Do you believe in ghosts?
It’s not always a question that people can answer with a definitive answer.
Sure, non-believers will outright tell you “no” when presented with the question. But there are some who ponder the possibility of a realm between this life and the next. And then there are others who’ve experienced things beyond reason and explanation first-hand.
America is home to some of the creepiest, real-life haunted houses in the world. Where are they? And what are the stories behind them?
Halloween will soon befall upon us. And there’s no better time to learn the truth behind these haunted places!
The Chelsea Hotel
At one point in time, the Chelsea Hotel was the tallest building in New York City. But its extensive – and spooky – history makes this landmark one of the most notorious.
Mark Rothko, Allen Ginsberg, and Stanley Kubrick once lived there. Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen had a love affair there. Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols arguably killed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, there. Dylan Thomas died there, too. And dozens of other pop-cult icons – and hundreds of residents – once called the Chelsea home.
But many past guests and residents have made claims about paranormal activities occurring there, as well.
Cold spots. Wind gusts in rooms with closed windows and doors. Mysterious sounds and items moving with no explanation. Some have even claimed to see the apparitions of Nancy Spungen and Dylan Thomas there.
The Chelsea Hotel closed for remodeling in 2011. It’s set to reopen its doors in early 2019. There’s no way to know for certain if the paranormal activities will resume then – or if they’ve ever stopped. But one thing is certain:
The Chelsea Hotel has gone down as one of the most famous haunted places in America.
The Amityville House
If there’s one haunted house that’s been the center of the paranormal debate, it’s 112 Ocean Avenue… otherwise known as the setting of The Amityville Horror.
The book – and the subsequent movie saga – has told the story of one of the scariest haunted houses ever. But if you’re not familiar, let us bring you up to speed!
The Amityville Horror
In 1975, the Lutzes moved into the colonial-style home in Amityville, Long Island. Prior to the Lutzes residency, the house went unoccupied for 13 months. The DeFeo family, who lived there before the Lutzes, were murdered by the eldest son the year prior.
The Lutzes experienced a number of paranormal activities in the 28 days they lived there. George Lutz would wake up at 3:15 every morning, which was the same time that the DeFeo murders took place. Kathy Lutz began having nightmares of the murders. She could also sense an unseen presence on numerous occasions. Green slime would ooze from the walls. Mysterious sounds of opening and closing doors and windows. Unexplained voices speaking to George and Kathy. Kathy levitating from the bed. An apparition in the shape of a demonic pig befriended 5-year-old Missy Lutz.
And that’s not even the half of it!
Is It True?
Many have long disputed over whether the Lutzes account is a hoax. But there have been numerous investigations and polygraph exams. And in 1976, paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, confirmed that the family’s ordeal wasn’t a hoax.
The address of 112 Ocean Avenue has since changed. Yet, the Amityville saga continues to tell the story of one of the world’s most infamous haunted houses.
The Whaley House
This next spot on our list of America’s most haunted places takes us all the way to sunny San Diego, California.
The Whaley House is widely recognized as a historical and architectural landmark. But it’s also rumored to be a place where unusual, paranormal activities take place.
The Whaley Tragedies
Thomas Whaley, an early settler who set off to California during the Gold Rush, built the home in 1857. He lived there with his wife and six children. But during their time living there, the family experienced immense tragedy.
Baby Thomas, Jr. passed away in the house when he was only 1 1/2 years old. Thomas’s daughter, Violet, committed suicide in 1885 at age 22. Violet’s suicide perpetuated scandal in San Diego high society. Her younger sister, Corinne, lost her engagement as a result.
After all the tragedy, Thomas Whaley built a new home for the family to live in. But not long after, he and his eldest daughter passed away. The Whaley House went unoccupied until 1909, when Thomas’s son, Francis, renovated it.
Eventually, the remaining Whaley family moved back in. But in 1913, the family matriarch, Anna, died there. The following year, Francis passed away there. Then, in 1928, the eldest son, George, died in the home. The last living member of the Whaley family, Corinne Lillian, passed away in the house in 1958.
The Whaley property may have had a paranormal presence before the family moved in. A Canadian man who went by the name “Yankee Jim” was subsequently hung on the property after stealing a boat. While the Whaley’s occupied the house, they claimed to have heard unusual noises. They attributed the sounds to Yankee Jim’s ghostly presence.
For decades, guests and staff members have claimed to see the apparitions of the Whaley’s. It’s said that the ghost of Thomas Whaley often occupies the upper landing. Anna Whaley is often found downstairs, and at one time, in front of her portrait.
The Whaley House not only served as the family’s residence. It was also a prominent gathering point in the San Diego community. It once served as a general store, a courthouse, and even as the city’s original theater.
For all these reasons mentioned, people continue to visit the Whaley House. But the hauntings continually draw in believers and skeptics alike.
Villisca Axe Murder House
Imagine a sleepy, Midwestern town with a population of no more than 2,000 residents. Sounds like it could be the backdrop for a horror story, right?
Only there is actually a real-life horror story in a setting like this. The next location on our list of the scariest haunted houses in America takes us all the way to Villisca, Iowa. Here’s the story…
The Villisca Ax Murders
In June 1912, neighbors to the affluent Moore family discovered a grisly murder scene. Neighbors found Josiah and Sarah Moore, as well as their four young children, bludgeoned to death by an ax. Two additional children, who had stayed the night, were also murdered.
The brutal mass murder sparked national attention. But despite many investigations and trials, the murderer was never discovered.
It comes as no surprise that the Moore residency garnered the name Villisca Ax Murder House. But it’s also gained a reputation as a haunted site for paranormal activities.
There are many claims of apparitions and sounds of laughing and crying children. Some have reported being able to play games with spirits. There’s also a door in one of the children’s bedrooms that opens and closes on its own.
The LaLaurie Mansion
Are you familiar with the Lone Star State’s creepiest urban legends? If not, they’re certainly worth learning about – whether you’re a skeptic or a believer.
But did you also know that the southern United States – including Texas – is home to some of the scariest places on earth?
The LaLaurie House in New Orleans may be the scariest. And if you’ve seen American Horror Story: Coven, you likely know about this house of horrors.
The LaLaurie Horrors
Back in the day, the French Quarter in New Orleans was the heart of high society. Delphine LaLaurie and her husband were prominent figures who lived in a mansion in the French Quarter.
In public, Madame LaLaurie seemed polite to her slaves. But others have said otherwise. Neighbors began to have strong suspicions that Madame LaLaurie’s mistreated her slaves… far beyond cruelty.
To bystanders, it seemed like many LaLaurie slaves would disappear without explanation. The rumors turned out to be true after a fire broke out in the LaLaurie kitchen. Firefighters subsequently discovered a torture chamber containing mutilated, shackled, strapped, and emaciated slaves on the brink of death.
A mob broke out as a result of the discovery. They destroyed the LaLaurie mansion. But not before the LaLaurie’s fled – never to be seen in New Orleans again.
It’s believed that the infamous haunting began as soon as the LaLaurie’s left the city. Since the 19th century, people have claimed to see apparitions. When the mansion served as a dance school later on, its students would show physical signs of abuse. There was never a concrete explanation for their scratches and bruises.
It’s most common to hear moans and wailing from inside and on the nearby street outside. People have experienced cold spots and the sensations of feeling touched. Paranormal experts have also picked up on strong electronic voice sounds.
Visit Haunted Houses This Halloween
We’re all familiar with haunted houses from film, television, and books. And so often fiction arises from people’s real – and terrifying – experiences. These locations mentioned are only a few of America’s long list of haunted places… and they’re definitely among some of the scariest and most influential.
Are you looking for a thrilling experience this Halloween – minus the actual paranormal activity?
It’s okay. Testing whether you’re a true believer or a skeptic is not for the faint of heart. But it is possible to scare your pants off in an all-inclusive experience right in Fort Worth, Texas.
Cutting Edge is home to the world’s largest haunted Halloween attraction. If you’re looking to shriek and scream this Halloween, now is the time to buy your tickets!