The 5 Most Disturbing Haunted Houses in America

Are they real? Who cares?

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

💀💀💀💀/5

Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

💀💀💀💀/5

McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

💀💀💀💀.5/5

Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

💀💀💀💀💀/5

Every Hell House in America

realitypod

In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…

💀💀💀💀💀💀/5


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COVID-19 has many workers looking to leave the expensive cities they'd previously rented in and gazing out towards greener pastures.

Digital nomadism has been a thing for a long time, and in normal times, remote workers might look to distant shores for places to settle. But where does the landlocked digital nomad, constrained to the continental US by COVID-19, go?

For this list, we've compared a variety of "best of" lists and balanced factors including price and location to present you this non-definitive list of the best places to work from home in 2021.

1. Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, WA

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Having visions of settling in the Pacific Northwest? Tacoma, Washington is a more affordable alternative to Portland/Seattle with the same wild coastal charm. With great Internet, a wide variety of things to see and do, and decent prices, this city has the added benefit of being near Mount Rainier and the ocean. East, Central, and South Tacoma offer a good balance of safety and affordability.

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

givepad.wordpress.com

This city tops Smartasset.com's list of best places to work from home thanks to its high percentage of remote workers. Located in the northeast part of Phoenix, this warm, sunny place is perfect for working from home while the nearby mountains and trails offer opportunities to decompress in the arms of nature. Gilbert and Tucson are other great options in the state.

3. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder CO

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Colorado offers a lot of great options for remote workers. Boulder is an excellent pick for working-from-homers, as well as plenty of pristine natural escapes for those looking to get in touch with nature. Manitou Springs is another great option for anyone looking for a bit more of a small-town feel.

4. Chattanooga, Tennessee

\u200bChattanooga, TN

Chattanooga, TN

matadornetwork.com

Chattanooga tops broadbandnow.com's list of best cities to work from home thanks to its fast Internet, its good wellness index, and its lower than average cost of living. Plus, there's no income tax, so what are you waiting for? Get on that Chattanooga Choo-Choo and get to Tennessee living.

5. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City

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Kansas City tops Business Insider's list of best cities to work from home. It offers a very low cost of living and fast WiFi speeds, and according to one resident, ""Kansas City is just like Chicago, New York, and L.A., except without the [jerks]."

6. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh

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With plenty of history and culture abounding, Raleigh, SC is a great pick for remote workers, and offers many great opportunities for the laptop-bound; the nearby Cary ranked second on SFGate's list of best places to work from home. For a more coastal feel, try Southport, another smaller North Carolina city.

7. Austin, Texas

Austin is booming with tech and industry opportunities, but remains relatively affordable. Laid-back, lush, safe, affordable, and vibrant, Austin might just be your next destination. If the Lone Star state appeals to you, Pasadena, Texas is another great choice.

8. Lancaster, California

Lancaster, CA

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tripadvisor.co

Still California dreaming on those winter days? California rarely appears on these sorts of list because it is extremely pricey, but Lancaster is definitely cheaper than the neighboring LA, which sits about an hour south of this city. In Lancaster, you'll find clean air, a bustling cityscape, and a variety of outdoor experiences including the annual California poppy festival. If you're looking for a more San Francisco state of mind, Fremont is another good option.

9. Madison, Wisconsin

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Madison ranks first on moneycrashers.com's list of best places to work from home thanks to its charming blend of rural and city life. Though slightly above the US's average cost of living, it's still lower than most other major cities, and plus it offers a huge variety of locally sourced organic food thanks to its proximity to farms, if that's your thing.

10. Maui, Hawaii

\u200bMaui, Hawaii

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Hawaii sounds like a pipe dream, but Maui is a great place to live for remote workers who want to go off the beaten path a little bit. If you're dreaming of beaches and palm trees while you Slack, Maui is a possibility. Hey, you only live once.

At the start of this year, I made it my mission to try out all my local restaurants' varying cuisines. My partner and I realized there were so many great places to eat nearby that we'd never been to. We had it all mapped out - we'd go to a restaurant every Friday night. We were both excited. Then lockdown hit, and restaurants started to close.

I was still determined to test new cuisines on my own. But when I checked out a few recipes, they were so complicated and like nothing I'd ever made before. I was ready to give up until a friend recommended HelloFresh, a delivery box that delivers ingredients to your doorstep every week.

All the recipes looked so delicious. But how easy would it be? And would it be worth it? But when I saw how affordable HelloFresh was, it piqued my interest. Plus, having the ingredients for my chosen recipes at my door would be convenient, and I'd avoid the grocery store.

The meals take approximately 30 minutes to cook as everything is pre-portioned, and there's very little prep involved. This would make things ten times easier. I can even skip a week or cancel my subscription at any time, so I thought I might as well try it out.

Here are the top 5 favourite international recipes from HelloFresh:

1. Coconut Chicken Curry

Thai cuisine was entirely new for me, so I didn't know what to expect, but this dish did not disappoint. The high-quality chicken was juicy and the sauce super flavoursome. I was surprised at how simple it is to cook with HelloFresh!

2. Mexican Black Bean Tacos and Tomato Pepper Salsa

When I order Mexican, I go with a burrito. So I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the Tacos, but these are so yummy and have the perfect amount of spice. They're much easier than I expected to prepare. HelloFresh makes it super simple without sacrificing flavour.

3. Chinese Salt & Pepper Chicken

The Chinese food I usually eat is from the greasy take-out down the street. Don't get me wrong, it tastes fantastic, but I hope that HelloFresh would help me find healthier alternatives. And this dish is a perfect example. It still has a salty and spicy taste that you'd want from a Chinese meal, without being greasy.

4. French Sheet-Pan Turkey Almondine

I don't know much about French cuisine (other than baguettes), and I don't eat Turkey very often. So, I'll admit I was apprehensive about whether I'd like this dish. But it's so tasty. The Garlic Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans went so well, and the Almondine sauce makes the Turkey juicy and tender.

5. Korean Gochujang Sugar-Glazed Shrimp

I was super excited to try this dish as I love Korean food but never cooked it myself. It's surprising how simple it is to cook, and - as usual with HelloFresh - it took less than 30 minutes! Its sweet and fresh flavours are delicious and did not disappoint.

If you're interested in sampling or learning to cook new international cuisines, I'd highly recommend HelloFresh. Their menu has so much variety (25 recipes a week to choose from!), the food is delicious, the service convenient, and eliminates dinnertime stress. It starts at just $9.69 per serving!

I'm so glad I took the plunge. Check out HelloFresh; you won't be disappointed.

Update: The folks at HelloFresh are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to get 6 free meals including free shipping

Finally, we are done with 2020! Between all the highs and lows, it felt like 5 years packed into one, so I'm excited to start fresh in 2021. I'm taking my New Year's resolutions to the next level: cook more, read more, and get back to things I truly love like arts & crafts and morning runs (okay, most likely walks).

Honestly, I could go on forever about the new year, new me thing but actually getting started is my biggest hurdle. I realized that my motivation comes from my mood which directly relates to my environment … and for the past year, my house has been my habitat. So, it's not looking too great after all the wear and tear. The dirt and the mess have accumulated right under my nose.

It's not that I'm bad at it, I just feel so overwhelmed. When my house is clean, I feel much more in control and motivated, and right now it's far from it. When I was venting about my cleaning woes the other day, my friend recommended Handy.

Handy allows you to book local professional cleaners and sign up for monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly plans. Plus, you can schedule appointments at a time that works for you with availability 7 days a week from 7am-11pm. So to get me in the right headspace to tackle my goals, I'm going to be signing up for Handy. I'm looking forward to letting the experts take over.

Although having people in your home may sound a bit strange right now, Handy has rolled out the Handy Safety Standard to help promote the health and safety of the customers and professionals who use their platform. Some of these measures include requiring Pros to wear face coverings during bookings and mandatory daily in-app check-ups to verify they are in good health before claiming a booking. They even have a section on their site dedicated to keeping customers and professionals updated on the latest CDC health and safety guidance.

To top everything off, all of the Cleaning Pros booked through Handy are vetted and background checked. And you can even check out each Pro's ratings and reviews before you book.

Once my house is in order, the fresh feeling will have a domino effect on so many other areas of my life:

✔ Read More

Lying on my cozy couch without inhaling all the dust I'd chosen to ignore, despite my clear uptick in sneezing the last few months. My reading list is chock-full of thrillers and fantasy. And with my new clean slate, I've even added some books about organization.

✔ Get Cooking

Nothing makes cooking more enjoyable than a sparkling kitchen. I'm inspired by a clean space and all the new recipes I'll be whipping up in 2021 already have me drooling.

✔ More Exercise (aka walking!)

I won't feel guilty getting out for a walk on-the-daily when I know I'm not neglecting any household chores thanks to Handy. And when I come home I'm not greeted by any reminders to clean.

You can specify exactly what you want to be cleaned before your Pro arrives and if you like them, you can request to have the same Pro come every time. I can already imagine how exciting it will be to walk into my spotless space.

I cannot wait to book my cleaning through Handy so I can get my 2021 resolutions rolling. My New Year is all about my wellness and my environment plays such a big part in it. I'm signing up for bi-weekly appointments. But their plans are super flexible and if I need, I can always change to a weekly or monthly cleaning plan — sometimes they even have bookings available as soon as the next day!

With Handy, I'm leaving that rough 2020 in the dust and jumping into 2021 feeling fresh and ready-to-go.

Update: Handy is offering a limited time discount for our readers! Follow this link today to get a special offer on your first time cleaning plan.