The Midwest is beautiful, but behind that beauty lies a much more sinister past, so with Halloween on the horizon, it might be time to start planning a haunted getaway! Here are some of the most heart-stopping, scary places in the American Midwest. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Historic Hannah House
Indianapolis is a hopping sports town, but it also has a haunted history! The Hannah House was built in 1898 by Alexander Moore Hannah. He was best known for being a passionate abolitionist, and the Hannah House was a stop on the underground railroad during the Civil War. Many believe that is the main reason behind the hauntings. One night, while slaves were hiding, an oil lamp was knocked over, turning the once-safe basement where they were held, into an incinerator. When Alexander awoke to find the dead bodies, he buried them in his basement for fear he would be reprimanded for taking part in the underground railroad. The basement seems to be a center of activity, as does the second floor bedroom, which occasionally smells like rotting flesh.
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3801 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, +1 317 787 8486
Central Michigan University
College can be haunting, for sure, but it’s even worse when there are actual ghosts involved! The Central Michigan University campus is said to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. There was a cafeteria worker who was strangled after a mysterious elevator car came crashing down on her head, the Gamma Phi Beta house has experienced figures walking around, doors slamming and lights dimming, and people have experienced numerous other apparitions around the grounds. Many say it is not safe to walk at night, but others are being lucrative about it by offering ghost tours around the entire campus.
Villisca Ax Murder House
Let’s be honest, Iowa is just plain strange to begin with. But a state that is home to a place called Zombie Burger is bound to have some spooks of its own. That’s where the Villisca Ax Murder House comes in. The story goes that the owners of the home, the Moore family, had led a routine day on June 9th. The next morning, their neighbor noticed that even by mid-morning the family had not gotten up to do their chores. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that between midnight and 5am of July 10th, all occupants of the house had been bludgeoned to death with an ax. Eight bodies added up to the Moore family plus two house guests. To this day the case remains unsolved, and the spirits of those resident are supposedly still there.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is not only haunted, but is home to some of the most specific phenomena in the Midwest. It is said that a white lady or “white madonna” wanders the grounds on a full moon, carrying an infant. There are also reports of a ghostly farmhouse that has disappeared, shrunk or even floated as passerby’s have approached it. Though most of the paranormal events are recorded as happening in the 1970s and 1980s, there are still sightings on a regular basis, and it is a local hangout for those interested in the paranormal. Perhaps one of the scariest aspects though is that phantom cars are seen trying to cause accidents!
For those who have ever visited St. Paul, many will remember it as a friendly place oozing with Midwest hospitality. However, the city is hiding a dark secret within the Griggs Mansion. The Griggs Mansion is the most haunted spot in St. Paul and has rooms that have been described as ‘cavernous’ due to their high-ceilinged design. It is said to be home to six or seven entities that manifest themselves in the forms of a young maid, a gardener, a child apparition, a thin man in a black suit, a teenager, Amy, and a Civil War general, perhaps Chauncey Griggs, the original owner of the mansion. The maid is said to be seen the most, as she died tragically when she hung herself from the fourth floor landing.
2-10 S Summit Ct, St Paul, MN, USA, +1 651 265 2255
Ohio State (Mansfield) Reformatory
One of the most popular subjects for travel-inspired ghost hunting shows, the Ohio State Reformatory is reportedly one of the most haunted places on earth. It is said that conditions of the Reformatory were completely dismal, with reports of abuse and torture. Many guests feel uneasy near the infirmary, and others say that they hear the voices of the warden and his wife as they approach his quarters. The movie The Shawshank Redemption (1994) was also filmed here, though it has not been said whether or not the cast and crew experienced anything paranormal.
100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH, USA, +1 419 522 2644
The Pfister Hotel
Milwaukee as a city is not overly known for being haunted, but the Pfister Hotel is certainly the city’s most active site. This title is taken very seriously, and is even advertised on the hotel’s website! The hotel gained national notoriety when the spirits that occupied it targeted Major League Baseball players. Carlos Gomez began hearing voices, Adrian Beltre had his television turn on and off, and numerous other players describe the location as extremely creepy.
Congress Plaza Hotel
The neon sign for the Congress Hotel punctures the Chicago skyline and cannot be ignored. The hotel was originally built to house visitors to the Chicago World’s Fair, an event that was overshadowed by the equally macabre history of H.H. Holmes. Al Capone was even said to have taken up residence under a pseudonym, and guests claim to see him from time to time. Another super-permanent resident of the Congress is “Peg Leg Johnny” who was said to have been murdered in the hotel. Two other fascinating rumors are that there are bodies of work men buried in the walls and that bridesmaids tend not to show up in wedding photos. Legend has it that there is a room on the 12th floor that has been bolted shut due to terrifying paranormal activity.
When life gives you lemons, make beer … at least that’s what John Lemp did! When Johann Adam Lemp came to America from Germany he originally tried to make it as a grocer. However, Lemp soon realized that he possessed a unique skill – the ability to brew lager. St. Louis provided phenomenal conditions for brewing, and so a star was born. The Lemp family kept up the brewery and became wildly successful before falling from grace. After tragic deaths and bouts of both mental and physical illness, the Lemp line eventually died out. Their mansion is said to be one of the 10 most haunted places in America. Particular hot spots in the mansion include the stairway, the attic, and what the staff refers to as, the “Gates of Hell” in the basement.
3322 Demenil Pl, St. Louis, MO, USA, +1 314 664 8024
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