Much to my delight I have found that more and more people love to be scared, and are fascinated by the idea of visiting haunted sites. As a result I am often asked what it is like to be a ghost hunter and where one goes to find ghosts.
The answers are simple, ghost hunting involves only an open mind and a great deal of curiosity and ghosts can be found virtually anywhere. I have therefore decided to share some of the better sites I know about in the hope that if you love to travel anyway, you will take some time to seek out those who were there long before you.
Many of my articles on Themestream have dealt with ghosts of the west. The towns of Tombstone and Bisbee, Arizona abound with spirits as do places in the southern desert such as Tubac and the Mission at Tumacaroi, both just south of Tucson. Then there are the ghosts of Calico, California including the phantom of Dorsey, the Wonder Dog.
Other western sites of note are the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico, featured on televisions "Unsolved Mysteries" and in my upcoming book, "Riders in the Sky: The Ghosts and Legends of Philmont Scout Ranch." The St. James has at least four active spirits including a cowboy named T.J. In Wyoming there are the ghosts who inhabit the Fort Laramie Historical site, and Kansas has the "Blue Light Lady" who regularly appears at the Fort Hays State Historical site.
A visit to the Little Big Horn Battlefield in Montana is well worth the trip since there are a number of lively ghosts there; as is the case with more battlefields. The most notable spot is Reno's crossing. The Chico Hot Springs Resort in Pray, Montana is also a notorious haunted site. In Texas, the city of San Antonio boasts of many haunted locations, including the Alamo itself.
In the deep south you can visit almost any plantation home in Natchez, Mississippi and hear about their resident spirits and I have written extensively about the hauntings at Kings Tavern. South of Natchez on the Mississippi River you can visit the Civil War battlefield and plantation homes of Vicksburg where those who died in the siege in 1863 are said to roam.
In the French Quarter in New Orleans there are ghost tours available almost every night which take you to such places as the St. Louis Cemetery and pirate Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith shop. I suggest that before you take such a tour you visit O'Flaherty's Irish Pub on Toulouse Street, which claims its own female spirit on the second floor. A few pints of Guiness and some great Irish music will fortify you for the frights ahead.
North of Baton Rouge, Louisiana you can spend the night at Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, which claims to be the most haunted house in America. If you are in south Florida you may want to head for Key West and search for the ghost of Ernest Hemingway, among others.
In Virginia you can take a ghost tour of Old Town in Alexandria, or cross the Potomac River into Washington D.C. where there are numerous ghosts, including those who inhabit the White House and Capitol building. Also in the area are numerous Civil War battlefields where the warriors of both north and south are still said to be fighting for their causes.
These are just a few of the more famous locations. You can visit virtually any place in America and find haunted houses, historic sites, or urban legends. Don't be afraid to ask, for I have found that as much as people like to hear ghost stories, those who have had experiences enjoy telling them even more.