In an effort to combine two of my favorite things, Halloween and real estate, I give you The Spookiest Homes in the U.S.!
First up, the house at 112 Ocean Ave, Amityville, NY. Okay, we all know the story behind this one. You know, the house from the novel and movies? The facade of the structure and the street number have been changed since the Lutz family ran for their lives after their long 28 day occupation.
The Grant-Humphreys Manson at 770 Pennsylvania Street, Denver, CO was built by James Grant, Colorado’s 3rd governor. It’s said to house no less than 5 ghosts. A major cause of all this spooky activity is the blame of a city worker who unearthed nearby graves–mixing up the ‘parts’ and breaking them up to fit into convenient-sized smaller boxes--to make way for what is now Cheesman Park.
The Reed House of Asheville, NC was built in 1892 by Samuel Reed, a lawyer for George Vanderbuilt. Reed’s life was one of sadness as 5 of his children died young. Six months after his wife passed away, Mr. Reed joined her. In 1973 the home was sold and turned into a B & B known as the Biltmore Village Inn. Guests claim to hear the sounds of heavy, booted footsteps and ghostly games of pool.
The Hale House is located in Coventry, Connecticut. It was built in the mid-1700's by Nathanial Hale’s father. A friend of a subsequent owner, George Seymour, claims to have come face to face with the apparition of none other than Deacon Hale himself. Several of Deacon Hale’s offspring are also said to haunt the home as are several servants. The home has been since turned into a museum and is open seasonally to tours.
Strawberry Hill, now a museum and cultural center, is located in Kansas City, KS. This 40 bedroom behemoth was an orphanage in the early 1900's. It is spirited by the Lady in Red and a cranky fellow who doesn’t like people coming to the third floor, which he considers ‘his’.
The Stranahan House was built in 1901 by the Frank Stranahan, the ‘father of Fort Lauderdale’. Noted as the oldest house in the city, anchors RiverWalk. Mr. Stranahan killed himself during the Great Depression. Ghost hunters have experienced cold spots and unexplained voices. One claims to have smelled cigar smoke. Ghost tours are offered every October.
Franklin Castle in Cleveland, OH is said to be the state’s most haunted house. Why? A pile of babies skeletons was discovered under a back room, victims of a quack doctor, according to forgottenohio.com. To top it off, a group of Nazi’s was gunned down on the property in a political dispute. It’s no wonder babies can be heard crying in the midst of German Socialists’ voices.
Madrona Manor at 1001 Westside Road in Healdsburg, CA is now a B & B. Guestroom 101 is haunted by a woman in black. The woman? Probably Hannah Paxtron, wife of John Paxtron who built the house in 1880. Upon John’s death, Hannah had him placed in a lead-lined glass coffin, which she kept in the house until her own death. Their son Charles killed himself at the residence after his wife ran off with another man.
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose was the child of Sarah Winchester, wife of William, of Winchester Repeating Arms Co. Even without ghosts this place would be creepy. The 160 room house has 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases (many of which lead to nowhere), 47 fireplaces and 1, 257 windows (one built into the floor). Why all this oddity and excess? One story says that a medium once told Sarah if she stopped construction, she would die. Another says that her excessive building was a way to atone for all those lives lost by Winchester rifles.
And finally, what some people think is Spook Central, U.S.A., the Whaley House. Located in San Diego, the Whaley House is haunted by Yankee Jim Robinson, a thief who was ‘hanged on a gallows off the back of a wagon’ upon the site which the house now stands. Even though he witnessed the hanging, Thomas Whaley bought the land anyway and started building. Soon after construction was completed, Mr. Whaley could hear the footsteps of a heavy man. Later, visitors claimed to see visions of Thomas himself and his wife Anna, a girl who, according to legend, ‘accidentally broke her neck on a low-hanging clothesline’ in the yard as well as spectral animals, including a spotted dog that looked like a fox terrier. When they lived there, the Whaley’s had a fox terrier. Her name was Dolly Varden.
In addition to the included links, see this article on sfgate.com for more spooky sites.