Whether you’re a skeptic of the supernatural or not, you can’t deny that internal itching that some things just don’t make sense. Whether it’s a sound you can’t explain, a creak of a door you’re sure you closed, or whispers in the dead of night when you know you’re alone at home.
In the end, we can all attest to the ‘strangeness’ that exists. And where better to get a nice dose of strangeness than in a haunted house?
This week, we bring you three houses in America that have been proven to be haunted by not so friendly spirits. People are so fascinated by the dark stories that surround these houses that they still visit and await a ghastly play encounter.
Many claimed to have seen ghosts, talked to spirits, heard inexplicable noises and experienced physical illness. These three houses come with their own dark stories; however, they do have one thing in common. They are all active hotspots for paranormal activities.
From family curses, gruesome murders to a backfired revenge, these houses continue to tell their stories to this day.
1. The Winchester Mystery House
In San Jose, CA, stands the hauntingly beautiful building, The Winchester House. Though it may be a stunning sight, beware the ghastly legends that lurk behind its walls.
Sarah Winchester, the reason behind the house’s endless labyrinth, married William Winchester, heir to the company that made the infamous Winchester rifle. The family seemed to be touched by tragedy. William and Sarah’s daughter died of marasmus, and a month and a half later William’s father died, followed by William himself a few months after that.
Legend has it, after William’s death, Sarah was devastated, and reached out to spiritualists and mediums in Boston to find out the reason behind all these deaths. The medium told her that her family was cursed, and haunted by all the victims who were killed by the Winchester rifle. When asked how to lift the curse, the medium instructed Sarah to move to the West, build a house, and never stop building.
What makes The Winchester house creepy, other than the very fact that it is haunted is the way that it’s built.The room has three entrances; one of them is a trap door, which drops to the kitchen down below.
There are stairs that lead to the ceiling, cupboards open on to walls, balconies sit within the house instead of out, and skylights rest in floors. Small rooms are engineered within larger ones, secret doors can only be opened from one side, many chimneys don’t reach the ceiling, and doors lead to brick walls, or worse (a door on the first floor opens up on a deadly drop to the ground below)
But that’s not all. It’s also known for ‘the blue room’ or ‘the séance room’, which is the room where Sarah would contact the good spirits for building guidance.
People have claimed to hear organ music, ‘people breathing’, footsteps, screws being unscrewed then dropped, cold spots, feeling dizzy, and people often see Sarah in her bedroom. Reports from workers and guests claimed that they saw ghosts in the basement.
Sarah died at the age of 83. Still, nobody knows whether the continuous building was out of grief, or because the spirits instructed Sarah to do so. However, many to this day encounter spirits in the Winchester House.
2. The Lizzie Borden House
Usually, every haunted house has a dark past. The Lizzie Borden House is no different. The Bordens consisted of Andrew Borden, the two daughters, and Mrs. Borden, the stepmother. Like any family, the Bordens had their disagreements; however, their disagreements ended with gruesome murders.
On a Thursday morning, Andrew Borden went for a walk, and came back home tired and longing for a nap. Little did Mr. Borden know, it’d be his last nap.
While he was sleeping, an unknown murderer snuck in, and axed his skull eleven times. Meanwhile, the maid claimed to be in her bedroom taking a nap, Lizzie Borden, the daughter, was in the backyard.
After the murder of Andrew Borden, Lizzie sent the maid to get a doctor and stayed in the house. The maid later returned back with one of the neighbors, and asked about Mrs. Borden. The maid claimed that Lizzie said, “Oh Maggie! I am almost sure I heard her come in. Go upstairs and see if she’s there.”
These words made Lizzie Borden look suspiciously guilty. The maid and the neighbor went upstairs to look for Mrs. Borden, and to their surprise, they found her dead near her bed. Reports said that her face was bashed in with an axe multiple times, which suggested a crime of passion.
Even though Lizzie looked very suspicious in the circumstances, she was still found not guilty. However people today believe that Lizzie committed the murders, inherited the money, got rid of her stepmother, and stingy father.
Today, The Lizzie Borden house is a bed and breakfast, where people spend the night and experience inexplicable happenings. Others are more interested in the case itself rather than the hauntings, combing through documentaries that discuss the Borden family and their secrets, in order to find the true murderer.
Whether you’re fascinated by the supernatural or the unsolved murder case, the Lizzie Borden House is definitely dead-center between both.
3. The Myrtles Plantation
Known as the oldest and most haunted house in America, The Myrtles Plantation was built on top of a Tunica Indian burial ground. This house is a hotspot for paranormal activity. And that’s why people go there to spend the night.
It all started when Judge Clark Woodruff, owner of the house, cut off one of his slave’s ear, as a punishment for eavesdropping on one of the family’s conversations.
In revenge, the slave girl, Chloe, served the family a poisoned cake to make them a bit ill; however, Chloe’s plan quickly backfired, and resulted in the deaths of two of their children and Mrs. Woodruff.
Unfortunately, these deaths weren’t the last. After Chloe confessed to the accidental murder, she was hung from a chandelier, weighed down with bricks, and tossed into the Mississippi River.
Some brave souls who had decided to spend the night in the room built right under where Chloe was hung, said that the chandelier would start to rock and flicker back and forth.
Workers describe room as the most active of all in the house. So much so there are even photographs of Chloe next to the house. Even workers and people who have stayed there, reported that they often seen Chloe in front of the house.
People also reported hearing a piano playing without a pianist, handprints on mirrors which were impossible to wipe away, and furniture moving on its own. Even the most skeptic of workers, who had worked in the house for years, are now convinced of the paranormal.
A bar tender tells a story of a violent ghost encounter, where he was bending down to get a bottle when a champagne bottle flew out of nowhere and crashed into the mirror behind him. Another story follows a woman who’s often tugged by ghost children in the same place in the house; she claimed that she could feel their little hands on her leg, and that she could hear their laughter from afar.
Never a Disappointment
Haunted houses will forever be intriguing places for thrill seekers and horror lovers alike. Even though each and every house has a dark past of its own, whether a family curse, a frightful murder, or an accidental killing, it is safe to say that there isn’t a guest or worker who has been physically harmed by the spirits that haunt these houses – so far.
The truth, however, remains, that there will always be a wonderfully macabre attraction to houses where the spirits run free. And who knows, maybe when visiting one, you might just feel a cold hand on your shoulder…and a whisper in your ear, welcoming you in.
I’ve been to the Winchester Mystery House three times and never heard anything ghostly!