Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Have you ever wondered where you’d haunt if you were a ghost? While the question may seem silly, it opens up a new lens through which we can explore America’s cities as we approach the spookiest time of the year.
We’ve compiled a ranking of the best places for spirits and specters to reside based on factors like the number of cemeteries, “actual” haunted houses, and even reported ghost sightings.
So whether you’re a spirit looking for a new stomping ground or a curious mortal eager to hunt for ghosts in haunted locales, you’ve come to the right place.
What Do Ghosts Look For in a City?
Whether you’ve had a close encounter with the spectral kind or you’re just a fan of spooky lore, you’ve likely wondered where these elusive beings choose to hang out. And no, we’re not talking about your basement or that one creepy hallway in your grandma’s house. We want to know the geographical preferences of our ghostly friends. In other words, what cities could be considered the paranormal playgrounds of America?
To solve this spine-chilling conundrum, we dug deep into metrics that would tickle any ghost’s fancy. We looked at the number of cemeteries, the graves-to-person ratio, reported ghost sightings, and the historical richness of cities. Think of it as real estate for the undead — where would a discerning ghost want to float around? We crunched these eerie numbers like a vampire crunches necks, so get ready to find out where you’re most likely to bump into a phantom on the prowl!
- Springfield, Massachusetts, ranks as the best U.S. city to be a ghost, followed by Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Birmingham, Alabama.
- Miami, Florida, ranks as the worst U.S. city to be a ghost, followed by Seattle, Washington, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Columbia, South Carolina, is the city with the most cemeteries per 100K residents at 136, and Dayton, Ohio, has the most graves per person at 2.5, compared to the national averages of 19.9 and 0.7, respectively.
The 10 Best U.S. Cities To Be a Ghost
Springfield, Massachusetts, boasts an impressive 13.8 haunted houses per 100K households and buildings with a median age of 64 years old, offering that vintage flair. The city also has 6.6 mediums per 100K people, ensuring that spirits can communicate with their loved ones among the living.
In Scranton, Pennsylvania, historical architecture is abundant, with 32.2% of houses built before 1940. Sprinkle in 35.1 cemeteries per 100K people and a search interest for ghosts of 74 out of 100 (third highest in the study), and you have a city where the spectral and the living can coexist.
Birmingham, Alabama, stands out with 14.7 haunted houses per 100K households and 29.6 cemeteries per 100K people. Birmingham is a hotspot for ghosts looking to make a ghoulish match, with 2.4 haunted house attractions per 100K people, giving them plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle.
For ghosts interested in trending on the spectral social media, Syracuse, New York, is the place to be. Any specter looking to build their fanbase should look no further, as Syracuse comes in with an above-average overall search interest for ghosts of 62 out of 100. Couple this with a graves-per-person ratio of 1.5 and 24.2% of homes built before 1940, and Syracuse offers a historical backdrop for haunting activities.
So, whether you’re an old soul who appreciates historic homes or a modern specter looking for a vibrant haunting community, the above cities offer something for every phantom looking for their forever haunt.
The Best Cities for Ghost Sightings and Ghostly Environments
Not all haunts are created equal. Some ghosts prefer the spotlight — haunting houses, appearing in photographs, or even communicating through mediums. Some spirits are more elusive, relishing the eerie atmospheres of old buildings, cemeteries, and locales steeped in history. In other words, some cities are better for actual ghost sightings, while others offer a perfectly eerie environment. See which cities excel in each category below.
Top Cities for Ghost Sightings
If you’re looking to capture that elusive ghost selfie or maybe even strike up a conversation with a medium, Springfield, Massachusetts, should be at the top of your list. This city makes the cut again with a staggering 13.8 haunted houses per 100K households and 6.6 mediums per 100K people, practically making it Hollywood for ghosts.
Wichita, Kansas, comes in strong with 5.56 ghost sightings per 100K people. With 6 haunted houses per 100K households as well, this city offers many opportunities to come face to face with the otherworldly.
Similarly, Akron, Ohio, has 1.9 ghost sightings per 100K people and 7.9 haunted houses per 100K households, making it a city where the specters are anything but shy.
Top Cities for Ghostly Environments
Again, Scranton, Pennsylvania, is your go-to if you’re after that spine-tingling ambiance. Over 32.2% of the houses were built before 1940, and there are 35.1 cemeteries per 100K people. Let’s just say it’s the kind of place that makes you want to carry a flashlight, even during the day.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there are 2.4 graves per person, and the median age of buildings is 64 years old. The city itself is marinated in history and eeriness, creating a haven for the ghosts who prefer their haunting grounds to have a certain vintage charm.
Last but not least, Syracuse, New York, reappears again, offering a 24.2% rate of houses built before 1940 and 1.5 graves per person. If ghosts had a Tripadvisor, Syracuse would be rated five stars for “Ambiance” and “Historical Significance.”
The Factors Behind the Ghostly Ranking
If you’re passionate about the paranormal, you might find different cities appealing based on specific ghostly metrics. When it comes to standout cities in individual categories, a few localities are off the spectral charts.
El Paso, Texas, is the city with the most ghost sightings per 100K people, clocking in at a remarkable 22.6 — an astounding 975% higher than the national average of 2.1 sightings. El Paso is essentially rolling out the red carpet for apparitions.
Switching gears to haunted dwellings, Tulsa, Oklahoma, takes the trophy with 159.5 haunted houses per 100K households. This crushes the national average of 5.6 haunted homes, making Tulsa the quintessential neighborhood for those who prefer their domestic life with a side of spookiness.
New Orleans, Louisiana, is your city if you’re more interested in commercially-designed frights. With 12.6 haunted house attractions per 100K people, it towers over the national average of 1.2. Essentially, New Orleans offers theme parks for ghosts and thrill-seekers alike.
Lastly, for those looking to communicate with the other side, Las Vegas, Nevada, leads the pack. Home to 8.1 mediums per 100K people, this city is 179% higher than the national average of 2.9 mediums. It’s the go-to city for spirits looking to get a message across.
Your City Guide to Ghost Sightings
Interested in how your city stacks up when it comes to the likelihood of incorporeal encounters or coming across otherwise spooky situations?
We’ve broken down our full data study for all 100 cities we analyzed for you to do just that. Search for your city directly, sort by each column heading individually, or sift through the full data set yourself below!
To determine the best cities to be a ghost, we evaluated the 100 most populous U.S. cities on 11 criteria that would impact a city’s ability to give ghosts a good (haunted) home.
The factors were weighted based on their relative importance to ghosts, ghouls, phantoms, and other such spooky specters. Based on these weights, the individual factors were given scores from 0 to 5 and summed to reach a total score of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions.
|Ghost Sighting Factors|
|Ghost Sightings per 100K People||Ghosts of America|
|Haunted Houses per 100K Households||House Creep|
|Psychic Mediums per 100K People||Yellow Pages|
|Metaphysical Shops per 100K People||Yellow Pages|
|Search Interest for Ghosts||Google Trends|
|Haunted Attractions per 100K People||Fright Find|
|Ghostly Environment Factors|
|Median Build-Year of Buildings||Census|
|% of Buildings Constructed Before 1940||Census|
|% of Vacant Housing Units||Census|
|Cemeteries per 100K People||Find a Grave|
|Graves per Person||Find a Grave|
From El Paso’s frequent ghost sightings to Tulsa’s numerous haunted homes, we’ve traversed the spectral landscape of America’s cities to bring you this ghostly guide.
Whether you’re an apparition seeking the perfect place to settle or a mortal curious about the paranormal, there’s a city for everyone.
At Upgraded Points, we encourage travelers — both of this realm and others — to carefully research the cities they visit. After all, the last thing you want on your trip is to run into hiccups — or unfriendly ghosts.
Featured Image Credit: Upgraded Points
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