Top 13 Haunted Houses In America And The Stories Behind Them

Skeptics question the existence of the ghosts, hauntings and the paranormal. Perhaps science does have an explanation for everything, and maybe ‘it’s all in the mind’, but the numerous claims and sightings of the paranormal by people cannot be brushed aside, besides, religion says if there is God, then there must be evil. Stories of haunted houses, the sightings of ghosts, the stench of rotting meat, objects levitating, noises and screams and sometimes just that feeling of being watched over by someone or something are sure to send chills down the spines, even for the nonbelievers. Here is a look at the list of 13 most haunted houses in America.

13. 14th West 10th street, NYC’s House of Death

This classic brownstone was constructed in the 19th century and is believed to be haunted by the 22 people who have died in the house. Located in New York City, this famous home is supposedly haunted by the most famous ghost of them all, Mark Twain, who briefly resided there. In the 1930s, a mother and daughter claimed to have encountered the author sitting near a window where he stated, “My name is Clemens and I has a problem here I gotta settle.” He disappeared moments later. There have also been apparitions of a lady in white, a young child, and a gray cat. This brownstone has an eerie rep for another reason: It’s where Joel Steinberg beat his six-year-old daughter Lisa to death in a second-floor apartment in 1987—one of the most shocking murders in the city’s history.

12. Kreischer Mansion

Located at Staten Isand, the Kreischer mansion is a large Victorian style mansion built by Balthasar Kreischer, who ran a successful brick business. He built two mansions beside each other for his 2 sons. However things went bad for the family, Kreischer died a year after the mansions were complete, and this was followed by the brick factory burning to the ground. Bad luck followed again when one of his sons committed suicide in the mansion that stands today. In 1998, Isaac Yomtovian bought the mansion with plans to renovate it and sell, but in 2008 the caretaker Joe Black was believed to be a hit man and was convicted of murder when he killed a man, dismembered the body and burned the remain in the basement furnace. There have been reports of paranormal activity in the house and one claim of an eerie ghost like figure peering out through the windows has been reported on occasions.

11. Franklin Castle

Considered by many to be one of the most haunted houses in Ohio, Franklin castle has its share of stories, being built in 1881, at one point it was considered to be a Nazi compound conducting secret spy meetings. But the house had its dubious distinction as cursed from the time it was built, when the owner Tiedemann’s mother and daughter died within weeks of each other. When Teidemann’s wife passed away, it was attributed to the curse of the castle. The Death of Teidemann in 1908 left the no one to inherit the castle and his personal wealth. There were reporting’s of the house being used by the German Socialist party for conducting their Nazi meetings, but the house was mostly abandoned until 1968. Come 1968, the Romano family moves in, and almost immediately after start experiencing strange events.  The children would speak to their “new friend”, even ask for extra cookies for their “friend”. They would hear organ music from various parts of the house. The presence of Mrs Teidemann could be felt in the house by Mrs Romano, until 1974, when they decided to move out of the castle house. Ownership of the house changed hands over many years and today the castle stands waiting for brave souls to take shelter.

10. S.K Pierce Mansion

Located in Gardner, Massachusetts, entering this haunted house requires one to sign a waiver, because it is claimed that the spirits in the mansion can impose their will on the guests. This mansion was once a master piece of its time and was owned by wealthy businessman Sylvester Pierce. This palatial mansion has a guest list that includes President Calvin Coolidge, PT Barnum and was a well-known meeting place for the Freemason Society. Pierce’s wife passed away weeks after moving into the mansion. In 1888, Pierce passed away, and the estate was left to his youngest son Edward who then converted the mansion into a boarding home, and the once sprawling mansion became a haven for gamblers, prostitutes and drunks. Many murders were claimed to have taken place in the mansion. There were clams of a case of spontaneous combustion, when a Finnish traveller burned to death in the master bedroom, as there was very little damage to the surrounding parts of the room and only restricted itself to the bed. There is also a claim of a prostitute being strangled in the famous red bedroom. Guests have experienced objects moving, doors banging, footsteps climbing up and down stairs, some have felt the chill of a hand trying to exert pressure on them and push them down stairs and out of the third floor window. There have been apparitions of a woman and a boy in white clothes. It is also said that Edward has been seen wandering about the mansion, and voices shouting his name can be heard by many on some nights. Paranormal experts claim that these are the highest forms of paranormal entities witnessed, with ability to move large objects and impose their will on the guests.                                                                                                           

09. Robinson Rose House

Built in 1853, by then Lawyer James Robinson who then moved up his career to become a judge, this two story home is located in San Diego, California. Story goes that Judge Robinson was legally married to Edith Isdell and they had 3 children, whom he abandoned and left in financial crisis. He ran away and married an 18 year old Sarah, and on his death, left his all his estate to her, even leaving out his first family.In 1857, Sarah sold the hose to Louis Rose and in 1874 a fire burned the roof and soon after the house fell into ruins. Other abodes did come up over the foundation of the ruins from Robinsons original home, however there is no explanation of who is presently haunting the house. Perhaps it is the spirits of the various others who built over the foundation or maybe James and Sarah have taken shelter in their old home, only time will tell. There have been reports of entities who like to play with electricity, because lights are seen to go on and off and then there are the occasions of the empty elevator moving up and down. Footsteps can be heard of a large man moving and up and down the stairs. A playful figure has manifested itself tugging on the hair of women. And when the place is quiet with little or no guests, there is the apparition of a man dressed in a shirt of old times, going about his work – is this perhaps the spirit of the former Judge himself?

08. Lizzie Borden house

Located in Fall River, Massachusetts is famous for the murders of Andrew Borden and Lizzie Borden, also known as the ‘Axe murders’.  Abby and Andrew Borden were murdered at that house one August morning. Both were bludgeoned with an axe and Lizzie was the main accused in the crime. She was tried and although acquitted of all charges of murder, she was guilty in the court of public opinion. Abby was murdered in the bedroom and Andrew in the parlor. In fact, these two rooms are the most sought after tourist attractions for people visiting the Borden home. People visiting have never faced any violent apparitions, however there have been descriptions of hot or cold air, stagnant air; there have been apparitions in the bedroom of the house were the murder happened, where the pillow bore the impression of someone sleeping on it. In fact paranormal activists have reported EVP questions being answered by what apparently seems like Andrew Borden. There are also the apparitions of a cat. The spirits at this home however seem to go about their work and do not seem to bother anyone around.

07. The Whaley House

Located in San Diego, California, this place is considered to be one of the most haunted houses in America. Built on the site a graveyard by Thomas Whaley, the house was used for commercial purpose as a Theatre, Courthouse and general store. This house was very important for San Diego but it came with its tragedies, especially for the Whaley family. Thomas and Anna Whaley had six children, Thomas Jr died from Scarlet fever at just 18 months of age. That same year, their store burned to the ground. Devastated, they moved to San Francisco, however later fixed up the old house and moved back to San Diego. In 1885, Violet Whaley, daughter of Thomas and Anna committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest, due to a failed marriage. As time moved on, the members of the Whaley family living in the house passed on. Historically, the Whaley house is also known to be one of the most haunted houses in America. Staff and guests would catch a glimpse of members of the Whaley family. There have been sounds of a baby crying and sensation of deep sorrow, especially in the part of the house Violet died. There are reports of the floating spirit of Anna Whaley in the house, and an apparition of a woman in long flowing dress walking about the house. There is also the entity of a dog with long flapping ears running about between rooms, turns out the Whaley’s did own a dog, a terrier! The Whaley house has been declared an official Haunted house by the United States Commerce department.

06. The Octagon House

Located in Washington DC and built by Colonel John Taylor, this house despite its name, is a three storied brick house that is actually a hexagon, with the interior containing a large spiral staircase that also acts as corridor leading to each room. The house was occupied by President Madison for 6 months after the White House was burnt down by the British. John Taylor and his wife Anne stayed in the house until their death. After Anne’s death the children rented out the house. The Octagon is considered to be one of the most haunted houses in DC, The ghosts that are purported to haunt the house are that of Dolly Madison and the 2 Taylor daughters. Dolly Madison’s ghost can be sensed by the smell of flowers and a pleasant musical hum that can be heard probably a remnant of on the many parties she hosted. There are also the apparitions of the Taylor Daughters, both of whom, on different occasions fell their death, down the stairs on the second and third floor of the house respectively. Apparitions of candles and shrieks can be heard on the staircase, and a rustling of the carpet at the spot here one of the daughters died have also been seen. There is also the legend of the ringing of the servant bells that could be heard. It is claimed that the sounds of the bells were the spirits of the dead slaves announcing their presence. There are also reports of lights flickering on and off, sound of feet rapping the floor and the spirit of man who was killed there visiting the room on the third floor, apart from the occasional shrieks that can be heard.

05. The Pirate House

Located in Savannah and dating back to 1753, this is considered to be one of the city’s oldest structures. The original plan for the plot was to build a Botanical garden, however a tavern and inn were constructed to cater to the sailors an traders travelling from abroad. There was a tunnel in the basement that leads to the sea and it was believed that many sailors and seafaring men would get others drunk and kidnap them to sea through this tunnel. It is possible that many sailors would have died from alcohol intoxication at the inn and also from the violence that followed the many sailors visiting. The upstairs is considered to be the main area where many apparitions and manifestations have been witnessed. Sounds of laughter and the apparition of a bearded man have been witnessed on the second floor.  Coffee pots thrown across the room, and fleeting figures moving across the room. The first floor also has witnesses reporting the presence of a man, walking through the kitchen and rooms, chairs being rearranged and objects moving. There have been reports of people feeling cold and nauseous after visiting the basement area.  The house is now a restaurant and serves customers, but beware the spirits of the dead still linger.

04. Villisca Ax Murder House

The Moore residence, located in the town of Villisca, Iowa, was occupied by the Josiah and Sarah Moore and their four children, who were an affluent and respected family in the community. On June 9th, Sarah invited Ina Mae (8) and Lena Gertrude Stillinger (12) over to spend the night after the Childrens day program that was being celebrated at the church that evening. After the program, the Moores and the Silinger sisters walked home. The following morning, Moore’s neighbors, Mary Peckham, noticed that the house was awfully quiet and no one seemed to be doing any chores. After multiple attempts at trying call wake the Moore family, Ross Moore, Josiah’s brother arrived and opened the door with his keys. On entering, he found the family including the Stilinger sisters bludgeoned to death by an axe. In 1994, Darwin and Martha Linn renovated the house to closely resemble the home as it were in before the murders and opened the house to visitors who can stay overnight. There have been numerous reports of children laughing, talking.  Audios have been recorded, of children’s voices and strange noises when no one else was present in the house. Objects have been seen to move and psychics have claimed to have communicated with the spirits that still linger about the house, perhaps still looking for justice.

03. Ann Starrett Mansion

Located in Port Townend, Washington, this sprawling mansion was built in 1899 by George Starrett as a gift to his wife Ann, whom he loved and adored very dearly. The interior décor of the house truly shows the love he had for his wife. The mansion was truly a masterpiece of its time. George and Ann had one child Edward and they hired a nanny who looked after him. The lived a happy life in the mansion and is now converted into a bed and breakfast. There are however numerous accounts of paranormal activity in the house, of both male and female entities, thought to be Ann and George. They say that even death could not separate them; such was the depth of their love. The entities and apparitions felt and experience d by many are mostly welcoming and warm. The female entity considered to be Ann can be seen floating between rooms or admitting the solar calendar. There is also a male entity but is very peaceful and mellow and considered mostly to be with entity of Ann. However, there has been one more female entity that is seen to interact with guests and staff and is the most common apparition experienced in the house. She can be seen flipping the bible, turning the light on and off and clank glasses to make her presence felt. A word of caution, the entity is known to get upset if any negative remarks are passed on the services of the house or if any criticism or remarks are passed on the family, such as slamming pictures or visitors have felt a bump on their head or a bang in the furniture.

02. 208 Meriden Avenue “The Haunting in Connecticut” house

The Snedeker family moved into the house as the rent was cheap and it was close to the hospital where their son would go for treatment (he was apparently being treated for cancer). The home was a former funeral home where the morticians committed necromancy and necrophilia. There were numerous occasions of hauntings and apparitions experienced by member of the Snedeker family. After moving in, Carmen Reed was warned by her son that they ought to move out because the house was evil, but reed paid no attention to the warning. Reed also speaks of a force experienced by those living at home, like being slapped, groped and threatened. Reed’s son started seeing a figure with long dark hair that would stand and watch over him, threaten him and scare him by calling out his name. Reed also claims that because of this and the voices her son could hear, the doctors diagnosed him with schizophrenia, but all that stopped when she sent him away to live with relatives. Reed also claims that her niece would be groped and she could once see a hand moving in her shirt and feeling her back. That was when it dawned upon Reed that ther  was some supernatural force that was haunting their home. One researcher of paranormal activity claims that a spirit descended the stairs and said to him “Do you know what they did to us?”. Two priests called upon to perform an exorcism on the house were too scared and left, a third performed an exorcism that took three hours to rid the home of the spirits.

01.   112 Ocean Avenue ”The Amityville Horror” home

Ronald, Sr. and Louise DeFeo lived with their five children at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. The family were wealthy and well-mannered, however their eldest son, Ron, known around town as a troublemaker. An admitted drug user, a petty criminal and a heavy drinker and was often in trouble with the law. On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six members of his family. In November of 1975, he convicted of Second-degree murder and was sentenced to six consecutive 25-year prison terms. In late December of 1975, just barely one year  after the murders, George and Kathy Lutz bought the house for a sum of $80,000. Much of the DeFeo family's furniture was still in the house, because it was included for $400 as part of the deal. A friend of George insisted on having the house blessed, due to its recent history. Father Pecararo the vice-officials of the diocesan office performed the blessing. During the blessing, Father Pecararo mentioned that one particular room "bothered" him so he recommended that the family not use this particular room as a bedroom. The strange occurrences start soon after. Their dog Harry, tried to jump a fence and almost hug itself till it was rescued just in time.  Strong putrid odors emanated throughout the home, green slime oozed through the walls and the toilets turned black. Large swarms of houseflies continued to pile up in the sewing room. Household appliances turned themselves on and off randomly and doors would strangely slam shut. The entire family noticed severe mood swings and personality changes amongst themselves. George found himself continually awakening at 3:15 in the morning with an uncontrollable urge to check the boathouse. The Lutz' were persuaded to recite The Lord's Prayer while walking throughout the house, and one particular recitation, a mysterious voice shouted, "will you please stop!". Shadows moved around the house and they would see eyes peering in at them from other rooms. On one occasion George noticed the temperature fluctuating rapidly and when he decided to leave, while running down the stairs, there was apparition standing there, staring and pointing a finger at him. George and Kathy Lutz, with their three children and their dog Harry, left 112 Ocean Avenue, leaving all of their possessions behind.

The list here provides us a glimpse of the supernatural and lets just hope it restricts itself to those places. Remember, in life, if one door opens and another one closes, call the priest because your house is probably haunted.

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