The Top 5 (not-so-tiny) Haunted Houses

I don’t believe in ghosts.

Say it again.

I don’t believe in ghosts!

Have you convinced yourself yet? A surprising 1/3 of adult Americans could say it ad nauseum and still not buy into it as according to a 2007 Mark Dolliver poll they believe whole-heartedly in spirits from beyond. In fact, that same poll suggests 23% of adults polled said they’d personally seen or felt a ghost. It doesn’t sound so hard to believe if you are one of the many that have heard a bump in the night when you’re home alone. In fact, Americans seem to be fascinated with the idea of being scared out of our wits.

Each and every October it seems communities across the land are inundated with zombies, chainsaw crazies, Freddie Kruegers, and dead cheerleaders at strip malls, abandoned warehouses, forests, and old houses in an effort to raise money for this cause or that group by simply scaring the pants off unsuspecting guests who not moments before paid money to raise their adrenaline levels and be frightened! Real life haunted houses are a different story though. No one wants to see dishes flying across their kitchens or hear childish laughter coming from an attic door or even pull into their driveway only to be greeted by an unfamiliar face through the window. What if it did happen to you though? What if the bathtub was overflowing one night while you were otherwise downstairs watching a movie? Who you gonna call? My guess is the ASSAP (or Association for the Scientific Study of Anamalous Phenomena) who have painstakingly outlined a list of ‘Symptoms of a Typical Haunting.’ Comprised of ghosts, smells, odd sounds, cold areas, and more, these symptoms are the typical faire for determining a true haunting. And while your tiny house may be haunt free (mostly due to size since there aren’t many places to mysteriously disappear in a tiny house trailer) the following five houses across America seem to have enough other-worldly presence to be legendary as a truly haunted house!

White House

The White House as seen in 1846.

5. The White House. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is reportedly one of the most haunted houses in America. And why not? After having your ever desire tended to during your presidency who would want to leave? Just ask John and Abigail Adams. They were the first, “First Couple” in the house and even today Abigail is said to be lingering about hanging up freshly washed clothes in the East Room. And there are more. Don’t believe me? Ask Ronald Reagan!

4. Villisca Ax Murder House. Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their Fall River, Mass. home in 1892. The story doesn’t end there though. On the evening of June 9, 1912, Josiah Moore, his wife Sarah and their four children left their home to attend a function at a local Presbyterian church. The family had also invited Lena and Ina Stillinger, friends of the Moore family children, to spend the night at the Moore house following the event. After the family and their two guests returned home and turned in for the night, an intruder — or perhaps a group of them — entered the house and, well…..gave the home a new name by way of………

Whaley House

3. Whaley House. The Whaley House in San Diego was originally built on the execution grounds of James Robinson, nicknamed Yankee Jim. In 1852, Yankee Jim was convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to death by hanging. The hangman set the noose improperly, allowing Jim’s feet to touch the ground, prolonging the hanging process. In 1856, Thomas and Anna Whaley bought the land where Yankee Jim had been killed and built a house for their family. Current ghost guests include Yankee Jim himself, the Whaley’s youngest son, Thomas Jr., the Whaley’s daughter Violet, and Thomas and Anna themselves. You can read the full history behind the mystery at the Whaley House website.

2. Lalaurie House. This house has an unbelievable story that spans some 70 years of horror, outrage, vengeance, death, deceit, and tragedy. It involves Madame Lalaurie herself who was a torturous woman and treated her hired help like common street animals. The twist is that she is claimed to have had an unnatural fascination with the human body keeping a torture chamber of human improbabilities. The entire story is too gruesome for retelling but can be found online in its entirety.

Winchester House

1. Winchester House. This most famous haunted house is not quite as haunted as some may think. It is more bizarre. It seems to hide a secret be there one or not! Reportedly sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department as being haunted the Winchester House is perhaps the most bizarre haunted house in the U.S. Designed by Sarah Winchester – widow of William Winchester, founder of Winchester rifles – the house occupied all of Sarah’s time after the death of her daughter in 1866 and her husband in 1881. Why? A medium instructed her to build a house that would ward off the evil spirits. So build, she did! Construction began in 1884 and lasted for some 28 years – until Sarah died in 1922. Sarah reportedly held nightly seances to receive guidance from spirits and her dead husband William for the home’s design which resulted in a maze-like residence full of 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.

 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Joyce Rader - October 29, 2014 Reply

At first I thought the article was going to show photos of tiny homes decorated for Halloween or perhaps hear some ‘horror’ story with the occupants that occurred during the build or during this holiday. Anyone care to share?

    Andrew M. Odom - October 30, 2014 Reply

    I think most tiny housers actually skip the…no, wait. Not true. I saw a photo or two of Macy Miller’s house (minimotives.com) either on Facebook or her blog. But I think most tiny housers do more of autumn-themed decorations. In my experience because of the size of a tiny house it can become overwhelming to have seasonal decorations like Easter or Halloween and easier for seasons so they blend better.

    I do have a horror story though Joyce. On Day 2 of our build I was holding two studs together to make a king stud and being perhaps a bit over-confident I shot a nail (from a pneumatic nail gun) through the webbing of my hand (thumb and pointer finger) into the wood. WOW! That hurt and while there was little blood in my eyes it looked like a real nightmare!

Otessa Regina Compton - October 29, 2014 Reply

SOME OF THESE CAN BE DUPLICATED INTO TINY HOUSES. THE CONCEPTS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED AND THERE WOULD BE A VARIETY OF STYLES. I WOULD NOT MIND HAVING ONE, MANSION STYLE TINY HOUSE. GHOST ONLY WELCOME IF THEY CAN HELP BUILD. INSPIRATION FROM THE OTHER SIDE.

Matt - October 30, 2014 Reply

What house is the lead image?

    Andrew M. Odom - October 30, 2014 Reply

    It is The Bone Yard house in Stockbridge, MI which has – from what I understand – a very popular walk-through haunted amusement.

Greg Thomas - October 30, 2014 Reply

It would have been nice to have the names for all of the haunted houses that are shown in this article. If you are going to talk about the Borden murders and then jump to a completely different murder, tie the two together better.

    Andrew M. Odom - October 30, 2014 Reply

    All but the first one is identified Greg and I realize now that I failed to say what the lead in image was. The second is the White House (my #5), the third is The Whaley House (my #3), and the last is The Winchester House (my #1). When doing lists I typically put the image above the number referencing it. As for the Borden murder, my goal of this post was not to get into the details of the acts themselves as those are all well documented on the Internet. I was instead working to put together a list of haunted houses from my vantage point.

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