The Sheila Newton Team presents a fun and interesting list of famous "haunted homes" across the U.S.
How much fun for a real estate person to be able to entertain with some appropriate spooky tales! I hope you get the chance to share this "haunted house" knowledge with others this time of year! I know I will!
Haunted houses have been scaring us since “The Fall of the House of Usher” in 1839 by Edgar Allen Poe. Almost every city has a big old house that children — and some grownups — think is haunted. Many kids earned their first badge of courage by sneaking a peek into the window of a house where someone once went in and was never seen again or where someone from the neighborhood once claimed to have seen a ghost. There are some really famous homes all over the US that are said to be haunted. Here is a small list of the ones I think are the most interesting. Enjoy and Happy Halloween.
The White House
That's right, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. is not only home to the current President of the United States, it also is home of several former presidents and their families who occasionally decide to make their presences known there, despite the fact that they are dead.Abigail Adams. Andrew Jackson. Dolly Madison. Those are just some of the ghosts that people have reported seeing at the White House. The spirit of Abraham Lincoln has been spotted many times, including once by Calvin Coolidge’s wife, who said that he stood at a window in the Oval Office, looking toward the former battlefields across the Potomac River.
Henry Webber House
Located in Aspen, Colo., this Second Empire-style brick house was built by Webber, a wealthy shoe merchant, in the 1880s. Webber’s past was marred with suspicion surrounding the circumstances of his wife’s death. His wife died in 1881 from an overdose of strychnine, and although a coroner declared her death an accident, there were rumors that Webber’s wife committed suicide because of Webber’s ongoing relationship with her niece, Julia Nevitt.The rumors persisted in part because Webber married Nevitt just four months after his wife’s death. Mrs. Webber’s ghost is said to haunt the house, which still stands as a private residence today.
Lizzie Borden House
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that this restored Victorian bed and breakfast in Fall River, Mass. is rumored to be haunted. It’s the original site of the gruesome double-murder that made the accused, Lizzie Borden, a household name. Not to mentions a popular children's rhyme.
The house was built in 1845 and was originally built for two families, but was later made into a single family home by Andrew Jackson Borden. Sadly on August 4, 1892 Mr. and Mrs. Borden's life came to a horrible end. On this tragic day Mrs. Borden was making the bed upstairs, while Mr. Borden was laying down in the downstairs sitting room. Despite incriminating evidence and testimony presented by the prosecution, Lizzie was acquitted on June 20, 1893, after the jury deliberated only an hour and a half.
Many patrons of the inn have reported various accounts of ghostly activity within the house. The most popular room and reportedly the most haunted is the room in which Abby Borden was hacked to death. People have witnessed a woman in 19th century clothing making the bed. Perhaps the most spooky reports are that of a woman heard crying throughout the home.
The Amityville Horror House
The Amityville Horror has turned from a real suburban American tragedy into a horrific myth. It has become the source of bestselling novels and the subject of several movies.
Ronald and Louise DeFeo bought the home on June 28, 1965 for their family. On November 13, 1974, in the house at 112 Ocean Ave., Amityville, 24-year-old Ronald DeFeo murdered his family. DeFeo used a high-powered rifle, shot to death his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters. All six members of Ronald DeFeo’s family were killed as they slept and all, said police, were found lying in the same position, on their stomachs with their heads resting on their arms. At his murder trial, Ronald DeFeo testified that he had killed his family because he had heard voices.
In December of 1975, George and Kathleen Lutz moved their family into the home, only to move out twenty eight days later claiming the house to be haunted. Due to the Lutz's claims of the house being haunted, the village of Amityville became synonymous for its "house of horrors".
The building has four stories and more than twenty rooms. It is purported to be the most haunted house in Ohio. The house was built in 1865 for Hannes Tiedemann, a German immigrant. According to legend, Tiedemann’s mother and teenage daughter died of illness in the castle, and countless others were murdered there by Tiedemann himself.
The house remained largely unoccupied until January 1968, when James Romano, his wife, and six children settled in the long abandoned building. The Romano family reported several encounters with ghosts in their new home, and attempted exorcisms and even had a now defunct ghost-hunting group (the Northeast Ohio Psychical Research Society) investigate the castle. By 1974, the Romanos decided to leave the house, and sold it to Sam Muscatello, who planned to turn the castle into a church.To raise money for the church, tours and overnight stays at the castle were offered.
The Whaley House
Located in San Diego, California, the Whaley House has earned the title of "the most haunted house in the U.S.” Built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley on land that was partially once a cemetery, the house has since been the locus of dozens of ghost sightings.
The Whaley House is a two-story Greek Revival style brick residence in San Diego's Old Town. Whaley established his general store in this residence, and solicited cash customers only. The Whaleys moved to San Francisco but returned to San Diego in 1868. Whaley family members would live in the house for nearly a century.
Some of the ghostly encounters of this home include: the spirit of a young girl who was accidentally hanged on the property; the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, a thief who was clubbed to death and who can be heard on the house's stairway where he died, and has sometimes been seen during tours of the old house; the red-haired daughter of the Whaley's sometimes appears in such a realistic form, she is sometimes mistaken for a live child. Famed psychic Sybil Leek claimed to have sensed several spirits there, and renowned ghost hunter Hanz Holzer considered the Whaley to be one of the most reliably haunted structures in the United States.
The Winchester House
It has been the inspiration of movies, books, and imaginations, the subject of documentaries and television specials. If ever there were a "poster child" for haunted houses in America, it would be this one. Located in San Jose, California, this four acres of sprawling confusion attracts gawkers and the curious, but when the tourists are gone, the hallways are not quiet. No workmen are seen, but the building continues in possibly the most famous haunted house in America, if not the world. And it was built out of equal parts guilt, fear, and, some say, craziness.
It all began in 1862 when Sarah Lockwood Pardee married into the famous Winchester family, makers of the Winchester repeating rifle.However, just four years later, the couple faced tragedy when their infant daughter died of a mysterious illness. Devastated, Sarah fell victim to a depression that lasted the rest of her life.
Fifteen years later Sarah's husband, William, died of tuberculosis, which brought the young widow to the depths of despair. Desperate for answers as to how much tragedy could befall someone like her, Sarah sought out a psychic. The medium told Sarah that the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles, ALL of them, were seeking revenge against her family.
At the suggestion of the psychic, Sarah moved out West and purchased a large farmhouse ( what is now called the Winchester Mystery House). According to the psychic, she had to make room for all the dead souls, and to do so, Sarah began one of the strangest and most interesting home improvement projects of all time. So dedicated to the house and her mission was Sarah that, when a massive earthquake struck and destroyed a large portion of the house in 1906, the workers didn't even bother clearing away the rubble and just built on top of the collapsed section. She took the earthquake as a sign that she'd been spending too much time on the front section and subsequently ordered the front thirty rooms sealed. Construction continued until her death in 1922.
The mansion is now open to guests and offers tours of the house and grounds. While on the tour, people get to see the impressive structure in all its glory, from doors that open over open air, staircases that end at the ceiling, and small doors (for small ghosts) next to normal doors to the impressive rooms that show Sarah never used anything but the very best for her otherworldly visitors. It has inspired more than its fair share of movies and stories, most notably Stephen King's Rose Red. Now at a sprawling three acres and 160 rooms, there is enough weirdness and beauty to impress even the most jaded visitor. And with volumes of ghost stories reported by guests and workers, the house is cemented as one of the most treasured places of its kind.
Finally, here is one from Anderson, SC:
The Sullivan House/Music building
This home, now part of Anderson University, is located in Anderson SC. As the story goes, before the building served as a music center it was home to the president of the school, which was a college then, and his family. According to legend, the president’s daughter, who was in love with a man her father would not let her see, hanged herself in the house. From then on, it was said that her ghost woud sit and sing at her piano and turn lights on and off in the building.
The story of the ghost disappeared after the building was converted to other uses in the 1980s. After the music students stopped using the building late at night, most of the stories stopped. Still, the legend and the rumors remain.
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Sheila Newton, CDPE
Sheila Newton Team, Inc
RE/MAX Realty Professionals
100-A Miracle Mile Dr.
Anderson, SC 29621
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