Andrew Pyper is the author of seven bestselling supernatural thrillers, most recently The Damned (which is being developed for film by Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures) available now from sister company Simon And Schuster. His previous books include The Demonologist (winner of the International Thriller Writers Award) and Lost Girls (a New York Times Notable Book).
Spring is here, and with the first buds on the trees a ghost hunters’ fancy turns to the open road. What better time to set off across America to visit the creepiest places the country has to offer? Of course, you’ll want the places to be just a little off the beaten track so the spell won’t be broken by a gift shop at the end. But wherever you’re headed, keep you’re camera at the ready and always – always – stick together.
Shades Of Death Road
Warren, New Jersey 07059
Seeing as this is a road trip, let’s start with a haunted highway. In Warren County, New Jersey, you’ll find Shades of Death Road (often simply called The Shades). Travel its length with eyes peeled and seatbelts securely fastened, as a number of strange sightings – ghostly hitchhikers, figures reaching out from the trees – have been spotted, as well as a number of fatal and often inexplicable car accidents.
Read House Hotel
827 Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402
Heading south, a night in the Read House Hotel in Chattanooga would be worthwhile – but only if Room 311 is available. There, a female spectre has been widely reported to make herself visible in the night, often joining single male guests in their beds.
Adams Grove Presbyterian Church
Dallas County 55
Sardis, Alabama 36775
You can’t go wrong with a stop at the Adams Grove Presbyterian Church near Sardis, Alabama. Originally built in 1853, not only is this abandoned structure reported to be highly active with presences and voices whispering near the ears of those who walk its grounds, the place is a beautiful example of Greek Revival architecture in decrepitude, with Spanish Moss hanging off nearby trees and the humid air licking around its front columns.
Owyhee County, Idaho 83604
If you climb into these hills you’ll discover a multitude of caves. In some, according to native Shoshone accounts, dwarfish creatures with long tails live, all of them possessed by a powerful demon. Described as roughly two-feet tall and with long tails, these monsters are physically powerful, as they’ve been witnessed carrying off elk and deer into the caves, along with human children.
Bodie, California 93517
While the choices of ghoulish sites in the Golden State are numerous, make your way to the ghost town of Bodie, high in the Sierra Nevada range in Mono County. Now a protected National Historic Landmark, Bodie is unsettling even in the midday sun, its tilting buildings empty, the windows hungrily staring out at the living. It’s a place populated with many spirits – prospectors, traders, preachers, cooks – and you can just feel them there, watching.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Highway 101-Mile Marker #178 & 1/4th
Yachats, Oregon 97498
The site where a mysterious “Gray Lady” has been frequently seen, this spirit is said to belong to Rue, a woman who lost her child (an infant’s grave was discovered on the property). Rue can be playful, but dislikes people changing things in the buildings or on the grounds, so tread lightly to avoid getting on her bad side.