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The 20 Best Creepy Ghost Towns to Visit in the U.S.

Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina

When Fall is in the air our thoughts turn to the advent of the holiday season. For our family, Halloween marks the official start of the season. We love to watch the old scary movies on television and go to the local pumpkin patch to enjoy the festivities offered. A trip to the local haunted house is also a seasonal event, but for those who are interested in the paranormal, you don't have to wait for the Halloween season to experience a haunted location. America is littered with places that have reputations for being haunted. If you're looking for the scariest adventure of your life, check out some of the places we highlight in our list of the 20 best creepy ghost towns to visit in the U.S.

Calico Ghost Town, California

20. Calico Ghost Town, California

Calico, California was at one time a mining hot spot. The town has been turned into a tourist attraction and it is registered as a California historical landmark. The Calico Odessa Railroad takes you through the town so you can get a good view of all of the sites. You can also sign up for one of the ghost tours that take you through the paranormal aspects of the ghost town and learn about the creepy stories about the once-thriving mining town, according to Country Living.

Goldfield, Arizona

19. Goldfield, Arizona

Goldfield was a mining town that boomed toward the letter part of the 1800s. Its heyday was short-lived when the town dried up in 1898. The town was rejuvenated and renamed Youngberg at the start of the 1920s, but within 5 years it w once again defunct. This town has been made a tourist attraction that offers a reptile exhibit, horseback rides, a zipline, a saloon, a museum, and several merchants.

St. Elmo, Colorado

18. St. Elmo, Colorado

St. Elmo was formerly called Forest City but was renamed St. Elmo later. It was a mining town that peaked in its population at 2000 residents. The mining industry failed and by 1930 only 7 residents remained. St. Elmo is reported to be one of the most haunted places in the state of Colorado. You can visit the site and see the general store and hotel which is rumored to be haunted by its long-deceased and former owners.

Bodie, California

17. Bodie, California

Bodie was a mining town that was a popular hotspot for gold rushers in the middle 1800s. the town has been abandoned for the last 150 years. you can still walk through the mining shacks and find tables set and ready for a meal, with some supplies still on the shelves of restaurants and shops. Bodie is rumored to be haunted by its former residents and it's one of the spookiest places in California.

Cahawba, Alabama

16. Cahawba, Alabama

Cahawba is the most famous ghost town in Alabama. It was at one time the state's first capital between 1820 and 1825. It was established as a cotton trading and transport hub before the Civil War. Many freed slaves lived there at the end of the war. By the year 1900, it had become a ghost town. The ruins, abandoned streets, and numerous cemeteries are known for being haunted. It's one of the creepiest ghost towns in the state, according to Time Out.

Bannack, Montana

15. Bannack, Montana

Bannack was a mining town in Montana that has a long history of murders, robberies, and other tragedies. It is reported to be one of the most haunted ghost towns in America. This city has drawn so much public attention from its paranormal activity that it was featured on an episode of "Ghost Adventures" aired on the Travel Channel. It was established in 1862 when gold was discovered on Grasshopper Creek. The town was out of business by 1950. The remains still stand with more than 60 structures you can explore if you dare.

Rhyolite, Nevada

14. Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite is a ghost town that is situated in Death Valley, in the state of Nevada. At the turn of the 20th century, it was a bustling mining town with gold drawing crowds early in the 1900s. When the 1907 financial crisis hit, the town was adversely impacted and within five short years, it was all but abandoned. It was the setting for the sci-fi thriller "The Island." It's known for its creepy vibe and is still open to the public for exploration.

Doom Town, Nevada

13. Doom Town, Nevada

Doom Town is one of the creepiest ghost towns you will ever visit. it is a relic from the Atomic Age that reminds us of the fear that gripped the nation during the cold war years. It is a Nevada National Security Site property and they provide free tours once per month. It was used as a test site for an atomic bomb on May 5, 1955. The town was set up to be a typical American town with mannequins placed in their homes going about everyday duties. There is even food on the kitchen tables and cars in the driveways. The name Doom Town fits this one-time atomic test site perfectly.

Garnet, Montana

12. Garnet, Montana

Garnet is a gold rush town in Montana that was established in 1895. almost a thousand homesteaders and miners populated the town during the late 1800s. It didn't thrive for long through. By the year 1912, most residents had moved away but they left behind a couple of dozen wooden buildings. The preserved quality of this mining town is nothing short of amazing. It is maintained by volunteers who provide tours for room and board in the rustic Garnet cabin. This is a ghost town that has many reports of paranormal sightings and strange noises after dark.


11. Helltown, Ohio

Helltown is not only one of the creepiest ghost towns in Ohio, it is also one of the darkest with the most bloody and disturbing reputation. The town's past is shuddering to contemplate. It was the home of cult ritual practitioners, satan worshippers, and serial killers who murdered children. Ghostly figures have been seen in this ghost town. There are still remnants of boarded-up houses with crumbling bridges, an old school bus, and old farm equipment.

Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina

10. Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina

This old ghost town was used to film "Hunger Games" as District 12. The town was founded in 1905, as a mill town that had a strong economy until the mill was shut down in 1973. By 1987 the last resident left and it officially became a ghost town. It was purchased by a family in 2017 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a popular site in North Carolina for Halloween activities and ghost tours because of how creepy it feels.

Terlingua, Texas

9. Terlingua, Texas

Terlingua is a town that is located in the Big Bend National Park that borders the country of Mexico. The legends claim that this is one of the most haunted ghost towns in the state of Texas. It was a former mining town that was known for its mining of cinnabar, which is laden with toxic mercury. You can imagine how many people became sick and died from their exposure to toxic metal. Terlingua is a ghost town that still holds the ruins of mine shafts and decaying buildings.

Kalapana, Hawaii

8. Kalapana, Hawaii

Kalapana was a Hawaiian town that was abandoned when Mout Kilauea erupted, spewing molten lava towards the city. Flows of lava have since hardened into the infamous black rocks after the volcano reclaimed all but a few buildings. The landscape in this area is so eerie that it earned a reputation for being the creepiest ghost town on the big island.

Cairo, Illinois

7. Cairo, Illinois

Cairo is a town that was highlighted in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. It was the destination of freed slaves and once a bustling town on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, at the confluence of the two. It was a going concern when the ferry and riverboat industries were at their peak, but when both collapsed, Cairo became a casualty. Today it is nothing more than a collection of the remnants of buildings and ruins. It has a sad and creepy feel and it's one of the creepiest ghost towns in Illinois.

Bara-Hack, Connecticut

6. Bara-Hack, Connecticut

Bara-Hack is one of the earliest settlements in the state of Connecticut. The now ghost town was established in the 1790s as a colonial village. It was a place where optimistic colonists attempted to forge a new way of life. The town was abandoned before the advent of the Civil War and has been in the process of being reclaimed by the wilderness. Now it is little more than ruins of what once was one of the first towns in America, with a reputation for being a creepy spot with paranormal activity.

Spectre, Alabama

5. Spectre, Alabama

Spectre is an Alabama ghost town that even has a creepy name. It's one of the most recent ghost towns in the country, but it is one of the creepiest. It is a town that was built by director Tim Burton to built this fictional town for the 2003 film "Big Fish," starring Ewan MacGregor. After filming, the set became a ghost town that is populated with old saloons, and facades that are in a state of disrepair and decay. This is easily one of the creepiest old ghost towns in the area.

Ruby, Arizona

4. Ruby, Arizona

Ruby is an old town in Arizona that started as a mining town. The area was rich in silver, gold, lead, copper, and zinc. Miners flocked to the area to try their luck at getting rich. Ruby was named after the owner of the first general store in the town. The town has a long history of being filled with mayhem and murder. A book was written on the topic titled "Ruby, Arizona: Mining, Mayhem & Murder." This gives you an idea of the atrocities that took place in the town. Many grisly crimes were committed at The Ruby Mercantile. The store still stands along with a courthouse, warehouse, and restored school. This spooky ghost town is open to the public for exploration.

Gay City, Connecticut

3. Gay City, Connecticut

According to Thrillist, Gay City started as a mill town It is near Dudleytown and Johnsonville, which are also old ghost towns in the vicinity. The entire area is reputed to be teeming with a dark vortex of demonic energy. there are legends of ghosts and other paranormal activities in the area. A former blacksmith of the town is said to have had a penchant for decapitation. Gay City offers many tales of horrendous and violent activities in its past. Gay City is rumored to be one of the most haunted and creepy places in the state.

Blue Heron, Kentucky

2. Blue Heron, Kentucky

Blue Heron is a town in Kentucky founded in 1937. Blue Heron grew because of the burgeoning coal industry with many mines in the area. The mines were operational until 1962, at which time the settlement became abandoned. It became a ghost town that was officially rebuilt during the 1980s to preserve its historical value. There are several remnants of the past in this town. It is now the site of an annual Ghost tour train that takes riders on a tour of the old mines, creaky buildings, and the train depot. It's' one of the scariest ghost towns in all of Kentucky.

Hanton City, Rhode Island

1. Hanton City, Rhode Island

Hanton City is a ghost town that also has a reputation for being one of the most haunted in the country. While the town doesn't even appear on some historical records, seeing it is believing. If it's there, it has to exist right? Some ruins show a well with crumbling stone walls and other remnants of the past. This town is rumored to date back to colonial times. There is also a creepy old cemetery to make this one of Rhode Island's creepiest ghost towns.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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