People love a good ghost story this time of year, and we here at Global are happy to oblige. We scoured the internet for the 10 most haunted homes in the U.S. While this did make for some interesting research, these are 10 homes that you most definitely don’t want to buy.
10. Amityville Horror House
Estimated Home Value: $859,000
Location: Amityville, NY
Notable ghost: None
Although it is the least haunted home on the list, it is a notorious home that was the scene of a horrific murder in November, 1974. The Amityville Horror House is perhaps the most “commercialized haunted house” in America.
It is where 23-year-old Ron DeFeo, Jr. killed his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters with a rifle as they slept in their beds. The Lutz family purchased the home in 1975 for $80,000, but left after 28 days in which they described many supernatural events occurring such as slime oozing down walls, strange odors, moving furniture, swarms of flies in the dead of winter, and slamming doors, to name a few.
9. Winchester House
Cost of comparable home in neighborhood: $2.2 million
Location: San Jose, CA
Notable ghost: Sarah Winchester
As one of two homes in California sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department as being haunted (the other is the Whaley House), the magnificent Winchester House stands alone as perhaps the most bizarre haunted home in the U.S. It was inspired and designed by Sarah Winchester, widow of William Winchester, founder of Winchester rifles. Legend goes that Sarah was deeply affected by the deaths of her daughter, Annie, in 1866 and then her husband, William, in 1881. Sarah consulted a medium who instructed her to build a house to ward off evil spirits. Construction on the Winchester House started in 1884 and continued for 38 years — until Sarah’s death in 1922.
Sarah reportedly held nightly seances to gain guidance from spirits and her dead husband for the home’s design. What resulted was 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 — all to ward off and confuse evil spirits
8. White House
Cost of comparable home in neighborhood: $263.17 million
Location: Washington, DC
Notable ghosts: Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln
It makes sense that a home this old and with so much history has a lot of ghosts. Abigail Adams, wife of second president John Adams, is considered to be the “oldest” ghost in the White House since she and John were the first to live in the big, drafty home that was still unfinished when they moved in on Nov. 1, 1800. She was known to hang her laundry in the East Room and is still “spotted” there to this day. But perhaps the most notable ghost is 16th president Abraham Lincoln who reportedly had psychic powers and even anticipated his assassination days before. Many former presidents, residents and heads of state have seen Lincoln or felt his presence throughout the White House, including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who fainted at the sight of him.
7. Stranahan House
Cost of comparable home in neighborhood: $1.3 million
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Notable ghost: Frank Stranahan
The Stranahan House was one of several structures built between 1893-1906 along the New River in Fort Lauderdale, FL, by an enterprising young man named Frank Stranahan. Frank arrived in 1893 to operate a barge ferry across the river and was the first non-Indian to live in what is now the center of Fort Lauderale. Soon, this prime location spawned other businesses for Stranahan, including a trading post, post office, bank and hotel. He became a powerful land owner in the area and soon, the Stranahan Trading Post became well-known. He married school teacher Ivy Cromartie and built her a home right on the New River in 1906, the Stranahan House, which still stands today as the oldest remaining structure in Broward County. Frank and Ivy were considered Fort Lauderdale’s First Family.
This is also where Stranahan’s story turns grim. Stranahan suffered from depression and his mental health could not endure a hurricane that devastated his businesses, or the financial effects of the Great Depression. Stranahan committed suicide on June 23, 1929 by strapping a large iron gate to his ankle and throwing himself into the New River. There are many reports of Frank Stranahan’s ghost in the Stranahan House, as well as the ghost of Ivy Cromartie. Other ghostly presences include six family members and the apparition of an Indian servant girl near the back of the home.
6. Lizzie Borden House
Cost of comparable home in neighborhood: $238,500
Location: Fall River, MA
Notable ghosts: Andrew and Abby Borden
Who killed Andrew and Abby Borden with an ax on the morning of Aug. 4, 1892 in this Fall River, MA home? To this day, no one truly knows. Lizzie Borden, the daughter of Andrew and step-daughter of Abby, became the prime suspect and eventually, the subject of a popular children’s rhyme.
Andrew was a widowed cabinet-maker and had two daughters, Lizzie and Emma Lenora. In 1865, he married Abby Durfee Gray and then in 1872, he bought the home pictured above so he could be closer to the city’s downtown district. Reports say the Bordens were not a loving family unit and the stresses of step relatives created much tension in the house, which were only escalated by the Borden girls’ fears that their father was bequeathing his assets and property to the step-mother’s side of the family. Lizzie was indicted for the crime, and then acquitted by a jury. It was the trial of the century. She and her sister eventually moved to a home on French Street, and the murder home is now a bed and breakfast where Andrew and Abby are said to still roam. Need a room for the night?
5. LaLaurie Mansion
Cost of comparable home in neighborhood: $2.9 million
Location: New Orleans, LA
Notable ghosts: Victims of Madame LaLaurie
Horrific stories of torture and abuse inflicted on slaves who worked in this house were reported in the 1830s and the abuser was said to be Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a socialite of great wealth and prominence in New Orleans. Delphine and her husband, Dr. Louis LaLaurie, would host elaborate parties at the house, but soon, stories of vicious cruelty emerged. In one tale, Delphine was whipping the child of a slave when the child broke away and ran to the roof, falling to her death. But the turning point came when a fire broke out in the mansion and when help arrived, they witnessed horrific scenes of punishment and torture inflicted on the slaves. Delphine fled, never to be seen again.
The home has undergone many changes and owners over the years, with one of the most recent owners actor Nicolas Cage. Cage said of the LaLaurie house, “… You know, other people have beachfront property; I have ghost-front property… ” Unfortunately, Cage lost the property in a foreclosure auction.
4. Moore Home
Estimated Home Value: $110,000
Location: Villisca, Iowa
Notable ghosts: Victims of an Axe Murderer
One the morning of June 10, 1912, the small mid-western community of Villisca, Iowa awoke to find eight of their own had been brutally murdered with an axe during the middle of the night. This fateful evening changed the town from a peaceful community where people left their doors unlocked and trusted their neighbors into a community of suspicion, where the townsfolk reinforced their locks and openly carried weapons. Accusations, rumors and suspicion ran rampant among friends and families. Newspaper reporters, private detectives and law enforcement agencies from neighboring counties all verged upon the town collecting hundreds of interviews and facts. Though there were several suspects, the murders were never solved. The walls of this old home today continue to protect the identity of the vicious murderer who bludgeoned to death the entire family of Josiah Moore and two overnight guests.
Open for tours today, the old house is said to be the site of a number of paranormal activities. A number of reports have been given that visitors hear the sounds of children voices and laughter when there are none present, objects seemingly move of their own accord, mysterious banging sounds are heard throughout the house.
3. Chambers Mansion
Estimated home value: $3,419,500
Location: San Francisco, CA
Notable ghost: Claudia
In the prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco is the Chambers Mansion, which was built in 1887 and named after its first owner, Richard Chambers, who was a silver mine tycoon. Legend goes that Chambers lived here with his two nieces who hated each other.
When Chambers died in 1901, the nieces inherited the mansion. One reportedly bought the house next door and moved in while the other sister, Claudia, stayed. Claudia reportedly loved pigs but met her fate one day when she was nearly cut in half from what her family called a “farm implementation accident.”
Ghost expert Jim Fassbinder, who conducts haunted home tours in San Francisco, “claims that an insane member of the Chambers family, who was kept in the attic, chased Claudia downstairs into the Josephine room and killed her.”
The mansion was eventually converted to the Mansion Hotel in 1977, where celebs such as Barbra Streisand, Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams stayed. Many guests have reported strange occurrences while staying there.
2. Franklin Castle
Estimated home value: $267,000
Location: Cleveland, OH
Notable ghosts: Babies crying
Complete with a tower, turrets, balconies, stone outcroppings, gargoyles, wrought-iron fixtures and fences, this imposing, Gothic-style Franklin Castle is said to be Ohio’s most haunted home.
It was built in 1860 for Hannes Tiedemann, an immigrant from Germany who became a wholesale grocer-turned-banker. Depending on who you believe, Tiedemann was either an evil tyrant who had a hand in mysterious deaths that occurred in the home between 1865-1895 — including the deaths of three babies — or he was a decent and hard-working man, but faced unfortunate circumstances.
There have been many owners of the home including a German singing society and a church group. Presently, it is owned by an Internet businesswoman who wanted to renovate it and turn it into a B&B and hold “haunted mystery weekends,” but a fire in 1999 derailed her plans. It is rumored that Franklin Castle will be listed soon.
In the market for a haunted house? Amenities include sounds of footsteps, babies crying, and doors slamming. How many agents dare to appear for this broker’s open house?
1. Lemp Mansion
Cost of comparable home in neighborhood: Unknown
Location: St. Louis, MO
Notable ghosts: Lemp Family Members
Lemp Mansion was built in the early 1860’s. William J. Lemp, the son of the founder of Lemp Brewery, John Adam Lemp, was the first member of the Lemp family to live there. The Lemps were one of the richest families in St. Louis by 1870 due to the great success of the brewery. They were also very, very eccentric. The decor of the mansion was considered odd in many ways. Their atrium was decorated in a jungle theme, and in this room they kept exotic plants and animals. In their basement was an underground cavern that contained an auditorium, a swimming pool, and a ballroom. In the main bathroom are a barber chair, a sink with glass legs, and a free-standing shower that William Lemp brought back with him from Italy after discovering it in his hotel. There is an upstairs room called the Lavender Room, a moniker taken from Lillian Handlan Lemp, William Jr.’s wife, known as “the Lavender Lady.” She apparently dressed only in lavender in imitation of the Czarina of Russia.
Eccentricity is one thing, though, and insanity is another. Troubles began for the Lemps in 1901, when William Sr.’s favorite son, Frederick, died mysteriously at the age of 28. He was the heir apparent to the Lemp legacy, and his father was crushed. In 1904, still despondent over his loss, William Sr. went into his office and shot himself through the heart. His son, William Lemp, Jr., took over the business. In 1920, William’s sister Elsa also committed suicide by shooting herself, although not in the mansion. In 1922, William sold the brewery at a huge loss. After the sale, he went into the same office that his father had nearly two decades before and shot himself. Despite all the tragic events that transpired in the mansion, the surviving Lemp, Charles, remained there. He was brother to William, Elsa, Frederick and one other surviving Lemp, Edwin. In 1949, at the age of seventy-seven, Charles killed the family dog and then shot himself. The house was then sold and used as a boarding house until 1977, when renovation began to make Lemp mansion into a bed and breakfast. This is when the paranormal events began.
Workers were disturbed by inexplicable banging noises and objects moving about on their own. What was most distressing, though, to the point where several workers quit, was the eerie sensation that they were being watched. Some of the men claimed that the unseen stares practically burned through them.
Today, visitors to the Lemp Bed and Breakfast have claimed to feel cold spots and see strange lights. Both guests and employees have been frightened by a “Lady in Lavender” on the third floor stairwell. She has also been seen in the first floor bathroom. Inexplicable noises still abound, the most notable being piano music and the barking of a phantom dog.