Ignite some fright into your vacation, and book a stay at one of these haunted bed and breakfasts where ghostly spirits and apparitions roam the halls. Visitors and innkeepers have become accustomed to spirited pranks and unusual sounds. The ghosts many believe are responsible for them -- some angry spirits and some playful -- promise to make a night at the inn more interesting.
Lizzie Borden Bread and Breakfast
Fall River, Massachusetts
Lizzie Borden may have been found not guilty of the violent murder of her father and stepmother in 1892, but in the public's eye she was always the prime suspect of the bloody hatchet murders. This long unsolved mystery still attracts attention, especially because the ghost of all 3 of the main characters in this horror story are said to lurk around the house today. Guests can spend the night in the rooms where the bodies of Abby and John Borden were found or just take a tour of the house between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. The innkeepers embrace their otherworldly residents: They offer ghost hunter university classes and crime re-enactments and have a museum gift shop on-site that sells coffee mugs, T-shirts, books and even a Lizzie Borden bobblehead wielding a bloody ax.
New Orleans, Louisiana
In a town filled with ghost stories, the Magnolia Mansion capitalizes on the New Orleans frequented by vampires, ghosts and the people who love them. The ghosts at this B & B are fun-loving pranksters who move personal belongings, especially shoes, and make their presence known in filmy orbs in photographs. The ghostly shenanigans are centered on the Vampire Lover's Lair, a luxurious room draped with rich gold and red fabrics on a carved wooden canopy bed that is modeled after the king-sized beauty in the movie "Interview With a Vampire." Continue your spirited getaway to New Orleans with a vampire tour and moonlight stroll through the city's famously haunted cemeteries.
About an hour and a half from the Twin Cities, Annandale, MN, is a quiet town with winding roads, lakeside views and a hotbed of paranormal activity all taking place at Thayer's bed and breakfast. The Ghost Hunting 101 package includes a night at the haunted inn and class time with instructor psychic Sharon Gammell. Guests may encounter Gus Thayer, the former landlord from the late 19th century who leaves pennies around in unusual pages, as well as his wife, Caroline. There are even 3 ghost kittens that can be seen, and even heard purring, around the inn.
The Red Garter
Celebrate the Old West with a stay at the Red Garter, an old-time bordello on Saloon Row restored to its former glory of the 1890s. The bed and breakfast has 4 rooms, each with its own bathroom. In keeping with the old-time spirit, the ghost of Eve, a long-haired beauty, makes occasional appearances. This gentle spirit is known to be shy, only appearing to some guests and making her presence known in subtle gestures like a late-night trip up and down the stairs or a slight brush of the arm. After you've explored this unique ghost town, check out the area's historic and natural wonders at the Grand Canyon, Sedona and along Route 66, all just a short drive away.
General Stanton Inn
Charlestown, Rhode Island
The Stanton Inn is a historic spot in Rhode Island dating back to the days of the early settlers in the New World. When it was built in 1667, the house was a single room used as a school for the children of owner Thomas Stanton as well as local Native American children. Over time, more rooms were added to the home, and the mansion first became an inn after the Revolutionary War. It was a hotbed of activity for gamblers and travelers passing through during Prohibition, but the ghosts who roam this haunted bed and breakfast today are said to be generally mild-mannered: Some visitors to the Washington Room claim to have been touched by unseen forces while others have witnessed ghostly apparitions.
Gettysburg was the site of the bloodiest battle during the Civil War, so it's no surprise to ghost hunters that many sad and damaged spirits still lurk around the town. The Farnsworth House celebrates the memory of the war's deceased soldiers. Its rooms are filled with antiques and old-time decor, and it offers generous hospitality. A full breakfast is served in the dining room under historic Civil War photos, while dinner is a throwback to the Civil War era with homey soups, hearty sides and the signature dish of game pie. Head to the attic where guides dressed in period garb introduce you to the ghosts of Farnsworth House, including soldiers, a weeping nurse, a playful young boy and a curious cat. Afterward, continue your tour with a visit to nearby Confederate hospitals.
Ghost City Inn
The Ghost City Inn originally served as a boarding house for managers overseeing the gold mines in 1890, but it was also an ashram and a restaurant before opening its doors to overnight guests as a B & B in 1994. The inn was restored with cozy rooms and cheerful decor with great views of Verde Valley and Sedona's red rocks in the distance. Guests have described ghostly experiences including slamming doors and unidentified voices as well as apparitions of a female spirit in the Cleopatra Hill room. For more ghost adventures, take a short stroll through town to the Crib District where residents believe the sad spirits of the town's former prostitutes, including that of ghost story legend Sammie Dean, still walk the streets.
The National Hotel
In the heart of California's Gold Country, Jamestown is just 1 of the towns where purported spirits still roam the streets, some looking for lost fortune and others pining for lost loves. The inn's ghost Flo is one of the many spirits that have lingered since she followed her love to the National Hotel in 1859. Henry was tragically murdered in the hotel's lobby before they could marry, and she died of a broken heart shortly thereafter. Locals say Flo is a gentle soul who plays pranks like switching off lights and dumping out suitcases, though occasionally guests hear an unseen women sobbing in the hotel. There are 9 rooms in the bed and breakfast, filled with period antiques and frilly curtains reminiscent of the olden days, and Flo is said to spend most of her time in the second floor rooms.
Eliza Thompson House
Savannah is believed to be one of the most haunted towns in the South, and the Eliza Thompson boasts a number of resident spirits that guests swear roam the halls. The stately house was the first built on Jones Street in 1847 and the elegant space served as a private home, a doctor's office and a dentist's office before becoming an inn in 1977. Despite updates over the years and the modernizing of the rooms, some things stay the same. Confederate soldiers are said to lurk by the windows on the upper levels and a young girl in a white dress has reportedly caught visitors by surprise passing through the hall.
The Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, Louisiana
This antebellum mansion was a glorious plantation when it was built in 1796 and the Southern charm remains with cozy rockers on the wide verandah, 10 acres of towering oaks and 11 guest rooms with stained glass, crystal chandeliers and antique furnishings. Guests say they've experienced paranormal encounters with the plantation's ghosts, a motley crew of spirits including Chloe, a former plantation slave who allegedly poisoned the family of the house and was hanged for punishment. The most haunted spot in the house is thought to be the grand piano on the first floor that plays itself and the hallway mirror, where apparitions of the souls who were killed in the house over the centuries are said to manifest themselves to guests.