Since Halloween is just around the corner, we thought we would share some spooky facts on some of America’s most (allegedly) haunted houses. While most, if not all, of these homes have seen terrible tragedy which contribute to their haunting histories, many have also come with documented sightings, strange noises and moving objects to collaborate their stories. So, whether you believe in hauntings or not, there are some creepy facts about these homes that will make you think twice before buying, or even spending a night in one of them!
1. The Stanley Hotel
There’s a good chance you’ll recognize the first home – er, hotel – on our list. This hotel was made famous by being the setting for the cult horror movie, The Shining. Located in picturesque Estes Park, Colorado, this (still functioning) hotel was built in 1907 by F.O. Stanley in hopes to change the economy for the better.
What makes the Stanley Hotel one of the most haunted places in America is it’s stories surrounding room 217. Historically, it is said that a chambermaid unwillingly created an explosion by walking into the room (which had a gas leak) with a candle lit. She survived her injuries but was said to haunt the room after her death years later. This isn’t the only story that has been told, however. Since the story has been passed down for so many years, it has become a thing of legends, including 3 other fatally injured victims and the circumstances of the explosion varying drastically.
This was only intensified when Stanley Kubrick decided to film the Stephen King classic, The Shining on location. Now there are more stories than ever that surround this hotel and people have reported their clothing being folded by an unknown force, their personal items being moved and even seeing the chambermaid who allegedly haunts room 217.
2. Winchester Mystery House
This is much less a typical house and much more a maze-like mega compound built in the late 1800’s by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune. Construction on this home began after Sarah was struck by tragedy when her her young daughter and husband passed away within a short time of each other. She was distraught with grief and decided to see a medium to ease her pain. The medium told her there was a curse on her family that would soon take her life as well so Sarah followed her recommendations and moved West.
She purchased a 6 room home and, while teetering on the edge of insanity, began to build additions to the house that made little to no sense. The house is home to oddities like staircases that lead to no where, a chimney that stops short of the ceiling, doors that open to blank walls, trap doors, double-back hallways, skylights located above one another, doors that open to steep drops, stairs that were installed upside-down and glass doored bathrooms.
Another intriguing aspect of this house is that everything occurs in increments of 13. There are often 13 windows in a room, the staircases had 13 steps and so on. According to legend, Sarah built the house this way in order to confuse the spirits that were coming to haunt her.
After Sarah’s death in 1922, it is said that she now haunts the house that she never completed. With all the stories surrounding the home, it’s no wonder it’s considered one of America’s most Haunted Houses.
3. The Amityville House
Here’s another famous home that you may have seen or heard of in one of the many movie and television adaptations of the tragedy that occurred there. This home became a thing of legends when in 1974, six members of the residing DeFeo family were found murdered in their home. Only the eldest son, Ronald DeFeo Jr., survived and was later convicted of the murders of his family.
Since then, the home has been lived in by many other families, some of which have reported intense and unexplainable events which often lead to a quick departure. Things like strange odours, cold drafts of air and a “demonic pig-like creature” have been reported in the home, but most of the happenings depicted in the movies were pure hollywood creativity.
There has been evidence recorded by paranormal investigators over the years that provide further evidence that the home may in fact be haunted. Things like alleged photos of apparitions, confirmed cold spots of air and strange movements. While most of the stories surrounding this house have come straight out of Hollywood, the fact still remains that this house has seen is share of tragic events, and may very well be haunted by the DeFeo family ghosts.
4. Myrtle Plantation
Located in St. Francisville, Louisiana, The Myrtle Plantation has been known as the most haunted place in America and definitely one of the creepiest places in the south. Having been built in the late 1700’s, and used as a cotton and sugar cane plantation, the home is no stranger to tragedy and death.
Having enslaved hundreds of African American Men, Women and Children at the time, the plantation is said to have seen at least 10 murders and be the home to at least 12 restless spirits. Historically, the records only state that one murder actually occurred on the property, that being the shooting death of one of the owners, William Winter. But that doesn’t stop the legends from swirling around this home.
The most popular ghost story at the Myrtle Plantation is the one about a young slave girl named Chloe. It is said that the original owner, Clark Woodriff, forced Chloe into being his mistress for many years. She was once caught listening to their conversation and he promptly had her ear cut off for the offence. After that, it is stated the Chloe baked a poisoned cake for the family, which Mrs. Woodriff and two of her children ate, and resulted in their deaths. She was then hanged and reportedly haunts the property to this very day.
To add the mystery of the Myrtle Plantation, it also said to have been built on a ancient Indian burial ground, has a blood stain on the floor the size of a human body, has been a place where Voodoo has been practiced regularly and also may hold the ghost of William Winters. If you’re brave enough, you can plan a stay at the Myrtle plantation or go on one of their tours of the grounds. Just remember, you were warned.
5. The Whaley House
According to the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted, this is the #1 most haunted house in America. Having been around since the early 1800’s this San Diego home plays a very historical part in the city’s culture.
The home was built by Thomas and Anna Whaley in 1857 to start fresh and begin their family. Legend has it that Violet Whaley was married to a con artist who disappeared soon after their wedding leaving her heartbroken. She then committed suicide in the home, which was too much for Thomas and Anna to handle, so they abandoned the home in 1885. After that, many of the Whaley Children returned to live in the family home and most of them passed away there of old age.
It is said that both guests and staff frequently see the Whaley family spirits throughout the home. It is now a museum located in Old Town San Diego and is open to daily tours. There have been many reports of strange sightings, odd noises and the occasional creepy feelings throughout the home, which leads many to believe it is, in fact, still haunted to this day.