Every state has its legends of haunted hotels, spooky homes, and even ghostly tourist attractions. These nightmarish spaces have been inducted into local legends, retelling the stories of those who once lived there—and those who may have never left. In most cases, you’re safe from a spook if you don’t go inside…right? Well, what if I told you that there are some areas of the country where otherworldly sightings are more common than others?
Based on paranormal data from Ghost Sightings of America and the Shadowlands Haunted Places, Treetopia determined the most haunted states in America. Texas topped the list with 7,315 recorded sightings. “Between the spirits of the Alamo’s soldiers and the mysterious ‘Marfa Lights,’ it’s no surprise that Texas wins out as the spookiest state,” says Treetopia.
California comes in as a close second on Treetopia’s by-state list, with 6,888 ghostly interactions, some of which stem from the infamous Roosevelt Hotel. Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois landing round out the top five spots, but every U.S. state has its fair share of paranormal activity. Treetopia looked at the number of reported ghost sightings to determine which towns and cities were the most haunted and Texas snagged the top spot yet again with nearly 192 sightings in El Paso alone. The city is home to both the De Soto Hotel, “known to house spirits in the basement,” and the Concordia Cemetery where “dozens of shadowy figures have been caught on camera rolls throughout the years.”
There may be a deeper association here, too: as anthropology professor Tok Thompson told House Beautiful last month, “we’re haunted by our moral lapses.” So if there are tons of reported hauntings cropping up in a place where a violent event occurred, perhaps it’s also an indication of a past trauma that has not been laid to rest or properly addressed (just this summer, Texas politicians canceled a book event intended to address the role of slavery in the history of The Alamo).
As homes to military bases rumored to be filled with long-forgotten soldiers, Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Fort Benning, Georgia, also rank highly with 87 and 68 ghost sightings, respectively. Bakersfield, California is also home to a few spooks with a recorded 85 sightings.
But fear not! If encountering a ghoul or ghost isn’t quite something you’re up for, Delaware is the place to be. With only 128 total sightings reported in the state, it comes in last on the list. Keep your chances of spotting a ghost even lower by avoiding Wilmington, which accounts for 13 of those encounters.
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