Do you believe in the supernatural? Almost one in five people surveyed by Pew Research a few years back said they had seen a ghost at least once, while almost a third (29%) said they had felt the presence of someone who had died. Whether you believe or are a confirmed skeptic, you can indulge your taste for the paranormal at haunted houses in towns and cities across the country.
Here we count down 13 spooky residences that you can actually visit this Halloween season -- or, indeed, at any time of the year -- complete with the cost of admission.
The Octagon House
Location: Washington, D.C.
One of the oldest homes in D.C., the Octagon House was completed in 1801 for John Tayloe III, a wealthy Virginia planter, and played a role in the War of 1812. The earliest reported haunting was the mysterious ringing of the servants’ call bells, even after the house ceased to have servants. The ringing stopped after the bells were removed. Two women and at least one man allegedly haunt the property, all of whom are said to have suffered violent deaths. Now owned by the American Institute of Architects, the house is open to visitors from 1-4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
The Whaley House
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Price: $8 for daytime admission
Built in by Thomas Whaley in 1857 on the site of public gallows, the property -- now a museum -- is supposedly haunted by the original owner and his wife and daughter. Employees and visitors still experience strange sights and sounds, including ghostly footsteps, doors closing and locking on their own, and crying from a baby when none are present.
The Ferry Plantation House
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
Price: $10 for general admission
At this historic manor, paranormal enthusiasts can get almost a dozen ghosts for the price of one. The house, built in 1830, is reported to be home to 11 different spirits, including people who died in a nearby shipwreck, a former slave, and former residents. Today the house is a museum and visitor center offering historical activities and ghost tours.
The Villisca Ax Murder House
Location: Villisca, Iowa
Price: $10 per person 12 and over
The “murder house” name derives from the 1912 slaying of eight people: then-owner J.B. Moore, his wife and four children, and two guests. The murder has never been solved, but witnesses and paranormal experts say the victims’ ghosts are still hanging around waiting for justice. For those brave enough, the site offers overnight stays for up to six people for $428 per night.
The House of the Seven Gables
Location: Salem, Mass.
Price: $14 for adults
Sea captain John Turner built this house, more properly known as the Turner-Ingersoll mansion, in 1667—but it didn't gain its fame until 1851, when it inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of Seven Gables. The oldest restored wooden home in New England, the mansion has a history of paranormal activity. It’s reported that water faucets and lights turn themselves on and off, even when no one is around, and visitors report a benign female presence throughout the mansion. A few even claim to have seen the woman—thought to be a later owner, Susan Ingersoll—peering out of a window before disappearing. Today, the building is a National Historic Landmark and visitors can take guided tours.
The Myrtles Plantation
Location: St. Francisville, La.
Price: $15 for “Mystery Tour”
A traditional plantation build in 1797, the house has allegedly seen at least a dozen deaths -- including that of William Drew Winter, who was stabbed to death in 1871 and died trying to climb the front steps for help. Visitors and employees report many paranormal activities, including mysterious rearranging of furniture, a piano that randomly plays by itself, and objects disappearing. In addition to tours, you can spend the night starting at $148 for a room in the now historic bed & breakfast.
The Lizzie Borden House
Location: Fall River, Mass.
Price: $18 for tour
This house is the site of the grisly slaying of Abby and Andrew Jackson Borden in 1892. Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her father and step-mother, and stood trial almost a year later. She was acquitted, but chose to move to a new house at the edge of town. However, her ghost -- along with those of her father, stepmother and a maid -- has been reported to haunt the property, now a bed and breakfast. Those curious enough to visit can stay overnight starting at $200.
The Lemp Mansion
Location: St. Louis
Price: $25 for the “Haunted History” tour
Operating today as a restaurant and inn, the Lemp Mansion is known for the four suicides by members of the Lemp family, whose ghosts are said to haunt the premises. The deaths occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, during the rise and fall of the Lemp Brewery (which later became the Falstaff brand).
The Winchester Mystery House
Location: San Jose, Calif.
Price: up to $36 for tours of the mansion
Built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Winchester, the 160-room mansion is an architectural treasure trove, complete with hidden passages, doors to nowhere and a séance room. As the story goes, Sarah Winchester visited a medium after her husband and child died, who told her to build a home for the spirits of people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles. Whether or not the ghosts actually moved in is up for debate, although the widow allegedly steered clear of mirrors to make the house more hospitable to spirits -- and the mansion that grew out of her building boom is certainly creepy.
Location: Port Townsend, Wash.
Price: Rooms start at $109 a night
Completed in 1892, Manresa was modeled after French Renaissance-style chateaus and originally intended as a hotel. But owner Charles Eisenbeis turned it into a family home after the project collapsed, and it later became a Jesuit school. Two ghosts took up residence along the way: a monk who supposedly hung himself in the attic and a woman waiting for her fiancé to return from war.
The Sallie House
Location: Atchison, Kan.
Price: $150 for groups of 10 (on weekends)
The house, built in late 1800s, is home to a ghost named Sallie. Legend has it that the local doctor who lived in the house was treating a little girl when she died. A family that moved into the house in 1993 experienced violent paranormal activity, with the husband receiving multiple, unexplained scratches. Several paranormal investigators have explored the site and the local chamber of commerce offers the chance to stay overnight, at a cost of $100 per person for up to four people.
The Croke Patterson Mansion
Price: Rooms start at $208 per night
Although the house was built in the late 19th century by Thomas B. Croke, legend has it that he only entered the house once -- and was so shaken by the experience that he never returned, and sold the place two years later. The mansion has seen many occupants over the years and undergone several renovations, including one in the 1970s that was plagued by several paranormal incidents. In the worst, workmen arrived one morning to find the two Dobermans who had been left at the site for security dead on the front walkway -- having apparently jumped to their deaths from the third story. Today, the mansion is a Colorado landmark that is operated as a bed and breakfast.
Location: New Orleans
Price: $4,750 to rent per night
The 1853 house, located in the opulent Garden District, is apparently home to a former slave who stayed on as a caretaker long after her death. Guests and employees report hearing the swishing of "Miss Josephine’s" broom. If the house's history isn't creepy enough for you, take fright from this: The building was the setting for TV show American Horror Story’s third season.