America’s most haunted houses

“Tales of horror, glimpses of ghosts and a bevy of cobweb decor — it’s all here” (Riggs, Erika).

Franklin Castle
Cleveland, OH

(Photo credit: Tabitha Kaylee Hawk, aka southerntabitha, on Flickr)

Franklin Castle has both a creepy history as well as a creepy exterior. Home to Hannes Tiedemann, the house was reportedly the site of many vicious murders. Built in 1864, the home has all the makings of a haunted mansion: stone tower and turrets, gargoyles and wrought-iron fencing, not to mention sounds of babies crying, doors slamming and footsteps.

According to the property history, the home was last sold for $260,000 in August 2011. No word yet, if the homeowners are having any eerie experiences.

Whaley House
San Diego, CA

(Photo credit: David Schwartz, aka snabby, on Flickr)

In 1857, an entrepreneurial Thomas Whaley took advantage of a deeply discounted property in San Diego’s Old Town neighborhood that once held the area’s hangings. He tore down the gallows and proceeded to build his Greek Revival brick home. However, soon after Whaley and his family moved in, they reported hearing heavy footsteps moving about the house. Even after the Whaleys moved out, various tenants reported seeing ghosts and hearing the footsteps.

Today the historic home is a museum and is open daily for tourists to see if they too hear and see the ghostly apparitions.


Myrtles Plantation
Saint Francisville, LA

(Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

An antebellum home in a voodoo-rich area of Louisiana is the likely place for a haunted home. Built in 1796, Myrtles Plantation was taken over in 1808 by Clark Woodruff, his wife, Sara, and their three children. According to legend, Woodruff had a relationship with one of his slaves, Chloe, who was jealous of Woodruff’s wife. Story goes that Chloe baked a birthday cake for Sara and the kids, including poisonous oleander leaves in the treat. Sara and two of their children died. Chloe confessed, but fellow slaves retaliated, hanging Chloe and dumping her body in the Mississippi.

Chloe isn’t the only ghost said to haunt Myrtles Plantation. A Civil War solider was murdered on the steps of the home, and an ancient Native American burial ground is said to beneath the house. All this adds up to a home rich in creepy incidences.

McPike Mansion
Alton, IL

(Photo credit: Amanda Baird, aka Black.Doll, on Flickr)

Haunted houses — how about a whole haunted city? Alton claims to be one of the most haunted areas in America and is home to McPike Mansion, which is host to a number of active ghosts.

There’s no specific backstory to the ghostly goings-on, but visitors and residents of the brick manse have claimed to be hugged by an unseen woman, hear the laughter of children and see mysterious mists and orbs of light. As far as hauntings go, not too sinister.

Winchester House

San Jose, CA

Photo credit: Anna Fox, aka HarshLight, on Flickr)

It’s as if original owner Sarah Winchester wanted her home to be haunted. The eccentric widow of William Winchester, founder of Winchester rifles, held nightly seances to gain guidance from spirits and her dead husband for the home’s design. The end result?  A maze-like structure that took 38 years to build and includes twisting and turning hallways, dead ends, secret panels, a window built into a floor, staircases leading to nowhere, doors that open to walls, upside-down columns and rooms built, then intentionally closed off  — all to ward off and confuse evil spirits.

Borden House
Fall River MA

(Photo credit: dbking on Flickr)

This home was the site of one of the most infamous crimes of all time: the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, reportedly at the hands of Andrew’s daughter Lizzie. As the nursery rhyme goes, Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave both her father and step-mother whacks. However, Lizzie was acquitted and moved out of the home.

The home of the murder still stands in Fall River and operates as a bed-and-breakfast, where guests report seeing Andrew and Abby wandering about.