By Melanie Moyer.
There’s plenty of places out there that claim to experience otherworldly bumps in the nights and strange going-ons. Hotels, restaurants, museums, old schools, the list is endless but nothing inspires fear like finding your own home is haunted. And America boasts some of the most terrifying haunted houses the world has ever seen. You’ve all heard of Amityville but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the terror that can be found in the pages of history and across homes throughout the United States.
To give you an idea for what’s lurking out there in the vast American landscape, here’s a list of some of the most bloodcurdling horrors that happened just a little too close to home.
1. The Sallie House
Location: 508 North Second street, Atchison, Kansas
This is one of the scariest hauntings you’ve probably never heard of. Not only do native Kansas-dwellers consider this the most haunted building in the state, but many claim it’s the most haunted house in the country. This house was built in the mid 19th century and has been home to many families, but one stands out among the others thanks to the death of their daughter, Sallie, who was the victim of an appendectomy gone wrong. In the 90s, then-owners Tony and Debra Pickman sought the help of paranormal investigators after Tony experienced attacks and mysterious poltergeist activity around the house seemed to escalate. Turns out, not only is little Sallie still around, but the angry spirit of a middle-aged woman was found to be responsible for the attacks.
2. The Kreischer Mansion
Location: 4500 Arthur Kill Rd, Staten Island, New York.
It’s said some houses are cursed. That certainly seems the case for the Kreischer Mansion in Staten Island where tragedy and murder seem to be part of the very fabric of the building. Built in the late 1800s for Edward Kreischer by his father, when the family business failed, Edward took his own life in his home. Although the ghosts of Edward and his distraught wife are often sighted haunting the hallways, a more grisly event took place at the mansion in 2005. Joseph Young was working as the caretaker at the property but was also involved with the Bonnano crime family. They ordered a hit on Robert McKelvey, and Young was elected to execute it. After luring McKelvey to the property, Young then stabbed and drowned him in the pool. After chopping up the body he then burned it in the furnace under the house. Eventually, Young was sentenced to life in prison, but the ghosts of the Kreischer mansion remain to this day.
3. The Winchester Mystery House
Location: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, California
The Winchester Mystery House has been the subject of many documentaries since it was built in the late 19th century. The house originally belonged to Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester, famous for his Winchester Rifle “the gun that won the west.” After his death, Sarah was told by a psychic that the souls of those who were killed by her husband’s rifles would haunt her and she had to build a house to outsmart them. The house, which had no master plan or blueprint, began construction in 1884. The result was a topsy-turvy home of staircases to nowhere, rooms within rooms, doors that opened to nothing, and zigzagging hallways, among other curiosities. In fact, the home was never finished. Sarah continued to work on the house until she died, to never sleep in the same room twice, and was said to routinely hold séances with spirits for guidance. Strange noises are still said to be heard in this home and it was the location of the only investigation never completed by the crew of Ghost Adventures when they were forced to be released early our fear for their safety.
4. The Joshua Ward House
Location: 148 Washington Street, Salem, Massachusetts
Few things in America conjure up more images of terror than Salem, Massachusetts. This hamlet outside of Boston played house to one of histories most infamous atrocities when several women and men in the town were falsely accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death as a result. Today the town is a tourist beacon as well as a rampant Halloween destination. It’s perhaps no surprise that many places in town are reported to be haunted. The Joshua Ward House which functions today as a hotel, was built on the former foundation of the house of Sheriff George Corwin, known as “The Strangler” and famous as one of the most brutal witch hunters in American history. At the time of his death in 1697, he was responsible for 19 deaths and it seems like the spirits aren’t too happy with him. Many people have reported being choked in the house by invisible hands and some claim that famous witch hunt victim Giles Corey has been spotted in the house, kicking over furniture.
5. The Lemp Mansion
Location: 3322 Demenil Pl, St. Louis, Missouri.
Like many hauntings, this one begins with a story of tragedy. The Lemp Mansion was built in the mid 19th century by Jacob Feickhert for William and Julia Lemp. The family owned Lemp Brewery and lived in the house until disaster struck. Three years after the death of William Lemp’s son in 1901, the patriarch shot himself in his bedroom. Three more family members would go on to take their own lives within the mansion’s walls over the years. Since then the house has been said to be haunted by spirits of the family. Today, Lemp Mansion is a restaurant and inn and staff and customers alike often report strange happenings in the house. From doors that lock and unlock on their own, to the piano in the bar that seemingly plays by itself, the Lemp mansion haunting has become so notorious it was even included in Life Magazine’s list of the ten most haunted houses in America.
6. The LaLaurie House
Location: 1140 Royal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Marie Delphine LaLaurie was socialite of Creole descent in 19th century Louisiana and, as history would come to know her, a rampant serial killer. She frequently tortured and murdered her household slaves and was even said to sometimes brush their blood on her skin like an ointment. After a fire broke out in the house, rescuers discovered bound slaves in her attic who showed evidence of cruel and violent treatment. She was apprehended by a mob to be brought to justice but somehow managed to escape with her family. It’s rumored she fled to France but for the most part, her fate remains unknown. Her house, which remained an urban ruin for sometime, was eventually remodeled and put to use as a music conservatory, a school, a tenement, a home for juvenile delinquents, a bar, and an apartment building. The house itself is rampant with stories of lingering, angry spirits, looking for vengeance.
7. The Molly Brown House
Location: 1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, Coloardo.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown became the most famous survivor of the Titanic after she forced her half full lifeboat to return to the scene of the sinking to retrieve more victims. Today her home in Denver, Colorado is said to be haunted. Molly and her husband J.J. have been spotted around the house going about their day-to-day activities. Many workers and guests alike claim to smell pipe smoke and have felt cold spots in Molly’s bedroom. An unidentified Victorian female is also said to roam the halls as well as the Brown’s daughter Catherine Ellen, who died young, and Molly’s mother Johanna Tobin.
8. Franklin Castle
Location: 4308 Franklin Blvd, Cleveland, Ohio.
The historical mansion, also known as the Hannes Tiedemann House, is said to be the most haunted house in Ohio. Over the years it has seen numerous deaths, including Emma Tiedemann who died as an adolescent from diabetes, and Wiebeka Tiedemann who died of heart failure. As many as three children were buried on the property over the course of the Tiedemann families time in the house. Combine these deaths with rumors that the house contained Prohibition-era secret passageways and you have the making of a classic ghost story. It’s said doors often fly open and slam shut, electrical circuits flicker off and on, and even baby’s cries can be heard in the rooms. There are also tales of a woman in black seen staring out one of the front windows. With rumors that Hannes Tiedemann was involved in some diabolical acts during life in the house, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some bad energy stuck around.
9. The Lizzie Borden House
Location: 92 Second Street, Fall River, Massachusetts.
The name alone should be enough to conjure up images of violence and fear. Lizzie Borden became a famous staple in the American consciousness when she was put on trial, and subsequently acquitted, for the axe murder of her father and stepmother. Whether or not you believe Lizzie committed the crime, the house in which the heinous act took place doesn’t seem to have forgotten its dark past. The house now functions as a museum and bed n’ breakfast and the owner claims some unexplained things have taken place over the years. Unexplained creaks have been heard, doors opening and closing on their own. The most unnerving incident however, was experienced by the current owner. One night he awoke at 3am to see a shadow moving up the stairs before every single bulb on the dining room chandelier burnt out at once.
10. The Villisca Axe Murder House
Location: 508 e 2nd st. Villisca, Iowa.
This was the scene of one of the most unnerving murders in American history. In June 1912, an entire family and two guests were bludgeoned to death in their home, the result of brutal axe strikes to the head. After it was done, he supposedly covered all the mirrors in the house before departing. To this day, the crime remains unsolved. The house is said to still hold some very dark energy, with some former residents claiming the murderer and his victims still reside within the house, inflicting violent poltergeist activity.
Read more on the Ghosts & Hauntings
You may also enjoy these stories: