Purchasing a home is work – a lot of work. Besides considering your budget when searching for a home one must consider neighborhoods, safety, the quality of nearby schools, commute time to work, and of course the actual house.
Searching for a home is an emotional process whether you are searching for a place for just yourself or for your entire family. Sometimes you view a house that is already inhabited, you walk quietly through furnished rooms imagining your life and your things within those walls. You may also look at homes that are uninhabited, new developments or properties that have stood empty for some time. You walk through the living room, kitchen and bathrooms thinking of filling the space with your own things. Maybe you even wonder what is the story of those who live there, or lived there before?
Some of us see many homes across several months or even years, placing bids, sometimes being outbid, and yes for many of us it will finally happen – finding the perfect home. Although, what if after moving in you learned that the home you thought was perfect wasn’t quite so? Would you leave the house if there were major structural issues? What if there were unexplained noises, voices, or apparitions? Would you leave then? How far into stress, fear and madness would you need to be pushed in order to leave ? The following ten homes are houses that were believed so haunted that its residents left because they could just no longer live with the dead.
10. Amityville House
Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, the treasurer and only son of Oliver Winchester, the founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. After her daughter and husband died, Sarah inherited a vast wealth, by some accounts equivalent to $23,400 a day in today’s money. Sarah was largely superstitious and consulted with a medium after her husband’s death who advised her to leave her home in New Haven Connecticut and travel West. In addition to settling in the West Sara was to build a home there for herself, and for the spirits of those people who had been killed by the Winchester rifles.
Sarah moved to San Jose, California around 1884 and until her death in 1922 designed, ordered and oversaw the construction of a dizzying seven-story home with 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, and 2 ballrooms. The home today is just four levels. Still, many stairways, hallways and doors remain that were built to lead nowhere. Some windows even overlook other rooms.
Some people believe that Sarah was in fact being guided by the spirits when she designed this home, but many others just believe that given her lack of formal architectural training this lead to the curious designs. Of course, there was also talk that she was just mad. Sarah never slept in the same bedroom in the house more than two nights in a row in order to escape any spirits who may be searching for her. The home features Sarah’s preoccupation with the supernatural; spider web motifs are included in stained glass throughout and the number 13 is prominent in architectural details.
Sarah was said to have built an elaborate spying system so that she could monitor the large staff and many workers would kid that she could walk through walls as she would often appear silently, without notice. Neighbors reported hearing bells toll from the mansion around midnight and again at 2 a.m., the time that spirits are thought to communicate. There is also a blue room in the mansion that Sarah frequented nightly and it was there with paper and planchette that she was thought to communicate with the dead.
After the 1906 earthquake Sarah left the home for some time, fearing that the earthquake was caused because the spirits were upset with her. Sarah would go on to die of natural causes in the house. She left behind no journals and no formal reasoning as to the maddening mansion and no one has lived in it permanently since.
8. Villisca Murder House
In the early morning hours one day in June of 1912, in this small Iowa town six members of the Moore family, as well as two house guests, were found bludgeoned to death. The eight victims bore head wounds from an axe. Investigators would locate the murder weapon inside the house in the guest bedroom. Based on the position of the bodies it was thought that all of the inhabitants were asleep during the murders, except for Mrs. Moore whose arms showed defensive wounds. Numerous suspects were brought in for questioning, including a traveling pastor, and a drifter who was passing through town but who had stopped for a few days after finding manual work.
The investigations lead to two trials but neither trial ended with a conviction and to this day no one has been convicted of the murders. The house where the murders took place still stands and the owners offer day and overnight tours. Visits by paranormal investigators are common, as well as psychics. A recent visit by a paranormal group turned especially bizarre. Robert Laursen Jr. was with a paranormal investigation when at some point during the night he stabbed himself in the chest. He was taken to the hospital and local authorities could not pinpoint a motive to his actions. Did the tragic history of the house cause him to harm himself?
7. Lemp Mansion
The Lemp Mansion located in Benton Park, St. Louis Missouri was built in 1868 and at one point in its history part of the home served as a brewery. The home was also witness to five separate deaths and suicides – on different occasions. The patriarch of the family was Johann Adam Lemp who settled in St. Louis from Germany. He was one of the first people in the United States to produce a German Lager in the country. His son, William J. Lemp, founded the Western Brewing Company with himself as president and his son William Jr. as Vice President.
William Sr. had other children, – Louis, Edwin, Frederick, Charles and Elsa. After Frederick died of heart failure William Sr. grew greatly depressed. When the dear friend of William Sr., Frederick Pabst, the founder of the Pabst Brewing Company, died, the grief so overcame him that he killed himself in the house in 1904. Elsa Lemp, the youngest child of William Sr., also would go on to commit suicide, shooting herself in the chest days after remarrying her first husband.
The brewery was closed due to prohibition and shortly after William Jr. shot himself in the house. Charles Lemp shot and killed himself in 1949 leaving behind a suicide note and clear instructions on how to lay his remains. In the suicide note Charles blamed only himself. He may have done this given rumors had begun circulating about the number of suicides in the family, alluding that perhaps some of these suicides could have actually been murder. Charles requested that his body not be interred in the family plot, and that his body not be cleaned, nor his clothes changed, or a death notice printed, regardless of what any living family may have wanted. His ashes were to be placed in a box and then buried on his farm.
Edwin picked up his brother’s remains and drove them to the farm, even though to this date no one knows where that farm actual is. Edwin left the mansion, settling in Kirkwood, but as he grew older he always maintained a companion on his property as he feared being alone. Edwin died in 1970 of natural causes, ending his family line. There were attempts to use the mansion as a boarding house, but it was difficult to keep tenants. Tenants would complain of ghostly knocks, and unexplained footsteps. These rumors drove all future tenants out. The home was eventually purchased and converted to a restaurant and inn that regularly holds paranormal groups.
6. Haunting in Connecticut
The Snedeker family moved into their new family home in Southington, Connecticut in 1986. The draw of their home, which they rented, was that it was close to the University of Connecticut Hospital where their son was receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s disease. It was not until after they had already moved into their home that the family learned the house used to be a funeral parlor.
The family discovered old items from the home’s past left behind, including toe tags, funeral pillows, a coffin trolley, and a body lift that opened into a bedroom. The Snedekers’ son claimed to hear voices, see shadows streak across the walls, and some family members claimed to be touched by unseen hands. The chains from the body lift could also be heard throughout the night.
Famed ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the property and eventually a cleansing was performed by the Catholic Church. Several priests were involved in the ritual. The family is not allowed to disclose what occurred during the cleansing, but they did say that the cleansing did have an effect. Regardless, the family chose to eventually leave the house.
5. Gary Indiana House
A Gary Indiana mother claimed her 12-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son became possessed after they moved into their home. Latoya Ammons would hear footsteps late at night and doors creaking, and would see shadowy figures when there was no one else in the house. The house was visited by clairvoyants who claimed there were over 200 demons living in the home, and that olive oil should be placed on her children’s heads, hands and feet, and that an altar to Mary, Joseph and Jesus be placed in the basement.
After the children hurt themselves in a fall in the home attributed to activity, Ammons took them to a physician who claimed the children began speaking in demonic voices. Medical staff also claimed the children passed out and were not able to awaken when ordered. Eventually, the children did awake. The children’s behavior was so abnormal that after they were taken to a hospital staff members believed the mother had a mental illness that was influencing them. Yet, when Ammons’ son was witnessed walking on the hospital ceiling many began to wonder what was really going on. Ammons was later found by children’s services to be of sound mind. An exorcism was conducted on the house but the family has since moved.
4. Harrisville Haunting
In 1970, days after Roger and Andrea Perron moved their family into a new home in Harrisville, Rhode Island, strange things started happening. The house, a 200-acre estate, was one of the original plantations in the area. The Perron’s soon learned that their home was lived in by eight generations of the Arnold family, many of whom died in the house.
Some of the deaths were tragic, including the one of Mrs. John Arnold who hung herself from the rafters of the barn when she was 93, several suicides, hangings, drowning’s, and the unsolved rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. Some spirits were benign, but others, including the infamous Bathsheba Sherman, a speculated Satanist and witch, terrorized the family, particularly Mrs. Perron.
Bathsheba would slap or throw objects at Mrs. Perron, and even attack her with fire. When the physical attacks didn’t seem to work Bathsheba began attacking Perron from within. The Perron’s enlisted the help of a paranormal group who then invited Ed and Lorraine Warren to participate in the investigation, but the Warren’s were unsuccessful at cleansing the property. A séance was even held where it was believed Mrs. Perron became possessed.
The Perron’s received confirmation that nearly every living person at the time who had formerly inhabited the estate, or even visited, had experienced some sort of supernatural phenomena. After a decade of enduring activity, the family fled. The current owners have confirmed activity.
3. Wyrick House
In the late 1980s Andy and Lisa Wyrick moved into a home in Ellerslie, Georgia with their young daughter Heidi. After a few months of the family moving in young Heidi told her mother about a man named Mr. Gordy who played games with her and pushed her on her swing in their backyard. Lisa, thinking it was a stranger on her property, grabbed a knife and called her husband. After searching their property they believed that Heidi had been imagining things.
The visits with Mr. Gordy didn’t end. Heidi would be heard speaking with Mr. Gordy in her room and sometimes she would ask for an extra plate of food during meal times. The Wyrick’s would soon learn that a James S. Gordy was connected to the property at one time, but that he had died years prior to their move. Heidi also had visits from other unseen friends, including a man named Con who was covered in blood. Neighbors later confirmed a man named Con died on the Wyrick’s property.
Heidi was also visited by troubling spirits. She would wake up in the middle of the night to find dark figures looming over her. Sometimes she would be pulled out of bed or would be scratched over her arms. Heidi’s father, a nonbeliever in the paranormal, soon also began to wake in the middle of the night to find scratches on his arms. The family eventually fled the home.
2. Franklin Castle
The Franklin Castle, also known as the Hannes Tiedmann House, is a four-story historic home located in Cleveland Ohio. The home was built in 1881 for Hannes Tiedmann, a German immigrant. The series of tragedy began with the death of his daughter, Emma. Shortly after, Tiedmann’s mother died in the home. The following three years saw the deaths of three more of his children, which lead to speculation that the children were murdered.
Tiedmann attempted to distract his wife from the grief of these deaths by expanding the home, adding a ballroom that ran the length of the building. Turrets and gargoyles were also added to the exterior that gave the home the appearance of a castle. Mrs. Tiedmann died in 1895 and the home was sold to another family. By 1908, the entire Tiedmann family was dead. Rumors remained long after their death that people had been murdered in the house.
For years the home sat vacant. In 1968, the Romano family moved in and they quickly reported paranormal activity such as apparitions. A paranormal team was brought in and an exorcism was conducted on the home but the activity did not cease. The Romanos sold the home and then after plans failed it was sold yet again to Michael DeVinko who reportedly spent more than a million dollars in restoring the property. Restoration included obtaining original furnishings. DeVinko sold the house and left after a decade and since then the home has changed hands multiple times. It’s been rezoned into three dwellings at last check and conversion plans are in the works.
1. Hanover Haunting
Homeowner DeAnna Simpson says she and her family were surprised to learn that their home in Hanover, Pennsylvania was haunted. Simpson’s family has encountered ghosts, disembodied voices of children laughing and dogs barking. They were not able to move out immediately due to financial restrictions. After tolerating the ghostly activity and some spirits she claims are dark for seven years, they finally listed the house for sale.
Simpson has invited paranormal researchers, priests, and mediums into her home but it was an encounter with a local Fox News team that made headlines. Shortly after Fox News journalist Nick Petrillo entered the home he felt his hand burning and once he inspected it he found a mysterious scratch. Simpson splashed holy water on him. The incident was recorded by news crews. The last report shows that the home has still not found a buyer even though the tenants are ready to leave.
Sources: abcnews.com, telegraph.co.uk, nydailynews.com, livescience.com, huffingtonpost.com, dailymail.co.uk, gawker.com, ibtimes.com, cbsnews.com, fox43.com