down at the St. Mary’s Art Center, the Silver Queen Hotel, and the Miner’s Cabin at the Yellow Jacket Mine. We returned to the Washoe Club once more in 2018 for a chilling exchange with the spirits. Our visits to ghost towns have produced some of our most compelling evidence.

Schools and colleges

Many schools have had tragic events that had led to hauntings. Some may be caused by deaths on campus, either those of students or staff members, whereas others may be caused by the energy that lingers from having so many young people clustered together. The best way to pursue ghost stories and sightings at a college is to pass the word to a student or two that you are interested in hearing their stories or by talking to someone on the security or maintenance staff. Teachers and custodians are the best contacts for other schools.

Keep in mind that ghostlore plays a big role in the alleged hauntings on every campus. Nearly every school has a local legend or rumor about a murdered co-ed, a vanished student, or a death that never actually occurred. They make great stories for late night parties but don’t have much resemblance to reality. Do not dismiss such stories entirely, though. They may still have some element of the truth to them as explanations for a genuine haunting that is taking place.

Lewis Flats School

In 2018, we investigated the mysterious Lewis Flats School in Deming, New Mexico, which was located on land that is haunted by the spirits of the Apache, who waged a violent struggle against settlers in the region in the 19th century.

Albion Normal School

One of the most sinister schools that we have investigated was the Albion State Normal School in Idaho, where we did a lockdown in 2017. The school was believed to contain dark energy, caused by occult graffiti, which was affecting the staff. During an interview, both investigator Jay Wasley and the witness were marked by strange symbols that appeared behind their ears.

Haunted hotels

Thousands of people pass through the hotels and motels in every city and small town each year. With all those people coming and going, it is not hard to imagine that there may be a ghost or two around. A little investigation into the history of an older hotel may find that a suicide or murder has taken place there. Even newer hotels often have events that occur, including murders, rapes, assaults, and mysterious deaths. Each of these emotional events can certainly leave a haunting behind. Many investigators believe that residual hauntings are like “leaving a little piece of yourself behind” and hotels are the perfect place for this to occur.

Keep in mind that unless your location is a historical bed and breakfast, an abandoned motel, or an old hotel that advertises its ghosts, asking at the front desk may not do an investigator much good when trying to secure a haunted room for the night. The best way to find out about stories that are not so well known — and which room may have an otherworldly occupant — is to ask one of the maintenance staff or the housekeeping workers. You just might discover they have a good story to tell.

Be prepared to spend some money, though. You can’t investigate a haunted hotel without spending the night there.

Stanley Hotel

Most people know the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, as the inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining, but the hotel is truly haunted. In 2010, we investigated the hotel and found that its reputation as a haunted place is well deserved.

Stanley Hotel Ghost Adventures at the Stanley Hotel.

Crescent Hotel

This historic hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is considered one of the most haunted places in the country. For years it was a resort hotel, but later it became a cancer hospital operated by a phony doctor named Norman Baker. Hundreds died there and left many restless ghosts behind. We investigated the hotel in 2019, captured a curtain moving on its own, and made contact with an active and very notorious spirit.

Crescent Hotel Ghost Adventures at the Crescent Hotel.

Battlefields and crime scenes

These two types of locations go hand-in-hand. They are linked because of the tragedy that occurs at both kinds of sites. These locations deal with a sudden loss of life and this can sometimes cause a spirit to linger behind in confusion. There have been many cases over the years of spirits who reportedly did not realize they were dead or whose life ended so abruptly they did not cross over.

The tragedy and the trauma involved can also create residual hauntings as the terrible events reply themselves over and over again. Many witnesses report seeing lines of troops on battlefields, still marching to battle, or hearing the sounds of guns, screams, and cries from long ago.

Perryville Battlefield

Although not as famous as other American battlefields, we found that this battlefield in Kentucky is just as haunted. Perryville was the scene of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state, ending with more than seven thousand men wounded, killed, or missing. The battle marked the South’s last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky and today, is one of the most unaltered Civil War sites in the country.

Freakshow Murder House

Few places are as sinister as a murder site, which we discovered in 2017. We investigated the scene of a 1996 double murder in Los Angeles’s Chatsworth neighborhood. During the lockdown, we tried to help the current owners of the house, who sell and store oddity antiques in the house, by gathering evidence of paranormal activity.

Hospitals and asylums

Working hospitals frequently have tales of ghosts and hauntings they are no doubt the hardest places for any researcher to get into for an investigation. In many cases, even getting permission to hear the anecdotes from people who work there among the spirits is difficult. Hundreds of hospitals have resident ghosts — from phantom nuns to spectral patients — but getting anyone to talk about them is nearly impossible.

Most investigations at locations that fit into this category must be done after the hospital has closed down. Spirits are said to linger behind at scores of abandoned hospitals and mental institutions. It seems that the former residents have left an impression behind, especially in cases of mental disturbance or extreme tragedy, when both residual impressions and conscious entities can leave an indelible mark.

Waverly Hills Sanitorium

This former tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, has definitely earned its reputation for being extremely haunted. In 2010, we did a lockdown at the hospital for search for evidence of the spirits that remained behind from the thousands of patients who died there. We were not disappointed.

Waverly Hills Sanitorium ©Travel Channel.

Ghost Adventures at Waverly Hills Sanitorium.

Rolling Hills Asylum

Also, in 2010, Ghost Adventures went to Bethany, New York, for a lockdown at this haunted former asylum. During its years in operation, the homeless, alcoholics, orphans, tuberculosis patients, and the criminally insane all took refuge at Rolling Hills. The led the building to become a mixing pot of tragic cases and dark personalities, which has led to the haunting of today.

Jails and prisons

When compiling any sort of list of the most haunted places in America, prisons and jails fall high on the chart. The amount of trauma, pain, and terror experienced by men who are incarcerated often leaves a lasting impression behind. The horrible events carried out by such men, which led to them being locked away from society — along with the horrible events that occur behind prison walls — often cause the spirits of the men who lived and died behind bars to linger behind.

America’s prisons, jails, and reformatories can be terrifying places for those in this world and the next.


This “escape proof” location is one of the most famous prisons in American history, but it is also one of the most haunted. Dubbed the “Evil Island” by Native Americans in the region, “The Rock” served as a federal prison from 1933 until 1963, housing some of the most infamous criminals in American history, like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” Robert Franklin Stroud. It has been plagued by tales of inmates tortured by unseen entities, as well as dozens of ghosts. We had many strange experiences while on Alcatraz in 2013, especially in the solitary confinement Cell 13, where an entity with glowing red eyes may have been responsible for the death of an inmate.

Alcatraz Ghost Adventures in Alcatraz.

Yuma Territorial Prison

In 2016, we investigated what has been called the “Hell Hole Prison.” The Yuma Territorial Prison earned the nickname thanks to the intense heat of the location and the inhumane punishments that the inmates faced for even the smallest infractions. Our lockdown that night included contact with former inmates who perished under such inhumane conditions.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Zak Bagans is the host, lead investigator, and an executive producer of Travel Channel's popular series Ghost Adventures. He travels to domestic and international locations rumored to be haunted in search of evidence proving the existence of the supernatural. He founded the world's largest paranormal organization, The Ghost Adventures Crew.

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