Skip the fake haunted houses and gory scare houses this Halloween. Instead, head straight to places in the Pittsburgh area that are rich with haunted happenings and creepy histories. Turn on the lights, close the curtains and read up on these best five places to visit if you’re in the mood for some real haunted houses and ghost stories.
Carnegie Library of Homestead
510 E. 10th Ave.
Munhall, PA 15120
Just a few blocks up the street from the Waterfront shopping complex sits the majestic Carnegie Library of Homestead. Homestead was the site of one of the bloodiest worker strikes in history – the Homestead Steel Strike in 1892. Though Carnegie is now more famous for his posthumous philanthropic work in Pittsburgh, he was reviled by many of his contemporaries and the story goes that ghosts of steel workers haunt the halls of the library and the concert hall on site. The library is free and open to the public if you’re brave enough to visit. Word has it that books fly off the shelves and are frequently found out of order.
McKeesport, PA 15131
If you’re brave enough, take a drive through Coulterville Cemetery at night. The actual history of the area is spooky enough to scare you. This area is the site of an orphanage that burned down in the 1800s along with a nearby church. When you drive through the cemetery at night, the woods are known to look aglow from the long-extinguished fire and the sounds of horse-drawn fire trucks can be heard. The best part? Once you drive out of the cemetery and get back onto the main road, pull over and take a look at your car. Many eyewitnesses claim you can see fresh, small handprints all over your windows.
Bruce Hall, Suite 1201
3990 5th Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
The University of Pittsburgh has a colorful ghost story history. The story of strange happenings at Bruce Hall, an old apartment building that has been converted into a residence dorm, is just one of the places on Pitt’s campus that is reportedly haunted. The 12th floor is currently used for catering events and storage. Sign in with the guard as a visitor and head up to the 12th floor where legend has it that the wife of the former owner of the building hanged herself there after discovering her husband had a mistress. Students living in the dorm report the sounds of a woman’s voice in the stairwells and the tendency of the elevators going to the 12th floor even when the passengers in the elevator don’t push the button to that floor. The story goes that the doors open and shut repeatedly or won’t open at all and the elevator becomes stuck on floor 12 for several minutes before descending to the correct floor.
Related: Pittsburgh’s Most Haunted Places
Dead Man’s Hollow
Donner St. Parking Lot
Boston, PA 15135
Load up your bicycle and head to Boston, Pa. for a hike in one of the spookiest parts of the woods near the city. Just a few minutes from the Waterfront shopping area is Dead Man’s Hollow, the legendary site of hangings and just plain terrifying events. Park at the lot by the soccer field at the end of Donner Street and walk or bike the mile on the Great Allegheny Passage to the Dead Man’s Hollow trailhead. Park your bike at one of the racks and head into the woods. You’ll hear unexplained sounds and see foliage moving even if there is no wind or wildlife nearby. This area is owned and maintained by volunteers of the Allegheny Land Trust. The area is a nature preserve so if you visit, respect nature and do not litter. The trail is accessible from dusk to dawn.
Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Located in the Strip District and easily recognizable by the neon Heinz ketchup bottle that pours out Pittsburgh’s signature condiment, the Heinz History Center is worth of a visit not only for the wonderful information it provides about Pittsburgh’s history, but also for the chance to get a glimpse of some paranormal activities. The building itself sits on the former site of the Chautauqua Lake Ice Company in the late 1800s. A fire destroyed the building from the inside out and it needed to be completely renovated to house the Heinz History Center. If you visit, head up to the 5th floor which currently houses “Clash of Empires,” an exhibit about the French & Indian War which started in Pittsburgh in 1754. Visitors, staff and night guards say that they hear strange sounds and spirits interacting with the exhibit.
Related: Best Home Halloween Party Ideas
Sally Turkovich Wright lives in her beloved city of Pittsburgh with her husband, Jason and German Shepherd, Zeus. She is a policy analyst by training, an eyewear stylist by trade and an amateur healthy-living advocate by choice. She also writes a column for Twoday Magazine. Catch up with her there at twodaymag.com. Her work can be found at Twodaymag.com.