If you're thinking that that place is your couch with a bowl of popcorn and a scary movie, toughen up. The real scares lie inside the often-dilapidated walls of America's real haunted houses.
Terror tourists, pack up the car and the stress snacks. This Friday the 13th will be the spookiest (and the most fun) of your life.
1. Lizzie Borden House — Fall River, Massachusetts
This one's not for the faint of heart. As the story goes, Lizzie Borden hacked her parents to death with a hatchet in this house way back in 1892. Although Lizzie was found not guilty, the people in her hometown of Fall River never quite believed she was innocent, and no one else was ever charged with the murders. The highly publicized case spurned nursery rhymes, a television miniseries and, rumor has it, a movie is in the works.
The house is now open to the public, offering daily tours and overnight stays. For those who can't get there in person, subscribe to the ghost cam to watch for action online.
2. Winchester Mystery House — San Jose, California
This maze of hallways, secret passageways, staircases and ghosts was once the home of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester.
Legend has it that, after her husband's and infant daughter's deaths, a medium told Winchester — through her late husband — that she should build a home for herself and the many ghosts of people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles. With a $20.5 million inheritance, Winchester did just that. Today, the insane mansion still stands and is open to the public for tours daily.
3. The Grove — Jefferson, Texas
When we think "haunted house," we generally think gargoyle-protected mansion, but The Grove in Jefferson, Texas, looks more like the porch-front property of your childhood drawings. What lies inside, however, is less than idyllic.
Rumors of hauntings go back to 1882, when a man named T.C. Burke purchased the home and reportedly left within a month's time, leaving no explanation aside from a muttering that he and his family could not live there. Since then, the ghost stories have come in droves.
The Grove offers hour-long guided tours through the historical and haunted home.
4. Myrtles Plantation — St. Francisville, Louisiana
High on the hill in St. Francisville lies a beautiful home with a 300-pound Baccarat crystal chandelier and a rumored dozen or so ghosts floating around. Two of these spirits have appeared in photographs: One, the more famous of the two, has been named Chloe, a slave girl who reportedly appeared in photographs that an insurance company took in 1992. The other is simply known as "The Ghost Girl" and appeared in a photograph taken of some visitors. In both instances, research indicates the photos are authentic (not doctored) and the apparitions remain a mystery.
5. 17Hundred90 Inn — Savannah, Georgia
You'll get a little more than the bed and breakfast you paid for if you stay in room 204 at this inn, which has been open since 1820. The haunted room is reportedly home to eternal lodger Anna, who, heartbroken because her sailor lover skipped town, committed suicide by jumping from the balcony of her room.
If you're lucky (or unlucky, depending upon how you look at it), you'll wake up to the sounds of a lovelorn spirit sobbing, or a few of your belongings inexplicably rearranged.
6. Whaley House — San Diego, California
This creepy-as-hell house is riddled with ghosts (or so the rumors say) that have been roaming the halls and spooking visitors since the place was constructed in the mid-1800s. The earliest documented ghost at the residence is named "Yankee Jim" -– a convicted criminal who was hanged on a gallows off the back of a wagon until he was finally pulled off and strangled to death.
Thomas Whaley, a spectator at the execution, bought the property and reported of Yankee Jim's haunting. But it doesn't end there: Since Whaley's death, many visitors have reported seeing Whaley, a long-haired girl and even a fox terrier in the home.
This very haunted San Diego property holds Ghost Presence tours and Silent Screams movie screenings to level up on the fear factor.
7. Villisca Ax Murder House – Villisca, Iowa
In 1912, a killer entered this Iowa farmhouse and bludgeoned Josiah Moore, his wife, their four children and two other visiting children to death with an ax.
To this day, the brutal murderer's identity remains a mystery — but the house the victims inhabited is still standing and a site for the public to get their spooky fix. Very brave horror hunters can stay in the house overnight, but those who aren't quite ready for that level of scare can make it a day visit.
Wrtitten By Chloe Scheider