One of the most common horror movie tropes starts with a family or couple moving to a new home. The new home is usually really creepy, or old, or dilapidated, and/or in the middle of nowhere or in an equally creepy location. Sometimes the home is also famous for some really bad stuff going down, which makes it really cheap. The new family or couple – unlike any normal people – often don’t seem to care about any of this, and feel like they can really spruce up the place and make it nice and homey. Sometimes, there is also a weirdo from a nearby town or something who warns them about the property, but they brush it off, thinking the person is just crazy.
When scary things start happening in the house and we eventually learn that it is either: haunted, full of or possessed by demons, built on the entrance to hell or in the perfect location for a cannibalistic serial killer to commit his crimes without getting caught, no one is surprised. The family (or what’s left of the family) eventually manage to hightail it out of there with some serious buyer’s remorse.
We think this horror story trope is very unrealistic because who in their right mind would buy and move into a home like that, right? However, there are many real-life examples of similar situations. Sometimes the house looks horror movie ready, sometimes it looks like a perfectly normal family home. Either way, here are 15 creepy houses you would seriously regret buying.
15. House in Van Nuys, California
There’s not much known about this house, but it’s a great example of a creepy house not having the stereotypical, scary look. The house had had many reports of paranormal activity and so the owner found it hard to rent it out. But in 1991, a couple moved in and strange things started happening to them.
The couple became argumentative and abusive to each other and they had never been that way before. They also experienced unexplained lights and objects moving around on their own. One night they came home to find the keyhole in the front door glowing red, all the lights were on in the house, and the house felt really warm. When they entered the house, they felt a presence in there with them and were attacked by an unseen force. They left the house and never returned.
A few months later, paranormal investigators from the TV show, Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories, set up cameras around the house. The cameras caught a number of strange things: doors opening and closing by themselves, drawers opening and closing, and objects moving across the floor and rocking back and forth.
14. Borgvattnet Vicarage
The vicarage was built in Borgvattnet village in Ragunda, Northern Sweden in 1876. The first reported paranormal incidents were in 1927. Since then, over the years there were numerous reports of people experiencing strange, creepy things.
In the 1930s, a priest who lived in the vicarage said he saw an old woman in grey appear. In the 1940s, a man and his wife reported strange sounds and moving objects. One of their guests who stayed in the guest room woke up one night and saw three old women sitting in the room staring at her. She turned on the light and they were still there but they became blurry and then disappeared. In 1945, a man who moved into the property started a journal about all the strange occurrences in the house and said he was thrown out of his chair regularly.
13. The Whaley House
The Whaley house in San Diego, California, was built on a site where a graveyard once was. It is a California Historical Landmark and was the home of the Whaley family, Thomas and Anna Whaley and their children, who first moved into the house in 1857.
Most of the Whaley family died in the house. The baby, Thomas Whaley Jr, died of Scarlet Fever when he was eighteen months old, and Violet Whaley, one of the daughters, committed suicide due to depression. Thomas Whaley died of an illness in one of their other properties, however, Anna Whaley and their surviving children continued living in the house until they died.
In the 1960s, The Whaley House was named an official haunted house by the United States Commerce Department due to reports of it being haunted by the Whaley family. Guests and staff have claimed to see the ghosts of Anna Whaley, the baby, Thomas Whaley Jr, Violet Whaley, and the rest of the Whaley children.
12. Villisca Axe Murder House
The Villisca axe murders took place sometime between midnight and 5am on June 9th and June 10th, 1912, in Villisca, Iowa. The Moore family, Josiah and Sarah Moore, their four children and two friends of the children, who were staying at the Moore house for the night, were found in the house bludgeoned to death with an axe. There were two cigarette butts in the attic which led investigators to believe that the killer or killers waited in the attic for the Moores to fall asleep before starting their killing spree.
Josiah Moore had more blows than any of the others, his face hacked at so much his eyes were missing. Josiah was also the only victim the axe blade was used on. His wife, children and guests were killed with the blunt end. The murder still remains unsolved, and, despite a number of suspects being investigated and indicted, who killed the Moores is still unknown.
11. The Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion is San Jose, California. It is now a tourist attraction and on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate, William Wirt Winchester, who died in 1881. She started building the property in 1884. Many people, including Sarah Winchester herself, said that the mansion was haunted by the ghosts of people killed with Winchester rifles.
There are many accounts that say the reason why Sarah Winchester did not use an architect to build the house, and the reason she kept adding things to the building haphazardly was to confuse the ghosts that haunted the place. The house has things like windows overlooking other rooms and doors and stairs that go nowhere.
Tourists often report hearing strange voices and moans, banging doors, doorknobs turning by themselves and feeling cold spots while visiting. The house’s caretakers have also reported experiencing creepy things long after the house is empty.
10. The O’Haire Mansion
The mansion in Greencastle, Indiana, was built in the 1800s and home to the O’Haire family and their descendants until it was demolished in the 20th century. Shortly before it was demolished in the 90s, a guy named Guy Winters and his friends decided to explore the house due to reports of paranormal activity going on there.
At one point during their exploration of the house, Guy went upstairs by himself (see? who says these type of things only happen in movies?) because his friends were too afraid to go with him. He said that upstairs, in one of the rooms, the walls were bare but as he walked out and turned around, suddenly there was writing on the wall. He and his friends took a few more photos and then left.
When the photos were developed, they saw what looked like a figure standing at the window in three different locations of the house. They hadn’t seen these figures while they were taking the pictures. Mary O’Haire, a descendent of the O’Haires, got in touch with Guy Winters after seeing the photos. She claimed that the figures resemble her mother, Irene O’Haire, and her aunt, Vera.
9. The Magnolia Plantation
The Magnolia Plantation is an old cotton farm in Louisiana. It was built in 1830 and was left abandoned after the American Civil War, after the union army passed through the area and shot the watchmen. The plantation has a history of Voodoo, slavery and abuse, and because of this it is thought to be haunted by the many slaves who died while living there.
One of the most compelling evidence of paranormal activity occurring on the property is video footage of some paranormal investigators witnessing a light flickering on and off in one of the empty, abandoned cabins. The light switched on and, as they began walking towards the cabin with the cameras rolling, the light suddenly switched off. It did this several times until they reached the cabin.
8. Raynham Hall
Raynham Hall is a mansion in Norfolk, England. It was built in 1619 by Sir Roger Townsend and has been home to the Townsend family for over 300 years. The house is huge and surrounded by over 7000 acres of land so it sounds like a great property. However, it is where one of the oldest believed ghost photographs was taken.
In 1936, photographers for Country Life magazine were assigned to take photographs of the house as a feature for the magazine. As they were taking photographs on the staircase and in the main hall, one of the men claimed he saw a blurry figure walking down the stairs. They managed to take a photograph and when the photo was developed, it showed what the photographer claimed he saw: a transparent figure of a woman on the staircase.
There were stories of paranormal activity going on in the house long before the photo was taken, like the story of a figure in a brown dress with her eyes missing, who was seen by numerous guests during a gathering at the house.
7. The Amityville Horror House
This is one of the most famous creepy houses. It was built in 1927 on Ocean Boulevard in Long Island. The house’s creepy reputation began with the DeFoes, a family consisting of Ronald and Louise Defoe and their five children. One night in November 1974, the whole family, except the oldest son, Ronald Defoe Jr, were found shot dead in their beds. Ronald Defoe Jr was charged with the murders after there was evidence found in his bedroom. Ronald claimed that he had killed his family because voices in the house had convinced him to do it.
In December 1975, 13 months after the Defoe murders, the Lutzes, George and Kathy Lutz, their three children and their dog, moved into the house. Because of the house’s history, they bought it for only $80,000. They had the house blessed by a priest before they moved in and the priest claimed he heard a male voice tell him to ‘get out’ as he began the blessing.
The Lutz family claimed they were terrorised by paranormal forces and strange occurrences in the house, things like strange odours, the sound of doors slamming, their daughter talking to an imaginary friend which was described as a pig-like creature with red eyes, and liquids oozing from the wall and keyholes. The family left the house after only 28 days.
6. Monte Cristo Homestead
The Monte Cristo Homestead House in Junee, Australia was built in 1885. The Crawley family were the first residents of the property and they witnessed many strange and gruesome deaths, which occurred during their time there. Some of these include the death of a woman who fell down the stairs, a maid who fell from a balcony, and a stable boy who was burned to death.
In 1948, after the Crawley family no longer owned the property, a group of caretakers took over it. One of the caretakers was murdered in the caretaker’s cottage and the killer was never found.
Since all of the gruesome deaths on the property, new residents have reported seeing ghostly figures, strange lights, hearing strange sounds, and finding mutilated animals around the property that have no explanation.
5. 50 Berkeley Square
Number 50 Berkeley Square is a large Victorian house in Mayfair, London, England. It is possibly the oldest unaltered building in London. The attic of the house is the scene for many reported creepy happenings. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman who committed suicide. She jumped out of the top floor windows and some say her ghost has literally frightened people to death.
In the Victorian Era, the owner, George Canning, claimed to have had numerous paranormal incidents while living in the house. In 1885, the house was bought by a Mr Meyers who locked himself in the attic after he broke up with fiancé. He eventually went crazy. A maid also went insane after staying in the attic and she died in an asylum. A nobleman took up the challenge to stay in the house and died that very night – the cause of his death was extreme fright.
4. Ancient Ram Inn
The Ancient Ram Inn in Gloucestershire, England, was built in 1145. It is said to be one of the most haunted places in Britain. The land the inn is built on is on the intersection of 2 Ley Lines. People believe that Ley Lines are places which have a lot of spiritual energy. An ancient Pagan burial ground from 5,000 years ago is also said to be in the location the inn is built on.
One of the most popular legends about the inn is that a witch was burned at the stake in the 1500s. It is said that the woman took refuge in one of the inn rooms before she was found, and so her spirit now haunts that room.
John Humphries, the current owner of the inn, bought it in 1968. He claims that he has experienced the paranormal activities himself and that, to this day, he is constantly haunted and attacked by spirits and demons. During his first night in the house he claims to have been dragged across the room by a demonic force. He has also found evidence of ritual sacrifices and devil worship in the house, finding skeletal remains of children under the staircase.
3. Rose Hall
Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, was built in the 1770s and was first owned by John Palmer. According to Wikipedia, a spirit haunts the grounds of Rose Hall. The spirit, nicknamed ‘The White Witch’ is said to be of Annie Palmer. She was born in Haiti to English and Irish parents, and her parents died of Yellow Fever. She was then adopted by her nanny who taught her witchcraft. She moved to Jamaica and married John Palmer, and murdered him, murdered two other husbands, and numerous male slaves. She was then murdered by a slave.
2. Borley Rectory
Borley Rectory was a Victorian house in Essex, England. It was built in 1862, damaged by a fire in 1939 and then demolished in 1944. The house was said to be haunted and, according to Wikipedia, the first paranormal report was in 1863 by a few locals who claimed to have heard unexplained footsteps within the house. In July 1900, the four daughters of Henry Dawson Ellis Bull, who was the rector of the property, claimed they saw a ghost of a nun. They attempted to talk to the ghost but it disappeared when they got close. During the next four decades, many people also claimed to have seen a coach, driven by two headless horsemen.
In June 1928, after Henry Bull died, Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved into the house. His wife found a skull in one of the cupboards, and they reported experiencing things like lights appearing in windows, the servants bell ringing even though it had been disconnected, unexplained footsteps, and a horse drawn carriage at night.
There were many reports of occurrences in the house after the Smiths moved out and a new family, the Forleys, moved in. The Forleys claimed to have experienced stones being thrown at them, being locked in rooms with no key, and being attacked by unseen forces.
1. Leap Castle
Leap castle in County Offaly, Ireland, was built in the 15th Century by the O’Bannon family for the O’Carroll clan, who were the ruling clan at the time. According to Wikipedia, the O’Carroll clan had two brothers who were rivals. One of the brothers was a priest and the other brother stabbed him to death with a sword, right in the middle of mass. The chapel where this event occurred has since been called, ‘The Bloody Chapel’.
According to Wikipedia, over the years there were numerous people imprisoned and executed in the castle and this is said to be the reason why the castle is haunted. The castle is also said to have links to the occult because one of the owners, Mildred Darby, dabbled in the occult.
Apart from the numerous ghosts haunting the castle, there is also a creature called ‘It’, which is about the size of a sheep with a grotesque, decaying human face and black eyes. ‘It’ is also reported to smell like a decaying corpse. Mildred Darby wrote about seeing the terrifying creature in 1909. She was standing in the gallery and felt someone touching her shoulder. When she turned to look, she saw ‘It’ standing next to her.