Explore some of the spookiest interiors in history—all from the comfort of your own home.

By Caroline Biggs
September 11, 2020
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Halloween is almost here and nothing's more fun—and spooky—than a tour through a famously haunted house. "People enjoy haunted houses for the same reasons they enjoy murder mysteries, true crime dramas, and horror films," says Kathryn Hulick, author of Strange But True: 10 of the World's Greatest Mysteries Explained. "It's thrilling to feel scared without actually being in any real danger."

And when you can't visit a haunted house for an in-person walking tour, virtual haunted tours are the next best thing. "Virtual tours allow guests to explore the mystery of a haunted house from the comfort of their own home," explains Jake Gospodnetich of the Winchester Mystery House. "For the first time in our 97-year history, we have launched online experiences, and, as a result, can provide unlimited behind-the-ropes access to rooms previously inaccessible on public tours." If your curiosity is piqued—try these tours from haunted hotels to ghost-ridden prisons all with virtual tours that will take you inside these famously eerie places.

Winchester Mystery House

With construction beginning in 1886 and renovations completed in 1922 upon the death of its owner, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is home to 160 haunted rooms. The late owner, Sarah Winchester, allegedly designed the house with hidden doors and secret passageways, in an attempt to outsmart the ghosts she knew were living there. Today, the world-famous mansion offers daily walking tours as well as an equally scary virtual tour so you can explore the eerie estate 360-degree style straight from your sofa.

The Stanley Hotel, Room 217

If you're a fan of horror films, then chances are you're already hip to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Built in 1906, the super creepy hotel and, more specifically, the spirits haunting Room 217, served as the inspiration for Stephen King's bestselling novel The Shining (which was later turned into one of the most famous scary movies of all time). If you're looking for any easy way to get spooked this Halloween, take a virtual tour of Room 217 so you can find out what compelled King to write his famous story.

Lizzie Borden House

Arguably the most infamous alleged axe murderer of all time, Lizzie Borden was tried (but eventually acquitted) for killing both her father and stepmother with a hatchet in 1892. The now haunted house in Fall River, Massachusetts, including the upstairs bedroom where the bodies were found, still stands today, and you can take a virtual tour for free courtesy of The Lizzie Andrew Borden Virtual Museum & Library.

Crescent Hotel

Widely considered the most famous haunted hotel in the world, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is allegedly home to ghosts, ghouls, poltergeists, and other "guests that check out but never leave." If you can't make a trip to the secluded hotel in the Ozark Mountains—complete with a burial site and morgue—to take an in-person ghost tour, head over to YouTube for a 45-minute virtual tour instead.

Haunted Colorado Prison Museum

While it might not be a traditional house, the Museum of Colorado State Prisons shares a stone wall and armed towers with a maximum-security prison, and is rumored to be haunted by ghosts of inmates past. If you can't make it to Colorado for a guided tour, stop by YouTube for a virtual ghost hunt through the paranormally active prison, which houses a former gas chamber.

The Pittock Mansion

In the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, sits the 46-room mansion known at The Pittock Mansion. Though it was built in 1914 by newspaper magnates Henry and Georgiana Pittock, the couple only lived in the spooky French Renaissance style estate for four years before passing away—inside the mansion. And while the sprawling manse technically sat empty for years before the city purchased it, family members and visitors say the ghosts of Henry and Georgina never left. Find out for yourself by taking a free virtual tour of the property, courtesy of the nonprofit Pittock Mansion Society.

The Queen Mary

If you've never been aboard a haunted cruise ship, consider taking a Google Earth tour of The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, this Halloween. Inside the 346-room ship you’ll find Stateroom B340, known internationally by ghost hunters and paranormal activity enthusiasts as one of the most haunted places on earth. Reports of eerie sightings inside the room, such as faucets and lights turning on and off on their own, date back to 1967, and have continued with many guests saying they've experienced similar paranormal happenings during recent visits.  

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