The Small Town Which Claims to be the Most Haunted Place in America

Every year, as Halloween approaches, reports of the supernatural surface in little communities across the United States.

Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, every town has a scary past, and it’s simple to unearth tales of ghosts, hauntings, and inexplicable incidents that would make even the most adamant doubters reconsider.

One little Midwestern hamlet claims to be the most haunted spot in the country.

Alton, Illinois, has a population of less than 30,000 people yet a rich history. This inconspicuous, peaceful town is home to numerous spirits from the past who continue to torment its current residents.

Panorama of Alton across Mississippi River. Alton, Illinois, USA.

Alton housed America’s first prison during the Civil War. Thousands of Confederate captives were kept here, according to the New York Times, and many died in the severe smallpox epidemic of 1863-1864.

Railroad station in Alton, 1925.

A mass grave and plaque memorialize the memories of the 2,000 prisoners who died in the jail to the north of Alton.

These soldiers’s souls are claimed to haunt the town, and many ghost sightings in Alton purportedly depict individuals dressed in Confederate attire.

Bridge across Mississippi River in Alton. Alton, Illinois, USA.

According to Visit Alton, there are a number of significant spots across the area that are frequently visited by supernatural agents.

The McPike Mansion, in particular, is well renowned throughout the United States as one of the most haunted mansions in the country.

This enormous, ominous structure draws a steady stream of psychics, paranormal investigators, and ghost hunters eager to unravel its unsettling mysteries.

Alton underwater in 1993.

The mansion was erected in 1869 on Mount Lookout, one of Alton’s highest peaks. It was named after the mansion’s original owner, Alton mayor, and local magnate Henry McPike, who resided there until he dieddeath in 1910.

Residents have reported unusual, inexplicable noises and lights, as well as several ghost sightings, since then.

According to Visit Alton, paranormal investigators have been drawn to the McPike Mansion as a consequence of these frequent tales, with several claiming to have detected the presence of spirits. Nobody knows who these spirits are or why they continue to haunt the house.

McPike Mansion, September 2017. Photo by Mcpikemansioncrew CC BY-SA 4.0

Some believe Henry McPike and his wife are still roaming the home, while others say the ghost is the spirit of a lady who died in a bath inside the mansion under mysterious circumstances.

In any case, the McPike Mansion, with its tall, imposing columns and gloomy interior, appears to be one of America’s most haunted mansions.

The mansion in 2003. Photo by Aaron & Mariona – Flickr CC BY 2.0

However, this is not Alton’s only haunted structure. The First Unitarian Church, founded in 1830, has a dark and enigmatic history as well.

According to Visit Alton, Reverend Philip Mercer, the church’s pastor and preacher, died in strange circumstances in the fall of 1934.

Elijah Lovejoy’s Printing Office in Alton Illinois – Scanned 1887 Engraving

Mercer became unwell while visiting a member of the congregation, suffering from strong tremors and an inability to talk. He felt disturbed since he had no notion of what was wrong with him.

He returned to his church office and was discovered hanging from the ceiling many days later. Many people in the town felt he was possessed by an evil spirit, which drove him to commit suicide.

Alton, Illinois.

The church has been the location of several of strange happenings since Mercer’s tragic death. Doors and windows open and close unexpectedly, whispering voices are frequently heard, and the piano has even been known to play itself. According to legend, the preacher’s soul continues within the church’s walls, plaguing parishioners much as he was tortured by bad spirits.

The Milton School House, Alton’s oldest school, has a similar narrative.

According to local tradition, a little girl named Mary was murdered within the school under especially heinous circumstances.

Mary remained over one night to concentrate on extra classwork. She vanished, only to be discovered the next day, bloodied, in the girl’s locker room.

Her soul has been haunting the building since that moment. Light footsteps may often be heard racing up and down the long halls, and objects have been known to inexplicably shift out of position.

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