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.
Lights flickering, floorboards creaking, doors slamming shut, shadowy figures passing by—are all eerie and inexplicable occurrences people have claimed to witness within historic homes over the years. In these abodes, they believe spirits, ghosts or supernatural entities still linger within the walls.
The idea of a haunted house spans cultures and centuries. In the tapestry of American folklore, certain homes have become famous for the tales of the restless spirits within their walls, and each has a spine-chilling story to tell.
From the LaLaurie House in New Orleans, where real-life socialite and serial killer enslaved people, to the Joshua Ward House in Salem, MA, where a prominent figure in the Salem Witch Trials resided, to many spooky homes in between, America's most infamous haunted houses continue to intrigue and attract visitors. If you're looking for more spooky properties, try an overnight stay in a haunted Airbnb or haunted hotel.