Arts & Reviews

Six Haunted Houses of America

By: Sandra Benlian

“insidethemagic.net”

Halloween is known as that time of the year where people will gladly stroll into one of the many haunted attractions available for entertainment, whether it be an escape room, haunted maze, or creepy amusement park.  Many won’t think twice before doing so, since they’ll end up safe in the end…. right? Regulated by laws and real people, there is not much at stake, but what about the structures full of history and, some might say, spirits? Here is a list of six of America’s haunted houses (in no particular order)

!! Proceed with caution, mention of death and murder !!

Amityville House, Long Island, NY

In November of 1974, Ronald J DeFeo Jr shot and murdered his entire family while they slept. 23 years old at the time, he murdered his parents, as well as his four siblings. A little over a year after the murders, the Lutz family purchased the home, living through countless paranormal occurrences, like hearing strange noises and smelling odors, levitating off their beds, seeing a pig-like creature with red eyes watching them through their window, and much more

(Biography.com)

LaLaurie House, New Orleans, LA

Belonging to serial killer Madame Delphine LaLaurie, this house was where she would horrifically torture and murder her slaves. In 1834, the house was set ablaze, and so LaLaurie’s inhumane practices were exposed to the community. A tenant living in the same house in 1894 had also been found brutally murdered in his room following his complaints regarding “spirits” who wouldn’t rest until he was dead. 

(New Orleans Historical Society)

Whaley House, San Diego, CA

Before this house was even built, it was known as the sight of thief Yankee Jim Robinson’s public execution. Thomas Whaley purchased the land in 1855, and constructed a family home, in which he would live with his wife Anna and their three children. The tragedy started with their 18 month old son passing away of scarlet fever not soon after the move. A few months later, the general store they had within the home was destroyed by a raging fire. Anna was held at gunpoint by a group of men in 1871 while Thomas was away on a business trip, and they seized the courthouse orders. Both daughters got married in the house, however younger Violet suffered a messy divorce, leaving her depressed and in despair. She was driven to suicide as she shot herself in the chest on August of 1885. Many other family members died in the house for years to come, and their spirits supposedly still haunt the halls to this day 

(Whaley House Museum)

Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, MA

Andrew Borden, a businessman well-off for his time, had bought the house in 1872 and remodeled it for his family. His daughters Emma and Lizzie, however, were very unhappy with him, his selfishness, and abusive habits. They disliked their step-mother Abby as well, who was also unhappy with her marriage. On August 4, 1892, both parents would be found bludgeoned to death with an axe, remaining one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the country. The house remains in its state to this day, where one can visit and even stay over in the house. 

(Lizzie Borden House)

Villisca Axe Murder House, Villisca, IA 

This is another home to an axe murder which took place in the year of 1912, taking the life of the family, their four children, and two friends. Numerous suspects included the Iowa Senator at the time, yet it is still unsolved. Visitors today can tour for the day or choose to stay overnight 

(Des Moines Register)

Winchester House, San Jose, CA

Likely one of the most well known haunted houses in America, the Winchester house has been around since 1884. Sarah Winchester, wife of William Wirt Winchester and mother to Annie, grew up wealthy and privileged. However, tragedy struck when her daughter passed away, and later her husband, about a decade later. Left to inherit the riches of her late husband’s wealth and company, she had over what would be considered $500 million dollars today. Overcome with grief, Sarah sought out a medium who told her William was telling her to relocate from Connecticut to California, and to build a new home; a big one in which all the souls of the lives taken by William’s Arms rifles could rest, or be left to haunt Sarah. So she did as she was advised, and began the building of the house into a seven-storey mansion, with 161 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 10,000 panes of glass, two basements, and three elevators. Due to the lack of an architectural team, the layout was messy and odd, leading to stairs which led to the ceiling, hallways that turned into dead-ends, windows looking onto rooms, and much more. Many say Sarah would conduct seances to consult the spirits of the house regarding construction. She would also sleep in different rooms every night and get around the house using secret passageways to confuse the bad spirits. Sadly, an earthquake hit in 1904, causing the downfall of three of the top floors, yet the rest of the home remains intact to this day. 

(Winchester Mystery Website)

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