For centuries we have been fascinated by stories of the paranormal. Legends have been passed down from generation to generation, some tales more twisted than others. Each season millions of people flock to spooky attractions in the hopes of getting a fright.
In honor of this Halloween, and for your entertainment, The Institute has put together a list of some of the most haunted luxury mansions in America. Read on…if you dare.
Built in 1887 by silver tycoon and U.S. Senator, Richard Chambers, this 5 bedroom/7 bath mansion is said to be home to some scary supernatural goings-on. When Chambers died in 1901, he left the home to his two nieces, who infamously did not get along. While one niece moved next door into the Queen Mansion, Claudia remained in the home. She was eventually found cut nearly in half. While the family insisted that the incident was a “farm implementation accident,” local lore says that she was murdered by an unwell family member who was kept locked up in the attic.
Residents of the Chambers house have reported seeing shadow figures, hearing unexplained noises and experiencing cold spots. Some have even claimed to have the sheets torn off their bed in the middle of the night!
The San Francisco Haunted Mansion was most recently listed in 2013 at $4,495,000 and sold for $4,085,000.
With New Orleans being the most haunted city in America, it’s no surprise that one of our top haunted mansions comes out of the Big Easy. The LaLaurie mansion is a 6 bedroom/7 bath, 10,284 square foot home in the Garden District of the French Quarter. Built in 1834, the home was inhabited by socialite Madame Delphine LaLaurie and her husband, Dr. Louis LaLaurie.
Though locals know the horrific backstory of the home, it recently gained national attention when Madame LaLaurie appeared as a character on season 3 of the hit television show, American Horror Story. Unbeknownst to the New Orleans community, the LaLauries reportedly subjected slaves to torturous medical experiments. These heinous acts came to light when a fire broke out in the home and neighbors who rushed to the rescue discovered the gruesome scenes. The LaLauries fled the country in shame and most residents of the home ever since have claimed to hear phantom screams and see apparitions of the tortured slaves.
Actor Nicolas Cage owned the home until he lost it in foreclosure in 2009. The home was listed at $3,550,000 and sold for $2,100,000
The Winchester House
What list of haunted American homes would be complete without mentioning the infamous Winchester Mystery House? Recently made famous by the film, “Winchester,” the 160 room house was sent to auction after the owner’s death in 1922 and was sold for a mere $135,000. It was opened to the public shortly thereafter and is now owned by Winchester Investments LLC.
The eclectic owner, Sarah Winchester, lost her infant daughter and husband William Winchester, of the family who created the famous firearm. Following her husband’s death, and fearful of the spirits of those who had perished at the hands of Winchester firearms, Sarah took her $20 million fortune and embarked on a 38-year renovation to the home. By the time she passed away, the house had over 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, 13 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, 2,000 doors and 47 staircases – some of which lead to nowhere. The home ended up being a maze of hallways, dead-end stairways, windows in the floor, secret passageways as well as many other surprises.
The mansion has been said to be home to numerous spirits, but you’ll have to take the tour and decide for yourself.
Ann Starrett Mansion
Built in 1889, this Queen Anne-style mansion was built by contractor, George Starrett for his wife, Ann. This Port Townsend, Washington home features 8 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms and was turned into a Bed and Breakfast & Boutique hotel by Bob and Edil Sokol.
The home is said to be occupied by three ghostly figures. A red-haired woman and a man, who are believed to be Ann and George Starrett and the figure of a nanny, who has been known to tinkle the crystals and bop guests on the head for poor behavior.
The home was last listed in 2011 at an asking price of $899,000 and was sold in 2017 for $775,000.
Hampton Lillibridge House
Savannah, GA is a town with a haunted history. Yet even amongst the plethora of ghostly tales, one house stands out among the rest. Rumored to be the most haunted house in Savannah, the Hampton Lillibridge house was built in 1796 to a New Englander of the same name.
Shortly after Lillibridge’s death however, the home was converted into a boarding house where a sailor committed suicide in one of the guest rooms, thus beginning the home’s fateful tale.
In 1963, the house was purchased by a man of the name Jim Williams. Williams decided to relocate the house as well as undergo a major renovation to restore it to its former glory. In the midst of the relocation, a pre-colonial crypt was discovered in the foundation. It is said that the crypt remains under the house to this day. Williams’ restoration crew told stories of many paranormal encounters, including hearing footsteps and children’s voices, feeling ice cold and even being dragged across the floor by unseen forces. The most famous entity inside the Hampton Lillibridge house is a man dressed in black who watches from the third-floor window. On December 7, 1963, after only a few months of owning the home, Williams had a local Episcopal Bishop perform an exorcism on the house, though it was thought to be unsuccessful.
The 5 bed/5 bath home was last sold in 2017. Though the listing price was originally $2,400,000 the house only sold for $1,950,000, presumably due to its dark past.
The Hampton Lillibridge house is currently on the market at an asking price of $1,900,000.
McRaven Tour House
Located in Vicksburg, the McRaven Tour House is said to be the most haunted home in Mississippi. Built in three different time periods, the home has been called the “Time Capsule of the South” by National Geographic. It has also been featured in LIFE Magazine, The Travel Channel, 48 Hours and countless books and magazines about hauntings.
The home was originally built in 1797 by highwayman Andrew Glass as a hideaway from his robberies on the Natchez Trace. His death is said to mark the start of the hauntings at McRaven Tour House. In 1836, Sheriff Stephen Howard added on to the estate. His young wife, Mary Elizabeth, died during childbirth in the home and is said to be the most active spirit, often greeting guests and playing pranks. The final renovation was done in 1849 by John H. Bibb.
The 2 bedroom, 1 and 2 half bath home sold for $1,650,000 in 2008. However due to health factors the most recent homeowners sold for a mere $575,000.
Amityville Horror House
Finally, the most infamous haunted home in America. The Amityville home is a beautiful 3-story dutch colonial, which also happened to be the site of a tragic mass murder in 1974 when Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his mother, father and four siblings.
Shortly thereafter George and Kathleen Lutz bought the home and had such a frightful experience that the family only stayed in the Long Island home after only 28 days. They claimed to experience slime oozing down the walls, slamming doors, moving furniture, bizarre odors as well as swarms of flies in the dead of winter. While there has been speculation about the accuracy of the Lutz’s experiences, their story inspired a book and nine movies, including the box office hit, The Amityville Horror.
The home was listed in 2010 for $1,150,000 and sold for $950,000. Most recently, the home sold in 2016 for $605,000.