According to a “Haunted Housing Report,” 35 percent of homeowners claim they’ve had paranormal experiences in their vintage homes, or in a home that they have previously owned. While an individual’s perception of what is “haunted” is subjective, that percentage might be just high enough to cause you to think twice about that noise you heard in the basement yesterday.
Certain factors increase the likelihood of homeowners experiencing paranormal activity in their new vintage homes. These may include whether a house is located on or near cemetery property; if the property is over 100 years old; if there were numerous transitions between owners; and whether the house is built near a battleground or other area where multiple deaths occurred, thus creating negative energy.
1 | Joshua Ward House, Salem, Massachusetts
The name “Salem” conjures up images of witch hunts and accusations. These are what took place in this vintage home. The brick mansion was built for Joshua Ward in the 1780s; however, the home’s previous owner, Sheriff George Corwin, also known as “the Strangler,” killed many women accused of witchcraft. Their souls are said to sulk through the corridors of the home.
2 | Farnsworth House, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
The famous Civil War battle at Gettysburg was one of history’s bloodiest combats. The Farnsworth House was dedicated to Confederate sharpshooters and acquired at least 100 bullet holes over the course of the war. The home is rumoured to still house deceased souls of misery-ridden Confederates. The house is still in use today as a bed and breakfast. Visitors claim there is a spiritual presence in the house that isn’t quite alarming, but still noticeable.
3 | LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans, Los Angeles
If you’ve watched American Horror Story, you’ll recognize the LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans as the same mansion depicted in the show. Located in the city’s French Quarter, the mansion was where the family of Dr. Louis Delphine LaLaurie resided in 1832. They were an affluent family with a dark secret-Madame Delphine tortured slaves in the attic. Supposedly, the souls of the deceased slaves still torment the home. Visitors are continuously attracted to the spooky home and reputation of Madame LaLaurie.
4 | Villisca Ax Murder House, Iowa
This house contains a tragic history similar to the tortures that took place in the LaLaurie Mansion. In 1912, six children and two adults were murdered with an axe wound to the skull. The Moore family’s death was never solved, and little evidence was found to determine who murdered them. Reports by people who have spent time in the house claim that there are sounds of children crying, ladders moving, and doors opening and slamming shut all on their own.
5 | House Of Death, New York
The city that never sleeps is probably just too afraid of the House of Death to close its eyes—the famous brownstone off of Fifth Avenue that is reportedly terrorized by a whopping total of 22 ghosts. The most famous is writer Mark Twain, who lived here from 1900 to 1901. The most heartbreaking is the six-year-old girl beaten to death by her father, criminal prosecutor Joel Steinberg, in 1987. In addition to sightings of Twain and the young girl, residents say they have seen visions of a lady in white and a gray cat.
6 | Bell Witch Farm, Adams, Tennessee
It’s the age-old tale of neighbours at war: A woman named Kate Batts believed her neighbour John Bell cheated her out of some land, and so, lying on her deathbed in the early 19th century, she swore she would haunt him forever. The Bell family said they experienced physical attacks, heard chains dragged across floors, noises in the walls and saw odd-looking animals on their farm, including a dog with a rabbit’s head.
7 | The Infamous Lizzie Borden House
“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” This macabre rhyme will be familiar to anyone who has grown up in the Massachusetts area. In 1892, Lizzie Borden of Fall River was tried and acquitted for the gory murders of her father and mother. Her guilt has long been debated, with many believing that she did indeed carry out the killings.
The story of Lizzie Borden and a visit to the scene of the murders is just the kind of grisly thing to fascinate and terrify thrillseekers. Many visitors have reported feeling ill upon staying in the home citing an oppressive feeling and a sense that they are being watched. The very brave can rent a room for the night in the infamous Borden house and test their courage.
It is clear that these homes are filled with a rich history. Those with an interest in the dark arts or haunted abodes will likely find great pleasure in continuing to research these vintage homes and their murky histories. Others may need more convincing.