The 12 Scariest Southern US Ghost Tours To Add To Your Bucket List

For such a young country, the United States sure has some horrors in its past, some of which are so dark that they have left a permanent mark. The South, as charming as it is, is also home to some of the spookiest, most spine-tingling places in the country. The southern states have seen battle in the Civil War – America's most deadly war – and were largely associated with the Atlantic slave trade, making for an enormous collection of bad energy that seems to have stuck around in the form of paranormal hot spots and otherworldly connections.

Even the most endearing towns and cities have a dark side, and no region knows this better than the South. For ghost chasers and mystery hunters, this could mean some seriously awesome trips to desirable destinations that incorporate historical sites with not-so-nice pasts, and taking a ghost tour can be a great way to experience a city's darker side. Old jailhouses, haunting cemeteries, and reformed hotels are among some of the many historically rich spots covered in the scariest ghost tours of the South.

Dead of Night Ghost Tour by Spooks and Legends

We are starting off our list of hauntings with Virginia, a state which leads in both Civil War battles and amount of slaves wrongfully held around that time – certainly not celebratory feats, but facts that do seem to increase paranormal activity exponentially. Having been at the forefront of the war and speckled with bloody battles, Virginia was decimated during the Civil War. Williamsburg is one city that is still very much affected by the carnage that was once present here, and some of those on the receiving end of such violence are still around as ghostly figures.

History buffs flock to Colonial Williamsburg for an authentic colonial experience, but the entire city is historic and has dark mysteries hidden in its past. Spooks and Legends Ghost Tours allows visitors to see the city under the blanket of the night with a tour that concludes just before midnight. The Dead of Night Ghost Tour takes guests on a journey through the city to locations ripe with hauntings, including the Governor's Palace and the building that housed all of the city's gunpowder where a uniformed soldier has been known to linger. You may come to the Virginian town for a history lesson, but be sure to stay the night and meet some of Williamsburg's oldest residents.

Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour

The charming town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas is famous for its eclectic and artistic residents, but the small town nestled in the Ozarks has a deep-seated darkness. This malevolent presence resides at Crescent Hotel, which was bought by the infamous Norman Baker in the 1930s and marketed the resort as a cancer hospital with a magical cure-all that turned out to be essentially snake oil. Sadly, a lot of hopeful people died there and it remains one of the most haunted places in America.

There have been plenty of well-documented and unexplainable events that have happened and continue to happen at the Crescent Hotel, and some of its century-long paranormal history is laid out in the hotel's own ghost tour. Not only is the paranormal hot spot home to a number of spirits like Michael, one of the masons who helped build the hotel, and Theodora, a cancer patient who speaks to guests, but Crescent Hotel is also said to house a portal to another reality. Located above the morgue, the portal was first identified by a psychic sent in to investigate the property and now odd occurrences happen in the same area, like tour guests becoming faint.

If grazing a portal to another universe or coming face-to-face with one of the hotel's many resident ghosts wasn't scary enough, try your luck and stay the night. Book Room 218 to bunk with Michael or try the lobby bar for a potential run-in with a mysterious mustached man.

After Dark Tour of Historic Scott County Jail

Once a jail that housed maximum security inmates, the historic Scott County Jail in Huntsville, Tennessee has now been turned into a three-story true crime and law enforcement museum. During the day you can appreciate the thick sandstone structure and historical justice system artifacts, but at night private ghost tours and flashlight light tours are available, as the jailhouse is said to be haunted by a number of entities.

The spirit of Jerome Boyette is said to still roam the third floor. The cop killer was only housed at the jail for around a week before a mob rushed the jail and killed the inmate at a secondary location. Criminals aren't the only long-term residents here, though, as the murdered Sheriff Ellis can be heard humming throughout the jail.

Ever walk around a near-empty museum? Exploring a place full of old and historical items can get creepy quickly, and that's just your everyday museum. When you factor in the dark and the bad energy the jailhouse held at one time, it's easy to see why the flashlight tour is so scary. The late-night tour lasts for around three hours, which is plenty of time to investigate each of the floors in length. For those who want to make the experience last, though, an extended investigation can be booked that more than doubles the time spent here – if the ghosts haven't already chased you out, that is.

French Quarter, Cemetery and Voodoo Tour by Witches Brews tours

When it comes to ghost tours, New Orleans reigns king. The mysterious city is one of the most haunted in the entire world and they have made quite the tourism industry on just how spooky they can really get. While most ghost tours in the French Quarter hit all the same infamous spots throughout, Witch Brews Tours also takes tour-goers through Treme, the self-proclaimed birthplace of jazz music.

NOLA is a gritty city to begin with, but if you want more than just a glossed-over look at the paranormal darkness surrounding the city, taking a trip through Treme and its culturally significant Congo Square is a good place to start. Witch Brews Tours' 3-in-1 tour pack also includes a visit to one of New Orleans' most famous cemeteries and a look into the world of Voodoo, which will most certainly include a lesson on Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

If you were hoping for a late-night ghost tour under the night sky, this tour may not be for you. However, both New Orleans and Witches Brews' tours are spooky enough in and of themselves that you'll likely be glad to be in the safety of the sunshine while visiting some of the city's scariest destinations.

The Savannah Ghostwalker Tour and Ghost Hunt

Savannah, Georgia is as equally stunning as it is haunted. You'd be hard-pressed to find an area that doesn't have some kind of paranormal activity or haunting past associated with it. And for ghost chasers, Savannah is a gold mine.

You don't have to be a professional paranormal investigator to explore the side of the city that is otherworldly, though. The Savannah Ghostwalker Tour allows guests to walk through battlefields and cemeteries with real EMF meters in order to hunt ghosts. This is an interesting take on your typical ghost tour and adds a more hands-on element that not only increases the fun but makes learning about the city's permanent residents a little scarier.

Ghostly mist and disembodied footsteps are just a couple of the possible encounters you may have by just walking down one of Savannah's streets. Colonial Park Cemetery is one stop on the tour that naturally spikes the EMF meters and considering that the vast majority of the graves are now built over or destroyed, communing with the dead may be the only way to identify exactly who is buried there.

Deering Estate Historic Ghost Tour

You're probably used to hearing about Everglade tours and magical theme park passes when considering things to do on a trip to Florida, but the southern state also plays host to some pretty terrifying paranormal entities. The Deering Estate was built on an ancient Indian burial site, which totally sounds like something out of a cheesy horror flick, but is pretty scary in real life.

Thousands of years of history lives on the land and within the walls of the Deering Estate, and although they do not offer ghost tours year-round, it's worth lining up a trip here to attend one of the seasonal supernatural tours in September or October.

Not only will the estate's official ghost tour walk you through its history of being on top of an Indian burial ground, but it may also mention being built on a prehistoric fossil mound as well as the many ghostly apparitions that have been witnessed there. Spirits that wander the estate include Charles Deering himself, so you may even be able to ask him why he thought it was a good idea to build on the clearly very cursed land.

Hotels, Churches, and Riots Tour by Birmingham Ghost Walk Walks

Birmingham, Alabama was a notable city during the Civil Rights Movement, and it was a bloody one as well. Between the high tensions of integration and the hate and violence that was spewed during this time here, it is no surprise that the city is teeming with spirits.

The Hotels, Churches, and Riots tour from the Birmingham Historic Touring Company ties in the city's dark past with legends and paranormal happenings that are still alive there today. The night tour shows off a side of the historical city that not many other tours show appreciation for and guests can admire gorgeous architecture while learning about some of the more sinful acts that have made a lasting impression in Birmingham.

Aptly named for the famous riots that happened here, tour-goers will likely hear about police brutality and hateful acts of the KKK, like the bombing of a Baptist church, both of which are huge stains on Birmingham's past. The semi-recent reality that the city gets its bad energy from is what makes this ghost tour so utterly terrifying.

McRaven House Ghost Tour

The McRaven House in Vicksburg, Mississippi is said to be the home of many of the dearly departed, which makes sense seeing as it was once a Civil War hospital. Now visitors can chance a paranormal encounter by taking a night tour. For those really intent on ghost hunting, you can also book a tour that comes with the use of an EMF meter.

How many unique, ghostly stories can one home have? In the McRaven House's case, a great many. The house has been home to a highwayman, a young bride who perished in childbirth, and a number of other individuals who have stuck around. Originally built by infamous highwayman Andrew Glass, the house has been built up multiple times from what was most likely a hideout for the robber. Glass still haunts the house, as well as Mary Elizabeth Howard, the young, new mother who likes to play pranks on the living.

The McRaven House has been named the most haunted house in Mississippi and as such has its own ghost tour. These tours are made even scarier by the fact that the house still contains some personal items from its previously living residents, making their tie to the home strong.

Beyond the Grave tour by Carolina History & Haunts

Charlotte is a gorgeous city in North Carolina, and it's even more beautiful under the night sky lit by only candlelight. Carolina History & Haunts makes this candlelit view reality with their lantern-lit night walking tour that walks you through some of Uptown's most haunted areas and landmarks.

The Beyond the Grave tour allows visitors to explore the city at night while also being subject to dark, scary, and sometimes even sad stories of the city's past. The tour escorts guests through Fourth Ward, a popular area that was once used for hangings. In fact, the tree from which criminals and runaways hung is still located in the area. People have reported hearing creaking rope while in the Fourth Ward. Another stop on the tour is dedicated to Old Settlers' Cemetery, where medical students would re-bury bodies they had dug up previously in order to practice and experiment on. If that doesn't make for an angry spirit, we don't know what else would.

Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour by Old South Carriage Company

One of the best ways to see the historic town of Charleston is by horse-drawn carriage. This is especially true when learning about a different time in the city's past, when the subject of the tales you're being told may have ridden the same streets in the exact same fashion. This style in which tour-goers are able to see the sites comes second to the praise that the Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour has received. Named one of the scariest ghost tours in the country, visitors who are looking for a more spooky experience can certainly find some satisfaction with Old South Carriage Company's Haunted Carriage Tour.

On this tour, you'll pass by a dungeon and hear a bit about Charleston's history with pirates. You'll also be told ghost stories centered on two local churches and the Charleston Market, which is a pretty significant paranormal hotspot.

Ghost Bus Tour In San Antonio by Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours

Remember the Alamo? San Antonio sure does, as it's hard to forget something that is stubbornly still very much around. Soon after the Battle of the Alamo, people started reporting ghostly sightings in the area and they've never really stopped, which is why the Alamo is just one stop on Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours' bus tour.

Other stops on the bus tour include Texas' most haunted hotel The Menger along with a historic cemetery. The Menger is on top of the original ground of the Battle of the Alamo, so naturally it would have the same type of paranormal activity level as the Alamo itself, and with a rumored 30 active spirits, it's safe to say that hotel is quite overrun with the dead.

A bus tour is a great way to see San Antonio, and Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours have a couple of different options when it comes to scare level. Families can opt for the all-age version, while those looking for a fright will be able to book an adults-only tour.

Hollywood Cemetery's self guided tour

While there is no true ghost tour for Richmond, Virginia's Hollywood Cemetery, you are able to create your own walking tour during daylight hours to discover what the massive graveyard has to offer in the way of paranormal experiences.

While it may be scarier to walk the cemetery at night, the daylight will allow you to fully take in the unique and artful memorial constructions around the graveyard. One such construction is a huge pyramid made to honor the thousands of dead Confederate soldiers that are buried at the cemetery. The mammoth of a monument is said to be both cursed and haunted, the makers having had a nonstop series of misfortunes while creating it and the soldiers it is honoring tend to wander in its vicinity.

Ghosts aren't the only thing haunting the cemetery, as the iconic cemetery's resident vampire is almost as well known by locals as the graveyard itself. Many come to the cemetery to catch sight of his crypt, and end up with an eye full of one of the nearby spirits.