America's 7 Creepiest Motels

From desolate to positively haunted, these motels have hosted the worst of humanity.

Motels have a strange mythology to them. Anonymous, liminal, desolate, and home to millions of wayward men and their prostitutes in Hollywood movies, in some ways they're quintessential embodiments of postmodern American freedom. You can do anything you want in a motel room, as the unspoken saying goes.

Inevitably, some people have taken this nihilistic freedom too far. There are millions of spooky, derelict motels across this nation and in the movies, but even the Bates Motel has nothing on these real-life houses of horror.

1. The Tonopah Clown Motel

This is far-and-away the creepiest motel in America. Located on the edge of Nevada's Mojave Desert, the Tonopah Clown Motel is filled to the brim with terrifying circus clown statues.

Though the land around it is mostly empty, the closest attraction would be the Tonopah Cemetery, an attraction that's eerie in its own right. Combine the cemetery's proximity with the hundreds of clown statues that line the halls and fill the rooms of this bizarre motel, and you get the stuff of nightmares.

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via The Kernel

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via

2. The Joshua Tree Inn

It's a known fact that people often die in motels. But just like the living don't often remain in motels, typically, ghosts don't tend to linger in the rooms where they died. Apparently, this establishment differs from most in that it has a permanent ghost: the spirit of folk singer Graham Parsons, who allegedly haunts Room #8 of the Joshua Tree Inn.

If you visit, you can even stay in the room where Parsons died—or add to the small memorial outside, which is made up of animal skulls, stone angels, cigarette butts, and clumps of sage, according to one visitor. People frequently make pilgrimages there to commune with their favorite country-western spirit.

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via

3. The Deerfield Inn

This Massachusetts lodging is the subject of dozens of ghost stories, and its owners lead ghost tours throughout the year. One of the stories alleges that its former owner held seances in her room to summon her dead husband. Another involves a ghost named Herschel, who sometimes shows up to throw books and spook guests.

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via Contented Traveler

4. The Manor House Motel

The owner of this now-defunct motel is the subject of the recent Netflix documentary, Voyeur, because of the fact that he used to spy on all of his guests through little holes that he carved in the walls.

You read that right: Gerald Foos purchased the Manor House Motel in Aurora, Colorado and proceeded to install grilles in the ceilings of each room without guests' knowledge. He later claimed that he was conducting research about sexual behaviors.

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via WBUR

5. The Amboy Ghost Town Motel

This motel was always creepy because of the fact that it's located in the California ghost town of Amboy. Originally established as a railroad station, this town was bustling until the construction of the I-40 in 1973, effectively directing most traffic and capital away and leading to the town's abandonment.

In 2016, several travelers explored the ghost town, snapping photos of the creative art installations that filled some of its decaying little houses. Only after they left did they notice something bone-chilling: There seemed to be a bloodstain in one of the rooms of the abandoned Amboy Motel. If you look closely you can see it, gory and unmissable, a sure sign of carnage (or, more likely, of a wayward filmmaker's presence).

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via Reddit

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via

6. Igloo City

What may have begun as a fun themed destination for tourists visiting Alaska has now become a grim, abandoned hull of what it once was. Igloo City is a destitute inn in Anchorage, made more ominous by a backdrop of dark trees and looming snow-covered mountains. And guess what: It's for sale, so if you're looking for a real fixer-upper that may or may not involve fighting ice demons, then this is your chance.

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via Kuriositas

7. The New Sea Breeze Motel

This New Jersey motel may not have clowns or a resident ghost, but it's certainly seen its fair share of murder. Rumor has it that several prostitutes were killed inside its rooms, and the killer was never caught. The motel, which offers a cheap alternative to expensive seaside resorts near Atlantic City, has even been nicknamed "Hooker Killer Motel" by some reviewers, who also complained of disgusting internal conditions.

America's 7 Creepiest Motels Image via Hotel Planner

The truth is that motels have long been safe houses for people in danger, places that allow people to disappear for a little while for all sorts of reasons. You'll find thousands of decaying, dirty motels across the nation—testaments to ruin, poverty, and transience, to secret lives and vagrancy, to road trips and runaways. If you wind up staying in one of them, you might just encounter some ghosts of your own; though it's more likely that you'll find a few roaches, an eerie silence, and the hum of your own thoughts to be the spookiest companions of all.

Read More from Journiest

Subscribe now

Related Posts

There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!