Haunted houses aren’t exclusive to the movies or physical attractions built to scare. Throughout the United States and the globe, haunted houses have been known to create real-life scares, send families fleeing a home, and even provide a unique experience for tourists and travelers.
The United States is home to a number of notable haunted houses, many of which can be visited. We take a look at five real-life haunted houses that you need to know about it, and should circle on the map for your next cross-country road trip:
1. The Chelsea Hotel in New York City
Also known as Hotel Chelsea or simply the Chelsea, is a historic site located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The hotel was built some time between 1883 and 1885, and became known as a landmark in the city in 1966. In 1977 it was registered in the National Register of Historic Places.
The hotel is known for famous guests, including artists, writers, musicians and actors that frequent it, but also for the unusual paranormal activity that has occurred in the hotel.
Visitors have reported spotting ghosts of Dylan Thomas, Eugene O’Neill, and Thomas Wolfe. If you ever find yourself in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, the hotel is worth stopping by, and maybe staying the night. Who knows, you may run into a famous specter yourself.
2. The Amityville Horror House
In both fact and fiction, the Amityville Horror house is one of the most famous in the country. The home has been featured in films, books, and even content pieces written by Protect America.
In 1974, six members of the DeFeo family were found killed in this Dutch Colonial home on 112 Ocean Avenue in the suburban neighborhood of Amityville in Long Island, New York. The family was murdered by their oldest son, Ronald Defeo Jr.
Shortly after the incident, the Lutz family moved into the home. Upon their arrival the Lutz’ began to experience odd paranormal activity that they could not explain. This included strange odors, unexplained cold drafts, swarms of flies invading the house, cloven pig hoofs appeared in the snow, a marching band was heard tuning up, the daughter developed an imaginary friend, and an apparition that took the form of a demonic pig. After all of these experiences—as you could imagine—the family decided to move out.
3. The White House
The most well known house in the United States has been home to some ghostly incidents of its own. The White House has actually been reported as being a “hotbed” for paranormal activity.
The ghosts of Abraham Lincoln, Abigail Adams, Andrew Jackson, and others have been spotted by White House guests, staff, and residents.
Abraham Lincoln’s ghost is the most frequently spotted. He has been seen by FDR, Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill. It’s been reported that Abraham Lincoln’s wife used to conduct seances in the Oval Office. She did this in an effort to contact her son who had died of Typhoid, likely from contaminated water in the White House. Following their efforts, the Lincoln family ended up touching base with former President Andrew Jackson who was lingering in their bedroom. The Lincoln’s never established connection with their son, but people in the White House establish connection with Abe.
It’s said that President Harrison—the first president to ever die in the White House—is present in the home. Former first ladies Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison, and Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams have been seen in the home as well. Dolley is often seen in the garden she helped build, and Abigail is spotted doing laundry in the East Room. As recent as President Barack Obama, paranormal activity has been reported in the home.
4. Winchester Mystery House
This Victorian mansion is located in a busy neighborhood in San Jose, California. The home is said to be haunted by the ghosts of everyone who was ever killed by a Winchester Rifle, the “gun that won the west.” Sarah Winchester—the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, owner of the home, and widow of the founder of Winchester—wanted to appease the spirits, so she decided on adding room to the house to create more space for the dead.
What makes this house so remarkable is that not only were rooms added, the home was transformed into a labyrinth featuring halls that lead nowhere, cut-off staircases, sloping floors, and a rabbit warren of chambers. It was reported via ABC News that the home has 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, 40 staircases, 13 bathrooms, and nine kitchens. After Winchester’s death, the home has hosted a number of tours.
According to the podcast 99% Invisible, there is a not-so-spooky explanation for the building of the home. They say that Winchester simply loved architecture and had room to add on to her home before it was ever tore down. Whatever explanation you choose, the home sure does provide the bizarre and entertaining.
5. Lizzie Borden’s Home
This site in Fall River Massachusetts, has been turned into a bed and breakfast, made famous by the murder of Lizzie Borden’s parents, Andrew and Abby Borden, by Lizzie herself. Lizzie was acquitted of her crimes, but lived in guilt following the incident. She remained living in Fall River not too far from her childhood home.
A popular childhood rhyme was created from this incident, and the child is now said to haunt the home in Fall River—Lizzie’s ghost laughs at the top of the stairs.
The home has been turned into a museum and a bed and breakfast where guests spend their nights listening for the ghost of Lizzie or her parents. There’s also echoes of the maid’s screams after she found the parents dead in their bed. Each August the museum at the home stages an annual re-enactment of the crimes on the anniversary of the murders.
What are your experiences with real-life haunted houses? Let us know on social media!