The top 10 most haunted places in Asheville are some of the spookiest locations in the country.
Asheville, North Carolina, is a beautiful mountainous region that stretches from the Appalachian Trail to the Smoky Mountains. Haunted locations in Asheville range from cemeteries, old hospitals, spooky bridges, and even to the well-known Biltmore Estate – and that’s just to name a few.
#10 Riverside Cemetery
There’s not a cemetery in the world that doesn’t have some sort of spooky tale to tell. For the “residents” of Riverside Cemetery, the story begins with the land. Once a bloody battlefield, you can only expect the dead who fought in the battles to stick around. Soldiers in uniform are seen from afar marching in military formation. Gunshots and cannons are often heard in the distance.
When yellow fever swept through the area during the 19th century, many children succumbed to the disease. Their laughter and playing are reported by visitors as well.
#9 Helen’s Bridge
You would think it would be an honor to have a bridge named after you, but there is no great honor in it for Helen. Helen hung herself from the bridge, but the reason is a bit obscured. One account says she lost her infant daughter in a fire and was overcome with grief. Another version says Helen had an affair and became pregnant. The man rejected her, and she felt it better not to bring the child into the world.
Either way is a tragedy — and with tragedies come restless spirits who stick around after death.
Helen’s ghost is seen around the bridge looking for her child. Most times, she disappears into the brush, but some paranormal investigators say Helen wanders around talking about her baby’s death. A common occurrence in cars crossing the bridge is problems with drained batteries, stalling, and mechanical issues. If you decide to look for Helen’s ghost and your car dies going across the bridge, don’t fret! There’s a service station nearby!
#8 The Grove Park Inn
The Grove Park Inn was built in 1917, and not long after it opened, a woman fell to her death from a balcony. Because she was wearing a pink dress at the time of her fall, she was forever referred to as the “Pink Lady.”
Rumor has it, the woman frequented the hotel to carry out an affair she was having. It’s not known for sure if she slipped, jumped, or was pushed from the balcony.
At any rate, various hauntings by the “Pink Lady” include pranks with the lights, televisions, and air conditioners all going off and on. Children have even claimed to play with the “lady in pink.”
#7 Battery Park Hotel
If your name is Helen, you may want to steer clear of Asheville. This story is a little more gruesome than Helen’s Bridge, but a tragedy all the same.
In 1936 Helen Clevenger was staying at the Battery Park Hotel. Her Uncle went to wake her in the morning and found her brutally murdered in the bed. Her face had been slashed and beaten, and a gunshot ended her suffering, as well as her life.
A hotel employee was tried and executed for the murder, but many believe he wasn’t Helen’s murderer.
Helen’s ghost is seen wandering the halls and in room 224, where the murder took place. Another ghost is seen on the property, and many believe it’s the man convicted of Helen’s murder. A sad tragedy ending in the death of two people now lost in the afterlife.
#6 Thomas Wolfe Memorial
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a favorite for fans of the prominent American novelist. Many of his writings were based on boyhood memories in the sprawling Queen-Anne Victorian, once a boarding house owned by his mother. It isn’t any wonder that he and his mother both may have come back to the property that held so many great memories.
Two said spirits reside within the walls of the old historic house. A man and a woman. Witnesses say the man sits upstairs in a rocking chair, and others say the woman hangs out downstairs in the dining room area. There is often the sound of an old-fashioned typewriter coming from upstairs. A face is seen in the upstairs window, looking out onto the street at night.
#5 Highland Hospital
Another famed writer to make haunted history stories is F. Scott Fitzgerald. His wife Zelda was plagued with schizophrenia and spent years in and out of mental institutions. It’s not surprising it would be where she spent her final days before her death. What’s surprising is how she died.
Locked in her room before an electroshock therapy treatment, the hospital caught fire. Zelda and eight other women didn’t make it out and died in the fire.
Although the building burned to the ground, Zelda’s ghost still inhabits the campus. She is seen walking the grounds, much like she did when she was a hospital patient. Another male spirit is seen, who many believe was a patient who died at the hospital long before the fire.
#4 Erwin High School
Before Erwin H.S. was built, the land beneath it was used as a “potter’s field.” A potter’s field is where the poor or unknown are buried. To build the school, more than 1,000 bodies were exhumed and re-interred. We all know what happens when you disrupt a grave, it opens a paranormal wake-up of the dead. The problem is, not all the bodies were removed. The school was built over many unmarked graves, most likely under the football field and concession stands.
The hauntings in the school building include the sounds of humming and whistling, flickering lights, and strange noises at night. One account even claims a floating head appeared!
During an excavation on the property being explored by a teacher and students, a coffin was found. Inside were the skeletal remains of a woman with red hair wearing a white gown, and her arms were crossed as if she was holding a baby.
#3 Basilica of St. Lawrence
One of the most notorious fixtures of the Asheville skyline is the Basilica St. Lawrence. Although it’s a place of worship, that doesn’t stop poltergeist activity from happening.
Designed and built in 1905 by Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino, the building was one of the architect’s dream projects. However, three years before it was completed, Guastavino passed away. His request was to be buried within the church’s walls, along with his wife and child. Although his request was granted for himself, a law was passed soon after his death prohibiting remains buried on public or private property.
His wife and child are buried at a cemetery near St. Lawrence. Still, their spirits hang around the Basilica with Rafael. They are seen wandering the halls, as well as a Priest who died in the church.
Random cold spots, flickering lights, and doors opening and closing on their own have become everyday occurrences.
#2 The Biltmore Estate
Did you know the Biltmore Estate is America’s largest private residence? The estate sits on a sprawling 8,000 acres and has 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. That’s a lot of room to haunt!
The mansion was built by George Washington Vanderbilt in 1895 when he fell in love with the Asheville area and wanted a “summer home.” The house is still owned by descendants of Vanderbilt, and it seems many of them just don’t want to leave. Even after they died.
With over 1,000,000 guests a year that tour the house and property today, you can imagine the ghost stories that have come of it. Sightings include George himself in all areas of the house as well as the grounds. His favorite hangout seems to be his study, where he sits among his library of books. His wife Edith is believed to be the entity guests have heard in the hallways whispering “George.” as if she’s looking for her husband.
Cold spots, strange smells, and the sounds of footsteps up and down the stairs are reported by many. A headless orange cat is seen wandering through the gardens. Grounds people report sounds of glasses clinking, laughter, and party-like chatter when no party is going on.
The Biltmore Estate is, without a doubt, one of the top 10 most haunted places in Asheville.
#1 Veterans Hospital building number 9
Cemeteries, prisons, and hospitals seem to be likely subjects for hauntings to occur.
Although the hospital was constructed as far back as 1865, building #9 was used as a nurse’s dormitory from 1930-1967. When the new VA hospital began construction, building #9 was abandoned and unattended for nearly 50 years.
It’s not sure when the hauntings began, but they were first noted in the late 1980s and 90s when the building started to be used as a haunted house. Random cold spots, people grabbed or pushed, and sounds of yells and screams are all reported by investigators of the abandoned building before and during its use as a haunted house. Some people left the building with mysterious scratches on them.
The building was renovated into a mental health facility sometime around 2015. It’s hard to say if the building is still haunted because the property is off-limits to paranormal enthusiasts. But any renovations may have stirred the pot, and it’s just not publicized. However, that doesn’t mean the activity isn’t there.
There are plenty of haunted places in the Asheville area. These are only the top ten!
Haunted, Spooky, and Mysterious Places in Asheville, NC · The Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association
The Ghost of Battery Park Hotel – Jordan L. Hawk
Thomas Wolfe House– Asheville, North Carolina: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary