American Horror Story: Coven reignited interest in this famous French Quarter haunt. In the series, Kathy Bates plays Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a real-life socialite and serial killer who orchestrated a torture chamber for enslaved people at the Royal Street mansion in the early 1830s (before responders to a fire uncovered her dark secret). LaLaurie's victims are said to haunt the property to this day—from the street, pedestrians have heard shouts, moans, and weeping, while some even claim to have seen ghostly faces in the upstairs windows. Even still, the house's ghastly history hasn't stopped wealthy buyers. Before losing the home to foreclosure in 2009, actor Nicolas Cage owned it, and today a wealthy oil tycoon is said to hold the deed.
A door creaking open with no one pushing it, a sudden blast of chilled air, a murmur in your ear: these are all elements of haunted houses. We find the idea of haunted houses particularly attractive around Halloween; who hasn’t heard the recorded screams and wicked laughter piped to the sidewalk in certain neighborhoods while trick or treating? Some US cities are especially known for their spectral qualities, like New Orleans and Salem. But while we enjoy scaring ourselves, many of these homes carry a somber warning of the worst of human behavior, and sometimes even light research into the history of the haunting brings sadness rather than glee. Is it true that homes can carry the weight of the horrific acts committed within their walls? You’ll have to see for yourself. Some of the houses on our list encourage visitors (even for an overnight stay, like these haunted Airbnbs and haunted hotels), while others are simply brooding over their stories.
RECOMMENDED: The most haunted bars and restaurants in America