This map will take you to 31 creepiest destinations in US
With Halloween just a hop, skip and jump away, a new map has surfaced on the Internet to scare the living daylights out of you. The map, created by an anonymous Google Maps user, catalogs the locations of some of the most haunted places in the United States. The list includes everything from classics like Alcatraz and Salem to little-known hotbeds of paranormal activity, such as the White House (yep, there have been several stories of WH residents feeling ghostly presences of former Presidents and hearing eerie noises).
So, while you make up your mind about whether you actually want to go visit your friendly, neighborhood haunted house, we present to you the history and photos of 10 notable locations from the list:
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia
Built in 1829, the sprawling prison’s looming 30-foot walls made it seem super spooky even before it was abandoned in 1970. Today, the infamous prison is a 10-acre haunting world of crumbling cellblocks where ghost tours are regularly conducted. Perfect for Halloween, we think!
Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania
Over 50,000 dead bodies and no proper burial – the Battle of Gettysburg was nothing short of a three-day bloodbath. Visitors to the site claim hearing not only the haunting moans of the victims but also the rumble of gunfire. If you’re visiting, don’t forget to check out the rock formation known as Devil’s Den where heaps of dismembered bodies were discovered after the war.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
At the advice of a seer, wealthy widow Sarah Winchester had this palatial Victorian mansion undergo continuous construction for 38 years to appease the souls of her dead husband and daughter. The 160-room house is full of creepy features like doors that open into walls, staircases that lead nowhere and windows that take you to secret passages.
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
You have seen this one in Stephen King’s The Shining. Its spooks are so famous that the hotel offers ghost tours to visitors. Watch out for a young boy who makes his presence known in room number 1211 and a young man who hangs out in closets. Visitors report seeing the owner couple also, with Mr. Stanley appearing in the lobby and Mrs. Stanley playing the piano for guests.
Bell Witch Cave, Adams, Tennessee
Don’t waste your time trying to take pictures here because technology is known to malfunction at the site where John Bell and his family were tortured by their neighbor over a property dispute. Those who have been there report feeling the presence of a violent force, and warn against taking any object from the property because it is ‘cursed’.
Villisca Ax Murder House, Villisca, Iowa
With a label that screams ‘murder house’, this one had to be haunted, right? The house is the murder site of a family of six and two overnight guests. That the killer was never found only adds to the mystery of the place where visitors have reported seeing visions of a man with an ax and hearing whispers of the murdered children. *shudder*
The town which made the term ‘Witch Hunt’ famous is teeming with creepy stories and folk fare. Starting with the deaths of 20 innocent people during the notorious witch trials to other hotspots of paranormal activity, like Old Salem Jail and the House of Seven Gables, Salem is the authentic haunted town that you can visit this Halloween.
Alcatraz, San Francisco, California
The ultimate American prison, which closed down in 1963, is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world by paranormal investigators. Prisoners and guards report hearing unexplained ghostly noises and moaning in the middle of the night. The temperature is also known to drop suddenly in the former federal penitentiary.
Bobby Mackey’s Music World, Wilder, Kentucky
Before it was converted into a nightclub, this place was the location of a slaughterhouse, and later, a casino. Legend has it that a satanic cult used to perform rituals in this place and that the site has a ‘gateway to hell’ in its basement. A pregnant dancer is also believed to have committed suicide in that same basement.
112 Ocean Ave, Amityville, New York
The house, on which The Amityville Horror book and film series are based, is the site where 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family. The family that moved into the house after this carnage would hear banging noises and inexplicable footsteps, experience mysterious smells, and feel eyes peering in from outside the window.
Real-time location tracking on the cheap: $1,000 is all it takes
What would you buy for $1,000? The new iPhone? A 60-inch LED TV? 3 years’ worth of subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu? Or access to someone’s whereabouts as they move from their home to office and other places?
A surprisingly modest budget of $1,000 is all it takes to exploit an individual’s online advertising network to track their location and learn what kind of apps they are using, according to a research at the University of Washington.
Are you kidding me? How can someone do that?
The creep would first need to obtain their target’s mobile advertising ID (MAID) which play a role similar to the cookies on a website and help marketer’s dish out targeted ads to a user. Now, obtaining this MAID is not too hard a task, the researchers have explained. Anyone in the Wi-Fi range of the target when they are on an unsecured network or anyone with access to the Wi-Fi router the target uses – even temporarily – can quickly sniff out the MAID. In fact, if the target has clicked on any of the attacker’s ads in the past, extracting the MAID becomes a cakewalk.
After that, it is just a matter of purchasing ads targeted to specific apps and locations – easily achievable in a reasonably cheap budget of $1,000. These ads will show up only if a user opens a particular app at a particular location. Within mere 10 minutes of the target’s arrival at a location, the attacker would learn about it through the ad network – this, without the target ever clicking on or engaging with the ad in any manner.
The map above shows the morning commute of a research subject. The red dots represent the places where the researchers were able to track that person’s movement. These include the target’s home, a coffee shop, bus stop and workplace. A targeted ad would show up if the individual stayed in one location for about four minutes. Hence the absence of red dots along the bus route and the walking track.
Anybody from a burglar, stalker, disgruntled spouse or an ideological vigilante can easily exploit this highly-targeted spy network to extract private information about other people. Serving ads targeted to specific apps would also allow malicious minds to learn sensitive information about their targets, such as sexual orientation or religious beliefs. For example, an anti-gay group could location-target gay bars and serve ads in apps like Grindr to expose the gay population in that area. Or paparazzi could send ads targeted for pregnancy trackers to the home locations of celebrities.
“To be very honest, I was shocked at how effective this was,” Tadayoshi Kohno, co-author of the study told UWNews. “We did this research to better understand the privacy risks with online advertising. There’s a fundamental tension that as advertisers become more capable of targeting and tracking people to deliver better ads, there’s also the opportunity for adversaries to begin exploiting that additional precision. It is important to understand both the benefits and risks with technologies.”
Now, it seems like that never using any apps or visiting websites with ads may be the only solution, but the researchers urge ad networks to be more proactive in taking action that would mitigate attacks. For example, Facebook and Google – with their large user bases – have thresholds on how few users an ad can specify that it targets (20 and 1,000, respectively). But given the problem of market incentive with other ad networks, legal regulations may prove to be more effective. But till that happens, we urge you to reset your device identifiers like cookies and the MAIDs on a regular basis.