Most people love a good haunted house story and it seems that the more lurid it can possibly be, the better. Everyone has probably been exposed to the typical ghost story involving a haunted house with a terrifying specter that sends residents running out screaming, but, alas, these are just stories…unlike many others. Putting urban legends and pure speculation aside, there are known occurrences – a plethora of them actually – that involve the paranormal, many of which have been reported for years and have been documented by paranormal investigators. Stereotypical ghost stories have the tendency to produce a feeling of the far-fetched whenever the word “paranormal” is brought up, but what you’re about to read are not your typical legends and fables.
All throughout the country there are houses of all different styles and time periods, which have been home to people from all walks of life, from the most ordinary farmers to the wealthiest businessmen and high society families. They may all share quite a few differences, but they all share one common trait: they’re haunted. Now, don’t necessarily start producing visions of terror at the thought of haunted house, as not all hauntings are malevolent. In fact, most haunted houses don’t come with any type of negative activity, even though the word “haunted” has definitely acquired a negative connotation. Many haunted houses are simply the eternal homes of former owners/residents, all of whom are either friendly or oblivious towards the living.
Of course, the negative imagery of a haunted house exists for a reason, and some of the houses provided in this list of 38 homes offer up the kind of hauntings you most likely would never want to encounter in your own home. Sometimes, especially when traumatic deaths occur (think murder and suicide here), spirits tend to hold a deep hostility to anything and anyone around them. This hostility can manifest itself in some disturbing ways, such as outright violence towards the occupants or visitors of a house. Experienced by guests of houses that are now hotels, by staff members of those turned into museums or business spaces, and by paranormal investigators out to discover the truth, the houses listed here exhibit enough of a diverse range of hauntings to make you sit up and rethink your views on the topic.
1. Sturdivant Hall, Selma, Alabama
Built in 1856 in the Greek Revival style, this beautiful antebellum mansion was bought in 1864 by John McGee Parkman. In the years after the Civil War, Parkman was arrested and imprisoned for cotton speculation. While in prison, Parkman attempted to escape but was shot and killed in the process. When his wife was forced to sell their house a few years after his death, his ghost began to appear regularly throughout the house and grounds, where it is still seen to this day. People often report hearing windows and doors being opened and shut when no one else is in the house, as well as doors that close behind people and lock on their own. The apparitions of two little girls are also frequently seen, though their identities remain unknown.
2. The Whaley House, San Diego, California
Once a private residence, this mid-19th century house is now a museum dedicated to its former owners and the history they created here. Part of the house was once rented out to the County of San Diego for use as a courtroom…which may explain the appearance of several unidentified ghosts within the house. Apart from these unnamed apparitions, the original owner, Thomas Whaley, his wife, one of their children, a little girl, and a convict are repeatedly seen within the house. The house was apparently haunted as soon as it was built, as the spirit of a man who had been convicted and hanged on the site took up residence in the house upon its completion. The Whaley apparitions are often seen engaged in the normal activities of their former day to day lives. Doors have been known to close and lock on their own, and footsteps are often heard throughout the house, along with music and the crying of a baby.