10 Most Haunted Places in Western North Carolina

As we near the highly-anticipated trick-or-treat season, one of the many activities to do is to go ghost hunting. After all, what better time to do so than going during Halloween? It's always a fun trip to see if you can spot something that isn't quite right, or hear something that goes bump in the night. 

But where exactly are these places? In Western North Carolina, there are several different places with a gruesome past, or a tale that leaves people shivering. Such places can be found in Sylva, Pisgah National Forest, Valle Crucis, and namely, Asheville NC.   In fact, Asheville has some of the most haunted spots in the US.

Below, we've compiled a list of some of the most haunted places in Western North Carolina. Ghosts, spirits, specters, and more await you, if you dare! The question is, do you believe in ghosts? Are you willing to consider that some places just might be stuck in a different time?   

Scroll down to see our list of most haunted places in Western North Carolina ... unless you're scared ...

Biltmore Gardens Italian Garden

1 - The Biltmore Estate, Asheville NC

Located in Asheville, NC, Biltmore Estate was built from George Vanderbilt's dreams. It's a wonderful place to visit with plenty of history to learn from. Of course, no historic place is complete without its own tales of mystery.

Visitors have reported several different cold spots, as well as being touched when no one was there, strange smells and shadows, and the feeling of being watched.


Some can almost hear Edith Vanderbilt calling for her husband in the library. The most prominent place of unease lies within the pool room, where people wonder whether or not someone has drowned. There's a tale of the headless orange cat that has been seen to wander the grounds, content to stay beyond the grave.

2 - Brown Mountain Lights, Pisgah National Forest

Brown Mountain is an attraction locates in the Pisgah National Forest, and is known for far more than just its beauty. Strange lights, known as the Brown Mountain Lights, have been seen for centuries by people. They appear in blue, white, yellow, and orange glowing balls of light, moving sometimes slowly, and other times in jerky movements.

No reasonable explanation has been provided for these lights, although there are several different theories. According to Cherokee Legend, the lights are the spirits of the Cherokee maidens, searching for the men who died in a battle against the Catawba tribe. Another tale says the lights are remnants of people still searching for a murdered woman. The reports usually come in the fall, after the rain. They're rarely seen, but they're definitely heard of. 

Photo by Giant Sloth

3 - Helen's Bridge, Asheville NC

In Asheville, NC, lies the famous Helen's Bridge. Helen's bridge has received national attention, as one of the most haunted places in the US.

Built in 1909, this bridge was originally used as a connect the Zealandia Mansion to the main roadways of Asheville. The bridge received its name due to an unfortunate accident. Each story has slightly different detail from the rest, but they all end the same way.

Helen, one of the servants at the castle, had tried to rescue her daughter from the castle fire. She was revived; the girl was not. Stricken with grief, she hung herself from the bridge.

To this day, people report seeing Helen searching for her daughter. Car troubles often happens at the bridge, and legend says that if you say her name three times, you just might catch a glimpse of her. 

4 - Highland Hospital, Asheville NC

Highland Hospital was a mental institution in Asheville, NC. It was founded by Dr. Robert S. Carroll in 1904. He was known to use inhumane methods on his patients, his most famous being electroshock therapy. On March 10, 1948, a fire broke out in the hospital. Nine women died, one of them being Zelda Fitzgerald.

Today, people report still see the spirit of Zelda walking around the grounds, unaware of her untimely death.

Other strange, unknown figures have also been seen nearby. Unrelated to the fire, a 19-year-old boy is also reported to wander the property, having supposedly committed suicide at the hospital.

Today, the place is used as a recovery station for teens and young adults.

5 - St. John's Episcopal Church, Valle Crucis NC

Valle Crucis is a beautiful place to visit, and with a special surprise at the old St. John’s Episcopal Church on Highway 194. The church is located at the edge of the town, although not many people decide to venture nearby.

The deadly legend has been around for a long time, with the earliest stories saying that people have died.

Numerous reports over the years have stated that if you drive near the church at night, a dog the size of a man will make an appearance. The dog has yellow teeth, with glowing eyes, and no matter how fast you drive away, this “demon dog” will follow your car and even start to catch up with you. Only when you cross a nearby bridge will you be safe from harm.

Of course, some people have survived to tell the tale. Others, well, they weren't so fortunate. 

Grove Park Inn Asheville NC

6 - Grove Park Inn, Asheville NC

The Grove Park Inn is a fantastic place to spend a few days and relax. It’s a highly-sought after luxury resort Inn.  In particular, many guests request Room 545,  

An unknown woman/ghostly figure in a pink dress has been seen for years, called the Pink Lady. In the 1920’s, she stayed in Room 545 and fell to her death from the balcony in the open area outside of the room.  Nobody knows for sure her death was an accident or some by some darker motivation.

Some think she was having an affair with the man of the house. To this day, guests and staff say she still walks the halls of the inn and is seen as a pink mist. She’s said to be a prankster, and loves tickling feet while you’re asleep.

So next time you visit the Grove Park Inn, maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of her somewhere or even get your feet tickled!

7 - Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria, Asheville NC

The history of Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria on Eagle Street in Asheville NC holds a gruesome tale for the unfortunate.

In 1906, a man by the name of William Harris was responsible for the death of 5 people and a street dog while on a killing rampage. He was shot 100 times by an angry crowd, and his body was very nearly unidentifiable. Reports say that sometimes when you’re walking by, you might catch a glimpse of one of the police officers that had been shot.

A barking dog can has also been heard, along with shadows and apparitions have been seen floating nearby.

In Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, one of the places Harris had tried to hide in, a black shadow has been reported. Flickering lights, objects moving, and a little ghost girl also have been seen. 

8 - Balsam Mountain Inn, Balsam NC

The Balsam Mountain Inn is permanently closed.

Balsam Mountain Inn, now called the Grand Old Lady hotel and the Stanley Hotel of the South, was a highly-recommended place to stay near Sylva, NC.

With its history of being a railroad hotel and its inviting air, the hotel would have been the perfect place to stay a few nights. There is no complete explanation as to why strange happenings occurred; no recorded deaths, no gruesome past has made aware of.

But regardless, several guests have reported being disturbed throughout the night by slamming doors and jiggling doorknobs, footsteps, someone touching them when no one was there.

Rooms 205 and 207 were the most notorious for such happenings. The Inn eventually began leaving a guest log where visitors could share their ghostly experiences.

9 - Smith-McDowell House, Asheville NC

The Smith-McDowell House Museum is temporarily closed.

In Asheville, NC, the Smith-McDowell House museum has been around since 1840. It's one of Asheville's finest and oldest structures, and it certainly has a warm feel to it. The names Sarah and Carrie aren't unknown to the house, for their ghosts are said to have been seen here. They died of unknown causes, and they supposedly still linger today.

Some visitors have felt slightly at unease while visiting the museum. People have heard their names called, they've felt cold spots, and they've been touched when no one was there. There is a specter reported to be there as well, simply known as "the Dark One." It is believed to be the spirit of a slave owner, appearing as a dark, misty entity.

10- Battery Park Hotel, Asheville NC

The Battery Park Hotel is in downtown Asheville that opened in 1924. It was a neat place for people to stay overnight until one night in 1936. A woman by the name of Helen Clevenger had been brutally murdered by an unknown man, her face bruised and bloody, a gunshot ended her life. Her murderer was never found, and instead, a hall boy by the name of Martin Moore wrongly took the killer's place in death.

Room 224 was the room where she was murdered, and it's believed that Helen never moved on. People have felt as though they were being followed, strange apparitions have appeared, and some say Martin Moore still remains nearby. The true murderer, too, has been rumored to stay close-by, watching the employees and guests from afar.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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