Autumn is a season associated with cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage and spooky times thanks to Halloween. When it comes to the festive holiday the scarier the better and haunted houses are considered to be some of the best places for hosting the celebrations.
Although many property owners do not believe in life after death, other homeowners have experienced unexplained sounds, scents and movements linked to paranormal activity. The national landscape is covered with horror houses. While some homes have been the location for murder sprees (like the Amityville House in New York), others are luxury properties requiring a jumbo loan for financing and are haunted by A-list celebrities like Lucille Ball or Ozzie Nelson.
Winchester House, San Jose, CADionne Warwick sang "Do you know the way to San Jose" and for those who do, a visit to the architectural Pandora's Box, known as the Winchester House, is a must see destination. The Winchester House is only one of two houses in California officially sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department as being haunted, and the ghost of former owner Sarah Winchester is the supposed culprit.
The Winchester House was a life long construction project financed by the fortune of Sarah Winchester, the heir of the fortune amassed by her late husband William. Due to Sarah losing both her husband and young daughter, the widow believed the money she inherited was tainted by the souls killed by the Winchester Rifles that allowed her husband to accrue the money in the first place. Based on a psychics’ advice, Sarah was told that no further harm would come to her if she packed up, moved west and built a home dedicated to the evil spirits. The one caveat to building the home was that construction could never stop or the spirits would become agitated.
Sarah took her medium's advice as gospel, resulting in 38 years of home construction (from 1884 until Sarah’s death in 1922). The work was conducted 24/7 and delivered a house specifically designed to confuse the spirits and keep them at bay. Now a tourist attraction, the Winchester House is still standing and features oddities such as, second floor rooms with doors opening up and exiting directly to open air, staircases that lead to nowhere, hidden séance rooms and secret passageways, very spooky indeed.
Lizzie Borden's House, Fall Rivers, MA
Rumor has it that "Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one." While Borden was acquitted of the crime, her parents were indeed hacked to death with an axe and the Fall Rivers, MA house is haunted by the spirits of Andrew (her father) and Abby (Lizzie's step mother). The Borden's house now operates as a charming bed and breakfast.
The murders took place on August 4, 1892 and Lizzie became a prime suspect as rumors were circulating that Andrew was going to leave all his assets to his new wife, (not the Borden girls) upon his passing. The murders were thought to be a crime motivated by greed, but there was not enough evidence linking Lizzie to the heinous slaughter.
The White House, Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. was recently accredited with being a housing market on the mend, but the city is also home to the White House and the most prestigious ghost of all times, Abraham Lincoln. The White House was constructed between 1792 and 1800 and from that time on, the property became the official quarters for the President (while in office) and his family. For hundreds of years, American royalty has lived on site and while some moved out, others (including Abigail Adams spirit) still linger on. The nation's 16th President is one of them.
President Abraham Lincoln will go down in history for a number of reasons including freeing slaves and his assassination in April 1865. Urban legend has it that Lincoln not only had psychic abilities by predicting his own murder days before the event, courtesy of a dream. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt all reported encountering Lincoln's ghost during their tenure on the property. Additionally Winston Churchill and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands also reported seeing the spirit of the Great Emancipator. Since the property was renovated during the Truman administration, sightings have gone down.